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  1. #1
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    Exclamation Disney's Test of Centralized FastPass Distribution at Animal Kingdom

    Disney's Test of Centralized FastPass Distribution at Animal Kingdom



    by Dewayne Bevil
    Orlando Sentinel's Theme Park Rangers
    July 24, 2009

    Disney currently is testing the concept of centralized FastPass station at Animal Kingdom. When I visited yesterday afternoon, there were six machines in operation in the area that once was the FastPass distribution area for It's Tough to Be a Bug. Three attractions were available at two stations apiece. You could get passes for Dinosaur, Expedition Everest and the Kilimanjaro Safaris. You could still get FastPasses at those individual attractions as well.

    Remember, this is a test and a work in progress. Certainly, signage would be better and it would be listed on guide maps were it to become reality.

    Another bugaboo, to me, was that you could not tell what time you were going to get BEFORE you put your ticket into the machine or what the current wait time was at that attraction. (The cast member there was happy to tell me the times it was currently distrubting, but that's labor-intensive.).

    I liked that the machines were designated by logo of the attraction, although the Dino Institute design doesn't scream DINOSAUR like the Everest or Safaris signs. And they were low to the ground and hard to see if someone were actually using the machine.

    FastPass is confusing enough to newbies, and the cast members spent a lot of time there explaining how it works and how this test is working. Of course, there were people trying to get FastPasses for It's a Bug's Life there still.

    I got a FastPass for Everest, and it told me to arrive at 12:40 p.m. I think walked over to Everest, which took five minutes or so, and the FastPasses there were being distributed for 12:55. Made sense.

    I'm not a huge FastPass fan, though my fellow Rangers can't live without it. What exactly Disney is testing for is not clear. However, a front-line cast member pal of mine is totally in favor of centralizing FastPass. He says he spends untold hours at the entrance explaining to guests how FP works (and measuring the height of kids, but that's another problem, one that he wants to wristband kids for.).


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  3. #2
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    Have we really become so lazy as a society that walking to the attraction to get a FastPass is that much trouble? How about they just issue motorized scooters to everyone and get it over with.

    Unless this is some grand plan to get people into shops and restaurants by staging the machines close to these areas.
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    I thought at first this sounded like a wonderful idea when it was first mentioned, but when I got talking about it with my DH, we both realized that if the idea is to make the "travelling" for a FP easier on guests, it'd be a total waste of time. Sure, when you first get there it'd be cool to not have to run for an EE or Dinosaur FP, but once you're out into the continents, you'd have to run to the Tree of Life for your next one anyway, just like you'd have to run to the continent that has the ride you want a FP for. So really, I guess I don't get the point, esp. if the times aren't going to be listed and you need a CM staffed there for that, anyway.

    Not sure what they're looking to change... everyone's just used to the "FP sprint" by now!
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  5. #4
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    Not really sure I like this idea, but I'll be interested in hearing how it plays out. For me, the decision to get a fast pass is quite often based on the length of the standby time. If they were to remove the fast pass machines that are near the attraction, you would not be able to make that comparison. And, while it would seem convenient to have one central location near the front of the park, I can see that becoming a serious bottleneck with everyone flocking there when they first enter making it almost unusable first thing in the morning. Also, if I think of the times when I've grabbed a fast pass and then gotten in line for standby so I could use the fast pass for a second ride, I think this set up would alter that plan.

    I think the effect will be quite a bit different depending on if the plan is to close the other kiosks, or to operate both locations.

    It will be really interesting to see what happens. And that's why they call it a test, so they can see how it effects traffic and what guests think.
    Marker from MO

  6. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by fupresti View Post
    Unless this is some grand plan to get people into shops and restaurants by staging the machines close to these areas.
    OR, maybe it's in an attempt to improve traffic patterns. I know it gets really congested back by the Expedition Everest Fast Past kiosk and stand by lines. Or perhaps it could even be in response to guest comments.
    Marker from MO

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    Universal had a centralized fast pass years ago, it was a mess.

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    Thanks for the info Figment!

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    I think it would work if you could get a fp for any attraction that has fp availability, with, of course, info on the current wait times etc. This way I could get a fp for EE near the queue for the Kilimanjaro Safaris.
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  10. #9
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    I can only see mayhem and worse from doing a centralized fast pass area.. Bad idea..

    Disney, I know you read these boards.. DON'T DO THIS.. IT'S A TERRIBLE IDEA!!!!
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  11. #10
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    I actually love the idea of a centralized FP system, but not in the way they are currently implementing it. In many ways they are cutting corners. Instead of rethinking the system, they are just putting machines similar to their current ones in a central location. What I pictured when I thought of a centralized FP system was completely different. I picture a touch screen where you can get a fastpass for any FP ride, similar to the touchscreens at the movie theaters. It can show you stand by and FP times for all the attractions, and then you select which one you want. It would work the same as the other system, where you could only get one at a time and a second fastpass at a designated time, but allow people to plan better. I also don't picture one centralized location, but a few scattered throughout the parks, similar to the wait time boards. You could have one in Liberty Square, one between Toontown and Fantasyland and one just before the castle.

    I'm sure there would be drawbacks, but I do think Disney could pull this off. But in the current economic climate, its too much of an investment with very little monetary value to them. I would love to see it myself.

  12. #11
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    I think it will work out fine, as long as it is an addition to the decentralized fp machines.
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  13. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by broadway315 View Post
    What I pictured when I thought of a centralized FP system was completely different. I picture a touch screen where you can get a fastpass for any FP ride, similar to the touchscreens at the movie theaters. It can show you stand by and FP times for all the attractions, and then you select which one you want. It would work the same as the other system, where you could only get one at a time and a second fastpass at a designated time, but allow people to plan better.
    That would be awesome!

  14. #13
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    I love this idea and think it's great they're doing it! Once they work out all the bugs, it should make for a great improvement in the parks. Now you will be able to go to the central spot, get a FP for the rides you want, then go do other things in other areas without doing a lot of backtracking.

    As for the confusion of FP, I really don't understand this. People must not read or look at their park maps, or anything else. Because Disney has been advertising how FP works for years on TV, billboards, park maps, etc. It just baffles me. The first time we went to WDW they had just started doing FP, we read about it on the park map and thought WOW, what a great idea. I remember thinking then that it would be nice if there were also a central location for FP distribution so we could get our FPs without having to go into that area.
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    I'm still undecided.

    I think a lot of how well this works will depend on whether or not they keep the existing kiosks.

    I can see a benefit in that if an attraction's Fast Pass times are a few hours out, that will allow folks to grab a fast pass without adding to the crowd in that area.

    I can see a benefit in that you can grab a fast pass for an attraction that is in the back of the park prior to walking all the way back there. I see this not only as a benefit of not having to walk back there to get the fast pass, but it will also allow a more "normal' touring pattern. If you grab a fast pass for the Kilamanjaro Safari while you are up front in the park, you can work your way around in a more normal pattern and arive at or near your time, without walking back an forth and thus not adding to unnecessary traffic.

    I see a down side in that I can see this being a real bottleneck with long lines early in the day.

    I see a down side in more people getting fast passes they will not ultimately use. They'll grab one while they are up front, but then not make it to the attraction at the given time. More of a "we may as well grab one while we're here, whether we use it or not".



    However, I am please so see them be willing to look at new ways of doing things. If it proves to be an improvement, fantastic. If it proves to not work out, well then we know. But at least they're willing to try. If they never try anything new, they will never be able to improve anything, it would always just be business as usual.

    I say give it a chance before hating the idea. Just because it's different doesn't mean it's bad. And they wouldn't be trying it if they didn't believe there was a real chance of it being a workable idea.
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  16. #15
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    This is a terrible idea....

    the fastpass system works great already....by centralizing it...i.e. putting it near the common hub or front gate...it will only result in the fastpasses going sooner (as many will get them "because it's on the way" or "because its there") instead of bothering to actually make the effort to get the thing and in the process weeding out the casual takers.

    This is a silly way to ween out a few employees or attempt to concentrate people near food and merchandise locations....

    as usual

  17. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by lockedoutlogic View Post
    This is a This is a silly way to ween out a few employees or attempt to concentrate people near food and merchandise locations....

    as usual
    ?????
    Marker from MO

  18. #17
    lockedoutlogic Guest

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    Quote Originally Posted by Marker View Post
    ?????
    by centralizing fastpass....they can reduce the manpower needed to run it (i.e two employees for a common bank of 4-5-6+ attractions instead of one each)....save on maintenance (by reducing coverage to service the machines)....have fewer fastpass managers (yes...they do have "fastpass managers")...etc.

    And in the case of animal kingdom...the largest concentration of shops and quickserve outlets are in the "Oasis"...having increased congregation there for fastpasses throughout the day probably will yield more business to those locales...

    All decisions in park operations are done in at least part due to merchandising and food considerations - it's where they make profit

    trust me on that

    ...my take....take it as such

  19. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by lockedoutlogic View Post
    by centralizing fastpass....they can reduce the manpower needed to run it (i.e two employees for a common bank of 4-5-6+ attractions instead of one each)....save on maintenance (by reducing coverage to service the machines)....have fewer fastpass managers (yes...they do have "fastpass managers")...etc.
    I'm not sure I understand where the reduction in manpower is. These centralized machines are in addition to the ones at the actual attractions, not replacing them. Won't this actually add requirements? At the very least, manpower requirements will remain the same.

    It will be interesting to see how guests like this new approach. It seems to have some positive potential to me, as long as they don't change the overall concept of FP - that is each guest can only get one FP at a time. I'm sure we'll hear more about it as people get to use it.

  20. #19
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    I'm thinking this may work but am holding back judgment until more information comes available.

    If they keep the FP stations at the ride while also offering a centralized station I think this may be very handy and may make navigating the parks a bit easier. Having a centralized location vs. having to run to a ride and then back track while waiting sounds good to me. For example, say you leave Dinosaur and your next stop is Kilimanjaro Safari's it would be great to stop at this central location and grab a FP. Say it's 2 hours away now instead of running back to Africa and backtracking you could work there. This could reduce unnecessary trips to and from attractions.

    I can picture a bottleneckearly in the day but once that rush is through this may be a good thing.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tink1 View Post
    Universal had a centralized fast pass years ago, it was a mess.

    Nanc
    I remember that well and they gave people the choice of times as well as attractions. Talk about waiting forever as people discussed what works best for them


    I'm not sure how I feel about this since I can imagine the long lines and bottlenecks of people trying to get their FPs. I would imagine this is why they are testing it but I think after this initial test it will take a few month in full operation to get the real results. Once people are aware of the new system and actually plan on using it, the success level will be known.
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