Saturday, August 11, 2012

Disney's X-Pass (Virtual Queues...)

I don't regularly read Jim Hill Media but I find his articles interesting usually.  I was perusing his site and came across this article which discusses rumors and inside info about the X-pass virtual queuing system that will allow WDW guests to reserve up to 4 attraction/experience times depending on how far in advance they are making their reservations.  It sounds like a super-Fastpass thing except that according to the article it will extend to things like shows and spots for fireworks and parades and such. 

Reaction in the two pages of comments I read was mixed.  Either people hated it or they thought it was a great idea.

I know that studies show the number one thing that bothers/irritates theme park guests is waiting in long lines.  I hate it myself; we use Fastpass to bypass lines at most of the popular attractions.  It means only experiencing those attractions one time (via Fastpass), but really, so does standing in a 60 minute standby line.  There are only so many hours available for attractions in a day as it is.  Fastpasses make it possible for us to relax a bit more at lunch, or do a little shopping, or maybe see that movie in Canada or China that we'd never seen before. 

So the search for a solution for long queues predictably passes from theming to make those queues more interesting and entertaining while in them to figuring out a way for more guests to line up "virtually", through a reservation system of sorts.  I just don't know if this is a good move. 

As many Disney bloggers and cast members have pointed out, Fastpass works by allowing people to "stand in two lines at the same time", be it a line for food or for a less popular, low-wait time attraction.  This in turn increases wait times for those who don't have Fastpass.  A cast member in Disneyland commented on how long the lines for the Nemo Subs would be if they had Fastpass at that attraction.  I see the logic in this assessment.  Yet I use it to my advantage when we go to WDW or Disneyland. 

It seems the best way to reduce wait times would be to have more attractions.  And by that I mean they should have more "popular" attractions.  Carousel of Progress and the People Mover have short waits most of the time, and their presence does not seem to affect the wait times for Buzz or for Space Mountain.  What if there was another "Buzz" or "Space" type ride that was as popular as those two?  Wouldn't it follow that there will be less people in the other lines? 

More capacity would seem to be a better answer than virtual queues.  After all, those people in the "virtual queue" are still in line, and still making the lines and wait times longer; you just can't see them from the standby line...



RCT4 Release Date said...

If it's not broke don't fix it. What's wrong with the current FastPass system?

Scott said...

Nothing except for the fact that it does allow people to stand in two lines at once, thus increasing the standby time for both attractions. If I understood the article correctly, there will still be Fastpass, but there will be an additional layer of "front of the line" guests using X-pass. Since we stay on Disney property, we'll use it to the full extent we can, if it becomes available.

I still think that increasing capacity by adding attractions is a better solution.