Something Better Than FastPass?

Disneyland's Fantasmic! Fastpass - Gold Section

Disneyland’s Fantasmic! Fastpass – Gold Section

Recently there has been an influx of implementation of FastPass at the Disneyland Resort.  With the premier of Frozen Fun there are 3 new FastPass stations, 4 if you include the pager for Olaf.  For me, it begs the question does everything need FastPass?

In one of those cases, meeting Anna and Elsa, a FastPass helps quite a bit.  It seems like it’s enabled more to see the sisters, and without cranky kids waiting in a very long line.  But, does a theater show like For The First Time In Forever need it?  When I’ve gone to watch the theater has not been completely filled, though pretty close.  And, stand-by guests have been let in at the same time as FastPass folks.  Now that it’s in Fantasy Faire for the Frozen show there, how does that affect Passholders?  Any other guests?

Another case is Fantasmic.  The show has somewhat gotten along well without FastPass.  But, I will say I’m glad there is a way to not stake out a spot for hours.  However, it means a lot more planning on a guest’s part to go and get a pass for the time that is desired.  And, what if they’re out of the time that is most beneficial?  There’s not a good way of waiting for the right show time.

Sign for Fantasmic! Fastpass at Frontierland Entrance

Sign for Fantasmic! Fastpass at Frontierland Entrance

FastPass is a beneficial system overall.  It’s been a great way to experience the bigger, popular attractions.  In Walt Disney World, I’ve enjoyed using FastPass+, which enables choosing the passes ahead of time instead of hunting for them.  I’m welcoming the system to come to Disneyland.

Another feature from the Florida resort that just came to Disneyland is the pager system.  What’s different about it is that guests have to stay within a certain area.  But, this area has some interactive things to do in it.  The attraction that has it in the Magic Kingdom is Dumbo, where a circus themed play area lets kids crawl around while parents enjoy a rest area.  In Disney California Adventure, waiting to greet Olaf consists of having the pager and playing in the snow area.  It’s a great alternative to FastPass, and adds a story to whatever is being featured.  The con is having to stay around in a certain area instead of being able to go on other attractions while waiting.

Back to FastPass, the pro is being able to have a scheduled time to get on an attraction with very minimal wait.  The con is having so many attractions with FastPass means there’s not many to experience with a short line.  It sort of defeats the purpose of having an enjoyable guest experience.  Still, the pre-scheduling seems like a bit of a solution to still having FastPass be a system.  I know I will like being able to know which attractions I can go on right away at Disneyland.

One idea I have is just for the shows that are popping up.  Why not split up which shows have FastPass and which have first come, first serve?  Fantasmic, for example.  There’s one show, probably the first, that has FastPass and dining package viewing, and the second one is whoever gets to spots first.  Logistically it could be difficult, but I use it just for an example.

As for attractions, I’m not sure what a solution would be.  Though we don’t have to worry about it as much at Disneyland, it may be a problem in Walt Disney World that so many attractions have FastPass.

But, what does everyone think?  Are there any ideas that people have as alternatives to FastPass?

About the Author:

Murray the Bellhop covers Knott’s Berry Farm, Marvel, and also helps with DAPs Magic’s Disneyland coverage. He also hosts DAPscast and helps produce Geeks Corner.

7 Comments

  1. annie January 12, 2015 at 11:47 am - Reply

    It would be interesting to have a test day with NO fastpasses and get an accurate wait time read of crowds now visiting on peak days. See if they actually make a difference with so many available.

    • Murray the Bellhop January 12, 2015 at 1:09 pm - Reply

      That is a good point. It’s been a long time since FastPass premiered and I wonder if things have changed now.

  2. Loren R. Javier January 12, 2015 at 12:20 pm - Reply

    I must say that the FastPass system for the characters at Frozen Fun worked like a dream. I went at opening just before the official opening, but on New Year’s weekend…so it was busy. I got a FastPass for Anna and Elsa and then went right to Olaf and managed to get in before the buzzer. In less than 45 minutes, I met all 3 popular characters. I tried again later and had to wait for a buzzer for Olaf, but, once I got it, they told me about 45 minutes and I was actually able to wander around all of Hollywood Land. I went on Monsters, Inc while waiting, so you can actually go on an attraction while waiting and not just stuck in the snow area. In fact, I also had enough time to use a later fast pass to see Anna and Elsa again while I was waiting for Olaf.

    • Murray the Bellhop January 12, 2015 at 1:10 pm - Reply

      I also had a good experience with FastPass for Anna and Elsa. I still do wonder if it’s needed for the shows, though. But, characters definitely take more time, and I think having the system has greatly improved chances of people seeing Anna and Elsa.

    • Mr. DAPs January 12, 2015 at 1:50 pm - Reply

      I didn’t realize you could wander that far. That’s good to know! And well played with getting all those in so quickly! I’m impressed! I personally think I’d like to see an app or something of the like that is more like FastPass+ just for those of us who can’t get into the park quite as early in the morning. 😉

      • Loren R. Javier January 12, 2015 at 1:58 pm - Reply

        Yeah, you can go anywhere in Hollywood Land. They tell you not to go farther than Tower of Terror or past Disney Junior, but, that, at least, gives you more area to wander around. I was inside the animation building when my buzzer went off and was in the middle of a survey. At first, the buzzer went off and I thought I missed my opportunity, but they do give you a second chance and ring again. So, you have several minutes to make it back to the Snow Fest.

        But, yeah…it would be nice to be able to not have to get there right at the beginning of the day and still have a similar experience.Although, the only reason why I like the buzzer is that it allows you to use the other part of the Snow Fest experience without panicking if that’s what you want to do.

        • Mr. DAPs January 14, 2015 at 10:34 am - Reply

          Yea, I really like that you can do that. It definitely makes the wait a lot nicer it sounds like!

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