Walt Disney World tightens the rules on FastPasses

On The Disney Blog, John Frost describes the upcoming rule-tightening for FastPasses in Walt Disney World. FastPass is a ride reservation system: park visitors visit a ride, feed their entry ticket to a kiosk, and it spits out a coupon that can be redeemed later in the day for admission via a shorter queue. Until now, FastPass expiry times were not enforced (that is, the pass might say it was good for 3-4PM, but you could use it any time after 3), which led people like me to collect FastPasses all morning (you can get one every hour or so) when the lines were short, and then use them all in a bunch in the afternoon when the lines got longer.

Frost says the rule change is a precursor to a much more dramatic change, a FastPass replacement (?) called xPass, which allows visitors to reserve their ride-times far in advance, over the Web, simultaneous with their other bookings -- dining, hotel, etc. This feels like it would suck a lot of spontaneity out of Disney World visits, though for certain very slow-loading/long-queueing rides, it would be nice to guarantee a ride in advance.

Meanwhile, Frost has some excellent suggestions for ways to fine-tune the new FastPass system:

Here are a few tweaks I would like Disney to do to improve the FastPass system a bit.

* More surprise fastpasses. Standby queue dropping below 15 minutes? Send a digital fastpass to guests on their mobile phones. * Shorten the wait time required to get an additional fast pass later in the day.

Read the rest