A word of warning if you’re headed for the maddening crowds at the Magic Kingdom this summer – the line situation just took a big step backward.
I’m not one to exaggerate, but mapping the human genome was nothing compared with the development of the Disneyland Fastpass, which can cut wait times for major rides by a half or a third. And now a critical benefit of the glory and envy of the civilized amusement park world has been quietly changed for the worse.
Earlier this year the Disney time lords apparently decided that when a Fastpass provides a window of an hour to return to your chosen ride it means you better zip-a-dee-doo-dah do so – or else you can kiss that short Fastpass line goodbye and say hello to the hordes in the standby line.
For years, the very pillar of family excursions to the Happiest Place on Earth was the pre-arrival strategy – and the on-the-ground improvisation – of avoiding onerous waits. The linchpin in skirting the longest lines for the best rides (Space Mountain, California Screamin’, Tower of Terror, Grizzly River Run) was stockpiling as many Fastpasses as we could for late afternoon or evening.
So imagine my horror (again, I never exaggerate for dramatic effect) when I happily presented a fistful of Fastpasses to a cast member at the entrance of “Soarin’ Over California.”
“I’m sorry, sir.” (Cast members are unfailingly polite, even when delivering bad news.) “I can’t accept these because they expired three hours ago.”
When I came to, I was informed that the rule change was made in February. Why would Disney, a source of enlightenment and progress in queuing theory (that’s not an exaggeration or a fabrication, it’s actually the hard science behind line management), want to push park visitors back to stone age?
The move is akin to having a DVR with 200 hours of storage, then having it cut to 50 hours. Yeah, I’m still glad to have my DVR, but it isn’t what it used to be. Also, it’s harder to make eye contact with Goofy now.
What’s next? Banning the app for Disneyland wait times?
What do you think of Disney’s Fastpass rule change? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.
– Martin Miller
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