May 1, 2012

How Much Planning is Too Much Planning?

So. WDW Magic is reporting that Disney has begun testing the next phase of the evolution of the FASTPASS system, which should delight people with control issues and irritate everyone else:
1. Guests in the trial will choose a FASTPASS itinerary for the entire day before they arrive at the park.
2. The FASTPASS itinerary will be emailed to the guest and encoded onto a RFID FASTPASS card which will then be used to gain FASTPASS access to the attractions chosen.
The significant point here is that this system is allowing the guest to book their entire day FASTPASS itinerary BEFORE arrival at the park, and therefore eliminates the current system of only holding one FASTPASS at a time, and having to wait for windows to become available. 
In other words, you can plan out your entire day at the parks before you even get there. No word on whether there’s a limit to how many FASTPASSes you can preload on these cards, or if you can do multiple passes on the same attraction, but if that’s the case, you’ll have an awful lot of cards with 17 straight rides on Toy Story Midway Mania.

Let’s get something straight - I’m a planner. A Type-A planner, even. So I hear some of you thinking “but some people are neurotic and like to plan and how will we possibly do all the things we want to do and omgIneedtogocheckmyADRsagain.” I am one of you. I get it. But I am not a fan of this.

Honestly, why do the Imagineers even waste their time building interactive queues? Whatever happened to getting there being part of the fun? Yes, waiting around for your FASTPASS return time to arrive can be annoying (and often leads to unnecessary gift shop purchases), and I think the system will be quite popular for that feature alone. But in theory – if the majority of the guests are using the FASTPASS line for an attraction, wouldn’t that make the standby line the quicker option? And more importantly, would guests still have the option to get a FASTPASS on the spot, because, I dunno, they’re on vacation and want to take things as they come, rather than planning everything out the night before? And if getting a FASTPASS becomes as stressful as getting an ADR, then pretty soon, guests will start foregoing things entirely and spend all their time whittling the hours away eating Dole Whips, until Disney decides you need a FASTPASS for those too.

And not to get all, “back in MY day…,” but really – 10 years ago, this never would have been seen as something beneficial. But thanks to a society increasingly bent on instant gratification (thanks, social media), and a FASTPASS system that has gradually weaned people off of waiting in line, this is where we are. Now you don’t even need to be in the parks before you’re forced to decide where you will go first. Can’t get a FASTPASS? No worries, you can get real-time information on wait times on your iPhone via the Disney Parks app. Leisure time is for the weak …  and for people who don’t have smartphones.

It’s beginning to feel like going to the parks is some sort of competition – not against anyone in particular, but there’s an unspoken goal of experiencing the most attractions, scoring those prime dinner reservations, arriving at a certain location first, being at the front of the line.  Once upon a time, guests would come to the parks and just BE. Not “be at this attraction for our FASTPASS time,” not “be at dinner 15 minutes before our reservation,” not “be checking emails for ADR confirmations.” Just BE. Without feeling like if you weren’t running around, then you weren’t really experiencing everything. Without the prompts to be here, there, and everywhere. Without needing to draw all over your park maps to make sure you did everything in the most efficient manner. Without needing to have a family meeting every night to plan out the next day in fine detail. I don’t know about you, but I miss those days. And on my next trip, I’m going to do my best to fight the urge to do everything and just  … BE, and hopefully recapture some of that ol' Disney magic.

Related Links:
* WDW Things that Never Cease to Amaze Me
* FastPass Fail
* The Coolest Queue


V @ No Privacy At All Around This Place! said...

For reals, yo!

LOL I am in 100% agreeance.

Dawn said...

I like to stand in line for a lot of attractions but it would be nice to have an option for this...Toy Story Mania being my one example...I never get to DHS early enough to be able to ride this without a HUGE wait so I rarely ever ride.

BruceWDW said...