AWS outage tested already skeptical Disney theme park fans

Posted Saturday, December 18, 2021 6:02 PM | Contributed by Jeff

Disney has been increasingly pushing its theme park guests to use their mobile devices to do everything from ordering food to accessing tickets and park reservations. It has also put a new paid version of its FastPass system, now re-branded Genie Plus, into the app. That means outages, including one that hit Walt Disney World last week caused in part by an outage of Amazon Web Services (AWS), can bring enjoyment in the parks to a screeching halt.

Read more from C-Net.

Saturday, December 18, 2021 6:25 PM
Jeff's avatar

I love these quotes from fans about how "Chapek is an elitist," how they make it so personal. Newsflash, y'all, Iger is still chairman of the board until the end of the year. None of this happened without his blessing.

Architecturally, Disney went cheap, and I wouldn't completely blame AWS for the outage. You have to figure, on any given day, there are, what, 200,000+ people in the US parks? That's probably $20,000,000 in ticket revenue alone in play, plus all of the spending enabled by this infrastructure. Do you really want to leave that to chance? The right way to build this out is to have redundancy across AWS's many regions, so if one of them sinks into the ocean, you transparently shift all the traffic to another one (or if you're ambitious, balance the traffic across regions, but that's harder to keep the data synchronized). I doubt that Disney has the expertise in-house to build it that way, but from what I understand, most of this stuff is farmed out to contractors anyway, or it was in the original "next gen" wave.

This site is on Azure, Microsoft's offering, instead of AWS, but there are pros and cons to both. I'm obviously not spending the money to be in multiple regions, but there is a ton of redundancy within the East US region, which is part of the reason I've had no outages in a few years. Azure, I think, is way easier to build for, but AWS is cheaper, especially if you spend more than $100k a year (which Disney certainly is).


Jeff - Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog - Phrazy

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Sunday, December 19, 2021 2:22 PM

I felt ripped off by Genie+ while it was working on my visit to Disney on Monday. I paid $30 a ticket for genie+ just to be told everything was already booked for the day. Unless you are a Disney regular who knows the system or a hotel guest who get's early access, it ends up feeling like a big scam in the end. I definitely left the park feeling pretty bad about my whole experience as a result.

Last edited by CoasterDude316, Sunday, December 19, 2021 2:23 PM
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Sunday, December 19, 2021 2:31 PM
Jeff's avatar

Did you inquire about getting a refund? That's pretty messed up.


Jeff - Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog - Phrazy

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Sunday, December 19, 2021 3:28 PM

I thought about it, but figured the chances of getting a refund were low and decided to not waste the time, since I only had 1 day there. I asked a few employees at the park, and they kept telling me availability updates every 20 minutes but I never had any luck. It seemed to me they oversold it, much like Cedar Fair and Six Flags oversell the Fastlanes and Flash Passes.

Edit: Just tried calling Disney to request a refund and the phone wait was 99 minutes.

Last edited by CoasterDude316, Sunday, December 19, 2021 3:54 PM
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Sunday, December 19, 2021 9:10 PM
ApolloAndy's avatar

What park were you at? I don’t think on site guests have any G+ advantages, but they do have ILL advantages IIRC. DHS in particular is really hard to get value from because of the smaller ride count.


Hobbes: "What's the point of attaching a number to everything you do?"
Calvin: "If your numbers go up, it means you're having more fun."

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Sunday, December 19, 2021 11:24 PM

Call me old-fashioned, but I miss the days before our lives were taken over by electronics! I love the idea of going to a park without a phone, and not having to make a reservation or special bookings for anything. I still refuse to get a smartphone as I do not need one. Even if I did go to a park today, my phone would be left in car. Guess I should be thankful that we can't get out more, as I hate today's society!


Jerry - Magnum Fanatic
Famous Dave's- 206 restaurants - 35 states - 2 countries

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Sunday, December 19, 2021 11:35 PM

ApolloAndy said:

What park were you at? I don’t think on site guests have any G+ advantages, but they do have ILL advantages IIRC. DHS in particular is really hard to get value from because of the smaller ride count.


I spent the first half of the day at Disney Hollywood Studios, then park hopped to Animal Kingdom in the afternoon, then finished the day at Magic Kingdom. G+ was useless all day at all the parks unless of course I wanted to pay more money for lightning lane on Space Mountain.


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Monday, December 20, 2021 12:22 AM
ApolloAndy's avatar

Wow. I don't doubt at all that that happened, but that is a catastrophic failure. I wonder if reports like that spurred them to add back EE, Space, FEA, and MMRR to G+. Here's hoping it stays that way.


Hobbes: "What's the point of attaching a number to everything you do?"
Calvin: "If your numbers go up, it means you're having more fun."

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Monday, December 20, 2021 8:37 AM
Jeff's avatar

Genie wants you to do tertiary attractions and doesn't give you any real plan for those that you want. That's a huge failure.


Jeff - Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog - Phrazy

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Monday, December 20, 2021 10:07 AM

CoffinBoy said:

Call me old-fashioned, but I miss the days before our lives were taken over by electronics! I love the idea of going to a park without a phone, and not having to make a reservation or special bookings for anything. I still refuse to get a smartphone as I do not need one. Even if I did go to a park today, my phone would be left in car. Guess I should be thankful that we can't get out more, as I hate today's society!

If you went to a Disney park and left your phone in the car you would be at a major disadvantage.

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Monday, December 20, 2021 11:16 AM

Ya can’t leave in the car what ya don’t have.
Without a smart phone I imagine pursuing the latest and greatest Famous Dave’s would be a challenge.
I use mine to find frozen custard wherever I go, lol.

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Monday, December 20, 2021 12:56 PM

I still don't know where these 206 Famous Daves locations even are. But I stopped trying to figure that one out long ago.

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Monday, December 20, 2021 2:36 PM

Totally makes sense to me that Famous Dave's international locations consist of five restaurants in UAE (where I would imagine the locals aren't eating a lot of baby back ribs) and one in Winnipeg.

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Monday, December 20, 2021 5:47 PM

Famous Dave’s must be shrinking as a company. Website says there are only 180 US locations, plus 4 international. I know all the western NY locations closed a few years back. In fact the closest one to me is at Cedar Point, 5 hours away.

Last edited by ShaneDenmark, Monday, December 20, 2021 5:48 PM

But then again, what do I know?

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Tuesday, December 21, 2021 6:25 PM

Yes, they are down to about 130 or so locations. Many of the newer locations are Carry-out/delivery only.

I don't need a smartphone for finding them. I plan ahead and have them in GPS before leaving home. But of course, we haven't been to a new FD's since early 2015.

If a smartphone would be required to go to Disney, guess I will never get back there. I am NOT saying they are no good. Sure, I have seen some advantages with having one. But I could live without it.


Jerry - Magnum Fanatic
Famous Dave's- 206 restaurants - 35 states - 2 countries

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