Disney NextGen.....

Tuesday, April 24, 2012 4:08 PM

The more and more I read about NextGen, the more and more I realize that it is really going to change the way I vacation at WDW. In a nutshell, you are pretty much going to plan out your entire vacation well before you arrive at WDW. And if you book last minute, or don't plan well, you are going to be left with the "scraps" with respect to fastpass times, dinner reservations and shows. This is already the case with the ADR system and if you don't book your dinner reservation months in advance, you are likely not going to get into the restaurant you want. How the heck do I know where I want to eat three months in advance?

When I go to WDW, I know my arrival and departure dates and everything in between is pretty much a "game time" decision. I like waking up in the morning not knowing where the day is going to take me. And the weather forecast often plays a role in what I do for the day.

Perhaps for some people, planning to the gills is fine. Perhaps I am in the "play it by ear" minority, but NextGen seems to be a real game changer with how I will vacation at WDW in the near future.

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Tuesday, April 24, 2012 4:26 PM
Lord Gonchar's avatar

So is this a complaint?

Here's how I see it. Disney commands this kind commitment. They're on that level. It's been a pretty inevitable run right to this point - some of us (*ahem*) have been talking about the pre-planned Disney inevitability for many years now. (smile)

Seriously, though. I see it as no different from having to plan other travel aspects - no one really just shows up at the airport or hotel or car rental place and expects to get a flight/room/car in most cases. At the very least you understand the risk involved. The demand at Disney put them in the same ballpark. It does appear it's going to take a bit more planning to do Disney in the future.

I'm not sure it's going to be super rigid - at least in the first 5-to-10 years. We'll all ease into it just like all things that evolve. There'll be more planning aspect to it, but I doubt the idea of spontaneity will be totally lost. By 2025, all bets are off though.

And here's why it will work - it already does and you said as much yourself. Disney's ADR system. Heck, even the move to enforce FastPass times is a step in that direction. (haven't heard much follow-up though. anyone?)

It's not impossible to do (schedule your vacation - or at least parts of it) and people don't seem to be resisting it. Things change.

Spontaneity is good. But when you're dropping Disney money for a good time, I suspect a guarantee of sorts is even better to most folks.

Last edited by Lord Gonchar, Tuesday, April 24, 2012 5:30 PM
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Tuesday, April 24, 2012 7:56 PM
Tekwardo's avatar

You'll always be able to just "show up" at a Disney park and do your own thing. You'll just be paying. Lot more to do it. Like a last minute flight.


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Tuesday, April 24, 2012 9:08 PM
Jeff's avatar

I think if you base your opinion entirely on what Dismey nerds say and not actual implementation, you're forming opinions prematurely.


Jeff - Webmaster/Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog - Twitter - Video

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Tuesday, April 24, 2012 10:44 PM
LostKause's avatar

I just spent a week in Pigeon Forge. One thing that made the vacation so awesome was that we decided what we wanted to do, bought tickets for most of them online, and then decided day-by-day what we wanted to do each day. In other words, we planned what to do but not when to do it, with a few exceptions, like scheduled shows. We didn't rush around to do anything, and that is what made this trip stress-free.

If I am forced to be at a certain ride at a certain time as predetermined by a preplanned itinerary, a Disney vacation will not be stress-free. Running from place to place with a schedule, worrying that we might miss our ride time, doesn't sound like an enjoyable vacation to me.

If it is done differently than I described here, it could work for me. I would like one get-to-the-front-of-the-line pass for each ride I am scheduled to ride that day. The could even give me an hour window of arrival. That might help to make it more relaxing.


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Tuesday, April 24, 2012 11:44 PM
Lord Gonchar's avatar

LostKause said:

If I am forced to be at a certain ride at a certain time as predetermined by a preplanned itinerary, a Disney vacation will not be stress-free. Running from place to place with a schedule, worrying that we might miss our ride time, doesn't sound like an enjoyable vacation to me.

Five things come to mind:

1. Obviously, if rides are scheduled, they'd be scheduled in time windows of some degree. I hardly think the idea is that you have to be at Space Mountain at precisely 2:48 because you lost your spot by 2:49. Right now no system of queue management demands exacting precision from guests in terms of times. Hell, none even come close.

2. Even still, there are things in life that do work that way. You need to catch your flight at 2pm or it goes without you. You need to be at your (doctor, hairstylist, interview, restaurant) reservation/appointment at pretty specific times and it's not exactly a harrowing task. Heck, even leisure activites have start times - the 8pm movie, the 7:30 concert, the 7pm ballgame, the parade at noon. Somehow we manage without too much hassle.

3. Either way, it's Disney. It would be planned with all of this in mind. Regardless of how precise or anal it all gets, they're going to have it taken care of. You're not going to be running around like a madman wishing your vacation was over so you could get home and relax.

4. You could easily schedule at your own pace. Everyone seems to think it's this rigid, do-all-you-can, kamikaze attack plan of hitting the parks. I imagine nothing more than meal reservations and some key ride/attraction reservations. Still a good deal of 'down time' to be as spontaneous or chill as you want, but with the comfort of knowing you're definitely doing X, Y and Z during your stay. Like I said earlier, it's not hard to sell people on that guarantee - in fact, for most I'd bet it adds value to the equation.

5. If it were entirely nuts, it wouldn't be fun and people would quit coming. That seems to be the constant point you guys miss when bitching and moaning and coming up with wacky conspiracy theories about the changes in the industry. If it's for the worse, business will suffer. No one is going to intentionally make things worse and if they accientally do, it'll get fixed real quick once business starts failing.

If Disney wants us all to go pantless with our underwear over our heads while hosing us down with ice-cold firehoses and not letting us out of the park expect to do manual labor with no pay, they can. But you better believe people are going to quit coming and the new approach will change pretty damn quick.

This stuff is certainly changing how we visit theme parks, but none of it seems to be for the worse except for those who only want to see it that way. The glass is half full, not half empty.


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Wednesday, April 25, 2012 12:19 AM

I for one say bring it. I love having everything planned at Disney, and was doing it a long time before this. I love Disney night shows, all of them, and wish to see them all (and hoepfully multiple times.) The electrical parade @ the MK only runs on select nights, and Fantasmic! at the Studios only runs on select nights. Staying on property I enjoy using EMH to my advantage, and have found evening EMH @ MK and Epcot to be worth the time, and morning EMH @ AK (dawn Safaris are amazing, the animals are really active.) For an average 7 day trip once you factor in those varibles my schedule is pretty apperent, which makes dining easy.

If Disney wants to give me Fastpasses to certain rides at certain times (and allows me not to keep cris crossing the parks to get said Fastpasses.) Im all for it.

That said, I dont mind the whole non planning thing either. I just did a trip to Universal, and staying on property the only thing I knew I was going to do everyday was open Potter early, after that it was whatever I felt like. Ditto for my Williamsburg trips with the Revolutionary Fun Pass. Its nice, but in the end if you forced me to schedule my days at either site Im pretty sure my itinerary would be pretty similar to my "take it as it goes" approach.


2017 Trips: WDW, Dollywood, Cedar Point, KI, SDC, BGW, BGT, SWO, Universal Orlando

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Wednesday, April 25, 2012 12:45 AM
Vater's avatar

Lord Gonchar said:
Disney wants us all to go pantless with our underwear over our heads

You heard it here first, folks.

In fact, I look forward to Gonch's link-back to this quote in a few years when Disney parks are protected from the indecent exposure law and underwear becomes the next Mickey ears.

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Wednesday, April 25, 2012 12:57 AM

Vater said:

Lord Gonchar said:
Disney wants us all to go pantless with our underwear over our heads

You heard it here first, folks.

In fact, I look forward to Gonch's link-back to this quote in a few years when Disney parks are protected from the indecent exposure law and underwear becomes the next Mickey ears.

If the duck doesn't need pants, I hardly see why I do

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Wednesday, April 25, 2012 8:51 AM

Jeff said:

I think if you base your opinion entirely on what Dismey nerds say and not actual implementation, you're forming opinions prematurely.

This, exactly. So far, nearly everything about NextGen/XPass is more or less unfounded speculation. The most details have tended to come from the more dubious sources---Jim Hill's track record on rumors is, to put it charitably, spotty. So far, Those who know won't tell, and those who tell don't know.


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Wednesday, April 25, 2012 9:28 AM
Jeff's avatar

I'm going to start a site called Jeff Putz Media and make stuff up and be an attention whore wearing mouse ears. I think I can make a good buck doing that.


Jeff - Webmaster/Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog - Twitter - Video

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Wednesday, April 25, 2012 10:38 AM

If bitching and moaning were removed from discussion sites like this and social media sites, how much traffic would remain? And wait until something is implemented to bitch and moan? That is so 22 seconds ago.

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Wednesday, April 25, 2012 11:03 AM
LostKause's avatar

Who's bitching and moaning? I don't see anyone even complaining in this thread. It's a discussion about what could or could not be.

A very good point was brought up. This next-gen idea could be nothing more than giving guests something interesting to do while waiting for their turn to ride to come up. There really is a lot of speculation going around about this.


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Wednesday, April 25, 2012 12:06 PM

I see two distinct camps when it comes to vacations. There are folks who want everything pre-planned and scheduled. There are other folks who just want to get up and see what the day brings. The trick will be getting these two opposite sides to feel that they are both getting exactly what they want at the same time.

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Wednesday, April 25, 2012 12:20 PM
Lord Gonchar's avatar

Brian Noble said:
This, exactly. So far, nearly everything about NextGen/XPass is more or less unfounded speculation. The most details have tended to come from the more dubious sources---Jim Hill's track record on rumors is, to put it charitably, spotty.

Man, I haven't checked out Jim Hill in years. Just did and now I at least know what xPass is. :)

I think everyone is essentially talking out of their ass when it comes to this. The broader discussion is the idea of reserving more of your vacation in advance, the ways an idea like that might be implemented and how it impacts the experince of taking a Disney vacation.


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Wednesday, April 25, 2012 6:43 PM

Jeff: Jim Hill has the mouse ears covered. You get the *dog* ears instead. 8-)

(am I the only one who is surprised that Cedar Fair doesn't sell little white beanie hats with beagle ears and a big black nose?)

I haven't been following the NextGen stuff that closely. But from what tidbits I've read that have come from the Mouse, my impression is that there is a whole lot more involved than just making reservations. Interactive queues, tactics used to gather and disperse crowds, show timing...this is a lot more "big picture" than I think most people are paying attention to. I think the goal is to fundamentally change the way the park works, and by doing that, fundamentally change the way that people experience the park. But I don't think it is going to be a matter of building schedules for everybody. Scheduling is part of the puzzle, but the real goal is dynamic crowd management. Coming up ways to maximize utilization of available resources so that everybody gets to spend less time waiting in long, boring, slow-moving switchback queues and more time doing the stuff they came to the resort to do.

Because some waiting is inevitable, we're seeing interactive queues, like the games in the Space Mountain and Soarin queues. Because some waiting is inevitable and unavoidable, we're seeing the Dumbo double-up and the waiting area festival that they're putting together there. They're fixing FastPass by trying to abolish the behaviors that were making it fail. They're making changes to dining reservations so that reservation times mean something, again so that they can optimize resources.

I wonder if the end result of this might make it *easier* to dine at some of those places where you can't get a reservation four months in advance. Make lines a little shorter or a little faster. Make lines a lot more interesting. Make the entire experience a little more *magical* and a little less like going to Cedar Point on a Saturday in October. In any case it will be interesting to see what they come up with.

--Dave Althoff, Jr.


    /X\        _      *** Respect rides. They do not respect you. ***
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/XXXXX\ /XXX\ /XXXX\_ /X\ /XXXXX\ /X\ /X\ /XXXXX
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Wednesday, April 25, 2012 7:08 PM
Lord Gonchar's avatar

RideMan said:

...this is a lot more "big picture" than I think most people are paying attention to. I think the goal is to fundamentally change the way the park works, and by doing that, fundamentally change the way that people experience the park. But I don't think it is going to be a matter of building schedules for everybody. Scheduling is part of the puzzle, but the real goal is dynamic crowd management.

Yes. This.

The way we do amusement parks is fundamentally changing. Disney is a leader in this sort of thing. What they do will trickle down as necessary to the regionals and, to a lesser degree, the locals just like it always does.


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Monday, April 30, 2012 3:22 PM

Lord Gonchar said:
Man, I haven't checked out Jim Hill in years. Just did and now I at least know what xPass is. :)

Sorry to be a 'Johnny come Lately', to this party but there was one tidbit (true/untrue who knows) at this link that really left a mark on me:

Not to mention being able to use the xPASS system to avoid lines at the Parks' Quick Service Dining locations by ordering your meals in advance using your iPhone & Smart Phones.

Being the father of two very young twins with *severe* dairy allergies, food was the biggest hurdle to overcome. While Disney is well equipped to deal with food allergies, preparing the food takes time....something that toddlers dont quite understand. With my oldest, we could just grab a burger anywhere whenever he's hungry, but with them, you've got to find a way to keep them entertained (if not confined) while their food is made.

Being able to have that prepared in advance would be awesome.


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PlaceHolder for Castor & Pollux

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