Fastpass return time enforcement

Thursday, February 9, 2012 5:44 PM

...And we will get to see FastPass work more the way it is supposed to work, which I think will be a Good Thing. I wonder if it will change the system's popularity any, as those little tickets can be pretty darned tyrannical...

--Dave Althoff, Jr.

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Friday, February 10, 2012 2:33 PM

Kids are Disney's golden goose. Kids get sick. Kids crap their pants. Enforcing the end time will always be a weak link in the system. There will be very legitimate reasons for people to miss their window. After a while, the manipulators will learn those "legitimate" reasons and use them to their advantage. I'd consider dropping a load in my own pants to skip a 3 hour Toy Story Line at Christmas...but that is just me...;)

This is the inherent weakness in the "free" system. There will always be manipulation points. Disney is not going to withstand the media attention of little johnny puking his corn dog on his shirt...going back to the room to change...and then being denied entry to Space Mountain because Disney served him a bad corn dog. ;)

They either accept some BAD publicity, ignore the return time, OR go to a pay system. I'd go the third...but that is just me too.

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Friday, February 10, 2012 5:11 PM

Aamilj said:
They either accept some BAD publicity, ignore the return time, OR go to a pay system. I'd go the third...but that is just me too.

That's the whole reason they're doing this. The free version of FastPass has to start being enforced to really get a good handle and start on their NexGen "XPass" system (or whatever they plan on calling it), even if they eventually phase out the free FastPass. This starts to conditions guests to move towards that planned out day as well, with enforced return times.

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Friday, February 10, 2012 7:02 PM

I have always considered the free Fastpass system to be a lot like free soda at Holiday World. It's not really free, but included in the price of the 90$ (or whatever) admission.

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Saturday, February 11, 2012 12:27 PM

The free version of FastPass has to start being enforced to really get a good handle and start on their NexGen "XPass" system (or whatever they plan on calling it), even if they eventually phase out the free FastPass. This starts to conditions guests to move towards that planned out day as well, with enforced return times.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that they can "condition" guests all they want...and it will probably work temporarily...but long term the means for manipulating the system will get out. This is exactly what happened with the current system. For all these years just printing a return time (expiration time) was enough. It took years, but obviously enough of the general public learned that the expiration time cannot be enforced.

That is the inherent flaw an ANY system that implements an expiration time (return time). There is no fair and reasonable way to enforce it. Disney would have to change the ADA if they want to go hard line. You do realize they are not even allowed to ask about your diagnoses...though they may try? Over time the general public will learn how they too can ignore the return time...just like they do now. And lets not count the hundreds of legitimate reasons that WILL happen on any given day. The food line ran too slow. Billy peed his pants, etc. There is NO way for anybody to discern the legitimate from the schemed.

Before Fastpass...teenagers were all over the parks in wheelchairs skipping the line. A close eye reveled that a different kid used the chair on different rides. Disney could not stop it until Fastpass. The point is that for every system they come up with, there are going to be manipulators.

The ONLY system that can prevent manipulation is a pay to cut...and go any time you want...type system. Any system that introduces the element of "time" has weak access points based upon law, and we have not even talked public relations.


There are plenty of folks willing and ready to scheme the system. Some of this is just society. Others feel the whole "cut" system is unfair and take Robin Hood like approaches to scheming the "man." Any way you look at it...this is just a "build a better mouse trap" memo. It does nothing to address the inherent weakness/failure of their plans. You cannot put a time limit on human beings if your business model includes pleasing your customers. A large percentage will be late for legitimate and illegitimate reasons. Disney cannot piss these folks off legally (ADA) or practically (PR). Any good schemer quickly realizes this and already knows how to defeat the plans in this memo.


Disney knows this. Why do you think they have never enforced the return time? Whatever internal process lead to this memo is either a process that failed to recognize the reality of the situation...OR...a process designed to temporarily thwart the masses with the realization that a certain percentage will manipulate, from the beginning...with an ever growing percentage each day after that.

Last edited by Aamilj, Saturday, February 11, 2012 12:35 PM
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Saturday, February 11, 2012 12:39 PM

So why do other parks/systems have no problem enforcing a return time then?

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Saturday, February 11, 2012 12:45 PM

EDIT: Nevermind, misunderstood where the long post was going. That's what I get for skimming.

Last edited by maXairMike, Saturday, February 11, 2012 12:46 PM
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Saturday, February 11, 2012 1:58 PM

Or you just enforce the return time. No exceptions. Billy peed his pants? Sorry folks. Slow food line? Sorry folks.

Remove the ability for people to scheme and accept the fact that a few people will get upset. You got a ticket that explicitly states your allowable ride time. Use it or lose it.

I do not understand the ADA angle. Are you telling me ADA people are exempt from time?

Last edited by Shades, Saturday, February 11, 2012 2:00 PM
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Saturday, February 11, 2012 2:29 PM

So why do other parks/systems have no problem enforcing a return time then?

Because the first page of the Disney Guest Services Playbook reads: "Don't say no unless you have to."

As you can imagine, this is a double-edged sword.

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Saturday, February 11, 2012 8:11 PM

Lots of good stuff to respond too...

So why do other parks/systems have no problem enforcing a return time then?

My kids are little. I'm a Disney/Universal/Sea World guy. I've done Knotts and Worlds of Fun recently. I was unaware there were other systems that enforce a return time. If that is the case, I make a strong argument that they are definitely skirting with ADA guidelines. Specifically the clause that requires a business...


It is not necessary to force grandma with bowel cancer to be back in 2 hours, if she needed a long restroom break. Or at least, I'm guessing a good jury could decide this is the case.

Or how about the part that requires a business to...


I guess you COULD make the argument that Grandma's bowel cancer is interfering with a decent line moving policy...and that her cancer is upsetting the fundamental purpose of the system. But what business would ever go to court and make this claim? ...particularly Disney?

I do not understand the ADA angle. Are you telling me ADA people are exempt from time?

That is exactly what I'm telling you. I'm not saying I agree with it. I'm saying this is the reality. I'm saying Disney is aware of it. I'm saying that schemers are aware of it.

I can't find it now...but there is that neat little part of the ADA where they cannot even ASK what your disability is...just the accommodation that you require for equal access.

Disney..."I'm sorry it is 1:00 pm and your Fastpass expired at 11:00 am."

Schemer..."I'm sorry, due to grandma's disability we had to run back to the hotel"

Disney..."Oh crap...our new policy is worthless...HAVE A NICE RIDE."

I am indeed saying that ANY system that has a time limitation for riding a ride...is most likely an "unnecessary eligibility standard" and even if there is a small chance the courts would not decide this is the case...there is zero chance Disney will take the PR hit to find out.

Therefore I'm with Jeff...NOTHING HAS CHANGED! ...and nothing can with a timed system...

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Saturday, February 11, 2012 8:35 PM

I dtill do not understand the disability angle. The pass expired at 11:00. What does raising the disability angle do for extending that time?

Another time limited scenario I thought of is an early bird sale. The sale ends at 1:00. Can someone come in at 2:00 and waive the disability flag and still get the sale price? I would think they cannot, but maybe I am wrong.

Last edited by Shades, Saturday, February 11, 2012 8:52 PM
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Saturday, February 11, 2012 9:03 PM

Under the ADA it is more than reasonable to ask for and expect that the time limit be extended. Let me say it again...I'm not saying I agree. I'm not even sure that I believe the ADA should apply to a private business...but it does.

Disney, under ADA is required to make reasonable modifications in policies, practices, and procedures that deny equal access to individuals with disabilities, unless a fundamental alteration would result in the nature of the goods and services provided.

You want to get really mad? Alcoholism is covered under ADA. You could conceivably tell Disney (either at guest service or the ride) that due to your alcoholism, you drank too much and lost track of time. They would be required to make a reasonable modification in their policy to assure that you have equal access to the ride. That reasonable modification is a time extension. There is no other modification to make.

I doubt a smart schemer will go with the alcohol angle though. Best stick with cancer and digestive issues that are impossible to see/prove.

Real life example... I have an employee who is/was diagnosed with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). As part of our ADA compliance, she gets to work modified (i.e. less) hours whenever she "SAYS" her symptoms are flaring up. She gets to go home and log hours on a computer...but there is no way to tell if she is being truthful about her symptoms, or hours worked.

I could ignore my lawyer's advice and force her to to work regular hours. I mean it seems a reasonable standard is that in order to do the job you have to be physically capable of working the hours. This IS NOT how ADA is enforced. She brings one lawsuit...and my butt is fried financially and in the court of public opinion.

So the solution is that I make a "reasonable modification in the work hour policy" and she gets to work some of her hours at home. I'm just shocked that all my other employees have not rushed out and "caught" ;)IBS. Luckily, she does not talk, and I'm not allowed to.

This is simple to understand. Once somebody brings up disability or ADA...Disney will let them on the ride AFTER the expiration time whether they like it or not. Just as I let my employee go home and work. You do not mess with the ADA.

That is the weakness in their timed system...

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Saturday, February 11, 2012 9:19 PM

Another time limited scenario I thought of is an early bird sale. The sale ends at 1:00. Can someone come in at 2:00 and waive the disability flag and still get the sale price? I would think they cannot, but maybe I am wrong.

I'm not a lawyer, but I really like Holiday Inn Express commercials... :)

My hunch is that there is a decent chance that the "disability flag" could work in this scenario. Most likely the store will just give them the price to avoid the bad PR...but IF this went to court...it just takes one jury.

Now who do you think the jury will be more sympathetic toward? The disabled person or the big mean store who won't drop their price based upon one hour? Especially when the ADA requires they make "reasonable accommodations" in policies?

I realize this sounds silly/stupid/unfair even...but this is real life.

Disney will let anybody who mentions a disability or the ADA ride the ride AFTER the expiration time on the Fastpass. Their lawyers and PR professionals will not take this to a courtroom conclusion. It is easy for those without a financial stake in a company to endorse battles on principle...but sometimes the smart strategy is to cut your losses and do nothing. That is why that memo uses the term "personal emergency" as a reason to let a person slide. In 10 years 50% of Fastpass holders will have "personal emergencies."

There is a flaw in their vision. I'm guessing they hope the interruption by schemers is minimal enough to not upset the whole apple cart. Who knows? What I do know is that anybody who really WANTS to ride AFTER their Fastpass expires will still be able to do so as they always have.

Last edited by Aamilj, Saturday, February 11, 2012 9:21 PM
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Saturday, February 11, 2012 9:30 PM

ADA doesn't come into play, because parks generally have a completely separate mechanism for dealing with it. Disney parks use the Guest Access Card, for example, which is orthogonal to Fastpass.

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Saturday, February 11, 2012 9:36 PM

Orthogonal...I admit I had to look it up... :)

So you get your GAC to say Fastpass return times are not to be enforced for this guest's accommodations (and 5 people with him/her)...?

The GAC is more sympathetic to guests disabilities than the ADA...my argument remains the same. Anybody who really WANTS to ride AFTER their Fastpass expires will still be able to do so as they always have.

They don't have a choice legally or practically.

Last edited by Aamilj, Saturday, February 11, 2012 9:36 PM
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Sunday, February 12, 2012 1:33 AM

Ok, I'm guilty of not reading deeply on this one.

But in the simplest terms - parks already make accomodations for disabled guests. The only way the park might be in some kind of weird situation is the very specific situation you describe where a disabled guest missed their time because of their disability...and I'd argue the disabled guest likely isn't using VQ/FOL because most parks already have procedures in place for getting those people onto rides....and if they are then those same procedures apply within the system's boundaries.

Why would it be abused any more than disabled access without Fastpass? We don't have 50% of people at parks trying to enter rides through the exit because of 'disabilities' so why would we suddenly have 50% of Fastpass users trying to pull times outside the window with the same excuse?

Fastpass doesn't suddenly make it easier to falsely claim a disability. The same as a 'personal emergency' doesn't let you leave the line and then come back and reclaim your spot.

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Sunday, February 12, 2012 12:18 PM

Gonch:

We are not talking about the real disabled here. We are talking about the schemers who come AFTER the expiration time.

I made up the 50 percent number for arguments sake. Nobody knows, outside of Disney, what percentage of guests abuse the expiration time. What we do know is that number is not something Disney is comfortable with...or else they would have never produced this memo.

So these folks who currently come late without troubles theoretically go to the park on March 8th... Come late as usual and are denied entry. Do you believe that those people who were willing to ignore the expiration date (I.E. break the rules) are suddenly going to comply? Or do you think they will look at ways to continue abusing the system as they have enjoyed for years?

The way this will be worked around by schemers is via the inherent access points made possible by the ADA or the even less restrictive GAC. Any digestive issue is covered by the ADA. Disney will have to modify their rules/procedures to accommodate these guests. They are not allowed to ask, nor could they tell the difference between the real disabled and the fake schemer.

Now...will the public figure out the weakness and scheme around it right away...NO. Disney might buy some time. But eventually...just as the general public caught on to the non-enforced return time OR the even more prehistoric "bring a wheelchair" method of line avoidance...they will eventually figure out that Disney is helpless to enforce a return time policy too.

A system that involves a time expiration component could never pass the ADA.

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Sunday, February 12, 2012 1:06 PM

Aamilj said:
Do you believe that those people who were willing to ignore the expiration date (I.E. break the rules) are suddenly going to comply? Or do you think they will look at ways to continue abusing the system as they have enjoyed for years?

I don't believe it was being abused. I believe Disney didn't enforce. There's a difference.

I'd bet everyone here has used a Fastpass well after the time it was desgnated for. Not because we were abusing the system, but rather because that's how the system worked.

It will work differently in the future and people will act accordingly.

There may be a 'tansitional period' with some hiccups, but that could be said about any procedural change.

A system that involves a time expiration component could never pass the ADA.

No other parks seems to have any problems with it.

I get what you're saying. Anyone could abuse the system. That's true of the entire park experience already though.

I think you're grossly overestimating the number of people that will abuse the system.

Last edited by Lord Gonchar, Sunday, February 12, 2012 1:14 PM
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Sunday, February 12, 2012 2:19 PM

That's what they call a straw man.

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Sunday, February 12, 2012 3:15 PM

I don't believe it was being abused. I believe Disney didn't enforce. There's a difference.

Could we say that Disney's failure to enforce led to more abuse? Or could we say that the limitations of the law, particularly the ADA, make Disney's attempts to enforce policy futile...or at least limited? There is a chicken and egg scenario in here somewhere.

But I do grant your opinion point that people might not have realized they were abusing the system...so therefore this is an enforcement issue.

I fail to see how any person who went into any line AFTER the expiration time was not aware they were in the wrong (my opinion). The time to return is on the ticket. You or anybody who went late knew well you were using the system in a manner it was not "supposed" to be used (my opinion)...even if you knew Disney would not enforce the policy. At the beginning of Fastpass this was not a rampant problem. Over time people figured out what Disney was and was not willing to enforce.

How is this different than now? The exact same thing will happen over time. It may take a few years... Over time people will figure out what Disney can and is willing to enforce. Due to the ADA, it will become apparent that Disney neither can or will enforce a return time. They will try for a certain period of time. And at first, an uninformed public will reluctantly comply. Then the public will "get informed."

It will work differently in the future and people will act accordingly.

For a while. Then people will act like people. They will use the system in a matter that best serves their self-interests.

This one will take time to see who is correct. I believe that a lot of folks like collecting Fastpasses early in the day...and then coming back in the evening with all the pretty lights, etc...and having something to ride without waiting hours.

I think this segment of the population will quickly figure out how to continue enjoying the park in the manner they are accustomed to. And the harder Disney pushes back against this segment, the closer they get to that ADA and PR nightmare that is the inherent limitation in any system that requires an expiration time.

No other parks seems to have any problems with it.

This is the second time you have made this point. Any examples? This way I can address specifics. I'm only aware of how Fastpass works (and staying at a hotel on site at Universal). Without knowing the other programs, it is difficult to opine.

Safe to say that any park who is STRICTLY enforcing return times...besides pissing off a lot of people...is just one unfortunate incident away from finding them selves in big legal do-do...most likely under the ADA. My hunch is that this is not happening. My guess is those with disabilities have recourse via guest relations to assure that their accommodating time needs are met.

Disney is well aware of how they need to treat guests with disabilities. They are also aware that legitimate "personal emergencies" happen. Otherwise they would have enforced return times for years. And also otherwise they would not have put this clause in the memo...

  • Cast members will be allowed to make exceptions for things such as personal emergencies, a delay in meal service or when an attraction stops running during the return window.
The term "personal emergency" is the term that keeps Disney ADA compliant. It is also the term that they do not want the public catching wind of... What this really says is..."Any park guest who can make up any reason/excuse of a personal nature is STILL permitted on the attraction past the expiration time."

I think you're grossly overestimating the number of people that will abuse the system.

That is a fair opinion to hold. Time will tell which one of us is correct. You have much more faith in your fellow man than I.

That's what they call a straw man.

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I don't believe anybody is misrepresenting anything in either direction. It is an adult conversation about Disney policy, ADA, and people's opinions of how this will play out.

I'm in agreement with you Jeff. Nothing has changed.

I've just expanded the discussion to show WHY nothing has changed and WHY nothing probably can. I'm of the belief that whatever the percentage of Fastpass users who currently abuse the expiration times IS...will be darn close to the percentage of Fastpass users who abuse the expiration times 5-10 years down the road if Disney insists on using a system that has an expiration time.

Maybe Gonch and those who agree with him will prove correct and Disney can affect enough behavior change that the vast majority will willing accept being told "SORRY...you cannot ride." There is no doubt that this is the attitude and opinion Disney is banking on with this memo. If he is correct, then the percentage of abusers will drop and remain at a low level for years to come.

It seems the one thing we can agree on is that whoever has the DESIRE to scheme the system can just as easily do it on March 8th as they can today. It might take a trip to Guest Relations for a GAC, or a simple explanation at each ride entrance...but anybody who would like to ride after the expiration time will be able to do so...if they are willing to tell a simple fib.

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