Potential Changes To Disney's FastPass ($$$)

Wednesday, September 5, 2007 3:10 PM
Lord Gonchar's avatar

rollergator said:
So true! Keep working the "bargain pricing" up toward the level of "prestige pricing", and gradually the guests will go where you lead them... ;)

Couldn't have said it better myself - even though I've tried countless times. (except I wouldn't have added the winky face)


I also noticed on Monday that Universal is also at $11 for regular parking now...Snyder's $15 may be high, but it is by NO means "out of the range of ordinary".

It never was out of that range. :)

All I've seen happen in the two seasons since Shapiro tried to catch up with Disney's prices at the SF parks is the other parks trying to catch up with SF's pricing.*

*offer not valid for little parks with lots of trees in rural areas


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Wednesday, September 5, 2007 3:21 PM
I'm glad someone brought this up because I want to add something... something I was going to mention in a new thread but ultimately decided wasn't a good reason to start a new conversation.

If you ever read the articles over at MiceAge, a recent WDW update talks about the changes made to the Soarin' queue:

In addition to all of this, the wall separating the FastPass line from the Standby line has been raised to a new height, so the two groups never see each other. This is but further proof that FastPass creates feelings of annoyance and resentment. Why else would it be necessary to separate the lines? (the whole article can be found here)

I bring this up because in one of our many recent discussions/debates about virtual queueing, it was mentioned by some that the system doesn't bother most people in the so-called standby lines, yet here is a perfect example of how that's not always the case. Apparantly the slow-moving standby line for Soarin' makes people angry at those Fastpassers zoomin' on by, and this is a free system that is technically available to everyone in the park (provided they get to the Fastpass machines early enough.) Is virtual queueing going to lead to full-fledged riots in theme parks? Probably not. But it does piss a lot of people off, and I can't help but think that's going to hurt parks in the long run.

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Wednesday, September 5, 2007 3:33 PM
I am happy to stipulate the following about virtual queuing, either paid or free:

1: It increases average wait-times, park-wide.
2: It gives rise to some degree of bad feelings between those using it and those not using it.
3: It isn't equally available to all---it biases in favor of those with money or knowledge.

That said, the behavior of those managing theme parks seems to indicate that free virtual queuing does not improve the bottom line, and that pay-to-cut does. Parks that used to have free VQ (Cedar Point, Universal) no longer do. At least someone at the only remaining company with free VQ is thinking about ways to monetize it. As far as I am aware, no park that ever used pay-to-cut has discontinued it, and it is expanding to new parks nearly each year.

Unless all of these executives are idiots, pay-to-cut is going to be part of the theme park reality going forward, like POP admission and overpriced, watered-down soda. There will be exceptions---just as there are parks with ride tickets and free soda---but I believe they will increasingly be the exceptions, not the rule.


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Wednesday, September 5, 2007 3:34 PM
Rob, I saw that quote too and don't buy it. I have worked at the FastPass merge point of several rides before and could count on my fingers the number of times the people in the standby line actually got upset with FastPass people cutting in line. Most standby people understand since they have or will use FastPass at some time. I was actually shocked with how nice the standby people usually are when I ask them to wait a moment to let FastPass people in. It is almost like FastPass has built up a reputation at the parks and since most people understand it they arn't as upset when they see FastPass people zoom by.

As for the changes in line to Soarin' part of the reason why the FastPass line was moved out of sight of the standby is because it would affect the games that are played in the standby queue since they rely on everyone in line to move at the same time. You have to see in person what I am talking about to understand.


Andrew

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Wednesday, September 5, 2007 4:06 PM
Look how giddy Moneybags Gonch gets at the mere re-mentioning of old news about how Disney has some "just in case we want to ever do this" patents for tiering their fastpass system.

How long has it been since we discussed this line cutting stuff? a week? maybe Two?

I'll reiterate. It is very old news (Maybe 2 or 3 years). If they were going to do something like this, you'd think they would have done it by now. There is a chance that they may do it in the future, but it doesn't seem to be Disney's style to segregate their customers and make them uncomfortable like other parks do.

"New for 2008! Mouseke-TIERD Fastpass!"??? I don't think so. :)

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Wednesday, September 5, 2007 4:17 PM
Lord Gonchar's avatar

dexter said:
I'll reiterate. It is very old news (Maybe 2 or 3 years).

At this point I just feel bad for you most of the time so I'll take it easy.

Take a look at the date in the top right corner of the patent filing page.

August 30, 2007. That barely 2 or 3 days ago, let alone 2 or 3 years.

Yes, they've been filing patents like this for some time now. I know the concepts of business often elude you, but do you really think they go through the hassle of developing and registering such things over periods of years for the fun of it?

Wait, scratch that last part - you probably do think that.


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Wednesday, September 5, 2007 4:31 PM
Gonch, that's a little unfair. There are at least three reasons to patent something, and only one of them is "so that we can use it exclusively." The other two are "so that none of our competitors can do this," and my favorite one, "We have more patents than you, so you owe us money for the blanket cross-licensing agreement."

Reason #3 is big at places like IBM and Xerox. They'll take a single invention and split it up into a half-dozen or dozen different patent filings.


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Wednesday, September 5, 2007 4:38 PM
That's true, I think that "patenting" can be defined as an actual business strategy and not just a way to protect intellectual property.
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Wednesday, September 5, 2007 4:43 PM
Yes it is a new patent, but maybe the old one needed renewed or they wanted to reword a part of it or something.



Lord Gonchar said:
I know the concepts of business often elude you, but do you really think they go through the hassle of developing and registering such things over periods of years for the fun of it?

Wait, scratch that last part - you probably do think that.



The concepts of business pretending to offer a helpful service to customers when in reality they are HURTING the customer does NOT elude me one bit.

They develop and register the patents not for the fun of it Gonch, but to make sure that if they EVER want to use them, they won't be already patented by someone else. I'd do the same thing if I wasn't sure if and/or when I wanted to use it...

I already have done something like that as a matter of fact. I Trademarked a band name with the hopes of using it for a "side project" some day, thus protecting it from being used in the meantime by someone else.

With all due respect, why so hostile? (lol) I suppose I'll feel bad for you too. (Where's that roll eyes smiley?)

Edit spelling *** Edited 9/5/2007 8:44:20 PM UTC by dexter***

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Wednesday, September 5, 2007 4:51 PM

maybe the old one needed renewed or they wanted to reword a part of it or something.

You can't "renew" a patent, and to change one, you file an amendment to the existing application, not a new application. Each separate filing is supposed to have claims that are disjoint from prior filings. The definition of "disjoint" though is open to interpretation.

This looks like a new filing with related, but separate, claims. From memory, it looks like all the wireless devicy-ness is new to this application, as is the hotel POS system. Some of the other ideas are not new, but (not having read the actual application) I'm guessing they are in the exposition, but not in the actual claims.


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Wednesday, September 5, 2007 4:54 PM
A patent expires after 17 years, correct?
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Wednesday, September 5, 2007 5:00 PM
Lord Gonchar's avatar

Dex:
I'd do the same thing if I wasn't sure if and/or when I wanted to use it...

I understand completely and agree 100%. But this comment is in stark contrast to your previous one of:


If they were going to do something like this, you'd think they would have done it by now.

See the difference? You've managed to do a complete 180. I disagreed with the first, but I can't disagree with the second because that's the point - Disney registered this set-up because they're considering using it somewhere down the line. (which is what I pointed out in the original post as the item of interest)

So now that we agree, let me just address this little piece:


With all due respect, why so hostile?

I think I've said this to you before, but if you interpret that as hostile - then God forbid you ever do see hostile.

;) <----mandatory winky face to keep it 'light'


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Wednesday, September 5, 2007 5:13 PM
Rob: it was recently changed to 20, but the start date is subtle. Here's a good article on the subject.

http://www.edn.com/index.asp?layout=article&articleid=CA6468857


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Wednesday, September 5, 2007 6:09 PM
eightdotthree's avatar Dexter, how can you be so hostile to Gonch, then get offended when he replies? Look at your post.


dexter said:
Look how giddy Moneybags Gonch gets at the mere re-mentioning of old news about how Disney has some "just in case we want to ever do this" patents for tiering their fastpass system.

How long has it been since we discussed this line cutting stuff? a week? maybe Two?

I'll reiterate. It is very old news (Maybe 2 or 3 years).


I don't know the intent of your post, but it comes off as condescending and rude. IMO.


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Wednesday, September 5, 2007 7:09 PM
One word, "moneybags", was the one word I contemplated not using in that post.

In using the word, I was just trying to remind everyone that Gonch gets excited when things get more expensive...and that I can't understand where he is coming from there.

And we do keep talking about the same thing over and over. Gonch loves to remind us that he desires the opportunity to spend money without noticing the effect it could have to make my day worse, and I am a "victim" of decisions that the "big bad businesses" make that keep screwing the little guy.

And I am once again sorry for any misinterpretation and/or communication mistakes.

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Wednesday, September 5, 2007 7:15 PM
Sorry for the double post here, but I just can't help it.


Lord Gonchar said:
then God forbid you ever do see hostile.

Hey...I'm tough too! We should start a tough mans club!

"Don't make me angry, Mr MgGee. You wouldn't like me when I'm angry." lol

(...all in good humor and fun. Let's all just get along.)

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Wednesday, September 5, 2007 7:21 PM
eightdotthree's avatar Gonch can surely argue his own point, but go back and read the beginning of the thread. He just started the discussion.

Read your own signature and realize its not just about you. People who stay on the resort and get on the rides sooner than you do not make your day any worse. Am I the bad guy because I like to stay on the Disney resort for $150 a night?

BTW, its indie rock, not inde, unless thats supposed to be spelled wrong like kause is?


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Wednesday, September 5, 2007 8:13 PM
Thanks for your supreme spelling knowledge. Firefox spell check sucks. It slipped right passed me. I spelled something wrong, so that discredits any opinion I may have about whatever it is we are talking about?

You're right about the early entry, and it doesn't bother me one bit. I just might be the kind of person who takes Disney up on an early entry benifit. Disney does it right.

I have no idea what you mean about Gonch's first post though. Any chance he gets he posts his excitement about how park visits are getting more expensive...Just like any chance I get I "wine" and "complain" about the same. *** Edited 9/6/2007 12:28:09 AM UTC by dexter***

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Wednesday, September 5, 2007 10:03 PM
Lord Gonchar's avatar

I have no idea what you mean about Gonch's first post though. Any chance he gets he posts his excitement about how park visits are getting more expensive...

What!? I mean...what!?

Wow, dude. You have this whole fantasy world created, don't you.

Let me spell it out plain and simple. I've been very vocal about the fact that this is the kind of discussion that interests me at this point. I'm well past finding amusement is discussing the quality of airtime on Coaster A vs the airtime on Coaster B. I feel no need to apologize for an interest in the business side/future of the industry as a whole.

With that said, where did I post any sort of emotion at all? Heck, let's break down my original post:


Jim Hill has a new article up covering some interesting patent applications that Disney recently filed in regards to their FastPass system. (you know - the one that's good because it's free ;) )

That simply states that I found an article that was interesting to me. The bit in parenthesis might be considered emotion, I suppose. It was a 'wink-wink, nudge-nudge' reference to past discussions. An attempt to be personable, playful, fun - whatever. Perhaps it failed.


Items of interest from the article:

"Spending per guest at hotels can (be used to determine) different hierarchies (for) access to Fastpass. Thus, the more that is spent by a patron, the higher the priority (they will receive) for Fastpass...Different levels and hierarchies can (then) be applicable at different hotels. Thus, (guests who stay at Disney's) more luxurious hotels can have higher priorities (to the resort's virtual queuing system)."

and

" ... those visitors staying in a (Disney) resort hotel planning a visit for the next day may be granted a higher priority than those patrons (who are just) visiting the park for the day. Translation: Disney really is planning on cutting back on the number of FASTPASSES that they'll be distributing daily inside the parks. In the future, look for the Mouse to increasingly reserve this perk for those guests who are willing pay big bucks to stay in Disney's on-property and/or partner resorts."


That's just copy-and-paste quotes from the article.


There's also some interesting tidbits about booking your Fastpasses 24 hours in advance in your hotel room and a move to electronics -including Fastpasses your cell phone- and away from paper tickets. (and putting things a step closer to my prior predicitions of a time when we book our entire day at Disney in advance)

Again, simply more paraphrasing of what the original article said. Also, another bit in parenthesis referencing things I've said in the past about the possibility of Disney doing something where you'd reserve your entire day in advance. Still pretty emotionless stuff.


The entire article is HERE.

Link to the original article.


Harmless changes or the beginning of the end (of the free system)?

Ending statement to encourage discussion.

So let me ask. Where in that post did I express any excitement whatsoever about amusement parks getting more expensive?

Hint: The correct answer is "nowhere"

All that entire post is, is a sharing of information I found and an invitation to discuss. Which is exactly what 8.3 is saying:


8.3:
Gonch can surely argue his own point, but go back and read the beginning of the thread. He just started the discussion.

I just started the discussion indeed.

It's only in Dex's little fantasy world where I'm some kind of raving lunatic/pompous ass running around gleefully celebrating the rising prices and mocking those who can't afford it. (preferrably, I'm wearing one of those pointy gnome hats when I do it)

It's interesting, man. I like following the business side of the industry. I like discussing it. I like hearing everyone's POV on why or why not. I like following the industry trends.

I also like not having to defend or explain the threads I choose to start or participate in and I really like when other people don't add context to my posts that doesn't exist.

Too bad I felt compelled to make this post based on those last two reasons. :(




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Wednesday, September 5, 2007 10:12 PM
eightdotthree's avatar I was honestly just letting you know that you spelled it wrong.

Back on topic, where in that article does it say that the free system is going away? It only says resort guests might get priority over non-resort guests.

When you put it in perspective, hotel pools are only available to hotel guests. Why shouldn't guests of the resort have first access to the FastPass?

I guess I don't see an issue with it since the resort is really affordable. You can stay in one of the "low end" resorts right now for around $60 a night.


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