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

Thursday, September 6, 2007 4:04 PM
But what is the perk you speak of? Getting to wait less time in line? That privilege comes at the expense of other guests... guests that are paying as much as they used to pay (or more) and are getting less. They're getting to ride less.

Suppose I run a parking lot and you've been renting the same space from me for years- a nice, well-protected space that's close to the entrance and in the shade so you don't have to deal with sun, rain or snow. Suddenly I start charging a premium for those nice spaces, thus forcing you to park near the back of the lot next to a rusty Ford Crown Vic and under a tree that drips sap all over your car. I'm making more money by doing absolutely no addditional work and spending no money on upgrades to my parking lot- all I did was take the space you had for years and sell it to someone willing to pay whatever I was asking for it.

I know, it's the beauty of capitalism, but does that make it right? It's a moral gray area, as far as I'm concerned. I did nothing but screw you out of your spot and I'm making more money because of that. You can't tell me that most people are going to be fine with that. Chances are a lot of the people I did the same thing to are going to take their business elsewhere, so while a handful of people are paying me a lot of money for my premium spots, a good portion of the rest of my lot is going to sit empty.

+0
Thursday, September 6, 2007 4:13 PM
^^ I agree with that Gonch. Like you said, I have a sense the percentage who feel they're getting screwed is higher. At least when talking about the Q-bot system at Six Flags.

At Disney, I think the majority like it. Well, actually I know that for a fact. LOL! But, the key difference is at this point in time, the value is the same because everyone has paid the same.

At Cedar Point, they only have VIP. Again, the percentages highly favor the pleased. Only 8-10 people can use VIP per day. So, compared to the majority in the park, everyone is happy. Not many feel like they're getting screwed by people "cutting in line".

I'm all for parks innovating. But, sometimes they innovate just to make money and don't take into consideration the results. Disney's original solution for lengthy queues was to make them part of the ride. Tower of Terror has a great pre-show. So does Test Track. Most other theme/amusement parks do nothing to enhance the experience in a queue. Why not? Because it costs money.

This is where I feel Cedar Fair has the right idea. Entertain people in the queue, make everyone wait in the same queue, keep the lines moving as fast as possible, and offer front of the line access to a select few as to not interfere with the majority of your guests.

+0
Thursday, September 6, 2007 4:13 PM
Ok does anyone know when this would take effect? How long do patents generally take before they are good and implemented? I don't know this whole "patent" thing very well, and I'm going down to Disney in October...

Haha no I'm not giving Patrick the finger

+0
Thursday, September 6, 2007 4:14 PM
Why don't they just raise admission prices by a buck, and than there would not be a pay to play system anymore. With a $1 more, people would be paying for these services with not noticing them, and the park would get all that money. The people would not be the wiser, and not say why is the park charging $46 instead of $45.
+0
Thursday, September 6, 2007 4:19 PM
Because I think this is an example of parks just being greedy. Even if they got away with charging $5 more per ticket, they'd still do something like this. It's the rubber band theory where the parks will see how far they can pull before the thing breaks.
+0
Thursday, September 6, 2007 4:21 PM
I think the fundamental difference between the restaurant/ballgame example and the amusement park example goes back to perception of value, but a specific example Gonch has used before that I haven't seen spelled out here yet.

Let's take the original circumstance:

A goes to a restaurant, buys a $5 burger.
B goes into same restaurant, buys a $20 steak.
A can't complain about B's steak, as he paid to get a burger.

Similarly,
A goes to a concert or ballgame, spends $100 on front-row seats.
B goes to the same event, spends $5 on nosebleed seats.
B can't complain about A's seats, as he paid for the crappy ones.

All these arguments make perfect sense to me, but what we're missing in translation is the following:

A used to pay $50 at the theme park to ride 10 rides in a day. Now he pays $75 for VQ and can ride, say, 20 rides in a day.
B used to pay that same $50 to ride those same 10 rides. But now, his $50 can only get him 5 rides because of the increased capacity.

I agree with most of what you say, Gonch, except your argument about paying less for less and complaining about it. Because the perception is not that people are paying less to receive less, but they're paying the same thing they paid before and receiving less.

The reason the analogies don't work across the board is because parks didn't lower prices (or hold prices) and say that this specific admission now will only get you basic benefits. The assumption at the gate is the same it was before VQ: pay your admission, and you can ride as many rides as you could in the day.

VQ, we've already determined, adds population to the park. So each person paying for an extra spot gets to hold two places, thereby waiting on two lines and potentially doubling their rides.

What happens with the added population, though, is that when person A stands on the end of a line that used to be 45 minutes long when full, it's now an hour or more. That person, by default, by virtue of a system that creates an additional population in the park, must wait longer, on average, to get their ride because ride queues are, generally speaking, unaffected (at least in SF parks they are) by the reconfiguring of the queue.

Or, like in the case of El Toro, the ride is designed with a VQ in mind, and you don't have that baseline wait time. All you know is that someone paid more and got ahead of me.

So both practically and perceptually, the experience of the average park-goer (B, who doesn't invest in VQ) can (and often does) become diminished. And it's not because they opted to pay less. They just didn't opt to pay more, which is a huge difference perceptually.

And I think that perceptual difference -- of VQ being strictly an added-cost upgrade that typically takes away from the standard value of the standard admission -- is what pisses people off about these things.

Frame it as a discounted admission for a discounted experience, and maybe you have a slightly different story.


[Nitro Dave -- Track Record: 231 coasters] [url="http://rapturousverbatim.blogspot.com"]A Rapturous Verbatim[/url] & [url="http://atournamentoflies.blogspot.com"]A Tournament of Lies[/url] -- my blogs...they're blogtastic.
+0
Thursday, September 6, 2007 4:23 PM

Nitro Dave said:


Because the perception is not that people are paying less to receive less, but they're paying the same thing they paid before and receiving less.


I'll take that a little further. People are more inclined to notice when they're paying the same for less rather than when they're paying more for more.

+0
Thursday, September 6, 2007 4:29 PM
eightdotthree's avatar How does Cedar Fair entertain you in the queue? From loud music that I hate? No thanks.

Does anyone else do this at Disney? Grab a FastPass, go wait in line for another ride or eat, go ride the FlashPass ride. Some will argue that if there was no FlashPass then the waits would all be short enough to get on everything. Maybe, maybe not. We don't know. But I know that with FlashPass my day is much more relaxing and fun. I can go sit on a bench rather than stand in line with the kids running into me, I can go ride another ride, I can go eat or get Ice Cream. I can do everything you can't do while I am in line and I like it that way.


+0
Thursday, September 6, 2007 4:34 PM
If Disney continues with what they're saying, you wouldn't be able to get as many FastPasses as you can now unless you stay at the Grand Floridian or other premium resort. I'm sure DVC members will get the highest priority too.

Plus, you're saying you're going to ride another ride (wait in line) while you're waiting for your FastPass time to come up. So, you're still waiting in lines.

+0
Thursday, September 6, 2007 4:47 PM
eightdotthree's avatar Yeah, but I am waiting in two lines at once. :)
+0
Thursday, September 6, 2007 5:07 PM

The number of people in line may be higher, but each individual still gets on in their correct order.

Right. But you claimed that wait times don't go up. In this case, they do, because the line in front of me is longer than it would have been without VQ. Therefore, wait times *do* go up for non-VQ users, precisely because wait times go *down* for VQ users.

Global wait-time has to be constant, because the capacity and attendance are fixed on any given day. So, if VQers wait less per ride, non-VQers must necessarily wait more. It's kind of like a physics conservation problem.

So, the interesting question is what is the mix of VQers vs. non-VQers. If it is low, then the impact on other guests is minimal. If it is high, then the impact on other guests is large.

And, at Disney, Fastpass penalizes the ignorant. And, especially given the fact that about 1/4 of the park maps are given over to an explanation of how the damn thing works, there are a surprising number of fastpass-ignorant guests at Disney.


+0
Thursday, September 6, 2007 5:10 PM
Lord Gonchar's avatar

Frame it as a discounted admission for a discounted experience, and maybe you have a slightly different story.

I agree entire and have suugested the exact same thing in previous conversations.

Don't treat it as certain people paying more - swicth it up so others are paying less.

The new gate price is $85 and includes Q-bot. You also have the option to pay $50 and wait in stand-by lines.

Don't word it so the lower service is the standard and you can pay more. Instead word it so the upgrade is the standard and you can pay less.

Of course, that's already what's really happening and all that changes is the wording, but people are stupid, so maybe spelling it out differently makes more sense.


+0
Thursday, September 6, 2007 6:10 PM
ApolloAndy's avatar

Rob Ascough said:


Suppose I run a parking lot and you've been renting the same space from me for years- a nice, well-protected space that's close to the entrance and in the shade so you don't have to deal with sun, rain or snow. Suddenly I start charging a premium for those nice spaces, thus forcing you to park near the back of the lot next to a rusty Ford Crown Vic and under a tree that drips sap all over your car. I'm making more money by doing absolutely no addditional work and spending no money on upgrades to my parking lot- all I did was take the space you had for years and sell it to someone willing to pay whatever I was asking for it.


But what if the parking lot owner just increased prices across the board?

If you used to pay $50 for your spot and now you have the option of paying $60 for it or $50 for a worse spot you get mad and you take it or leave it.

But if they guy just says (lies) "costs have increased" and asks you for $60 for your spot, you either take it or leave it with no hard feelings?

You have less options, but you have a better perception!


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."

+0
Thursday, September 6, 2007 7:04 PM
^^ I haven't seen you write that option before. But, there are so many threads on virtual queues, that I'm not surprised I missed it.

I think that would be a great way to go. I actually think that would immediately show the flaws in the q-bot system too. If by default, everyone got a q-bot unless they opted out, the q-bot really wouldn't work all that well. But I guarantee less people in the standby line would be pissed off. It's far better from a customer service perspective to let people opt out of something than to charge more. You're also bound to make more money in the end because more people are likely to just say, "sure, leave it in."

In essence though, that's what Disney does. They just don't let anyone opt out. You're already paying to use FastPass as part of your admission ticket.

+0
Thursday, September 6, 2007 7:19 PM
Lord Gonchar's avatar

I actually think that would immediately show the flaws in the q-bot system too. If by default, everyone got a q-bot unless they opted out, the q-bot really wouldn't work all that well.

Exactly! All you've done is jack the gate to $85. Which is the long term goal...I think. (or at least posted a few posts back in this thread :) )

But if you believe the people who say a park could not sustain business at that high of a rate, then not many people would opt to stay at the standard rate when they could get at the cheaper 'economy' rate.

In which case the q-bot sales rate would probably remain consistent with where it stands now.

I don't necessarily believe the latter though. I think the parks can sustain business with an $85 gate (and subsequently reduced attendance), but if I'm wrong and the others are right - then it all works out to pretty much how it currently stands. A lot of people getting 'screwed' for paying less while a lot of other people get 'perks' for paying more.


+0
Thursday, September 6, 2007 7:26 PM
But, like you said, with the latter scenario, the people opting out of the "standard" rate wouldn't feel as screwed as they do now. I'm pretty sure most of us agree that the perception is key to this discussion. With the standard gate (q-bot included) at $85 and the optional "economy" rate, I believe you'd have far more pleased guests in your park. To me, having the most pleased guests is what it's all about.
+0
Thursday, September 6, 2007 8:01 PM

Suppose I run a parking lot and you've been renting the same space from me for years- a nice, well-protected space that's close to the entrance and in the shade so you don't have to deal with sun, rain or snow. Suddenly I start charging a premium for those nice spaces, thus forcing you to park near the back of the lot next to a rusty Ford Crown Vic and under a tree that drips sap all over your car. I'm making more money by doing absolutely no addditional work and spending no money on upgrades to my parking lot- all I did was take the space you had for years and sell it to someone willing to pay whatever I was asking for it.

I missed this the first time. My only reaction to this story is that the parking lot proprieter is an idiot. Not for raising the prices, but for waiting so long to do so. The guy who owns the Crown Vic can decide---pay extra for the nice covered spot, or save a few bucks and deal with the sap.

The key insight is: I never owned the space. I was only renting it. If the guy who owns it can get more for it, then that's his perogative.

Rob, this happens all the time. You know that little downtown mom and pop drugstore? The one going out of business? The one that's going to be replaced by a Starbucks, or a Potbelly Sandwiches, or a Ben&Jerry's ice cream? They are closing because the rent done got raised. Why? Because some other tenant (the corporate meanie) is willing to pay the higher price for a prime spot near the pedestrians---who, by the way, would rather drive their gas guzzling SUVs to the RiteAid to save $0.15 on their 64oz shampoo.

*** Edited 9/7/2007 12:02:55 AM UTC by Brian Noble***


+0
Thursday, September 6, 2007 8:05 PM
^ Which is the reason why small towns all over the US are boarded up and dead. It's the sad future of America. :( Bring on the corporate takeover of the US where every city has identical offerings. Oh yeah, the same with parks. Let's put all the same restaurants in every park in the US. Oh sorry. Wrong topic. :)
+0
Thursday, September 6, 2007 11:45 PM
Lord Gonchar's avatar

Brian:
Global wait-time has to be constant, because the capacity and attendance are fixed on any given day. So, if VQers wait less per ride, non-VQers must necessarily wait more. It's kind of like a physics conservation problem.

So, the interesting question is what is the mix of VQers vs. non-VQers. If it is low, then the impact on other guests is minimal. If it is high, then the impact on other guests is large.


Sorry it took me so long to get back to this. I wasn't ignoring it, I've been trying to figureit out. It's been killing me.

First off, you're absolutely correct. For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. That's the gist, right?

I get it.

But I can't find the numbers to explain the impact. Mostly because there are so many variables. Ride capacity, attendance, pass/non-pass mix, personal human decisions as far as line choices - it's all so varied that it's hard to quantify. (which is probably why it's possible to have this discussion on a seemingly endless level)

But rather than get specific maybe it's possible to explain by being very vague?

Essentially, the 'equal and opposite reaction' thing is true. If Guest #1 cuts a half hour from his wait time, that has to be taken fom someone. But the thing is, it's taken from everyone. That half hour the park just handed over to Guest #1 is 'paid for' by the other guests in line...all of them.

So say a fixed line of 1000 people on a ride that moves 1000 people an hour. It will take an hour for everyone to ride. But guest 1000 is allowed to skip right to the front. He 'bought' an hour. That 60 minutes is now 'paid' for by the other 999 people in line. That equals around 3 1/2 seconds per person to cover the time debt. That seems realistic - allowing guest 1000 to go from last to first in the line means everyone in line waits an additional 3 or 4 seconds.

I justify that by theorizing that if all 1000 were allowed to jump to the front of the line somehow (just pretend for the sake of things :) ) then that would be 1000 hours needing to be paid for by 1000 people - the same 1000 people as fate would have it. Now everyone is waiting an hour - the same time they would have anyway. (the original hour wait minus the hour gain for skipping the line plus the hour needed to pay for the everyone skipping) Which is essentially the "what if everyone used Q-bot" argument at play.

Confusing? Kinda, but it's solid math as far as I can tell. (feel free to poke holes in it)

The key to it working is splitting up the 'payment' for the virtual queue users 'line skipping' between all the other riders.

Am I on to something or completely batsh*t loopy?


+0
Friday, September 7, 2007 12:41 AM
rollergator's avatar "Am I on to something or completely batsh*t loopy?"

You can't have one without the other... ;)


Anyhow....back to that "perception" thingy. Gotta love that, right? No? Oh well. :)

The only person who FEELS like they've been paying for your reduced wait is the ONE party that didn't get to ride when their "turn" came around...or didn't.

I build straw men.... :)

+0

You must be logged in to post

POP Forums - ©2020, POP World Media, LLC
Loading...