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

Friday, September 7, 2007 6:42 PM

2Hostyl said:

Moreover, I cant say that I agree that the parks are "making the experience worse for everyone else". By and large, even amoung SF parks, surveys say that guest satisfaction is high. That seems to suggest that people 'in the aggregate' are not feeling that the parks have 'worsened' their experiences. I'll stipulate that there are *some* people pissed off, but back to Gonch's three-tired "Percentage" post, I think the percentage of the pissed off is widely overshadowed by the ppl more are happy or indifferent.


Any time I hear the word "survey" or the phrase "studies have shown" or anything like that, I first figure out where the survey or study came from and who funded it. What do those entities who provide the studies and surveys wish to lead people to believe? What do they have to gain?

When SF issued a press release that stated that surveys show that guest satisfaction is high, why should anyone not question how they came up with those results? A press release such as that one commands us to "Jump on the bandwagon! Everyone else is having a great time, and if you are not then you are being unreasonable."

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Friday, September 7, 2007 6:51 PM
Lord Gonchar's avatar

dexter said:
Any time I hear the word "survey" or the phrase "studies have shown" or anything like that, I first figure out where the survey or study came from and who funded it. What do those entities who provide the studies and surveys wish to lead people to believe? What do they have to gain?

Then perhaps you'd be happy to know that:

"The surveys were conducted by independent firm Delta Market Research of Hatboro, Pennsylvania, a nationally recognized company which has researched all aspects of the theme park industry for companies including The Walt Disney Company."

(source)


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Friday, September 7, 2007 7:24 PM
...And who paid Delta to conduct the survey? Who had the ability to say, "Ask questions that will show favorable results and we'll give you our business"?

It happens much more than it doesn't.

If I contacted Delta or whoever to conduct a study and wanted the results to show that I was the "Greatest Unknown Rock Singer In The World", with enough money, it would not be very difficult at all to achieve. They just need to ask the right people the right questions in order to turn a few people's positive opinions into a fact.

I'm not accusing SF of doing such a thing, I am simply stating that it is within their ability, as it is within the ability of anyone who could pay someone to conduct a survey. For all I know, they could have taken the high road. You know, the road where an honest acting business tells truthful information to gain deserving support?

Can anyone think of any other entity that has a group of people working to find the right words to use (telling little white lies?) in order to gain support for their cause? It's not just "independent marketing research firms".

Controlling peoples thoughts and feelings is a very big business.

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Friday, September 7, 2007 7:33 PM
Lord Gonchar's avatar Wow, you're just full of conspiracies. :)

I prefer the much easier answer:

The virtual queue system isnt bugging people, the high prices aren't bugging people and the park is actually improving other areas (such as cleanliness, friendliness and ride operations)

But that'd be crazy talk, huh? ;)


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Friday, September 7, 2007 8:56 PM
Not a conspiracy at all. It's always been common knowledge for me that Studies and surveys can not be 100% trusted.

"Follow the money."

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Friday, September 7, 2007 9:14 PM
Lord Gonchar's avatar For what it's worth, I'd vote you as Greatest Unknown Singer In The World...

...if you slipped me enough money, of course. Lucky for you, I'm easily bought. :)


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Friday, September 7, 2007 11:08 PM
Maybe this stuff was already said before... I admit I'm skipping through some of the novels that were posted here (at least until I'm paid to read them). :)

I recall something about an $8 burger and a $20 steak, and also something about raising the admission price to $80 thus reducing the crowds and maybe the park a wonderful experience for all-- at least all those paying $80.

The restaurant first: It's one thing to put on the menu the prices for burgers and steaks and let the customers choose which they want and how much they want to spend. It's another when the customer shows up with his $20 and is now told all he gets for that is the burger. The steak he had ordered the last how many times he had eaten there will now cost an extra $20.

I think others had pointed this out. Parks are basically telling people that the experience you had last year will now cost you a lot more money. Or conversely, the price you paid last year (plus an extra buck or two) will get you much less than you got last year.

About the $80 or whatever basic park price, that will cause problems of its own. With the VQ process now, the people paying $80 get to go to the front of the line. But under this other scenario, $80 gets you... in line with all the other people who paid $80. Granted, that line will be shorter once all the po' folk (and those who can afford but refuse to pay that price) are gone. But the wait will still be longer for those used to walking right to the front of the line. Then I suppose we'll see a $120 VQ for those who don't want to mill about with the $80 crowd.

If this is a great business decision, and the way the parks want to conduct their business in the future, fine. I just want to see them have the balls to come right out and say it, and not pussyfoot around.

Tell people "If you don't intend to or can't afford to spend $80 or $100 or more per person, stay away. Inner city school kids, go somewhere else. Church groups, don't bother. Union picnics, get real. Company picnics, like you're going to give your employees and their families passes that cost more than what you pay them in a week." They have nothing to lose, but their bottom strata of customers, right?

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Friday, September 7, 2007 11:19 PM
Bear, you are like my smarter, less crazy sounding, much more to the point, long lost twin.

:)

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Saturday, September 8, 2007 12:23 AM
Now that would be one looooooooooong labor some poor woman would have to endure. :)
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Saturday, September 8, 2007 2:00 AM
Lord Gonchar's avatar I've been missing you in this thread, RGB. Glad you decided to drop in. :)


RatherGoodBear said:
The restaurant first: It's one thing to put on the menu the prices for burgers and steaks and let the customers choose which they want and how much they want to spend. It's another when the customer shows up with his $20 and is now told all he gets for that is the burger. The steak he had ordered the last how many times he had eaten there will now cost an extra $20.

I think others had pointed this out. Parks are basically telling people that the experience you had last year will now cost you a lot more money. Or conversely, the price you paid last year (plus an extra buck or two) will get you much less than you got last year.


I still don't get the problem - so f'n what? The establishment (in both cases) changed their business plan.

Still sounds to me like the argument isn't that the higher price is bad, but rather the sudden change in price is what makes it bad. I've been maintaining the 'change is scary' thing for quite a while - and it still sounds like the same old, same old.


About the $80 or whatever basic park price, that will cause problems of its own. With the VQ process now, the people paying $80 get to go to the front of the line. But under this other scenario, $80 gets you... in line with all the other people who paid $80.

But it doesn't get you to the front of the line. None of the systems do. Not a single one. FastPass gives a time to come back later. Regular bot tells you to come back later. Gold bot tells you to come back later minus 75%.


Granted, that line will be shorter once all the po' folk (and those who can afford but refuse to pay that price) are gone. But the wait will still be longer for those used to walking right to the front of the line.

But that's not how it works. No one is walking right to the front of the line with a VQ system in place. They might be reducing their wait in various ways, but they're still waiting.

And that's exactly why the $80 thing would work. Assuming the higher gate cuts attendance to the right level (that's that price/attendence balance thing again) then the end result is exactly the same...

Reduced waits for people willing to pay $80.


Then I suppose we'll see a $120 VQ for those who don't want to mill about with the $80 crowd.

Obviously. What kind of moron wouldn't set that up?


If this is a great business decision, and the way the parks want to conduct their business in the future, fine. I just want to see them have the balls to come right out and say it, and not pussyfoot around.

I agree. Except that at this point we all know it's the change that's scary. You have to pussyfoot into it or you end up with people complaining that they're getting less for the same price. :)


Tell people "If you don't intend to or can't afford to spend $80 or $100 or more per person, stay away. Inner city school kids, go somewhere else. Church groups, don't bother. Union picnics, get real. Company picnics, like you're going to give your employees and their families passes that cost more than what you pay them in a week." They have nothing to lose, but their bottom strata of customers, right?

Money beats karma everytime. ;)

Seriously, the pulling the heartstrings angle isn't enough. The parks have no obligation to any of those groups. No more obligation than the proprietors of countless other activities that are already priced out of their range.


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Saturday, September 8, 2007 5:22 PM

Rob Ascough said:
That's true, I think that "patenting" can be defined as an actual business strategy and not just a way to protect intellectual property.

You're absolutely correct. My uncle Bob is a lawyer, and he agrees that certainly could be one of the reasons.

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Saturday, September 8, 2007 10:37 PM
^ The is an entire art area in the USPTO dedicated to examining patent applications for "Business Methods". It's one of the newer 'technologies'. In fact, a few years ago I was asked if I was interested in working in that art. No, no-way, uh-un, forget it, pass! ;)
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Sunday, September 9, 2007 12:05 AM

Lord Gonchar said:

But it doesn't get you to the front of the line. None of the systems do. Not a single one. FastPass gives a time to come back later. Regular bot tells you to come back later. Gold bot tells you to come back later minus 75%...

...No one is walking right to the front of the line with a VQ system in place. They might be reducing their wait in various ways, but they're still waiting.


Any VQ has the ability to allow the person using it to be able to skip at least half of the lines. For example, if Mr. Q-Botter physically waits in line and is virtually queued for the same ride, and when he gets off the ride he waited in line for and goes around to get the ride he virtually waited for, then the second time he DID get front of the line, or as I like to call it, he CUT in line. One person shouldn't be allowed to wait in two lines at once.

My point over and over and over again...

((((((Waiting in two ride lines at once is exactly the same thing as line cutting for half of the rides he wanted to ride.))))))



Money beats karma everytime. ;)

But businesses who put "people first" always seem to be successful. The public, who you said are stupid in a previous post, include us. It includes me and it includes you. I hold the very unpopular view that the public is NOT stupid. I believe that most people can see when a business is taking advantage of them, their wallets, and their ignorance of how things in the business work (like "line management", for example). I believe that the view people hold about a business, good or bad, can eventually decide the fate of the business.

...and when a business puts customers concerns over their own insatiable urge to keep raising profits by a certain percentage each and every year, than in the long run everyone wins, both the business and the customers. Screwing your customers is only going to make a difference short term, but in the long run the business may have to deal with "damage control".

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Sunday, September 9, 2007 12:50 AM
Lord Gonchar's avatar

My point over and over and over again...

Doesn't matter how many times you say it, you're still wrong. ;)

Nah, that's not true. I do think there is no right or wrong in this case - that's exactly why we can have this conversation ad nauseum.

But just to be a smart ass:


For example, if Mr. Q-Botter physically waits in line and is virtually queued for the same ride, and when he gets off the ride he waited in line for and goes around to get the ride he virtually waited for, then the second time he DID get front of the line, or as I like to call it, he CUT in line.

No he didn't. He got a 2-for-1. Very similar to Busch's "wait once, ride twice" thingy for platinum pass holders.

At least SF makes him walk around again before getting his re-ride. Those bastards at Busch don't even make you leave your seat! ;)

Here's another way of looking at it. We always say that when you buy into Q-bot what you're doing is 'buying time', right? You're paying money in exchange for having a certain amount of your time given back to you.

(and if we haven't said it, then I just did now :) )

But when someone line cuts - they're stealing time.

Deep, huh?

Meh, it barely holds water...but it looks nice on paper. :)


Screwing your customers is only going to make a difference short term, but in the long run the business may have to deal with "damage control".

But screwing a small segment of your customers (and leading a certain percentage of those customers to believe they're not being screwed) while offering more to a larger segment of your customers means more happy faces.

Or more realistically, offering varying levels of service casts the widest net possible and gathers more customers in the first place.

You and I are probably getting screwed in some way every day and don't even know it...we're happy because we're ignorant. People in general...as a whole...are a stupid lot.

Even better is that I actually believe that a certain percentage of those people not using VQ, seeing others use it and then getting pissed aren't lost as customers. They come back...and use the VQ system the next time. Wrap your head around that one for a while.

(I'm just full of crazy theories tonight! :) )


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Sunday, September 9, 2007 2:29 AM
I consider the Busch "benefit" to be line cutting too. They took the seat away from someone who waited their turn.


But screwing a small segment of your customers (and leading a certain percentage of those customers to believe they're not being screwed) while offering more to a larger segment of your customers means more happy faces.

It also leads to more UNHAPPY faces, Gonch.


Even better is that I actually believe that a certain percentage of those people not using VQ, seeing others use it and then getting pissed aren't lost as customers. They come back...and use the VQ system the next time. Wrap your head around that one for a while.

...And you are saying that the other certain percentage who do not come back do not matter? What about if they tell 10 people and those 10 people tell 10 other people? It takes a lot of advertising money to get people in the gates. Lose "a certain percentage" of those people who would have come back and you lose a lot more than just those people, you lose everyone those people convence not to go too.

Some of those people DO come back and DO use VQ. I even did it once. Afterwards I decided that Six Flags Great Adventure admission price was not worth $80 plus $15 parking. Buying a "bargain admission" as you call it (not getting Q-Bot) wasn't worth it either because Q-Bot overcrowds the rides lines with double riders. The park has lost some customers in all of this.

In the past, you know-before all of this bribing to allow rule breaking stuff, Getting in front of someone without waiting your turn was the definition of line jumping. Now the definition of line jumping is getting in front of someone without waiting your turn without the parks blessing.

Where does the park get the time from that they sell to guests? They have to STEAL it from other guests who do not pay up. I get your point that the parks have the right to steal that time away from guests in order to give it to those who pay more, I am only saying that it is a pretty disgusting way to treat your customers. "Pay us more to be allowed to cut and you won't have to suffer letting everyone cut in front of you."

The solution creates the problem in the first place. It's all fancy misdirection.

Except for the part about the definition of line cutting, I agree with your post.

And the difference between our viewpoints is that you see no problem with what these line management systems do to their customers, while I think that it is very lousy way to treat you customers.

Why would Disney, or anyone for that matter, want to mimic the way Six Flags treats their customers? *** Edited 9/9/2007 6:48:08 AM UTC by dexter***

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Sunday, September 9, 2007 3:35 AM
Lord Gonchar's avatar

And the difference between our viewpoints is that you see no problem with what these line management systems do to their customers, while I think that it is very lousy way to treat you customers.

I think you summed it up better than ever before right there.


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Sunday, September 9, 2007 12:08 PM
rollergator's avatar Ahhh, the Busch thread. LOL!

Not only did I not use the benefit again, I didn't even go back to BGA this summer....other parks were open up North. ;)

This is the statement I thought summed up the feeling of the pro-business viewpoint better than any other (courtesy of LG): "...offering varying levels of service casts the widest net possible and gathers more customers in the first place."

I don't go to Gator football games, not since I was a student and got the DEAL on cheap tickets ($6/game). Now, let's say I wanted to go now, as an alum. I don't even have a good guess as to what it would cost for me to go see UF/UT next weekend. Considering the game will be televised, I personally don't get enough VALUE out of attending the game in person...obviously, there's about 100K people who disagree with me and DO pay to go see the game. For ME, I get more value out of getting an annual pass to Busch or Universal. We all make choices, both consciously and subsconciously (unconcious for some I suppose), about what we value.

The trick to understanding why VQ works is kinda like understanding why capitalism works...some people simply get paid more, and so their TIME is more valuable...to them. For someone making minimum wage, you'd have to save them a LOT of time to get an extra $50 out of their pocket. For someone who makes $50 taking a walk down the hall to refill their cup of coffee, obviously the park can get the same $50 out of them quite readily. Parks ARE trying to figure out how to maximize revenue by finding the appropriate balance between those two different people (and everyone in between). Are they doing it *perfectly*? Heck no...but this is a trial-and-error situation, since even 10 years later, it's still "new" to many people...and many parks. ;)

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Sunday, September 9, 2007 3:58 PM
ApolloAndy's avatar

dexter said:


((((((Waiting in two ride lines at once is exactly the same thing as line cutting for half of the rides he wanted to ride.))))))


Nope. When you cut, you put someone ahead after regular Joe has gotten in line (and read the sign saying how long the line is). When you VQ you let the person know BEFORE they get in line that someone's in front of them.

In the extreme example, Joe walks up to the ride. Sign says walk on (no people to be seen). Joe starts walking through the queue and 1000 people cut. Now line is 1 hr. Joe is sad.

OR

Joe walks up to ride. Sign says 1 hr. (but no people to be seen). Joe starts walking through queue and 1000 VQers show up. Now line is 1 hr. Joe says, "Oh. That's why it said 1 hr."

Clearly 2 different situations.


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, September 9, 2007 6:35 PM
...Except the VQers were already waiting in line for and riding another ride before their time for their VQed ride time.

It's something like having "Dad" holding a place in line for Mom and the kids while they go and ride other rides. When Dad gets to the front, he calls Mom on her cell phone and tells her to come and get in line with him. VQ allows you to have a virtual "Dad" who will wait in line and let you cut everyone to meet him. I've made people go to the end of the line at rides that I've operated for doing that that. Virtual Queuing can cause the same outcome as line jumping.

Some people who are in line in front of you should be waiting for their turn on their VQed ride. Them standing there makes your wait longer and is the same thing as them cutting because one person should only be able to wait in one line at a time.

I would be all for VQ systems if they found a way to limit waiting in line, both virtual and actual, to one line at a time. That would be a true and honest Virtual Queue, and none of this line cutting stuff.

I'll keep saying it...Standing in 2 lines at once is line jumping. Weather it's free at Disney or Very costly like at SF. I think the major difference between the two is that more people are cutting at Disney. Disney is not profiting off of the problems their VQ causes though. Lo-Queue forces people to pay extra in order to limit how many people cut in front of them. The solution creates the problem in the first place.

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Sunday, September 9, 2007 10:26 PM
eightdotthree's avatar

dexter said:
It's something like having "Dad" holding a place in line for Mom and the kids while they go and ride other rides.

How do you feel about parent swap?


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