Disney’s award-winning, revolutionary FastPass system may become a thing of the past in the coming years as the theme park pioneers work on their newest methods to eliminating lines.
One of the biggest (likely the biggest) complaints guests have in attending a theme park is having to wait in line. You wait in line for hotel check-in, to ride attractions, see shows, eat, and even to use the restroom. And with the addition of FastPass as a way to reserve a time later in the day for a ride, guests even sometimes have to wait in line to get a pass.
Disney is well aware of the negatives associated with waiting and for several years has been creating new technologies to help ease, or potentially eliminate, the need for queues. In an investors conference today in Anaheim, Calif., Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Chairman Tom Staggs said Disney’s ongoing “Next Generation Experience,” or “NextGen,” project will include ways of checking in for a Disney hotel stay at home, with delivery of room keys prior to arrival.
But in an even bigger development, Staggs said:
“…we are currently developing an innovative system that will, in essence, create a version of FASTPASS for their entire Disney vacations. Now we define the guest experience as beginning from the time a potential guest sits down at a computer or picks up a phone to make a reservation. Our new tools will help them better understand all that we have to offer and better plan their time with us. They’ll be able to create a personalized itinerary that gives them the exact Disney vacation they want.
Guests will be able to reserve times for their favorite attractions and character interactions… secure seats at our shows and spectaculars… make dining reservations… and pre-book many other favorite guest experiences – all before even leaving their house.”
In essence, this new ride reservation system would allow guests to book times to ride various attractions in advance of even being in the park, much in the same way dining reservations are made. The same would be possible for seeing theme park shows and even meeting characters.
And once on rides, the “NextGen” project will create experiences based on guests’ personal information, allowing a new level of interaction with attractions.
Staggs did admit that all of this technology will still “be some time” before any of it reaches the parks. Right now, smaller steps are being made to improve waiting in line, such as adding interactive elements and games like those now found in the Magic Kingdom at Space Mountain, The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, and soon at The Haunted Mansion.