Just a few days ago, the Walt Disney World Resort tested a new stand-by procedure at the Magic Kingdom Park. The test was done at the Princess Fairytale Hall (located in the building formerly housing Snow White's Scary Adventures). That test seemed to be working fine, despite having a few people complaining due to the fact that their children seemingly had to wait longer be able to see the princesses (something that was actually not true). What about the test done at Soarin', though?

First of all, let us refer to one of our earlier posts to better understand how this test worked. Here's a short excerpt from our post published on July 27, 2014:

"A new standby queue system will be tested at Soarin' between July 29-31, 2014. On those dates, Guests will be given a card that will direct them to return at an appointed time (working like the old FASTPASS system) rather than waiting in the standby queue for an extended period of time. The cards will be available from the Soarin' rotunda (the entrance area of the attraction) on a first-come, first-served basis. Only ONE (1) card will be give to each Guest, and all members of a party have to be present to receive a card. No exceptions to this rule. When Guests come back, they will find a moderate wait time. Once all cards are given out for the day, the attraction will be considered closed for standby Guests, as Soarin' will have reached capacity, and will therefore not be able to handle any more Guests for that day."

So, having the test behind us, let's see how this actually worked. We were able to spend quite a long time at The Land on July 31, 2014 (that was the very last day for the test), so we can tell you exactly what we saw and what Cast Members in the area shared with us (we personally know a few of them in this park). In addition to that, we also heard some interesting reports about the very first day of this test, which was... a complete disaster.

DAY 1:
The regular Standby queue line for Soarin' was closed very early on the first day of this test, as return tickets were handed to Guests too fast (or they were far too few). Soarin' Cast Members reportedly even sent entire flights that were COMPLETELY EMPTY, despite there being a high demand for this attraction. In one instance, we heard of a couple of flights that had to be sent with just a couple of Guests (remember that there are two theaters, so the theater reserved for Guests using the FastPass+ service was always at least partially filled). This means that, at a certain point in time, the FastPass+ line was actually longer than Standby.

But that is not all. As you have read from the excerpt taken from one of our earlier articles, the Standby queue line was supposed to be officially closed after all tickets were given out for the day, as that would have meant that the attraction had reached capacity. Well, that didn't happen on any of the testing days. The Standby queue line was reopened every single day around 7:00 p.m. (possibly also due to the early closure of the nearby Living with the Land and Circle of Life attractions).

The result of this test on Day 1?: Angry people, mixed feeling, plenty of managers, confused Guests

DAYS 2, 3:
Things went a little better on the following days. Some Guests were still upset when seeing this test being done during their visit, and we saw a few of them actually not even going past the lobby of The Land pavilion after hearing what was happening. We are sure most of them never used the legacy FASTPASS before, so this system possibly sounded too long or complicated to them.

Despite that, mot flights were filled to capacity on the subsequent days, with a wait time of 30 minutes for those returning with their ticket. The distribution of the tickets was fairly easy and quick. It was a little lengthy for those who had absolutely no idea of what they had to do with those tickets. All-in-all, things were much smoother.

The result of this test on Days 2-3?: More positive feelings, less managers having to deal with complains, and fewer confused Guests (when do you NOT have confused Guests anyway?).

We appreciate the fact that the Walt Disney World Resort continues to look into different ways to cut the amount of time Guests wait in line, even though their real goal is to provide Guests with more time to shop, eat, and - in general -  to spend more money in the parks. That being said, this system, if implemented, needs a lot of work. A thorough study needs to be done on the true maximum capacity of the attraction, the amount of people coming through the Standby line at any given time, and an even faster distribution system.

Some people have stated that they could see this system being used for meet-and-greets, but it definitely needs major improvements to be used for attractions. By the way, the next attractions that should be included in a test similar to this is Toy Story Midway Mania at Disney's Hollywood Studios. Oh, boy.

Will we see this system being implemented in the parks in the next 12 to 24 months? We really don't think so.

8 Comment(s):

Anonymous said...

It's almost an unfair test because some of the guests who get those cards may change their mind and not come back, thus leaving the attraction not being used at full capacity. I liked the original rumor about them adding a third and possibly a fourth theater, that would really help shorten the length of the standby line.

Anonymous said...

This past July we visited Disneyland where the lines for attractions are significantly shorter for most rides. Toy Story Midway Mania averaged about 25 minutes without fastpass. We rode the attractions several times each day we were there. Soarin was similar. TO us, we just felt that Walt Disney World was poorly managed compared to Disneyland and Disney California Adventure.

Unkle Tuna said...

It seems like the mouse doesn't know what he wants to do these days. fastpass replaced with fastpass+ only to be partially replaced by essentially old Fastpasses on certain rides or meet and greets. MyMagic+ may be turning into a complete disaster...Unless of course they know more than me about what is going on. I hope that is the case.

Anonymous said...

This is a terrible idea. Without a fast pass+ if you want to ride you have to be there early and run. Disney should be ashamed to be trying to introduce a system which bans people from freely walking around their parks and turning up at a ride which they've paid for and be virtually banned from riding it.

Anonymous said...

If less time in line at Soarin' is the goal, how about bolstering the attractions at Epcot? Could start by replacing Captain EO and Circle of Life, and filling the empty pavilion.

Jones said...

the most horrible idea ever - apart from the fact that it will never work (too many people change their minds etc., which means there will always be empty seats), I am simply not going to get upat 7 a.m. to get tickets. I want a *holiday*, for Christ´s sake, I want to walk around a park and do whatever I feel like doing at a particularly moment - and that *is* possible during off season. Maybe Disney should watch their own PR material - they made a little film for the 5th anniversary of TDS, about a young couple. The guy almost ruins their vacation at TDS by planning everything in advance, instead of being spontaneous and simply enjoying the park. In the end, he throws away all the written plans he´s made, and they can finally have fun...

1773herbie said...

"If less time in line at Soarin' is the goal, how about bolstering the attractions at Epcot? Could start by replacing Captain EO and Circle of Life, and filling the empty pavilion."

That's the thing. The goal is not to have less time in line at Soarin', but less time in any line for an attraction, but as the article alluded to, more time buying food and souvenirs, for which Disney gets a huge profit, in addition to already pocketing the admission from these people. Everything is profit-driven. The only way to change the culture is to vote with your wallet, but with nostalgia and loyalty on its side, Disney holds all the cards.

How about adding a single rider queue to Soarin. I know many times I been on it and there's been a few empty seats.

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