Tuesday, June 05, 2007

The one-hour FastPass window at DAK

Two weekends ago, when I visited DAK, I saw the new FastPass tickets in use there. Gone are the thin, square paper versions. Now there's a thick paper version, shaped like a longer rectangle, that closely resembles Disneyland's FP tickets. There's a barcode (no one knows what for, but the privacy implications are troubling), the date stamp is much more visible, and there's more information.

One bit of information is when you can get another one. In my case, I got an early morning Everest FP and saw that although my return time was 3pm, my next FP window would open in an hour. Pleased, I got one an hour later at Safari. Hm. Oddly, that one had a return time in 1.5 hours, but I could get ANOTHER FP in sixty minutes. So when that time arrived, I got a FP for Dinosaur, and suddenly I was the holder of three FastPasses, all of them still yet to mature.

Unless I'm missing something, this is new. It used to be you were capped at the two-hour window, not one hour, and you could only hold two at a time, not three. Disneyland has long had networked and unnetworked machines, meaning locals who knew the system could have an advantage.

At first, I was annoyed by this sudden new complexity. But I thought about it and now I'm not so sure. It could very well be that this new system ends up being tourist friendly, which is what I always advocate (I'm not really an advocate for the locals, despite being one myself). Just how could it be tourist friendly? Because the info on getting another one is clear, large, and well-explained, it's likely tourists will finally take advantage of that. And the one-hour policy means more FP tickets will be gone in the EARLY part of the day, not the later part, and this too is tourist-friendly.

The jury is still out, of course (when is the jury never "out" on the subject of FastPass?!) but this isn't an instant negative. If tourists win, the system could yet prevail. Of course, what tourists want is a central FP bank that you visit at the start of the day at the start of the park. That would mean completely mapping out the day, though, and I'm not in favor of that, even if the tourists want it. The tourists might like gambling and stripper halls too, but I think Disney should avoid giving them some things they might profess to want.