If Walt Disney World is not going to bring back its FastPass+ system, then I say it’s time the mega-resort ends all line-cutting options at its theme parks (except for tours and those with the DAS pass, of course).
The fact of the matter is that line-cutting measures increase standby waits longer, which, in turn, increases the demand to cut the line, which makes the standby wait even longer. Before, FastPass+ allowed complimentary opportunities to almost every Walt Disney World attraction throughout the day. But now, Guests have a much more limited, extra-charge service that has led to incredible dissatisfaction and wait time build-ups. It is a recipe for disappointment. Options to skip the line make standby wait times all the less tolerable, and the paid aspect makes Lightning Lane wait times all the less acceptable.
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Walt Disney Imagineers have also been hard at work making the standby line more enjoyable and even an arguably necessary part of the Guest experience. Any Guest who walks through the queue for Flight of Passage at Disney’s Animal Kingdom or Peter Pan’s Flight at Magic Kingdom Park will know that line-skipping makes you skip out on a lot of standby-exclusive experiences. The only way to see a life-size avatar body or see Tinkerbell flying around the Darling Family’s Nursery is by sticking it out in Standby.
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Some of Walt Disney World’s older attractions like Space Mountain, Splash Mountain, and Big Thunder Mountain Railroad already have two equally long queues, with only one being allotted to Standby Guests. Space Mountain even has two complete roller coaster tracks, with only one utilized for Standby and the other one for overflow and FastPass+/Lightning Lane activity. Disney arguably already has the opportunity to cut that wait time, or at least the look of the line, in half. Doubling the in-ride queue space for attractions like the Mountain trifecta will also help keep Disney Park thoroughfares less congested.
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Now, some “Lightning Lane” opportunities make sense, especially for reserved seating for stage shows and fireworks spectaculars. Why not have Guests pay to secure good seats for their families? It’s one less thing to worry about. But for everything else, let’s keep it to the latest and greatest attractions and wait in line for everything else.