I had been thinking of this before Kevin wrote his latest column describing possible FastPass changes at WDW. I could have posted this thought in the thread discussing Kevin's column, but I didn't want it to get buried and feel like it deserves its own spotlight.
For starters, I think that if executed properly, FP is a good idea which would be popular with the majority of visitors (if it isn't already). The idea of having a "virtual you" hold your place in line while you do something else is attractive. All other things being equal, who wouldn't want to be able to do that? The problem is that too many FPs are given out and the effect on the standby line is too great, given that the ride capacity is fixed.
Here's what I think should be done to "fix" FastPass:
The guest is still getting a free perk this way, but the number of FastPass "line cutters" is greatly reduced and would have much less negative impact on the standby lines. Also, with this system you would be saved the leg work of going all over the parks picking up FP tickets, the idea being to enable the guests to enjoy their time more.
- Limit the number of FP's to 1 per day per visitor per park (maybe 2 per day for hotel guests). That means that you could have one FP for DL and one for DCA, max.
- Make them to be genuine "front of line" passes and market them as such. On some rides this is difficult because the FP line currently merges with the standby line pretty far from the front of the attraction, but this would be key to making the system work well. The idea is that there are fewer of these new FPs, but they're better.
- Make them easy to reserve - each FP station anywhere in either park works for any ride in either park. Also, you can go ahead and pick up both of them at once, no matter where you are.
- Flexible return time - there would be an earliest open return time, but if you want to choose something later (to fit with your other plans), you can.
- Disney hotel guests can reserve their FPs from their hotel rooms before they even enter the park.
I'm not sure how well this system would work, but I'm guessing that every single person who entered DL on a crowded day could get an FP return time that would be reasonable, except of course for those weeks or months that a new attraction has just opened and everyone wants to go on the same ride.