The Orlando Sentinel has an interview with Tom Staggs, who reveals one of the key features of NextGen: the ability to reserve rides (and character interactions) from home. It's like they do it now for restaurants, but expanded to rides, shows, and characters.
Staggs likened it to "FastPass, but for the whole vacation."
Now, I'll agree with Staggs that the main complaints by visitors are the lines and the fear of missing "must-ride" attractions.
And as always, I'll wait to see how it works before I render final judgments.
That said, I'm worried about this development. I like interactive queues (Pooh, Mansion), but I'm not in favor of FastPass for several reasons - one of which is the "scheduling" of the vacation. With this new development, the "pre-scheduled" element will skyrocket through the roof.
I'm feeling a Clark Griswold reaction coming. "Do we budget ten minutes to hunt Hidden Mickeys in Tomorrowland before our Buzz Lightyear reservation comes due?" "Nope, sorry, Tommy - no time to examine that highly-detailed piece of theming. Gotta move! We're late for our Small World reservation!"
I'll make a prediction right here and now, early on: this will equalize the experience for a lot of infrequent visitors. In other words, the main reason FastPass doesn't sell out early is due to a lot of folks not knowing about it. That won't be true, I think, with this new system. As a result, we are likely to see a lot less "advantage" to the ride reservation system, since EVERYONE will use it for a change. What will happen to "day-of" reservations (what we presently call FastPass) is obviously not yet known. Maybe they'll keep some around each day?
Interesting times, indeed.
Disney Next Generation Experience: Disney parks chief offers details about secretive Next Generation Experience project - OrlandoSentinel.com