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  1. #1

    • Pilot EdForceOne
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    New Xpass fastpass Details discussed and elaborated on

    Jim Hill has a new article... which he uses his typical 'you know this already.. oh wait.. you didn't?' type of snide writing style to break details (obviously he and Al studied the same school of writing)... he covers a lot of stuff he is saying will be part of the new Fastpass system.. dubbed XPass

    First, he eludes to that the XPass will be a premium priced add-on to your vacation for several perks including:

    Quote Originally Posted by JHM
    will offer WDW Guests the opportunity to pre-book an entire vacation's worth of rides on the Resort's most popular attractions as well as guaranteeing these high-end customers a primo reserved viewing spot for theme park parades and/or nighttime extravaganzas like Epcot's "Illuminations" and DHS's "Fantasmic!
    Notably
    - Reserved seating for parades/shows
    Quote Originally Posted by JHM
    If you've made XPass part of the WDW vacation package that you've booked, your perfect viewing spot (which will be right on the Hub, directly across from Cinderella Castle) is reserved in advance. All you have to do is show up 15 minutes before the parade steps off, allow the Cast Member who's controlling access to this roped-off area to scan your XPass wristband ... and then you're in
    He goes on about how this is going to be a big friction point. Honestly, I think anyone who has been going to WDW the last 5+ years is used to this type of reserved seating. EPCOT is full of it for illuminations (taking not just space, but primo space), as well as areas roped off for handicap, etc.

    He also discusses the idea of pre-reserved FP for rides
    Quote Originally Posted by JHM
    Again - to be fair here - there will be entire aspects of XPass that will basically be invisible to the average WDW visitor. Take - for example - those booked-in-advance rides on some of the most popular attractions at the theme parks. Given that these specific ride times will be culled out of the Resort's FASTPASS system, the people who are using this aspect of their XPass vacation package will just blend in with the rest of the other Guests. The only thing that might possibly give them away is their special XPass wristband.
    The RFID wristband mentioned before is discussed again as part of the solution.

    But one aspect that is newer in the detail discussed.. is the idea of the guests with RFID and the rides interacting with them. JHM discusses a concept for IASW with pre-bought dolls...
    Quote Originally Posted by JHM
    That said, things might get a little awkward on attractions like "it's a small world" (where people who have booked the XPass vacation package will - prior to their arrival in Orlando - then be able to go online and build their very own customized Mary Blair-esque doll. Who will then appear on a flat screen in "it's a small world" 's finale sequence and dance for & wave to the Guest who actually created this doll). When there's a boatload of tourists experiencing this attraction together. And this CG "it's a small world" doll zeroes in on a single Guest and then only interacts with them
    Obviously not the only way interaction can be done, but this is the first I've read about a specific in-ride experience in detail beyond fan speculation.

    He also mentions a slow rollout starting with limiting it to people who stay in Deluxe properties
    Quote Originally Posted by JHM
    Walt Disney World management does anticipate that there'll initially be some issues with XPass. Which is why - after this premium vacation package is officially announced after the first of the year - it'll then only be available for Guests who book stays at deluxe WDW resorts like Disney's Grand Florida Resort and Spa.
    He also says that it will start rolling out near spring of next year
    Quote Originally Posted by JHM
    Which is why - to folks who'll actually be working at the theme parks in the late winter / early spring of next year (which is when the first Guests who have booked those XPass vacation packages are expected to start arriving at the Resort
    Now this I have a bit of a problem with. I would have expected Disney to announce this with quite a bit of advance before its available so the 6+m booking window of guests would be taken into account. But maybe that window will be as small as 2-3m at launch?

    While Jim doesn't specify prices.. the tone of the article makes it sound like this will be a very high premium per guest. Likely something like several hundred dollars at least.

    Here's the link to his full article
    Why WDW Cast Members aren't expecting to have a very Merry XPass in 2012
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  2. #2

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    Re: New Xpass fastpass Details discussed and elaborated on

    Again - to be fair here - there will be entire aspects of XPass that will basically be invisible to the average WDW visitor. Take - for example - those booked-in-advance rides on some of the most popular attractions at the theme parks. Given that these specific ride times will be culled out of the Resort's FASTPASS system, the people who are using this aspect of their XPass vacation package will just blend in with the rest of the other Guests. The only thing that might possibly give them away is their special XPass wristband.
    The guests may be invisible, but the effects won't be. There will be fewer Fastpasses available, and so they'll run out sooner.

    While I can't fault the company for wanting to make more money, the whole thing leaves a bad taste in my mouth. One of the best things about a Disney park is the sense of cameraderie you feel with the crowds of other guests. That's been slowly eroding in recent years, and this pushes it even further. There's only so much you can take away from the regular guests to sell to the richest ones before the whole sense of Disney family togetherness gets too strained.

    And LED screens in IASW? That makes no artistic sense whatsoever.

  3. #3

    • Pilot EdForceOne
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    Re: New Xpass fastpass Details discussed and elaborated on

    LED screens would be easy to hide.. put them in a window of a building, etc. There are many ways to make a screen/projection blend into a physical scene.

    And as for impact on FPs.. if what JHM is discussing is true, I don't see it impacting FP really at all. If the group size is so small because it's such a expensive add-on, the impact will be negligible against existing FP distribution.

    It's like saying reserve seating for F! makes it harder on F! guests... it just isn't because they are so few compared to the total available capacity.
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    Quote Originally Posted by sleepyjeff View Post
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  4. #4

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    Re: New Xpass fastpass Details discussed and elaborated on

    LED screens would be easy to hide.. put them in a window of a building, etc. There are many ways to make a screen/projection blend into a physical scene.
    I know there are people who disagree with the concept of theme park attractions as works of art, but I'm not one of them. Some things just don't look right no matter how you insert them. IASW is a seamless work, and putting the screen in a window isn't going to hide the fact that it doesn't go with its surroundings. Universal may have rides that shake my guts up more, but art is what keeps me and a lot of others coming back to Disney.

    And as for impact on FPs.. if what JHM is discussing is true, I don't see it impacting FP really at all. If the group size is so small because it's such a expensive add-on, the impact will be negligible against existing FP distribution.
    Yes, the overall effect will depend on how many Xpasses get sold. That number seems kind of impossible to predict, though, doesn't it?

  5. #5

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    Re: New Xpass fastpass Details discussed and elaborated on

    The only parade that is worth to see in WDW is the Electrical Parade. The second show of Fantasmic! is very easy to get great seats by the way. As for EPCOT... the lagoon is huge and walking around to find a good spot is just fun. They can keep their xpasses and IŽll keep my money

    ...and Universal Studios in Orlando is only fun for 3 - 4 hours.
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  6. #6

    • Pilot EdForceOne
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    Re: New Xpass fastpass Details discussed and elaborated on

    Quote Originally Posted by ttintagel View Post
    I know there are people who disagree with the concept of theme park attractions as works of art, but I'm not one of them. Some things just don't look right no matter how you insert them
    Rejecting without knowing how they will do it or how it will turn out is close minded IMO.

    Quote Originally Posted by ttintagel View Post
    Yes, the overall effect will depend on how many Xpasses get sold. That number seems kind of impossible to predict, though, doesn't it?
    It's not impossible at all - it's a explicitly known number.. not some chaos system. Disney just doesn't share them.

    But if you make some educated guesses based on Disney's other service offerings, you can see how such an 'all inclusive' model could be VERY VERY expensive. The more expensive, the less users there will be. I mean come on, Disney charges $22 just to get the Wishes party today.. I'm expecting this to be something like $150-$200 per person per day. The least I would see them charging is $100. I wouldn't be suprised to see flex pricing as well.. where it's more expensive during busier periods.
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    Quote Originally Posted by sleepyjeff View Post
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  7. #7

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    Re: New Xpass fastpass Details discussed and elaborated on

    Well I'm glad they won't be ripping out the Fastpass machines but I'm still worried people are going to book a Fas... oh sorry I meant Xpass 6 mouths in advance and when I arrive in the morning the machines are already covered up. Did anyone think of that over at WDI?

    it'll then only be available for Guests who book stays at deluxe WDW resorts like Disney's Grand Florida Resort and Spa.
    Great now I can overpay for a Fastpass and I get a Monorail that's falling apart.

  8. #8

    • Pilot EdForceOne
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    Re: New Xpass fastpass Details discussed and elaborated on

    Quote Originally Posted by Twist1234 View Post
    Well I'm glad they won't be ripping out the Fastpass machines but I'm still worried people are going to book a Fas... oh sorry I meant Xpass 6 mouths in advance and when I arrive in the morning the machines are already covered up. Did anyone think of that over at WDI?
    That just means they aren't distributing FPs - that doesn't mean the queue couldn't be used. And the 'in the morning..' is because that's an operational move to not turn on FP right away. A choice that simply has to be made based on what the reservations allowed are. These are non-issues.
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    Quote Originally Posted by sleepyjeff View Post
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  9. #9

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    Re: New Xpass fastpass Details discussed and elaborated on

    Quote Originally Posted by ttintagel View Post
    The guests may be invisible, but the effects won't be. There will be fewer Fastpasses available, and so they'll run out sooner.

    While I can't fault the company for wanting to make more money, the whole thing leaves a bad taste in my mouth. One of the best things about a Disney park is the sense of cameraderie you feel with the crowds of other guests. That's been slowly eroding in recent years, and this pushes it even further. There's only so much you can take away from the regular guests to sell to the richest ones before the whole sense of Disney family togetherness gets too strained.

    And LED screens in IASW? That makes no artistic sense whatsoever.
    Totally agree with everything you say. Flynn, would flashing LED eyes on the Mona Lisa be acceptable in theory until we know exactly how they will be implemented? Maybe we should install an animated LCD mouth on her so she can carry on conversations with guests to the Louvre who are willing to pay extra for the privilege!

    Xpass and NextGen are costing the company a TON of money to implement and it's a slippery slope. The pressure will be HUGE to make as much money on these concepts as possible. This will be all about ROI and it will DEFINITELY impact the experience of guests who decide not to-- or who can't-- pay the big bucks on top of the big bucks they're already paying to go to WDW in the first place. The more of these they sell, the fewer Fastpasses will remain for the rest of us.

    Back in the day, you bought tickets for rides, but once you did, the line to get in was EXACTLY THE SAME for everyone. Xpass implements a different kind of caste system that borders on extortion. Don't want to subject your small children to a 90 minute wait for TSMM? Pay up!

    Pitting family against family, making kids on attractions sad because the dolls didn't talk to THEM... it all seems so... not Disney.

    But it's a dog eat dog world out there now and I guess this scheme fits the times perfectly.

  10. #10

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    Re: New Xpass fastpass Details discussed and elaborated on

    I think the whole thing is a disaster waiting to happen. Outside of Disney's Vacation Club, the biggest moves have been towards budget conscious vacationers (years of discounts, Disney Dining Plan, Disney's Art of Animation Resort, the now dead Flamingo Crossing). That does not mesh with this program unless it becomes included in a Resort stay. It all seems like an expensive gimmick that continues to operate under this ridiculous assumption that traditional theme park experiences are no longer desired and must become "relevant" by oozing with obvious uses of technology and base level interactivity.

  11. #11

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    Re: New Xpass fastpass Details discussed and elaborated on

    My fear is that the Xpass will be too affordable to the point that it gets too many customers and throws everything off balance. Just about every money maker scheme to date by WDW has caused some imbalance because it wasn't exclusive enough. So, if every single Disney Resort guest were to use the XPass system wouldn't that make it less exclusive? This sounds like a system that will only work if say a few hundred guests were to do this per day but you have anywhere from 50,000-100,000 people attending WDW daily and most of those people are staying in WDW resorts, that's a lot of XPass users depending on what the price will be. Maybe I'm a bit cautious. All I can think about is how past programs like the DDP has made things far more inconvenient for guests even who pay top dollar. This can very well do the same thing if XPass is not executed properly.

  12. #12

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    Re: New Xpass fastpass Details discussed and elaborated on

    Am I really the first one to question the validity of this information? I mean, JHM doesn't exactly have a stellar predictions-coming-true track record...
    I knew if this business was ever to get anywhere, if this business was ever to grow, it could never do it by having to answer to someone unsympathetic to its possibilities, by having to answer to someone with only one thought or interest, namely profits. For my idea of how to make profits has differed greatly from those who generally control businesses such as ours. I have blind faith in the policy that quality, tempered with good judgment and showmanship, will win against all odds.
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  13. #13

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    Re: New Xpass fastpass Details discussed and elaborated on

    Quote Originally Posted by PSUMark View Post
    Am I really the first one to question the validity of this information? I mean, JHM doesn't exactly have a stellar predictions-coming-true track record...
    I think Flyn did to a certain degree, but i agree with you here. I can give a 95% sure reasonable opinion that this will most definitely NOT be implemented in the time period JHM is suggesting. almost none of his other predictions have come true, why should we believe this one? especially with little to no time to inform people before they can book their vacations. it just makes no sense what is being said, if it added up i would go along with it a little more but the facts just don't, plain and simple.

  14. #14

    • Pilot EdForceOne
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    Re: New Xpass fastpass Details discussed and elaborated on

    if one applies the same 'catch all CYA' claims people grace Al with... 'subject to change' 'that was the plan at that time' etc... JHM isn't really that far off the mark. If anything, people complain he's not critical enough of the company of late.

    While I don't say 'this is exactly what it will be', I think its fairly safe to assume this is very close to what it will be or what the plan at the moment is.

    The only thing I find far-fetched in it is some of the pricing expectations he sets the table with.. inferring it could happen in the next 5-6m. I find that pretty aggressive considering we've seen no real deployments in the park, construction, or travel agent info..
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  15. #15

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    Re: New Xpass fastpass Details discussed and elaborated on

    I could see a beta of it out limited to just a few guests on a few selected rides within 5-6 months. I also see something like this happening. Disney has invested 1 billion dollars into the super secret RFID project which this falls within. They're expecting to make buttloads of cash off of this. I really, really don't want to see any of this RFID implemented, but I'm afraid that we've already crossed that corner. You don't invest that kind of money without expecting to implement it, and to implement it heavily.

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