Instructor: David Schuff, Section 003

Systems Thinking in Disney Land Fast-Pass

This past summer I had the pleasure of going to Disney Land. This was my first time ever going and one thing I found very interesting was their Fast-Pass ticket system. For those of you that do not know, the way it works is you go to a ride and pick up a fast pass and it tells you a window of time when you can come back ans use the fast lane. Then you go on a different ride and come back during your window. This is an example of systems thinking because the solution they have considers the whole system of waiting in line for the rides. The fast-pass make the ticket holder happy because they get to bypass the line of every other ride they go on. Also, the wait time in the regular line is less because people who would normally be in line are getting a fast-pass and riding a different ride.

6 Responses to Systems Thinking in Disney Land Fast-Pass

  • Hey Kevin. Interesting topic and good explanation. I, too, am fascinated by the fast pass system. Essentially, you’re just getting a ticket that tells you to come back in line at a later time, and once you do, the line is somehow shorter. It is difficult for me to wrap my head around the crowd dynamics that lead to it being successful. The people at Disney are clearly systems-thinking experts, and have figured out an effective solution to the problem of long lines.

  • Kevin, I went to Disney World last year and experienced a similar reaction to the Fast-Pass system. When I attended other amusement parks, I always immediately went to the biggest attraction or roller coaster and found myself waiting in line for hours. Not only is the wait itself brutal, but it also limits visitors’ time to see other parts of the park. What Disney has done is completely optimize the experience for its visitors by structuring specified time slots for each visitor to experience attractions in a quick fashion. Not only does this increase customer satisfaction, but it also increases potential revenue opportunities for Disney because Disney cannot make money while visitors are stuck in line.

  • Disney definitely uses to technology to enhance park goers experience. One example that shows how much technology goes into each person’s experience at Disney World is the MagicBand, the wristband each person receives. These band are equipped with RFID technology and a long range radio and they communicate with thousands of sensors and stream real-time data to hundreds of systems. They essentially make Disney World a giant computer which enables them to offer services like the Fast Pass. With a swipe of this wristband across sensors located throughout the entire park, the system knows where guests are and what they are doing.

  • Kevin, having been to Disney World just a few weeks ago I have taken full advantage of being able to pre-book some of my favorite attractions (exclusive to Disney World only) and not have to wait in line. After reading your post, I now think Disney’s FastPass system is truly systems thinking. Disney knows that it parks get very crowded and lines can be long and afford you the opportunity to skip those lines. Yet, looking at it from Disney perspectives they are benefiting from the benefits of the system. Essentially being able to pre-book your fastpasses for Disney World, the company gets a rough idea of what crowd levels will look like in a park at any given moment, thus being able to staff accordingly and predict sales. Also, like Matthew said, less waiting and more people spending money in the parks. Disney has implemented a system that not only helps their guests better enjoy their vacations as well as letting Disney control and predict crowds as well as predict sales.

  • Kevin, when I was in Disney World back in August I took advantage of the Fast Pass. Disney now has a mobile application where customers select up to one ride in each park to access the “fast lane” during a window of time, and once that pass is redeemed, the customer can sign up for a new ride in that park. In essence, one fast pass per ride per park at a time. This is different from the Fast Pass I had in Universal Studios 10 years ago where customers paid an upfront cost and had access to unlimited fast pass lines during their stay. Having used both, I can easily say that the Universal Studios Fast Pass experience was superior to that of Disney. Granted, I’m not entirely sure if Universal Studios runs their own mobile application now and, if so, if it has less bugs and better responsiveness than Disney’s application. However, Disney should consider how its Fast Pass compares to those of competing amusement parks. When you were at Disney, how else did you notice technology have an impact on queues and the customer experience as a whole? I think that Disney’s systems thinking about technology integration in its parks extends far beyond the Fast Pass program.

  • This is really interesting. I haven’t seen any amusement do something like this yet. I believe this will benefit both the customers and Disney itself. Customers will be able to have more time riding different rides and explore the park.In my past experience in other amusement parks I have spent hours in lines waiting for a ride, because of the wait i only had the chance to ride 3 out of 100 rides in the park. Disney also benefits from this because it will increase customer satisfaction. Disney really is a mastermind in solving simple but brutal problems.

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