May 01, 2011


During my visit to Disneyland Hong Kong a few years ago, I observed how Disney had made an attempt to eliminate waiting queues through the use of FASTPASSTM. Left quite impressed with this concept, I am describing it here.
 Disney has come up with one of the most unique and innovative ways of making the wait invisible through the application of virtual queues. Disney has become a leader in this queuing advancement which allows customers to engage in other activities while they wait for their desired activity at an appointed time.
Disney is addressing this problem through its “virtual queue system” known as FASTPASSTM. It allows the visitors to stand in a virtual queue by registering themselves. On registering, they will be given a time duration during which they should come back and join a smaller queue.
The idea behind this system is to have a queue of less than 15 minutes.   
FASTPASSTM is very easy to use. One just needs to walk to the FASTPASSTM attraction of one’s choice. At the FASTPASSTM distribution centre, one can see a board listing the current standby time and the current FASTPASSTM return time. To make a registration, one needs to insert one’s park ticket in the FASTPASSTM distribution machine
The system was first tested at Walt Disney world in 1998. The system was assessed by surveying the guests who used it. Results were positive and indicated that guests spent considerably less time in lines, spent more per capita, and saw significantly more number of attractions. Needless to say, satisfaction levels skyrocketed.
The  system was  expanded  in  1999  to  include  five  of  the most  popular  park  attractions,  and was  named FASTPASSTM. The system has since been expanded to all Disney theme parks worldwide, and is now used by over 50 million guests per year.    
To  ensure  that  guests  feel  comfortable  in  using  precious  waiting  time  to  do  other  things,  FASTPASSTM designers added some flexibility into the system. Once an assigned FASTPASSTM time is generated and provided to a guest, it is good for the 1 hour beyond that time creating a “window” in which guests can return.
FASTPASSTM has been able to add to the bottomline of Disney as the key feature of the FASTPASSTM system is choice. A quick survey of an attraction’s queue found that FASTPASSTM  allows guests to pick the shorter wait and move on to something else. Disney managers knew that the queues were self regulating, but were perplexed as to why some guests actually chose traditional waits. They soon learnt that those who chose traditional waits were most often holding FASTPASSTM tickets for another attraction. Thus, the system allows them the opportunity to see two attractions during the time they would have previously been able to see only one attraction. Obvious results were that guests were able to engage in more revenue producing activities, saw more of the popular attractions, and began to involve in other less utilized attractions in their free time.
References's_Fastpass (last accessed on 8 April’2011) (last accessed on 8 April’2011) (last accessed on 8 April’2011) Resort Guide (last accessed on 8 April’2011) (last accessed on 8 April’2011)
Rohit Bhagat has done his B.E. in Electronics and Communication Engineering from Netaji Subhas Institute of Technology, Delhi University and can be reached at jeffhardy_027 @ yahoo . co . in

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