Last Thursday during an investor conference, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Chairman Tom Staggs talked about long-term plans for the theme parks. Among the good news presented about interactive queues and expansion plans was some future technology news that has some theme park fans worried.
Here are some excerpts from Staggs’ speech,
“We know that our guests love creating great Disney memories with their friends and their families. We also know that they don’t exactly relish waiting in line, checking at the resort, worrying about missing their favorite attractions or feeling uncertain how to best navigate and access our properties.
“In the coming years, we’ll introduce a broad, integrated set of systems and tools that will help us create a more seamless, personalized experience, and help guests to get more out of their visit with us. … we are currently developing an innovative system that will, in essence, create a version of Fastpass for their entire Disney vacations.
“Guests will be able to reserve times for their favorite attractions and character interactions, secure seats at our shows and spectaculars, make dining reservations and pre-book many other favorite guest experiences – all before even leaving their house. We also plan to simplify the check-in process so that guests will arrive at the resort with room key in hand.
“Now, it will be some time before we roll out the bulk of these initiatives, but we are well into development, and in fact, have a number of patents pending on our approach. So it’s too early for me to say much more than that.”
On the surface this may all sound great, but it’s the part about reserving times for the attractions from home that have many worried. Many comments online are similar to these: “Will Space Mountain be all booked-up before the park even opens on any given day?”, “Will the stand-by lines get even longer?”, “Will guests feel like they have to pre-plan each day in the park?”
As Staggs said, it will be quite a while until they roll out these plans. Part of that delay is probably because they want to make sure they take all sorts of guests in mind – from the locals and annual passholders to the yearly and first-time guests. It’s doubtful Disney would allow attractions to be completely booked.
What do you think? Can ride reservations work and also not upset those who don’t use them?