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A “behind–the–ears” look at Disneyland
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David Koenig
Mailbag — Week of August 10, 2000

Thanks to all those who welcomed me aboard MousePlanet as well as to those who responded to my first column, "When Tourists Attack." 

Most defended FastPass, despite its deleterious side effects. I've seen it from both sides: as a prisoner condemned to Standby because all FastPass tickets for the night had all been used and as a FastPass holder zipping through the queue, happy but a bit guilty.

Some of the reader reaction:

Mailbag for August 10, 2000:
From Berrett Maynard:

I read with some despair about the Guest Problems of FastPass. Personally, as a FastPass user back in April, I loved it! My response to those in the Standby line would be "Go get your own FastPass" since they are available.

I do place blame with Disneyland management for not having enough Security (with power) to control guests. I can also understand the frustrations of many Standby line guest but then they "chose" not to get a FastPass. It's unfortunate that cast members are being abused. What's more, I am surprised none has filed a hostile workplace suit against Disney, or civil suits against guests.

If I was treated that way (and, yes, I am in customer service), I certainly would take legal action, even if it meant losing my job. No one deserves to be physically harmed at their place of work.

Thanks for the article. I am sure I'll feel a little less safe in the park now, however, thanks to the poor state of management at Disneyland. -

From Sharon:

We, too, were witness to this on our visit in July. My husband and I both noticed that the park guests seemed much more aggressive than before. We were witness to guests verbally assaulting many cast members and a group of foreign tourists rushing Minnie Mouse and pushing her over a rail. This happened on Main Street and she had no escort with her at all. It was horrible. My 10 year old son and his friend were shocked!

We personally love the FastPass system and used it a lot on our trip; however, we did get lots of dirty looks and a few nasty comments. Our reply: you to can get a FastPass, they are available to every guest. It was amazing how many people we talked to that did not understand the system. Of course, if they'd just read their Disneyland Today brochure then they'd know.

Thanks for the article. It's good to know we weren't the only ones concerned about the aggressive tourists. -

From the Other Al:

Thanks for the article. I have your three Disneyland books and enjoy them very much.

It is a shame FastPass is causing problems. I've used it at WDW and Disneyland and saw no problems during any visit. I hope your first-hand experience with it has been similar. I just know I've had visits to DL on limited time when I never could make Splash since I didn't want to be wet during early morning or late hours when the line was manageable, and FastPass has allowed me to ride it without the normal 90 minute wait <grin> and to that I thank Disney.

Besides, on Indy long before FastPass there was always a stream of people coming up the exit. I never understood where they were going… -

From Stephen Halpin:

Thanks for a great article on FastPass. My sister and brother-in-law work at WDW in Orlando and think it is the greatest thing. I have always felt that it is an unfair system, especially if you park hop or visit a park late in the day when all the FastPasses are gone.

My two experiences with Fastpass were:

(1) At Rock N Roller Coaster: The attraction had been down for a couple of hours, the FastPasses were all gone, and we decided to wait to see if the ride was going to come up soon. Ten minutes later the ride started. but those of us in line without FastPasses were told that we would not be allowed to enter the building until all the FastPass guests had entered.

When I inquired how long that would be, the Cast Member told me 30 minutes. I asked how was it possible that I was 10th in line in the Standby line and I wouldn't get in for 30 minutes. He said it's the way we do it. I asked for a manager who backed up the Cast Member. I told her that the system was unfair. She told me that everyone has the option to FassPass. I told her that she wasn't offering FastPasses now and it wasn't fair that we paid the same as everyone else and had the right to ride the attraction. We went round and round for about 10 minutes about the system and she finally told the cast member to let us on now.

(2) Got to EPCOT at 9 a.m. and got a Test Track Fastpass for 9:30 a.m. When we returned, the ride was shut down. When the ride reopened at 7 p.m., several thousand FastPass people tried to ride the attraction, causing a long, long wait for FastPassers. When I asked the Cast Member why they continued to hand out FastPasses when a ride is not running, they replied that it was a manager's decision. Yuck!

Thanks again for a great article on a miserable system. Thanks also for your books.  I have thoroughly enjoyed them. I think it's time to do a WDW version on "Mouse Tales."-

From Richard Kaufman:

I found your article interesting. I frequent WDW far more than DL, and FastPass in Florida has been one of the greatest things ever to hit the parks. People love it, to the point that the Standby lines have almost vanished (at least that's how it appeared the last two times I've been there). There has been no sneering, no nastiness, just a lot of people happy to avoid waiting in long lines in the Florida sun. And the FastPass lines in Florida frequently run directly alongside the Standby lines, because they simply converted one of the two existing loading lines to FastPass.

What the hell is going on in California? It would be worthwhile for you to investigate the difference between the way FastPass has been functioning in California and Florida.

I, too, saw fewer problems during a recent trip to Florida. So, Orlandoans, does FastPass run smoother at Walt Disney World? —DK

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

David Koenig is the senior editor of the 80-year-old business journal, The Merchant Magazine.

After receiving his degree in journalism from California State University, Fullerton (aka Cal State Disneyland), he began years of research for his first book, Mouse Tales: A Behind-the-Ears Look at Disneyland (1994), which he followed with Mouse Under Glass: Secrets of Disney Animation & Theme Parks (1997, revised 2001) and More Mouse Tales: A Closer Peek Backstage at Disneyland (1999); all titles published by Bonaventure Press.

He lives in Aliso Viejo, California, with his lovely wife, Laura, their wonderful son, Zachary, and their adorable daughter, Rebecca.

You can contact David here.

LINKS

Click here to go to David's main page for a list of archived articles.

Visit MouseShoppe to purchase copies of David's books. (Clicking on the link opens a new window.)

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