Soarin’ has joined the “return time card” party that Walt Disney World began using for Anna and Elsa meet & greets last week.
Once the standby line gets to a certain point, they close it down and start handing out cards with return times. And once those cards are gone, nobody else can ride that day except those with return times (whether the return times be in the form of the return cards or a FastPass+ reservation).
The way that Disney countered claims that FastPass+ made things less spontaneous was to say that it “provides even more spontaneity on the day of your theme park visit." But if you’re spontaneous too late in the day, a cast member is going to tell you that you can’t ride Soarin’. No matter how long you are willing to wait in a standby line. So it pretty much throws everything that Disney has said about "more time to be spontaneous" out the window.
I’m all for FastPass (I haven’t yet experienced FastPass+ but if it’s resulting in moves like this, it makes me wary of it). I love being able to reserve a time to come back and do other things instead of standing in line. But when people who get FastPasses are the ONLY people who are allowed to ride, and Disney tells everyone else “tough luck, we’re going to let these other people ride but not you,” then Disney has completely given up on guest service.
This has got to be one of the most idiotic things Disney has ever done. This may even be worse than the decision to build Superstar Limo (more like Superstar LAME-o, amirite?).
Third theater… While I say “Yes,” I’d be curious about certain things, having walked around that entire building as a CM…
As for the rest… Nononononono… Let’s figure out FP+ and fix that before implementing something else. And don’t experiment on an attraction this popular first. Try it at Peter Pan’s Flight or Winnie the Pooh. Still popular and with longer lines, but MK offers the most rides of any park (with EPCOT being second, and DHS and DAK being third). Then end the test and try a test on Soarin’ (the second most sought-after attraction on property).
I predict the worse this gets, the fewer Florida annual passholders will return. And while not nearly the driving force that DLR’s are, it’d still hurt.
Guest reactions are so mixed, but the ones that benefit are the planners and most-experienced or educated in the parks. First timers are at a horrible disadvantage.