#1 “I love that the answer to the magic band fiasco is PAPER FASTPASSES!!!!!!” Easily the most common misconception is that the standby test was a reaction to Magicbands or FastPass+. Sorry, it’s not. Long before FastPass+ came around, the line for Soarin’ was often within the 90-minute to three-hour range (or more) on busy days. After talking to several sources behind-the-scenes, none of the standby tests had anything to do with FastPass+ in the slightest. If that were the case, then why wouldn’t they try and tweak the amount of FastPasses handed out during the test period to see how it would affect the line? Rather, this is an attempt for guest satisfaction. Regardless of what you may think, no one works for Disney is trying to make the lives of guests more miserable. It was a test to see if they could make one of the most popular attractions on property have a less stressful waiting experience. Period. Sure, you can complain all you like that Disney “coulda shoulda woulda” built a third theater… but this is Operations trying to make life easier on guests who don’t want to be on their feet that long. Nothing more, nothing less.
#2 “Saw this on twitter: “At 5:30 p.m., guests were near riot level refusing to leave and the CM’s were threatening to all quit. Reopened standby – made return holders mad. Second day, orders came down to “stick to the plan” and the queue closed again around 5 p.m. At 6:40 p.m., CMs began walking off refusing to work.” Trust me. This did not happen on the third day of the test when I was there. Granted, I was not there all three days. So again, I did some digging. I asked friends of mine who worked in Guest Relations as well as Operations at Epcot to see if there were any near riots or any Cast Members who walked off the job. No one had heard of it on any of the three days. On the other hand, people who actually work at the park probably aren’t as well versed as those on message boards and Twitter. Indeed, there were some upset guests during the time where the line was cut off from guests without a standby return card or FastPass to even get in line for Soarin’ (a roughly 45-minute period from everything I have gathered). My understanding is the reason they did this, even though it was planned to reopen the standby line as normal around 7 p.m., was so they didn’t have a mob of people waiting by the entrance blocking traffic flow. Do I personally agree with telling guests this? No. Do I think there needs to be a different procedure for this? Of course. Do I realize that this was a test and that only lasted three days and it only impacted a minimal amount of people? Yes. Guest Relations was on hand to help handle any guest situations that did occur and from what I understand, they did offer some sort of compensation, depending on the situation. From what several sources have told me, they were prepared to do so. No, I don’t know what form of compensation was given. Just like any situation, there are multiple factors at stake.
#3 “Lost me at ‘bought some merchandise.'” Indeed, while waiting for my standby return time to roll around, I hopped over to Journey Into Imagination’s gift shop to pick up the first two issues of the new “Figment” comic book. They are not easy to find in comic book stores anymore, but as of a few days ago, that gift shop had a stock pile of them. I don’t feel as if I should apologize for financially supporting a comic book that revolves around a Disney theme park character. Maybe I should though?
#4 “….Also, and I had never even heard of that site before today. The article seems to be written by someone who is head over heels in love with Disney.” Aww, shucks! Welcome to Theme Park University. I write stories on all sorts of themed entertainment, from bounce houses made of boobs, to exclusive interviews with theme park designers to intense haunted houses that put tampons in your mouth. Sure, I do love Disney. Head over heels? Hardly. Try reading yesterday’s article about the mouse’s raise still not being an affordable living wage for Walt Disney World employees and get back to me on that.
#5 “….But we don’t know who wrote the article. We, or at least I, don’t know their agenda.” Indeed, I have been hired by secret agents at Disney’s top secret lair located far beyond the berm of Disney property. In this secret laboratory, they inject stories into my brain (think “Eternal Sunshine For The Spotless Mind”) so I can spread my tales of falsehoods across the galaxy. In return, they financially reward me ($10,000 bucks an article!) so after my treatments are done, I can eventually kick back on a beach in Tahiti, sipping a pina colada, and laugh about this whole thing. Make sure to follow more of my antics by liking Theme Park University on Facebook and follow me on Twitter @TPUJosh!