Yes, this is going to cause an uproar (for not good reason). Disney announced that starting on March 7 the will start enforcing FASTPASS return times on all rides.
It’s been an unwritten policy that on most FASTPASS rides you could get a ticket and return to the ride anytime after your window opened. Disney was strict on Soarin‘ and a couple of other rides, but for the most part you could return anytime.
This has been a problem for years. The FASTPASS system is set up to return a set number of guests each 15 minutes. Letting guests come back at any time causes problems on some rides for both FASTPASS and non-FASTPASS riders.
Let’s take Dinosaur (the ride in Animal Kingdom). When Dinosaur gets FASTPASS returners, it lets them into the ride and stops the regular guests. There are a calculated number of tickets given out each hour. If 3 hours worth of tickets all of the sudden show up at the same time (like after Finding Nemo the Musical) then the FASTPASS line can get very long and the regular line stops altogether. No one is happy.
I’ve already seen on some of the forums and blogs a lot of weeping and gnashing of teeth. This has been the policy ever since the FASTPASS concept was first announced, it just hasn’t been enforced. (Shows what happens when you don’t enforce the rules.)
Why is Disney announcing this today? This has been happening for years and why now are they making a big deal out of it? Dad knows.
At least I think I know. Disney is about to open the new Dumbo ride with the new queue that is based on FASTPASS. The new system won’t shorten the lines for Dumbo if guests can come back anytime, it’s based on people following the rules. That’s just Dad’s guess, but it makes sense.
So what does this mean to you? Nothing. When you go to get a FASTPASS, the return time is clearly shown on clocks next to the ticket machines. If you aren’t going to be able to come back within an hour of that time, don’t get a ticket. Simple.