The rate at which an attraction distributes FASTPASSes is a big deal to guests of Disney theme parks. It is also a big deal to the Stats Team here at TouringPlans.com. Not just because we use it ourselves all the time but because it can be a great indicator of crowds at the parks. Fall 2013 has seen systematic changes to some of the FASTPASS Distribution rates. In some cases, drastic changes. With the launch of FastPass+ it was not clear how the distribution of Legacy FASTPASS (the old way) would be affected. Let’s take a look.
Before we look, let’s clear up what we mean by a FASTPASS Distribution Rate. Let’s check our Big Book of Stats Team Definitions for an explanation:
The FASTPASS Distribution Rate is the ratio between the minutes until the FASTPASS window opens and minutes of real time. So, a FASTPASS Distribution Rate equal to 3.0 means that for every minute that ticks by on your watch the FASTPASS return window increases by 3 minutes. The higher the ratio, the sooner the FASTPASSes sell out.
Comparing FASTPASS Rates in Fall 2012 and Fall 2013
Peter Pan’s Flight
We see that FASTPASS distribution rates at Peter Pan’s Flight increased significantly in the Fall of 2013 reaching levels more than double that of Fall 2012. However, Peter Pan’s Flight was closed for maintenance during October and early November so it is not clear whether the increase is due to a change in Fastpass distribution rates or due to an increase in guest demand. Many attractions that come back online after a refurbishment experience a boost in traffic. So let’s look at some other attractions.
Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster
Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster at the Studios has clearly been shelling out FASTPASSes at a higher rate than in years past. Last year, the FASTPASS distribution rate only rose above average a handful of times during the fall but this year it stayed well above average almost every day in October and November. The distribution rate was at least 50% higher in 2013 compared to the same period in 2012.
The pattern continues at Epcot’s Soarin’. In the case of this headliner, the increase is even more dramatic. Soarin’ FASTPASS rates reached 10.0 or higher several times this Fall. These are rates that we rarely see except during super busy times like Christmas or Easter. A ratio of 10.0 would mean for every minute that goes by on the clock, the FASTPASS window increases by 10 minutes. So, if it takes you 6 minutes to check out the FASTPASS Return display, get your park admission out of your fanny pack, line up and get a FASTPASS, by the time you actually receive it the return window will be an hour later than when you read the display.
Toy Story Mania
The busiest FASTPASS machines at Walt Disney World have always been at the Studios’ Toy Story Mania. Low hourly capacity and high guest demand make the perfect combination for high FASTPASS distribution rates. Toy Story Mania’s historical average is 3.8, the highest average of all attractions but it has also experienced the most significant increase in rates this fall, even reaching four times the average! This is remarkable. At these rates, the daily allotment of FASTPASSes are completely distributed by 10:00 am, or earlier.
These increases in FASTPASS Distribution Rate are significant. They are clearly not within the normal ups and downs. This is not surprising to anyone who has been in the parks in the last ten weeks. Long lines at the FASTPASS queues and quick sell-outs are the stories of FASTPASS booths this fall. The only question is whether this pattern will continue with the ongoing roll-out of FastPass+ and MagicBands. For that we shall have to wait and see.