How Disney handles crowds at its theme parks


No one likes queues at amusement parks.

Disneyland and Disney World are known for their iconic rides, attractions, and large crowds. The result is that many guests spent a lot of time waiting in lines when visiting theme parks.

Disneyland and Disney World are both known for their iconic rides, attractions, and large crowds.
(iStock)

Until recently, both parks used the FastPass system to keep guests on the move. On some rides, park visitors could get a ticket that allowed them to return within a specific time slot. At this point, they would wait on a special line for priority seats.

As explained in a recent YouTube documentary, the system worked the same as a virtual queue. Instead of queuing, guests could continue to explore the park and, especially for Disney, spend more money in stores and restaurants.

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While the FastPass system has grown in popularity, its use has ended during the recent pandemic. With theme parks in California and Florida operating at reduced capacities, the space occupied by the FastPass kiosks was instead used for social distancing lines.

FILE PHOTO: Fireworks go off around Cinderella's Castle during the grand opening ceremony of Walt Disney World's Fantasyland in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. December 6, 2012.

FILE PHOTO: Fireworks go off around Cinderella’s Castle during the grand opening ceremony of Walt Disney World’s Fantasyland in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. December 6, 2012.
(REUTERS / Scott Audette / File photo)

In its place, Disney has developed a new planning tool called Disney Genius. The online app, which became available at Disney World in October, allows customers to create an itinerary for their visit.

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Using park data updated throughout the day, the app will help customers plan their visit so that they can visit the rides and attractions of their choice in the most convenient way. Some rides will offer a “Lightning Lane”, which will work the same as FastPass.

Customers using the app pay an additional fee and have the option to book next time available to browse certain attractions.

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According to Disney, Genie will give customers more flexibility than FastPass.


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