[SOLVED] Is Disney's FastPass Valid and/or Useful Queue Theory

Issue

At Disney World, they use a system called Fastpass to create a second, shorter line for popular rides. The idea is that you can wait in the standard line, often with a wait longer than an hour, or you can get a FastPass which allows you to come back during a specified time block (usually a couple hours later) and only wait for 10 minutes or less. You can only be "waiting" for one ride at a time with a FastPass.

I have been trying to figure out the queue theory behind this concept, but the only explanation I have found is that it is designed to get people out of the lines and doing things that will bring in additional revenue (shopping, eating, etc).

Is this why FastPass was implemented, or is there a real visitor efficiency problem that it solving? Are there software applications that have applied similar logic? Are there software applications that should apply similar logic?

Part of the problem I see with implementing something similar in software is that it is based on users choosing their queue. Do to the faster wait cycles in software, I think a good application of this theory would require the application to be smart enough to know what queues to place people in based on their needs without requiring end-user choice.

UPDATE

12 years (and two major updates to FastPass later), Disney’s FastPass: A Complicated History gives the in-depth, definitive answer of "it’s complicated"

Solution

The fast pass line is obviously not going to increase total throughput on a given ride queue, but it does help in resource scheduling and resource assignment where people and rides are the resources.

Like I said, you aren’t going to create any more total throughput for said ride, but there may be rides being underutilized elsewhere. If you are now able to ride these rides as well as the rides you have to wait on, then you can increase the overall efficiency of the park. What I mean by that is minimizing the amount of rides that are running below passenger capacity.

If you have computer resources sitting idle, waiting to perform a task that might take a long time, it makes sense to utilize this resource for something else in the meantime right? It’s simple from that perspective.

Answered By – Brad Barker

Answer Checked By – Willingham (BugsFixing Volunteer)

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