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Frozen Ever After

Joe

aka TestTrack321
Staff member
Moderator
Feb 15, 2012
15,001
Pittsburgh, PA
Sitting in line right now, do they prioritize FP before standby like on Space Mountain? I have barely moved so far
All WDW attractions prefer FP over stand-by, which is a design flaw when you have an hour return window.
 
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Badgeking

Rookie
Aug 5, 2013
237
All WDW attractions prefer FP over stand-by, which is a design flaw when you have an hour return window.
This is where Universal gets it right with Express for most of their rides. A lot of rides load 2 cars at once with one car being Express and the other car being standby. Some examples include Spiderman, Transformers, MIB, Dr. Suess and Mummy. Rides with a higher capacity will split the load in half. Despicable Me, Shrek and Kong (once Express is added) are good examples. For rides that don't duel load and are smaller, they flip flop. A great example is Rip Ride Rockit. They fill one car with Express, then one car with Standby, then one car with Express and so on all day long.

This is how the system should always be. It keeps both lines moving at a decent pace. Totally stopping a standby line to let what always seems like 50-100 guests every five minutes thru the FP line is an issue.
 

sparky

Contributing Member
May 11, 2016
568
This is where Universal gets it right with Express for most of their rides. A lot of rides load 2 cars at once with one car being Express and the other car being standby. Some examples include Spiderman, Transformers, MIB, Dr. Suess and Mummy. Rides with a higher capacity will split the load in half. Despicable Me, Shrek and Kong (once Express is added) are good examples. For rides that don't duel load and are smaller, they flip flop. A great example is Rip Ride Rockit. They fill one car with Express, then one car with Standby, then one car with Express and so on all day long.

This is how the system should always be. It keeps both lines moving at a decent pace. Totally stopping a standby line to let what always seems like 50-100 guests every five minutes thru the FP line is an issue.
I don't understand. How can it be an even split and still see such a lower number for express? We have seriously only waited more than 15 minutes once with express. It was a very hot day, and the Dudley water ride. We waited 30 minutes, and it shocked us after practically walking on other rides.
 

epcyclopedia

BANNED
Jul 13, 2011
3,824
Tampa, FL
Disney changes the ratio based on how long the FP line is. So the standby wait will get longer and longer without guests joining that side of the line.

I think Universal does the same but I'm not sure.

MIB was running only one track - well loading only one, it seemed to be working fine with empty vehicles. So Express loaded one vehicle and then standby loaded the other. At the time it made the express wait like 10-15mins which felt long. But if both tracks were open the express line would likely be nonexistent - and I get the feeling they operationally don't know quite what to do in that scenario. In theory they would pull all guests from standby but I don't think their staffing is that nimble.

Universal changes their capacity to maintain lines. Journey shuts down vehicles to keep the castle relatively full. It's something I haven't run into at Disney. Disney has a preset intended capacity for a time period and runs those vehicles even if they will run empty. Universal takes the vehicles offline.

I think it directly ties into their staffing and mentality. Disney counts guests who ride using photocells. That means people break a beam after getting off a ride or just before getting on and get counted. That's the hourly rider count which is compared against the hourly available capacity. Universal counts empty seats in ride vehicles by hand and the computers count the number of vehicle dispatches.

So sending empty vehicles means a lot more work for universal than Disney.
 

JoeCamel

Premium Member
May 20, 2015
6,361
Upper Lower
Still supposed to be 1 standby to 20 FP The empty ones make up for the probem capacity. Now at 4 moderate weights per boat but good news, they will send the waiting children behind. Not a problem just maximizing the low capacity
 

ThemeParks4Life

Veteran Member
Nov 15, 2012
4,408
NYC
This is where Universal gets it right with Express for most of their rides. A lot of rides load 2 cars at once with one car being Express and the other car being standby. Some examples include Spiderman, Transformers, MIB, Dr. Suess and Mummy. Rides with a higher capacity will split the load in half. Despicable Me, Shrek and Kong (once Express is added) are good examples. For rides that don't duel load and are smaller, they flip flop. A great example is Rip Ride Rockit. They fill one car with Express, then one car with Standby, then one car with Express and so on all day long.

This is how the system should always be. It keeps both lines moving at a decent pace. Totally stopping a standby line to let what always seems like 50-100 guests every five minutes thru the FP line is an issue.
Mummy's Express can get pretty long as it's only able to board one side and it alternates with Standby. I've been using Express on the Premier pass for nearly two years now and I've never seen it done any other way.
 

sparky

Contributing Member
May 11, 2016
568
Disney changes the ratio based on how long the FP line is. So the standby wait will get longer and longer without guests joining that side of the line.

I think Universal does the same but I'm not sure.

MIB was running only one track - well loading only one, it seemed to be working fine with empty vehicles. So Express loaded one vehicle and then standby loaded the other. At the time it made the express wait like 10-15mins which felt long. But if both tracks were open the express line would likely be nonexistent - and I get the feeling they operationally don't know quite what to do in that scenario. In theory they would pull all guests from standby but I don't think their staffing is that nimble.

Universal changes their capacity to maintain lines. Journey shuts down vehicles to keep the castle relatively full. It's something I haven't run into at Disney. Disney has a preset intended capacity for a time period and runs those vehicles even if they will run empty. Universal takes the vehicles offline.

I think it directly ties into their staffing and mentality. Disney counts guests who ride using photocells. That means people break a beam after getting off a ride or just before getting on and get counted. That's the hourly rider count which is compared against the hourly available capacity. Universal counts empty seats in ride vehicles by hand and the computers count the number of vehicle dispatches.

So sending empty vehicles means a lot more work for universal than Disney.
Why would they want to keep lines? I thought the whole idea of FP and increased ride capacity is to get people out of lines and spending MONEY?
 

Mad Dog

Premium Member
Jan 30, 2013
20,665
Pittsburgh area
There's probably generally a much smaller percentage of park Express Pass riders than park Fast Pass riders. I don't go during the busy season, just with moderate crowds, but usually there's only a handful of people going through Express, while Disney's Fast Pass lines are heavily filled with people. We've rarely had Express pass waits more than 5 or 10 minutes, and most often they're just about walk ons. Disney's Fast Pass lines get really lengthy at times.....I don't think it's fair to compare the two systems since they are different animals.
 

epcyclopedia

BANNED
Jul 13, 2011
3,824
Tampa, FL
Why would they want to keep lines? I thought the whole idea of FP and increased ride capacity is to get people out of lines and spending MONEY?
That was the idea behind FP but it was proven a failure as guests just got in other lines instead.

As I mentioned, universal has a different approach on a fundamental level and empty seats are more work for them than longer lines. Easiest illustration is Epcot where many attractions have no lines but operate at full capacity all the time. Epcot has higher attendance than both universal parks but somehow tends to have shorter lines. It does not have dramatically higher ride capacity.
 

Badgeking

Rookie
Aug 5, 2013
237
There's probably generally a much smaller percentage of park Express Pass riders than park Fast Pass riders. I don't go during the busy season, just with moderate crowds, but usually there's only a handful of people going through Express, while Disney's Fast Pass lines are heavily filled with people. We've rarely had Express pass waits more than 5 or 10 minutes, and most often they're just about walk ons. Disney's Fast Pass lines get really lengthy at times.....I don't think it's fair to compare the two systems since they are different animals.
Totally true, they are different systems. Disney's is just flawed. Nobody will debate the fact when FP first launched, wait times went up quite a bit for most rides. Wait times continue to rise as the parks see more and more people visit every year. Frozen has made that VERY clear. The fact that they have to shut down the standby line after a long downtime so they can let the THOUSANDS of people with FP+ times that were missed, is an issue. Having 5 minutes inbetween return times is an issue. While highly unlikely, you could have almost an entire hour's worth of people show up at one time making the standby line stop for 30+ minutes. If they give out 50 FP+ every 5 minutes, that 600 people an hour, over half of the rides capacity. It's a major flaw in the system.

Universal tried the paper FP style system shortly after Disney started. They quickly noticed that it has a more negative impact than positive for all guests, so they changed their system. When the standby line doesn't move for 10 minutes because of to many FP guests, standby people get upset. With Frozen, if you don't secure your FP+ 30-60 days in advance, there is a chance you might not even be able to wait in a standby line, which is a huge issue that is sure to upset guests.

Even with Universal giving their three top tier hotel guests UNLIMITED express, AP holders express after 4pm, and allowing guests to purchase express, the lines rarely become a major issue. When I have express, it's odd to have to wait more than 5 minutes. Normally there is only a few people in the express queue.

I would love to see what would happen if Disney dropped the return times for a week or two. Keep the whole system the same, but just remove the times. If a ride normally gives out 5,000 FP all day, still give out those 5,000. Post Standby and FP wait times at the entrance to the rides. This way, if a FP wait time is say 30 minutes compared to the 60 of standby, maybe a guest will go do something else and come back later. Don't place a priority on the FP line. Switch between the two evenly. All 5,000 FP's are not going to show up at once, and if they do, a lot of them will go do something else since they are not stuck in a time frame. Other guests will race to the park at opening, use all three right at the start, and not have many options for a 4th or 5th FP that day, removing a decent chunk of FP's in the early hours when the lines are generally not an issue.

Ultimately though, I see the system changing again down the line. First will be limiting it to just on-site hotel guests and AP holders. Maybe they will sell it for off-site guests. That will weed out some. If that doesn't work, remove it from the value hotels for free and offer it for a reduced price vs. off site guests. This should help fix the wait times for both FP and standby.
 

epcyclopedia

BANNED
Jul 13, 2011
3,824
Tampa, FL
Mantra difference illustration:

Toy Story Mania: "Guests wait on vehicles, vehicles don't wait on guests." - A sign posted in the break room to indicate that vehicles are to leave the station on time even if guests aren't ready or fast enough, meaning empty seats.

Forbidden Journey: "Two, no-two." - A radio call by the ops team to remove a party of two who sat in a vehicle without two other passengers and replace them with a party of four, detouring the two back to the grouper and feeder line to be paired with another party of two - ensuring no empty seats.
 

sparky

Contributing Member
May 11, 2016
568
Mantra difference illustration:

Toy Story Mania: "Guests wait on vehicles, vehicles don't wait on guests." - A sign posted in the break room to indicate that vehicles are to leave the station on time even if guests aren't ready or fast enough, meaning empty seats.

Forbidden Journey: "Two, no-two." - A radio call by the ops team to remove a party of two who sat in a vehicle without two other passengers and replace them with a party of four, detouring the two back to the grouper and feeder line to be paired with another party of two - ensuring no empty seats.
Why? I am very curious why they do things so differently. I am often impressed with how they get people into the FJ carts. It scared me the first time, I am a clumsy girl.
 
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UNIrd

Premium Member
Jul 18, 2008
6,498
That was the idea behind FP but it was proven a failure as guests just got in other lines instead.

As I mentioned, universal has a different approach on a fundamental level and empty seats are more work for them than longer lines. Easiest illustration is Epcot where many attractions have no lines but operate at full capacity all the time. Epcot has higher attendance than both universal parks but somehow tends to have shorter lines. It does not have dramatically higher ride capacity.
By that same token, Epcot has rides that I don't believe Universal gets close to in terms of ride capacity: Spaceship Earth, Nemo, Imagination, etc.