Disney is working on plans to offer guests at its theme parks the ability to book rides months in advance, the company has revealed.
Tom Staggs, chairman of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, discussed the plans in a ">presentation at the company's 2011 Investor Conference in Anaheim. Disney also hopes to allow guests to skip check-in lines at its on-site hotels, enabling them to receive room keys in advance and head directly to their room or a theme park. Staggs claims that the changes are designed to give visitors the ability to "create a personalized itinerary that gives them the exact Disney vacation they want."
Staggs described the new ride reservation system as a "version of FASTPASS for (visitors) entire Disney vacations". Currently, guests at Disney parks can pick up a FASTPASS for an attraction on the day of their visit, allowing them to return during a specified time window and skip the regular line. The new version would enable them to book FASTPASS-style windows well in advance of their trip, creating a personalized itinerary. These would cover character meet-and-greets, shows and meals as well as rides.
Disney plans to continue to overhaul the queuing areas for its theme park attractions, adding interactive elements as it did during recent updates to Space Mountain and The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh at the Magic Kingdom. Staggs claimed that the updates to the Pooh attraction have resulted in children asking their parents to avoid using FASTPASS so that they can enjoy the play areas in the standby line.
No timeline was given by Staggs for the changes, although he did reveal that they are "well into development" and that applications for patents to cover the technology have been made. The changes are believed to be part of a planned $1 billion investment in "next generation" technology for Disney's parks.