Over the past year, improvements equivalent to an extra E-ticket worth of capacity have been made at each of the parks. That’s why there have been so many refurbishments, especially at Magic Kingdom. Yet some people think that wait times are still too high and tend to blame FastPass for this. While I agree that yes, standby waits are longer due to it, average wait time is decreased.
Currently, FastPass, except on the 99 percentile days, is operating at a far lower ratio than designed at most attractions. If you visit on a design day or emptier, you shouldn’t really have any complaints about wait times and fastpass raising them. However, as soon as you cross the 80th percentile, you slip into damage control mode. Here, fastpass tends to be dialed up to it’s original ~85% of capacity in an attempt to minimize the number of people waiting in the long lines. On these days, you can definitely get an attraction done every two hours by properly using fastpass. Without it, while waits would be shorter than they are with it, they would still average over an hour, while design day targets an average wait of 20 minutes across priority attractions. With Fastpass implemented, 85% of Guests don’t have to wait over 15 minutes. This actually lowers the average wait. Let’s look at a 90+ percentile day at Space Mountain.
Math: 85% of guests wait 15 minutes or less in the FP queue. 15% guests wait 120 minutes in standby. (8515+15120)/100 = 30. So the average wait for the attraction can still be 30 minutes on New Year’s Eve. I think that is definitely a positive thing. Without Fastpass, the 120 minute wait would have to go all the way down to 30 minutes to achieve the same average. With priority attractions, this is not going to happen, as per simple economics as cost goes down demand increases. It’s very rare even on empty days to see Space Mountain much lower than 30 minutes. So that’s why Disney considers Fastpass such a success, on busy days where the waits are already higher than acceptable per Guest satisfaction surveys, the average wait can be minimized giving as many guests as possible an excellent experience.
Now spectaculars and entertainment on beyond design days are an entirely different story.