Why this one small change could reduce Disney World wait times and make guests feel appreciated


Disney World has a wait time problem at their parks that their brilliant minds can't fix. Maybe this could help.

Disney World prices continue to increase and while they do, the wait times for attractions continue to increase as well. It is making guests irritated, ruining parts of their day, and frankly, eating up big chunks of time which is what they are paying for to begin with.

I might have a solution for Disney's "wait-time problems." Is it a perfect solution? Nothing ever is but it is far better than the nothing they are doing now. Of course, they would have to be willing to give up the money they are getting for Lightning Lane passes.

Disney should hand each guest a fast-pass to one attraction of their choosing each day upon entry.

Hear me out here. The max capacity at Magic Kingdom is estimated to be between 80 and 100,000 guests. EPCOT's max cap is around $110K, while both Animal Kingdom and Hollywood Studios are closer to 65K.

Average attendance per day can be roughly around $50k on a busy day and during holidays and special event weeks, it can be higher. But let's look at what the MAX might look like.

If each park received 50,000 guests on a particular day and each of those guests was given a fast pass for a single attraction, for our purposes here let's say Avatar: Flight of Passage, the parks would have to run 3,456 guests per hour through this attraction. That isn't going to happen as the max is closer to 288 per hour.

Considering Flight will hold 72 guests per run and each run is 4 minutes from the start of the show, we can safely assume that 15 minutes per run is realistic given everything from the resetting of the attraction, the vacating by the previous group, and the onboarding of the next group. Adding hiccups for the ride start, and even wheelchair accessibility issues, 15 minutes is still a bit high but reasonable.

This would put the total number of guests through Avatar in one hour at 288. This alone would not be doable if every single park guest wanted to ride an attraction. However, not every guest will ride.

Now, of those 50,000 guests that attend the park, we can assume not everyone will want to ride an attraction like Avatar. We can also assume that guests may select a different attraction entirely if offered. Add to that the number of children that don't meet the height requirements and the number of guests entering the park that may want to ride a premium attraction is considerably lower.

DIsney could also limit the number of passes handed out based on the time of day. For example, no passes handed out after noon.

Disney would lose out on monetary benefits from selling a Lightning Lane pass that could run $16 to $25.00 depending on the day. They can sell out quickly. Earlier today, the Lightning Lane passes for Avatar: Flight of Passage were gone an hour after they opened.

Disney could still sell these as an add-on but imagine if a ride wait time was reduced to around an hour which would be the case in this scenario. Guests would have more time to spend at other areas of the park, would be less irritated by long wait times, and would feel as though they benefited from the park giving them something back.

Disney could still use stand-by lanes but those lanes would also be reduced given the fact more people would have time-slotted access to the bigger attractions.

Honestly, this completely makes sense to me because as it is right now, Lightning Lanes are hindering the wait times and the lack of availability is forcing stand-by wait times to increase. So slot every guest into a time period based on arrival into the park, do away with the current model of the "fast-pass" and increase the guest experiences at the four parks.

Heck, they could even use this model for just elite attractions only. Disney giving each guest a guarantee to ride a top attraction with a realistic and doable wait time makes too much sense.

Oh and, Disney World, feel free to reach out to me for more ideas to fix your park wait time issues and increase your guest's overall satisfaction!

The model isn't perfect but it does provide an option that could solve many of the wait time issues by slotting guests throughout the day.

NOTE: A previous part of this article broke down the hourly ride capacity by minutes instead of hours.