Disney's FastPass: Waiting in Line Gets Its Own Documentary

Queue up for ”FastPass: A Complicated History“

As the title suggests, a bulk of the Defunctland documentary is devoted to the history and implementation of FastPass, a late-’90s initiative engineered by park operations and an enterprising executive named Bruce Laval, who sought to maximize guest satisfaction while increasing the park’s overall efficiency. Guests would basically be given the option of skipping the line once they obtained a paper FastPass; this freed guests up to explore other parts of the park or, more tantalizing to upper management like Michael Eisner, use their extra time to buy food and drinks or do a little bit of shopping. But there were problems from the get-go – outdated technology, communication hiccups and a general lack of understanding from the guests. Still, it mostly worked.

Of course, all good things come to an end, and as the documentary beautifully points out, a program started by parks operations people was soon co-opted by marketing wonks (during a particularly fraught period of the company’s history, especially for the parks). So FastPass, at least at Walt Disney World, was significantly overhauled, the keystone to a $1 billion project. FastPass+ and My Disney Experience was born, a system so labyrinthine and incomprehensible that, in one of the documentary’s funniest stretches, Perjurer plays a seeming endless montage from other YouTube creators who are desperately trying to explain the procedure.

But beyond explaining the history of FastPass, Perjurer also wanted to answer a question: Does FastPass actually work? Does it cut down on overall wait times, and does it positively impact the average guest’s experience? To answer this, he created a vast simulation inside a computer, then animated that simulation to really drive the point home. And not to ruin the documentary (which you can watch above), but the results are both shocking and weirdly expected, especially when you factor in a very specific kind of class warfare implemented by the changes to FastPass (seriously). And since Defunctland is all about attractions and experiences that no longer exist at the Disney Parks (and other parks), everything you see in the video has already been scrapped in favor of a new process that debuted in October in Walt Disney World and will be launching soon at Disneyland.

Yes, it gets worse.

If you’ve ever asked yourself why you have to wait so long for Space Mountain or wondered if the system was ever better, “FastPass: A Complicated History” has you covered. It’s easily the best documentary about Disney you’ll see all year, and its length and complexity is a testament to how byzantine the process of going to a Disney park has become. “FastPass: A Complicated History” plays like what would have happened if Oliver Stone was particularly scarred by a trip to Pandora: The World of Avatar, with a rich texture of ideas, concepts and history. And it might just change the way you look at your next Disney vacation.

Watch the full “FastPass” documentary above.

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