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Disney testing new ways to slow down FastPass counterfeiters

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Disney testing new ways to slow down FastPass counterfeiters

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The next time you use as a FastPass at a Disney theme park, pay close attention to what the cast member does once you walk up to that FastPass Return entrance. After you hand over your ticket, do they quickly run their finger along the top of that FastPass before then allowing you to enter that ride, show or attraction?

If so ... Well, there's a reason that the Mouse has begun doing this. They're just trying to weed out some of the hundreds of fake FastPasses that Disneyland and Walt Disney World Resort guests attempt to use each day.

Originally introduced at Disney's Animal Kingdom back in July of 1999, the FastPass system is hugely popular with visitors to the parks. But almost from the moment that this virtual queuing system first came on line, there have been those who have tried to take advantage of the system. Figure out new, often illegal ways to score additional FastPasses.

But as quickly as folks could discover the flaws in this virtual queuing system (EX: It used to be that expired annual passes, out-of-date tickets, even Ralphs Club cards could be inserted into the old FastPass scanning devices to then produce additional passes for theme park guests), the Mouse would rewrite that system's software. Quickly closing the loopholes that these theme park enthusiasts were exploiting.

Which is why -- as it began to get tougher to trick FastPass machines into burping out additional tickets -- some enterprising Disneyana fans began printing their own. Using color laser printers as well as the proper weight cardstock to produce authentic-looking & feeling FastPasses.

That's why Disney cast members manning FastPass Return entrances have been ordered to run a finger across the top of every pass that they're handed before they then allow each guest to gain access to that particular ride, show or attraction. Due to the way that they're created, real FastPasses have a perforated edge along their top & bottom. Whereas faux FastPasses (Which are typically cut out with scissors and/or trimmed on a paper cutting machine) typically have straight, flat edges on all four sides.

As to what can happen once a guest is discovered attempting to use a fake FastPass ... Well, that depends on the individual who's manning that particular FastPass Return entrance. Some cast members have been known to just turn these visitors away, while still others call Security. Who then typically confiscate any additional FastPasses that these guests may be carrying.

Of course, where this gets complicated is when these Disney theme park visitors reveal that they actually purchased their pile of fake FastPasses off of eBay. Where some people have been known to pay upwards of $500 for an envelope that's stuffed full of "Attraction Re-entry" passes.

Mind you, what with the crush of the crowds at the parks these days, many of the cast members assigned to those FastPass Return entrances don't actually bother to do the feel-for-perforations test. They just accept these bogus "Attraction Re-entry" passes without any challenge and then allow those guests to have access to that attraction.

But the downside of allowing this to happen is that these people who actually use counterfeit FastPasses are throwing off Disney's delicately calibrated virtual queuing system. More to the point, these FastPass cheats are making that much more difficult for the folks who are patiently waiting in the Stand By line to finally experience their favorite Disney rides, shows and attractions.


Copyright 1999 Disney. All Rights Reserved

With the hope that they'll soon be able to remove the human error aspect from the looking-for-cheats portion of their virtual queuing system ... Well, that's why Disney Parks & Resorts added bar codes to all FastPasses over the past year or so. You see, sometime in the not-so-distant future, before gaining entrance to your favorite theme park attraction, you'll first have to hand over your FastPass  for scanning.

And to make sure that this can actually be done without having a significant impact on the hourly capacity of truly popular attractions, just yesterday WDW cast members were scanning the FastPasses of each guest as they queued up for the Jungle Cruise and entered Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin.

Now if you were to quiz the cast members who were manning the FastPass Return entrances at both of these Magic Kingdom attractions, they'd have told you that this scanning was just being done for research purposes. So that the company could then get a better handle of how WDW guests actually move about that park & then use their FastPasses. So that the Mouse can then make the necessary adjustments to the Magic Kingdom's virtual queuing system.

But truth be told, the main reason that these WDW cast members were scanning those FastPasses was to see if it would actually be possible to quickly identify the fakes. So that the company can finally put a stop to all those con artists who are trying to make their living by selling bogus "Admission Re-entry" tickets and/or re-selling old, out-of-date FastPasses to unsuspecting people on the Net.

So what do you folks think? Are you okay with the idea of Disney cast members scanning your FastPass just to make sure that it's authentic? And what punishment (if any) do you think should be meted out to those guests who are caught trying to use counterfeit FastPasses?

Your thoughts?

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  • Maybe I'm naive, but I had no idea that people actually made counterfeit fastpasses. Seems really stupid to me, but then again so do people who'd pay money for them.

  • Jim asked "So what do you folks think? Are you okay with the idea of Disney cast members scanning your FastPass just to make sure that it's authentic?"

    AOK with me.  I think it's an excellent idea, and if they do it right won't add any additional wait time.

  • Confiscate fast passes, remove holder from park, void admission media.  Sorry, but we're all grown-ups here, and you should have known better.

  • Why have a cast member scan the ticket?  Why not put a gate like the front entrance you must put your fast pass into? These work, and the cm could monitor and assist guests like the entrance.  This would be expensive, but they could be tied to the fast pass printer to know what to expect and assist in numbers.  But whatever is done in the park, should be second to Disney looking to stop the counterfeiters by trolling eBay, discovering where they come from, and prosecute.  The sellers try to get around legalities by auctioning off a 'plain white envelope' which, if you win, you get the fast passes for free.  This is so transparent and bogus that there is no way it would hold up in court.  

  • I think that if Disney start scanning the Fast Passes, then people with bogus passes will be deterred and the problem will vanish.  Simple as that.  If I had fake fast pass, and saw that a cast member was scanning them on the gate I would simply give up on my criminal ways and get in line with the other honest folk.

    I think the scanning will be far more effective as a visual deterrent than a way of actually 'catching' people that are trying to use them.  There's no way Disney would build turnstiles, it would be far cheaper to use a simple hand held device.

  • "...If I had fake fast pass, and saw that a cast member was scanning them on the gate I would simply give up on my criminal ways and get in line with the other honest folk..."

    ...while I think of a new way to scam the company.  Man!  There must be a way around all these corporate suits.  

    C'mon.  Seriously?  Do any of us think for a moment that when Disney makes it more difficult it's anything other than an open invitation for these jerks to just try harder?

    I agree that something needs to be done.  How about get rid of FastPass altogether?  It's another system that separates those in the know from the casual tourist.  It makes it harder to get on rides like Peter Pan's Flight (which is really sad).  

    If I sound like Kevin Yee, I'm sorry, but I agree with him on this one.  Rather than dump a pile of money into some bogus system like "virtual queueing" why not spend the money on new attractions?

  • You know what really amazes me? That there is someone out there who is STUPID enough to pay FIVE HUNDRED DOLLARS for passes they can get FOR FREE!!

    Quite honestly, I think they should be tossed out if they're caught. Anyone who is too lazy to do a little simple research on their vacation destination and find out they can get these things gratis in the parks deserves what they get.

    I mean really ... people act like Fastpass is so freakin' complex and hard to understand. There have only been like a million news stories about it, you can read about it on Disney's website (or any one of a million other fan sites out there) ... it's on every park map, signs all over the resorts, the monorail spiel ... You've gotta be a complete moron not to know about it.

    Why Disney spends so much time protecting people from themselves, I have no clue. I wouldn't waste a penny on them and if I caught them I'd toss them out on their ear.

  • A-mazing, the lengths people will go to. Take their passes and boot 'em from the park. There's no excuse for such behavior.

  • I am fine with the scanning of fast passes, I don't think it would take that much longer than the Cm's checking the time on it.

    I also just wanted to post that I just looked on ebay and there were fastpasses that look just like the ones jim posted in the article and I think those look really fake because I have only ever seen the ones that have the name of the ride at the top (which were also being sold online and were much more expensive than the other kind) I would think CM's could tell counterfiets just by looking at them but I may be wrong.

  • I actually contacted Disney about the abuses I witnessed at WDW and on Ebay.  I also couldn't believe that people would actually pay that kind of money for something that they may or may not be able to use.  I kept wondering why the Fastpass system seemed to be failing.  I know more people go to the parks, I know that more understand the Fastpass, but I couldn't understand why the passes on the more popular rides are gone by noon.  The problem lies with the people who get a large numober of passes at one time and then don't use them (maybe put them on Ebay?)

  • missdisney121 said:

    "I also just wanted to post that I just looked on ebay and there were fastpasses that look just like the ones jim posted in the article and I think those look really fake because I have only ever seen the ones that have the name of the ride at the top (which were also being sold online and were much more expensive than the other kind) I would think CM's could tell counterfiets just by looking at them but I may be wrong."

    That's because the passes in Jim's picture aren't actually Fastpasses. They're ride re-entry passes. Disney gives them out to guests when a ride goes down and they're waiting in line or for baby swap ... sometimes in guest service instances, too.

  • "That's because the passes in Jim's picture aren't actually Fastpasses. They're ride re-entry passes. Disney gives them out to guests when a ride goes down and they're waiting in line or for baby swap ... sometimes in guest service instances, too."

    Quite right, they also hand them out if you've given your time to help them out. For instance when I was in WDW in August, Imagineers wanted some guests to come and test the new Mansion Stretchroom sound system. And to say thankyou (like they needed to!), they gave out the Attractions Re-entry passes. Quite wonderfully, I used mine on Peter Pan, and as I walked off was handed a Dream Fastpass!! What a day!

  • I disagree with Original19.....why get rid of Fast Pass completely?  There is nothing inherently wrong with the system.  If there are people who don't know about it, shame on them.  The system is well promoted....and very conspicuous once you get near a ride.  Even if you didn't see any of the very large "Fast Pass Disribution" or "Fast Pass Return" signs and completely missed the many references to Fast Pass on all park maps, wouldn't you at least start asking questions the first time you had been standing in a line for an hour while these other people got to just walk right up and enter?  There is nothing wrong with a system that gives an advantage to those who are informed, when the info is out there for all to see.

    The system that I think would be inherently wrong is the one JH has written up in the past which would allow different levels of Fast Pass depending on the resort where a guest is staying.  That would set up a haves vs. have-nots situation.

    As an aside...I'm sure there are many guests who know about Fast Pass and still choose the stand-by line.  My family does it every once in a while.  Sometimes it is a nice rest from all the running around.  Sometimes, it is pretty cool to look for hidden Mickeys or to see all of the "pre-show" that the Imagineers have set up for us.  The queueing area is supposed to be part of the attraction and tell part of the story.

  • I COMPLETELY agree that Disney should get rid of the FASTpass system. The only reason they created it in the first place was to get people out of line and into stores to buy stuff.

    I think that Disney is starting to understand that FASTpass isn't the way to go either (at least at DL). A number of attractions have lost their FASTpass and all of the new attractions don't have it (Nemo subs being the BIG one and I doubt if Midway Mania will have them either).

  • Shouldn't take any longer to scan a fastpass than it did to take a "C" ticket.

    There's scams everywhere.  Go to DISboards and you'll see a very well-organized scheme regarding the PhotoPass system, the refillable mug system, even "swapping" appliances to use in hotel rooms (that aren't meant to have them).  You know, like microwaves, small refrigerators, etc.  

    There's always going to be dishonest people looking to screw the Mouse they profess to love so much.

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