Now you’ve got two problems (Part III)

Amusement parks, crowd control and load-balancing

Cory Doctorow
10 min readJul 25, 2021


Jeremy Thomson, CC BY

This is Part III in this series. In Part I, I opened the with news that Disneyland Paris is getting rid of its Fastpasses in favor of a per-ride, per-person premium to skip the line, and explored the history of Disney themeparks and what they meant to Walt Disney. In Part II, I explored Disneyland’s changing business-model and the pressures that shifted it from selling ticket-books to selling all-you-can-eat passes, and the resulting queuing problems.

Getting your money’s worth

The all-you-can-eat Disneyland admission introduced in 1981 dramatically shifted the character of a day at Disneyland. Under the A-E Ticket regime, the victory condition for a day at Disneyland was to exhaust your ticket book, save for the odd A- or B-Ticket. With most visitors riding ten or fewer rides in a day (and with some of those being less thrilling, more contemplative attractions and shows), the lines were shorter.

Under the one-price regime, a visitor’s victory condition became “Ride all the rides I like, as many times as possible.” The prix-fixe menu had become a buffet. Lines snaked to infinity. Regular visitors felt ripped off by all the dead time spent in line on the way to “getting their money’s worth” (say, by riding Space Mountain…