FastPass has been a hallmark of visits to a Disney Park for two decades. Disney had plans to evolve on the FastPass process but those plans were stalled but now possibly expedited due to the pandemic. While the system isn’t back to being active in the states, we think that will change in the coming months along with an overhaul of the whole process. In this post, we’ll take a look at what the future of FastPasses might be.
In case you’re unaware, FastPass is a system that allows guests to skip the line of some attractions. You can scan a ticket or make a ‘reservation’ in an app that will give you a time to come back to the attraction and will have you jump some of the line.
With that out of the way, the big news in the Disney community yesterday was that Disneyland Paris will be replacing the FastPass system with a paid option called Premier Access. Like other theme parks around the world, Premier Access is essentially a ‘skip the line’ pass that guests will pay for per ride. There will still be a standby pass that ultimately works the same as the original FastPass system where guests can hold one at a time and then get another once that window opens.
Disneyland Paris joins Shanghai Disneyland in offering this product. Since I’ve never been to either resort, I’m not going to comment on how this will change their infrastructure or will affect guest satisfaction. Instead let’s take a look at if and when this could be implemented at Disneyland and Walt Disney World.
With FastPasses currently suspended due to capacity restrictions, it was fair to question what would come next with the system. I honestly prefer a FastPass-less park where everything is done via the standby line. Disneyland’s old fashioned system works well and I enjoy using that but I think FastPass+ at Walt Disney World is frustrating for both first time and frequent guests, causing a backup that makes it difficult to experience an entire park in a day.
Visiting WDW over the course of the pandemic has shown that these places can run without the FastPass system. Of course, capacity has been limited and that plays a big factor. Even so, seeing wait times for attractions in the afternoon not skyrocketing to where everything is over an hour was a nice change. FastPass+ made so many attractions FastPass capable that it can cause the system to overflow in the afternoon and evening.
If me, a frequent guest, noticed this then I would think that it was on Disney’s radar as an issue. Unfortunately, the company’s solution to issues of this nature is to make things cost more. Add-on costs have become a fundamental part of the Disney Parks experience, no matter how frustrating they might be for those on a budget. Now, it seems that a move to making FastPasses cost money is inevitable.
Over on the west coast, Disneyland has had MaxPass rolling for years. Guests have been able to pay to have extra access to FastPasses there since 2017. While neither the original system or MaxPass have come back since reopening, it seems like it’s only a matter of time. When they do return, it’s feasible that only the paid version comes back and other FastPass options don’t.
The problem, at least for Disney, when it comes to making FastPasses an extra add-on price to your ticket is that it will be met with much more resistance in America. After offering some form of the service for free for 22 years, telling people that it now costs money probably wouldn’t go over well. Both of these resorts have very loyal yet vocal fans and some of them have a breaking point. With ticket prices being raised every year and additional add-on costs popping up constantly, the price gouging will start to be overkill. But will that cause people to simply not buy a ‘pay to skip the line’ pass?
In Disney’s defense of a thing that they haven’t even done yet, they are a business and there is some precedence for this move. As I already mentioned, most other theme parks offer something similar to this including Disney’s biggest rival, Universal. There’s also a reason that Disney keeps offering add-on opportunities. It’s because the majority of them sell. When it’s for a prime product like skipping lines, I’m sure there’s a big enough, and wealthy enough, base to dive in.
As you could probably gather at this point, I think it’s only a matter of time before Disney offers FastPass for a price. Because of some trepidation and knowing that the change will be met with anger, I do think this process will be rolled out slowly over the next 5 or 10 years.
I think you’ll be able to find outrage elsewhere in the Disney community over the choice to do this in Paris and about the potential of it coming stateside. While I generally fall on the side of being against any add-on costs, I can’t say I’m very angry about this potential change. For one, I’ve thought this was inevitable for some time so I’m already resigned to it. Secondly, and hopefully of more interest to you, I think Walt Disney World has needed a FastPass overhaul for a long time.
Perhaps people paying for this dwindles the amount of FastPasses in general, making standby lines move faster. I’m lucky enough to frequent the parks often so I don’t think I would ever pay for this except on special occasions. Even knowing that, I think there are a few reasons to be optimistic about this improving the overall guest experience over what Walt Disney World currently offers.
If I had my way, everything would be the way Disneyland Resort did FastPass before the pandemic shut the parks down. Some people can pay to get a few more FastPasses but all are acquired on the day of, one at a time. I do think there’s a chance of this being the route going forward as it’s similar to what Paris is implementing.
Whether or not this will all come to pass, we expect FastPass in some iteration to return by the end of the year. I’m hopeful that the system will be improved over what we had previously had but time will tell.
What do you think of potential FastPass changes? Let us know in the comments below. Planning a trip to a Disney Park? Check out our guides to help you along the way! If you enjoy what you’re reading please subscribe to the blog and like our social media pages which you can find on the right side of this page. Thank you for reading, we really appreciate it!
Categories: Rumors and Commentary