Tokyo Disney Resort and Oriental Land Company have announced that Disney Premier Access, a paid service that will allow guests to skip the line, is coming to Tokyo Disneyland and DisneySea. This new system will begin on May 19th. In this post, we’ll cover where you can use Disney Premier Access, how we think the system will evolve and add in our own commentary about the news.
To begin with, Disney Premier Access will only be available for one attraction in each park – Enchanted Tale of Beauty and the Beast in Tokyo Disneyland and Soaring: Fantastic Flight in Tokyo DisneySea. For 2,000 yen ($15.48 USD as of May 14th, 2022), guests will be able to reserve a time in the Tokyo Disney Resort App and then arrive at that time to bypass the line.
At this time, guests will pay for each individual attraction. That’s not a big deal when only two are offered and park hopping doesn’t happen as often at Tokyo Disney Resort. This isn’t Genie+ yet, although I wouldn’t be surprised if the service eventually went that way.
Before this was announced, the resort had used a Standby Pass (essentially a virtual queue) for newer attractions in the past few years. That system has now been suspended in favor of Disney Premier Access. Using the system is pretty easy once inside the app, as you’ll pick the experience, select a time and insert payment. For a step-by-step process on how to use Disney Premier Access, click here.
None of the news is surprising. Since reopening after the pandemic, Tokyo Disney Resort has suspended FastPass use with everything being standby lines save for the Standby Pass. I too am confused about that last sentence. Too many standbys to keep track of! Anyway, it now appears that FastPass will be no more at Tokyo Disney Resort. Those guides I wrote do tons of good now! 😉
The reason these changes aren’t surprising are twofold. For one, most other Disney Resorts have already made the move to a paid skip-the-line pass including Disneyland, Walt Disney World and Disneyland Paris. The other reason is that the Oriental Land Company, who owns and operates Tokyo Disney Resort, told us that this was coming. Their goal is to enhance the guest experience while recovering financially from the last few years.
Before you roll your eyes about the ‘recovering financially’ aspect of that sentiment, Tokyo Disney Resort operates differently than other Disney Resorts. As I’ve already mentioned, they aren’t technically owned by Disney so as the company’s profits have recovered and started to soar, that doesn’t have as much effect on Tokyo Disney Resort. They are very transparent about their goals, to a point where I wish we saw the Disney company follow suit when it came to the parks.
Along with that, Tokyo still has attendance caps in place due to the pandemic. They’ve been operating at a deficit for some time while still bringing back their parades and other entertainment before any of the stateside resorts. This is before taking into account guest spending, which is far more frugal in Tokyo than the record amounts spent at Walt Disney World and Disneyland in the past few months.
For that reason, it’s hard to forecast what kind of service Disney Premier Access will eventually end up being. The easy thought is that a few more attractions will be added for each park and this becomes Genie+. That would make sense and, honestly, would be a fine move for Tokyo Disney Resort. Park tickets cost significantly less there and I would happily pay $15 to skip the lines. Current ticket prices plus $15 would still put the cost for the day at around $85, which is significantly less than tickets to DL or WDW.
On the other hand, the resort has a very loyal and local fan base. OLC knows better than to anger that base with excess spending and has proven that they actually do care about the guest experience. They deserve the benefit of the doubt there, while I don’t necessarily give that same belief to the decisions in the stateside resorts.
It’s also notable that Disney Premier Access will only be offered at the most recent additions to both parks. There’s a chance that this will be the route going forward, especially with the DisneySea massive expansion coming in the next couple of years. Instead of a Genie+ system where guests will pay to skip the line for a number of attractions, maybe there will be a couple of individual attractions to pay for in each park. All of this is conjecture and I’m eager to see where the system goes.
Of course, I never want to have to pay for what was once a free service. I still hesitate to recommend Genie+ at Disneyland even though the system does work extremely well on certain days. Deciding on whether or not to pay for something that’s not necessary is what we try to help guests with on this site. That said, Tokyo Disney Resort continues to be careful with the guest experience by cranking out expansions that don’t get delayed and running shows even when the parks are operating at a deficit. With that in mind, I’m hopeful that this new system will be implemented carefully and with the guest experience in mind.
What do you think of the Disney Premier Access at Tokyo Disney Resort? Let us know in the comments! Planning a trip to Tokyo Disney Resort? Check out our planning guide here to help you get started! Thank you for reading Wandering in Disney! If you enjoy the blog then please subscribe via email or WordPress and like our social media accounts. You can do all of those things on the right side of this page.