Heads up, Disney World fans. Paid FastPasses could be coming sooner than you think.
Walt Disney World Resort is the vacation kingdom. It’s the Most Magical Place on Earth, the place where dreams come true, and the place where tourists are willing to spend thousands of dollars to ensure that their vacations are as perfect as possible. While a good percentage of Disney World guests are locals and annual passholders, a majority will only ever visit Disney World once a year, once every few years, or even once in their lifetime.
So naturally, these guests are willing to pay the big bucks for experiences they might never have again.
This is where paid FastPasses could come into play.
Currently, Walt Disney World allows guests to reserve FastPasses completely free. If you’re unfamiliar, a FastPass gives guests the ability to reserve a one-hour window for an attraction, during which they can arrive at that attraction, wait in a shorter queue, and experience the ride with a much shorter wait than if they hadn’t used a FastPasses and had to wait in the regular line.
If you are staying in a Disney resort, you can book up to three FastPasses per person, per day, up to 60 days in advance of your vacation start date. If you are not staying in a Disney resort, you can book up to three FastPasses per person, per day, up to 30 days in advance of your vacation start date. But either way, this version of FastPass is completely free and allows guests to access the FastPass system from their phone using the official Walt Disney World app, My Disney Experience.
Can guests pay for more FastPasses at Disney World?
As of now, FastPasses are totally free. But there are certain paid experiences that guests can book which will give them the ability to have more FastPasses or even to skip the line altogether. These aren’t exactly marketed as paid FastPasses, but once you read a bit more into them, it’s easy to tell that part of the appeal of booking these experiences is the ability to ride attractions without waiting in the regular queue.
Walt Disney World Tours
Disney offers a variety of tours throughout Walt Disney World Resort, and some of these tours even include riding attractions at the four theme parks — Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and Disney’s Animal Kingdom — without waiting in line.
Disney’s Keys to the Kingdom tour, for example, take guests on select attractions in Magic Kingdom which giving them a behind-the-scenes look at the history of the park. it costs $99 per person, but if you value learning about Disney history (and you want to get to experience some attractions in the process) this could be worth it for you. This is just one example of a tour offered at Walt Disney World that guides guests through the park and lets them ride at least one attraction without waiting in line.
On the other end of the spectrum is the option to book a VIP tour. For several hundred dollars, you have the option to book a VIP tour guide for you and your travel group. While there are many benefits of having a personal tour guide with you as you navigate the Disney World theme parks, admittedly many guests book these VIP tours for the sole purpose of getting to ride attractions for several hours in a day without having to wait in a single line. Aside from booking a private VIP tour guide, you can even book a VIP tour dedicated to attractions, from thrill rides to classic Disney attractions. So even though these aren’t marketed as paid FastPasses, essentially you are paying a large price to get to cut the line.
Additionally, paying for FastPasses is a lesser-known benefit of staying Club Level at a Disney Resort hotel. That’s right — Disney has already implemented the option to purchase additional FastPasses at Walt Disney World, but only for certain guests. If you are staying Club Level (the most luxurious rooms at Disney’s Deluxe Resort hotels, which offer added benefits like lounges with buffets of food throughout the day), then you have the option of paying $50 per person, per day, to book an additional three FastPasses in advance, with a three-day minimum. This means that if you are staying at Walt Disney World with the most expensive and luxurious accommodations, you can pay an additional fee to pretty much guarantee that you can ride the attractions you want to ride while on vacation.
Disney’s Paid FastPass Systems Around the World
While the idea of having to pay for FastPasses at Walt Disney World might sound ridiculous so seasoned visitors or those who don’t understand why Disney would charge for a FastPass, the concept really isn’t that far-fetched. In fact, Disney has been implementing paid FastPasses at other parks around the world for quite some time…only not in the way you might think.
Disneyland Resort FastPass System
At Disneyland, guests can continue to utilize the free version of FastPass by visiting any of the in-park FastPass distribution points near the attraction they are hoping to obtain a FastPass for. This is completely free — the only catch is you have to visit the distribution points in person in order to load the FastPass onto your theme park ticket or annual pass.
A couple years back, however, Disneyland introduced something called MaxPass, a paid version of FastPass. For $15 per person, per day, guests can use MaxPass, which gives them the capability of booking FastPasses straight on their phone using the Disneyland app. MaxPass eliminates the need to visit FastPass distribution points. MaxPass doesn’t give guests the ability to purchase more FastPasses, but booking FastPasses straight on your phone does save a lot of time since it eliminates the need to walk from land to land and scanning your ticket at every distribution point as soon as your next booking window opens up. This inherently makes it possible to book more FastPasses in a single day since guests are able to stay more plugged-in to their FastPass booking windows and book FastPasses for attractions as soon as possible.
Shanghai Disney Resort FastPass System
Although not exactly the same as the system at Disneyland in California, Shanghai Disney Resort also has a paid version of FastPass available as a upcharge to guests. Shanghai Disneyland’s regular FastPass system continues to be free to all guests, only their free FastPass system — just like at Walt Disney World — is accessible on the Shanghai Disneyland app. It allows guests to book FastPasses directly on the app without having to visit distribution points throughout the park. So already, the regular FastPass systems at Walt Disney World and Shaghai Disneyland are basically the free version of Disneyland’s paid MaxPass system.
But here’s where it get’s a little more interesting. Shanghai Disney Resort also has a paid version of FastPass, which they call Disney Premier Access. Disney Premier Access allows guests “priority access” to attractions throughout Shanghai Disneyland — and actually, there are more attractions eligible for Disney Premier Access than for regular FastPasses. Guests have the option of purchasing Premier Access for a single attraction of their choice, or they can purchase a Premier Access set that will grant priority access to a number of attractions. Disney Premier Access allows guests to experience these attractions at any time of day, whereas the free version of FastPass only allows access to an attraction at a select time.
Why would a paid FastPass system work at Disney World?
Well for starters, in a way Disney World already implements paid FastPasses — just not for everyone. The option right now is only extended to Club Level guests. But given the systems at Disneyland Resort in California and Shanghai Disney Resort in China, we wouldn’t be surprised if Disney wants to move toward allowing guests at Disney World to purchase extra FastPasses.
Given how popular the attractions at Disney World are, we wouldn’t be surprised of guests would be willing to pay for additional FastPasses — or even pay for FastPasses for specific attractions. Flight of Passage has been a consistently popular ride ever since it opened at Pandora – The World of Avatar at Disney’s Animal Kingdom in 2017. That attraction, along with Seven Dwarf’s Mine Train at Magic Kingdom and Frozen Ever After at Epcot, continues to be incredibly difficult to snag a FastPass for, even if you book 60 days in advance.
Plus, at the moment, the two newest attractions at Disney’s Hollywood Studios — Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run and Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance — do not have FastPasses and continue to be popular. So as time progresses, it wouldn’t at all be shocking if Disney implemented FastPasses for these two attractions — or even if Disney gave the option to purchase FastPasses for them so that the ultimate Star Wars fan could guarantee their experience on both rides on their (perhaps once-in-a-lifetime) visit to Galaxy’s Edge.
Keep in mind that this is just speculation, and nothing is confirmed. But we’re curious to find out how Disney will amend the FastPass system in the future as Disney World attractions continue to get more and more popular.