When Disneyland first opened in 1955, there was not a set price to get in and experience all of the attractions. Instead, Guets would pay a small fee to get into the theme park, then purchase tickets that would give them access to certain rides. Initially, attractions were labeled either A, B or C — D and E were added later. Guests could purchase a ticket book and redeem a ticket for a ride on an attraction in the category corresponding to the letter in the ticket book.
Disney eventually decided to do away with ticket books and brought in an all-inclusive passport, which is close to the system that is still in place today. Now, Guests pay a flat rate to enter the theme parks and can ride whatever attractions as many times as they would like. Later, a free system was introduced where Guests could obtain a FastPass and wait in a special, shorter line for certain rides. FastPass (or FASTPASS at Disneyland, for example) allows Guests to select a window of time when they can return to ride an attraction and wait in a much shorter line. And, prior to the theme park closures of 2020, FastPass at Walt Disney World and FASTPASS at Disneyland were completely free for all Guests.
However, one Disney theme park recently made the decision to change up how Guests experience Disney magic. Disneyland Paris announced that its free FastPass was being eliminated and a paid FastPass system called Disney Premier Access would be taking its place. Guests are now able to wait in a free standby line or pay an extra fee per attraction to get into the shorter line.
With Disneyland Paris now charging per attraction for FastPass access, is it possible that the same changes could be coming to the U.S., and Disneyland and Disney World will make those same changes?
At this time, FastPass at Disney World and FASTPASS at Disneyland are among the offerings currently suspended at the U.S. theme parks. While Disney World’s FastPass+ system remained completely free as of March 2020, Disneyland already made a similar change to its FASTPASS experience a few years back. As of March 2020, Disneyland does still offer free FASTPASS access, but they also introduced a paid system in 2017 called MaxPass. For an added fee per Guest, per day, MaxPass allows Guests to make FASTPASS reservations through their phones and see all available passes.
The MaxPass system is incredibly popular with Guests visiting Disneyland and Disney California Adventure — which means that Guests do not mind paying for a FASTPASS at the California theme parks, at least with the MaxPass system offering unlimited, convenient access to FASTPASS for a flat rate. This is different than at the new Premier Access system at Disneyland Paris, which, as mentioned above, charges Guests per attraction.
Guests are also torn on how Disney World handles their FastPass+ system. Even though it is nice to be able to guarantee access to an attraction, booking was done months in advance and Annual Passholders can struggle to make those FastPass reservations if they do not book their trips far enough in advance.
So, should Disneyland and Disney World follow the path of Disneyland Paris and charge for each attraction? For Disneyland Resort, its MaxPass system has been so successful that it may not make sense to change it again. However, it may make sense for Disney World to rethink how its FastPass+ system operates. Disney World could decide to adopt the MaxPass system or the Disney Premier Access system — or perhaps there won’t be any changes to FastPass whatsoever at Disney World or Disneyland when the offering is reintroduced in Florida and California.
It will be interesting to see how Disneyland Paris Guests react to the new charges for FastPass access. If the plan is popular, Disney may decide to enact the same type of paid system at its other theme parks. Right now, however, we don’t know what the future holds for FastPass at Walt Disney World or Disneyland Resort, and we’ll update our website when Disney shares any official announcements.
How do you feel about paying for a FastPass for each Disney attraction you want to ride? Do you think Disney will adopt the Disney Premier Access system across all Disney Parks, or do you think the MaxPass system is the way of the future? Let us know in the comments!
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