A loophole for FastPass+ that Walt Disney World guests have been using to cheat the…
FastPass+ in Disney World is a free service that helps you to make reservations for your favorite attractions while visiting the theme parks and has become a necessary part of every trip. But is a paid version of FastPass+ coming to Walt Disney World? This rumor has been going around for years now, and we may be closer than you think.
In this post we are going to go over the latest rumors of a paid FastPass service in Disney World, if it’s really possible, how it would work, how much it might cost, and when we might see it.
(UPDATE) – Rumors about a paid FastPass system coming to Walt Disney World are more likely than ever since Disneyland Paris has adopted a new paid attraction reservation system called Disney Premier Access. Read on for the latest…
Paid FastPass+ Rumors
First of all, rumors of a paid version of FastPass+ in Disney World have been circling for years. In fact, many find it strange that Disney hasn’t yet started offering it since other theme park companies like Universal already have it in their parks.
Up until this point, however, Disney World has continued to offer the FastPass+ service for free. This however might soon be changing due to new paid attraction reservation systems in other Disney Parks worldwide.
Let’s take a look at what we know so far…
New Disneyland Paris Paid Reservation System
Premier Access at Disneyland Paris is the latest version of a paid attraction reservation service Disney has rolled out. Guests can buy Premier Access using the Disneyland Paris App or at select locations at the parks.
The system allows guests to access a specific attraction at an assigned time slot, allowing them to skip the standby queue and essentially walk on.
This paid form of ride reservations costs between $9 and $17+ per person per ride, depending on the attraction you choose and the day you are booking it. That means for a family of 4 it could cost as much as $36 to $68 per ride, not exactly chump change.
Here are the current prices for Disney Premier Access in Disneyland Paris. These prices are per person, per ride and converted to USD from EUR:
- Autopia – $9.50
- Big Thunder Mountain – $14
- Buzz Lightyear – $18
- Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure – $14
- Space Mountain – $11
- Star Tours – $9.50
- Peter Pan’s Flight – $18
- Tower of Terror – $18
These prices are dynamic and can change depending on the day or season. That means going at Christmas will cost you more for each ride than going in the slower season.
In addition to Premier Access, they are also introducing the Disney Standby Pass which is a mix between the virtual queue and a traditional standby queue. It allows guests to book a spot in line but not have to enter the queue right away, giving them more time for dining, shopping, or other attractions.
Once their position in line is ready they can enter the queue and continue for what should be a reduced amount of time than normal. It won’t always be running, but when it is you can book your spot in line and then return with a QR code when called.
This seems like a much better solution than paying for Premier Access and we’re guessing the vast majority of guests are going to go this route.
Disneyland and Shanghai Disneyland FastPass
Right now both Disneyland in California and Shanghai Disneyland have paid FastPass systems and free versions.
In Disneyland, their free FastPass system works through the in-park kiosks where guests can go at any time during the day to reserve rides for that day. They are given a return time and come back at that point to experience the ride. This is different than in Walt Disney World and is not available on the Disneyland app, but only at in-park kiosks.
However, back in 2017, Disneyland also launched the “MaxPass” system which has an upcharge to use it. For $15 per person, per day, guests can make FastPass reservations through the Disneyland app. It then eliminates the need to visit in-park kiosks, and saves a lot of time, allowing you to experience more rides than without.
Shanghai Disneyland also has both free and paid versions of FastPass, but theirs is more similar to Disney World in that guests can use the free version on the Shanghai Disneyland app.
Their paid FastPass system (Disney Premier Access) opens up an interesting possibility, however, as rides can be booked on a per attraction basis, and additional attractions are available for FastPasses if you use the paid version. This is the same system we now see in Disneyland Paris.
Their free version also has more restrictions and only allows you to book some attractions at certain times of the day, whereas the paid version gives you access all day.
All of these examples show that Disney is already using paid FastPass in other Disney Parks around the world, which makes for perfect testing grounds before bringing a similar system to Walt Disney World.
Even before the latest updates, rumors have been swirling about making guests pay for attraction reservations. One place we’ve seen these rumors is on the WDWMagic forums.
Back in March 2019, a highly respected poster on those boards “Marni1971,” said the plan is to roll out 2 versions of FastPass in Disney World. The current free version would remain, though the number of free passes given out per day would be greatly reduced from the number there are available today.
Disney would also introduce, however, a paid version of FastPass, giving access to some of the harder-to-get attractions, though at a premium price. This paid version of FastPass could have up to 3 packages, each offering different benefits, with more exclusivity the more you pay.
This same user updated his statement recently, saying that Disney is still planning on going forward with this system, though the timeline has been pushed back slightly. He hinted that a paid FastPass system might happen in Disney World as soon as 2020.
Obviously, the pandemic set those plans back a bit, but things could be getting back on track now in 2021 or 2022 with all the parks open and attendance coming back.
The Signs of Paid FastPass+ Are Already in Disney World
Another sign that paid FastPass is coming to Disney World are the Club Level upcharge packages that are already available now.
Back in 2018 Disney World started a new program for its Club Level hotel guests, giving them the opportunity to purchase additional FastPasses for a charge. For $50 per guest, per day, you can get 3 additional FastPass reservations per day.
Maybe even more importantly, guests who buy this package have an additional 30 days booking advantage over other guests as they can start making reservations in a 90-Day window instead of the normal 60 days.
Not only that, but Disney also already offers VIP Tours can get you onto 6-11 rides of your choice per day. These tours come with a hefty price tag but are worth it to some guests that just don’t want to wait in line.
Lastly, rumors were that Disney toyed with a paid version of FastPass in Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge for both Disneyland and Disney World. Though that never came to fruition, it was believed that guests would pay a premium to not have to wait in Disney’s newest theme park land.
Why Would Disney Do a Paid Version of FastPass+ In Disney World?
Since the FastPass+ system in Disney World works pretty well, why would Disney want to do a paid version? The answer is easy: money.
Disney has been slowly introducing more and more up-charge services, experiences, and events to the parks every year, as they are concentrated on increasing revenue per guest rather than try to increase the total number of guests by any significant amount.
If there is a market for a paid FastPass service in Orlando, you can be sure Disney will want to cash in on that.
Keeping guests out of a ride queue and giving them more time to eat and shop also is a huge factor and increases the spending per guest, and in the end, Disney’s bottom line.
Like we already pointed out, paid FastPass already exists in Disneyland California, Shanghai Disneyland, and Disneyland Paris, so the company has seen that guests will buy it, and they have experience in how to implement it.
Having super popular attractions in Walt Disney World like Flight of Passage and the new Star Wars Rise of the Resistance would make it very tempting for guests if they didn’t have to wake up at the crack of dawn to get a chance to ride them.
How Would It Work?
This is the most interesting part and depending on how the paid system works, it would have a dramatic effect on the guest experience. Some form of FastPass+ is coming back, so what would it look like?
If the rumors are to be believed, Disney is going to keep a free version of FastPass+ in Disney World even if they roll out a paid one. However, the number of rides available to guests using the free version would likely be significantly reduced with guests using the paid version taking some of those rides.
Let’s say attraction A right now has 5,000 FastPasses available for it per day, that number might be cut in half or more depending on how many people opt for the paid version. This means that it will be even harder to get those highly sought-after attractions like Flight of Passage, Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, etc.
It’s also believed that there will be multiple tiers in this new FastPass system, and each level could have a different number of attractions available to them per day, and different booking windows.
One of the options might be like Shanghai which allows you to make a reservation for just one attraction if you desire. Would be worth it to pay the extra money to be guaranteed to ride Rise of the Resistance for example?
It’s believed that the paid FastPass system could be connected to the new Genie Trip Planning App that Disney announced at the D23 Expo. This app is supposed to be intelligence-driven and help you make planning decisions for your Walt Disney World vacation based on your wants and needs.
Many would be most excited for an extended, 90-Day booking window. This would give you a clear advantage over all other guests, making it much easier to get on the most difficult-to-book rides and experiences.
How Much Would It Cost?
The big question is how much will a paid FastPass+ system in Walt Disney World cost?
Again this is going to depend on how many different packages they make and how many options are available for each one. I could see the bottom tier being a charge for individual attractions only. It would likely be in the same price range as Disneyland Paris, somewhere around $10-$20 per guest, per attraction.
For example, Premier Access in Disneyland Paris costs $11 per guest for Space Mountain, $14 for Big Thunder Mountain, $18 for Peter Pan’s Flight, and $18 for the Tower of Terror.
I think you could get a whole lot of guests to pay that or more to not have to wake up early and go through the virtual queue and boarding groups for Rise of the Resistance.
With the new Disney Genie app, the process would be intuitive and you would likely get suggestions depending on your location or your park reservations.
For example, you might walk into Disney’s Magic Kingdom and be advised by the app that Splash Mountain is available at 10:30 am for $15 per person. If the standby line is already 60 minutes long and you don’t feel like waiting, you might be tempted to pay the $15 and skip the line.
The next level could be anywhere from $30-50 per day and give you multiple rides over the normal free version and include an upgraded 90-Day booking window. Guests in the Club Level rooms are already paying $50 for this, so it’s not unreasonable to get other guests to do the same.
Perhaps there could be one more tier that gives you, even more, rides per day, maybe up to 10 per day, essentially allowing you to breeze through a park or multiple parks in the same day.
Disney could probably charge $100 per day or more for something that saves you so much time. The After Hours events give you this benefit, but it would be more profitable for Disney because they could keep the parks at full occupancy, and still get some guests to pay for the upcharge.
Whatever the different levels end up looking like, you can be sure there will be FastPass+ packages available with your vacation package, offering a specific number of rides that can be upgraded at a premium. These packages could be more cost-effective than buying each ride one at a time.
If You Don’t Want to Pay for FastPass+?
Naturally, there is going to be a huge number of people who will be outraged if Disney decides to bring paid FastPass+ to Walt Disney World. Many guests already complain about the sky-high prices of park tickets, food, and merchandise, adding more costs to ride the attractions will not go over well with many.
What happens if you don’t want to pay for attractions then?
Your choices will likely depend on each individual attraction. Most rides will likely have a stand-by line that you can just wait in like you currently do. Even if you can skip the line for Space Mountain for $10, you can also just wait in line for 60 minutes and ride that way.
However, if the ride is extremely busy like Rise of the Resistance, or if it is a packed day in the parks, it might not even have a stand-by line. Perhaps in that case it will use the Disney Virtual Queue instead for whoever is able to get a boarding pass.
I want to emphasize that for now these are just rumors and nothing has been announced yet by Disney. However, it does seem we are very close to a Disney World paid FastPass+ system, and we might see it before the end of 2021.
Stay tuned right here at Ziggy Knows Disney as we will be updating you as soon as something becomes official.
I want to know what you think about the potential of a paid version of FastPass+ coming to Walt Disney World…
- Do you think this is a good idea?
- How much would you pay?
Let us know in the comments section below!
If you enjoyed this article, as always I appreciate it if you’d share it with others via social media. I work hard at making this website into a useful resource for you and your family to plan your visit to the Disney Parks and I hope it can help you! Thanks 🙂