Full disclosure to start off with, there are no credible sources that say that paid FastPass+ is coming to Walt Disney World. The information here is speculation on what might happen. Do not call Walt Disney World and cancel your vacation over something that may not even be a possibility. Still, there are some factors which point to the idea that paying for front of the line access at Walt Disney World might happen somewhere down the road.
Other Orlando Parks
First, let’s start with the other major theme parks in the Orlando area. At SeaWorld Orlando, they offer what is known as Quick Queue. The price for Quick Queue starts at $10 for single use, and rises to $19 for unlimited use. There is also an option for Signature Show Seating & Quick Queue Unlimited, and that starts at $28. Currently, seven attractions at SeaWorld Orlando accept Quick Queue.
Busch Gardens Tampa Bay also offers Quick Queue. Single use Quick Queue starts at $15.99, while Quick Queue Unlimited starts at $20.99. Eight attractions accept Quick Queue at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay.
Arguably Walt Disney World’s biggest competition is Universal Orlando Resort. They offer Express Pass. For one day Express Pass at Universal’s Volcano Bay (opening May 25, 2017) the cost is $39.99. One day Express Pass at Universal’s Islands of Adventure is $54.99. At Universal Studios Florida, Express Pass costs $74.99 for one day. There is also a two park Express Pass option that does not include Volcano Bay for $84.99. These prices are all unlimited. There are also Express Pass options for guests staying at select Universal Orlando Resort hotels, and for the highest Annual Passholder option. It is interesting to note that Express Pass is not available for some of the more popular attractions at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.
Other Disney Parks
Just because other Orlando area parks sell front of the line (or shorter line) privileges, that does not mean that Walt Disney World will do the same. After all, a lot of money was invested in the current FastPass+ system, and Disney spokespersons will tell you over and over again how successful it is. But are there signs that something might change in the future?
There have been rumors for a long time that a FastPass+ system similar to what is found in Orlando is on the way to Disneyland Resort in California. Instead, what was announced back in January is MaxPass. The paper FASTPASS system is still in place, where guests grab a ticket at the entrance to an attraction. What makes MaxPass different is that guests can schedule FASTPASSES on the Disneyland App. MaxPass also offers unlimited downloads of PhotoPass pictures. The introductory price for MaxPass has been announced at $10 per day, with a yearly option available for Passholders. Guests aren’t really paying for the FASTPASS service, they’re paying for the convenience of making reservations through the app. MaxPass will not replace the paper FASTPASS system, which will still be offered for free.
What is slightly more telling about the possibility of an upcharge for FastPass+ is taking place at Shanghai Disneyland. In China, some of the rides that offer FASTPASS have long lines, and the paper FASTPASSES will often run out early in the day. Locals started to arrive at the park’s opening, would grab as many paper tickets as possible, and then sell them to tourists. Disney decided that they could be making that money instead, and came up with Disney Premier Access. A single, one use pass costs guests up to $22, depending on the day. You can purchase a pass for all seven attractions that offer the service for up to $87. The difference between Premier Access and FASTPASS, besides the cost, is that you can redeem Premier Access at any time during the day. With FASTPASS, there is still a one hour window. For those who don’t want to pay extra, paper FASTPASS is still available for no additional cost.
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The new system at Shanghai Disneyland does not mean that something similar will soon be coming to Walt Disney World, but never say never. With new lands on the way, paying for additional FastPass+ times could be a way to keep lines manageable, and put more money in Disney’s pockets. Since other area theme parks have successfully implemented paid systems to give access to shorter lines, the idea is already out there. Chances are that someone at Disney is at least exploring the possibility and seeing if it would be feasible at Walt Disney World.