Will FastPass+ Return for a Price?
One analyst believes it’s just a matter of time before Disney Premiere Access comes to the parks in the United States…
I wish I could say Rick Munarriz’s latest Disney post for The Motley Fool would make everyone happy.
But I can’t.
This week Disneyland Paris introduced Disney Premier Access, a paid service that gives buyers the ability to shave their wait times by reserving a spot in a dedicated fast lane. It’s a far more lucrative platform than MaxPass, and it may be just a matter of time before Disney’s most visited theme park resort follows suit.
Why, Rick, why?
Munarriz points out that Disney is one of the last major theme park operators not to upcharge for popular attractions, and “the pandemic likely gave it the perfect opportunity to pull that monetization lever.”
Moreover, the stock analyst points out that there are fewer people in the parks. And while this might have been the plan during the COVID-19 safety restrictions, the dented bottom line could be banged out by a pay-to-play system.
While I am not through the roof on the idea, I do think there may be merits. After all, the FastPass+ system was not without its flaws.
Seriously, think about it.
FastPass+ Was Flawed
I remember plenty of times when FP and “forced selection” was not a necessary component of, say, “Muppet Vision 3D” or “The Indiana Jones Stunt Spectacular.”
Or moments when really great “people-eating” rides like “Spaceship Earth,” “Pirates of the Caribbean,” or “The Haunted Mansion” seemed to have astronomical waits for no reason.
Did you ever stand in line for “it’s a small world” and wonder, “Why did I need a FastPass for this?” I love the ride, but I have been on it dozens of times.
And I’d pick it just because it was the only thing left (and was at least near the always crammed “Peter Pans Flight”).
Let’s Go On The PeopleMover
Yes, you might have gotten a FastPass for one of these classics, but chances are good you were waiting in a VERY long line for the next ride and were hoping that the PeopleMover queue wasn’t packed.
Furthermore, I remember purchasing Max Pass at Disneyland and flying through lines in a way that was superior to FP+.
Seriously, “pre-picking” rides weren’t part of my ultimately very relaxing Disneyland visits.
So, with that in mind, I would pay to have quicker access to, say, the five rides I really love, during my week-long, long-form once-a-year family vacation to Walt Disney World; perhaps picking one ride a day that we all really, really want, and ponying up.
To me, the trade-off becomes, “How many bags of popcorn, souvenirs, or tantrums am I mitigating by paying for my family’s favs?” Or, “How much easier will it be to go into a vacation without every moment planned?” And, finally, “I really wanted to get on Smugglers Run, and I am glad I paid for the quick access because the rest of the day was a bonus.”
Meanwhile, Standby Pass reminds me of the old hard ticket FastPass system, whereby I could grab an FP for Pirates and come back to little or no wait – it’s just on the phone.
I really want to ride Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway, but I will not wait in line for over an hour. My Standby Pass says 11:45 AM, and I’ll go wander until then.
Slow Down, Folks
Finally, I am sitting here thinking, all of this might just SLOW DOWN my days at the park, making them less about keeping to a schedule and more about shared time enjoying the Disney bubble.
Again, I am not jumping up-and-down thrilled at the prospect. Still, I’d rather spend my vacation planning picking the perfect resort or dinner reservation than making sure that I “spend” my three FastPass+ selections at Epcot wisely when I really just want to ride “Frozen Ever After” and see Donald on “The Gran Fiesta Tour.”
BTW: there was this other line in Munarriz’s piece that I really liked.
“[I]f pumping up the bottom line is the key to reinvesting in upgrading its attractions even the boo birds will eventually come around,” he said.
“Sold!” I say.
Feature Image: MickeyBlog.com