When Walt Disney World reopened following their historic 118 day closure due to Covid-19, many operational changes were put in place. One of the changes with the biggest impact on guests was the suspension of the FastPass+ system. Disney stated that the “FastPass+ service must be suspended as [they] plan to use additional queue space to control capacity at [their] attractions and maintain physical distancing.” Disney has yet to announce when the FastPass+ System will go back online.
Crowds at the parks have been steadily increasing and that trend is expected to continue through the end of the year. As wait times increase, park-goers are eagerly awaiting the return of the FastPasses they have become accustomed to. Queues for popular attractions are currently using the FastPass line for additional space and sometimes still expand into different lands and consume walking paths throughout WDW, so it doesn’t look like FastPasses will be returning anytime soon. Actually, it seems the question isn’t when will the FastPass+ system return to WDW, but will it return at all?
The park closures and reduced capacity has given Disney the perfect opportunity to overhaul their FastPass+ system, something they have been looking to do for years. But what exactly will the changes be? The biggest potential seems to be virtual queues, a paid FastPass system, or a combination of the two. Let’s look closer into each!
It’s very possible that many of WDWs popular rides such as Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway and Flight of Passage could see a switch to a virtual queue like is currently used for Rise of the Resistance. While a standby line may still be available, this would allow Disney to get people out of line and to shift crowds elsewhere, such as shows, restaurants and gift shops. Just open up your My Disney Experience App and you’ll see some hits that Disney may be headed down this path. When you head to your main menu you will see an entire tile dedicated to virtual queues (note the plural here). It seems unlikely that Disney would update their system just for Rise of the Resistance so we would expect more virtual queues in the future.
Paid FastPass+ System
When Disney first launched their FastPass+ System in 2013 their plan was to use the system to reward spending. In other words, if you booked a deluxe hotel stay you would receive more or better FastPasses than someone who booked a value resort. However, after a strong negative reaction from the public, Disney did not follow through with these plans and settled on the system we are familiar with today. It is possible that when FastPasses do return the system will be completely redone into a tiered, paid program. Disney has already seen the success of a paid system with the MaxPass System in Disneyland and the Disney Premier Access system in Shanghai Disneyland. It is very likely that we will see some version of a paid FastPass system come to WDW.
Overall, it seems likely changes will be coming to the FastPass+ System as we know it. No news yet on how Disney’s new “Genie” app will be involved with a new reservation system but we expect it to play a major role!
Would you pay for a FastPass? Do you prefer virtual or standby queues? Let us know in the comments below!