With all of the ways that Disney parks are trying to make more money these days (charging for early entrance and preferred fireworks viewing spots, just to name a couple), it might seem logical to think that another complimentary perk might be on the chopping block soon too. But here's why Walt Disney World guests don't have to worry about free FastPass+ going away:
1. Just because Universal does it, doesn't mean Disney does it
No one wants to spend their entire day at an amusement park waiting in lines, and some parks have found that people are willing to pay a lot in order to skip them. A Universal Express Pass for both Universal Studios Florida and Universal's Islands of Adventure costs at least $64.99 (based on dates), and that's on top of the parks' separate admission fees. (The passes are offered for free to guests who pay to stay at Universal's deluxe hotels.) At Six Flags parks, there's a tiered system of FLASH Passes based on how long a guest wants to spend in line (if a visitor wants to get on a ride up to 50 percent faster than the current wait time, he'll pay $95; if he's really short on time, he can get on a ride 90 percent faster than the current wait for a staggering $150). And even SeaWorld Orlando, which has only a handful of rides, has a Quick Queue Unlimited Option for $19 on top of the cost of a park admission ticket.
However, Disney's attendance figures are much higher than those at these other parks. In 2015, 137 million people visited Disney parks worldwide, according to figures from the TEA/AECOM Global Attractions Attendance Report, while only 44 million visited Universal Parks and Resorts, 28 million hit Six Flags parks and 22 million visited SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment. The attendance numbers show that Disney doesn't need to follow other parks' leads in order to get people streaming in.
2. Charging for FastPass+ would be a public relations nightmare
Disney park guests aren't used to paying for FastPasses, and the idea of that would probably not go over too well. Even if Disney did decide to follow Universal's lead and offered the perk to people who stayed at their deluxe hotels, many people might find that to be the last straw. After all, no one is forcing guests to attend paid Extra Magic Hours, and they can still see fireworks at no extra charge from a variety of locations, but if the main attraction at Disney parks are the attractions themselves and guests had to pay a premium to get on them, there would likely be some backlash. Many people already have to save up for their Disney park trips, and this would be an added expense that they never had to budget for before.
Another issue is that most Disney parks don't have many rides that demand FastPass+, so there aren't enough FastPass+ slots to sell. And if people paid for FastPass+ but there weren't enough slots, there would be a lot of very unhappy guests who might rethink their vacation plans in the future.