One of the biggest hallmarks of Disney’s FastPass (and later FastPass+) system was that Disney theme parks, unlike Universal, Six Flags, and other theme parks around the world, would not impose a fee on guests wanting to use their queue-skipping system. The unspoken logic here was that Disney would make more money in the long term by keeping as many guests as possible out of attraction lines, so they could instead spend their time and money at shops, restaurants, etc.,
However, a recent development at the Disneyland Resort may hint at the future of FastPass at Disney parks, and unfortunately, it looks like it could be the beginning of the end for free FastPass….
Introducing the $10 MaxPass upcharge at the Disneyland Resort
Earlier this week the Disneyland Resort confirmed that it will (finally) begin to allow guests to start booking and managing digital FastPass reservations via the resort's official app later this year, a development that has been in the works for nearly two years. However, fans were stunned to find out that instead of offering free FastPass+ reservations for guests, Disneyland is attaching a $10 per person, per day fee to this digital service, and calling it MaxPass.
So, for instance, if you have a family of four visiting the Disneyland Resort for three days, if you want to use this new digital FastPass system, you’ll have to shell out a cool $120 for the privilege. Interestingly, Disney has confirmed that there will be an annual MaxPass option for passholders, but has not revealed pricing details on that just yet.
This digital system will have quite a few limitations...
One of the biggest issues that Disney has always faced when it comes to implementing a digital FastPass at Disneyland is the various limits of this system at this resort. Though Disneyland technically has more attractions than Walt Disney World, because of the large amount of annual passholders as well as the smaller number of attractions that actually offer FastPass return tickets (just 14 as of December 2016), bringing FastPass+ to the west coast has always presented Disney with significant challenges. And unfortunately, if you’re hoping that MaxPass will solve these issues, you’d be sadly mistaken.
Under this new, paid system, guests will only be able to book digital FastPass reservations on the same day as their visit, which means that availability will be very different depending on the day. In addition, it has been confirmed that MaxPass will only be able to be used at 16 attractions (the 14 mentioned above as well as the Matterhorn Bobsleds and Toy Story Midway Mania, which are both implementing FastPass systems later this year).
It has also been confirmed that while guests can purchase MaxPass in advance, they will not be able to activate this service until they are actually inside a Disneyland theme park, which means if you miss your hotel shuttle in the morning, you may not be able to make that coveted Radiator Springs Racers reservation.
Finally, and perhaps most interestingly, digital FastPass reservations made using this new MaxPass system can only be made one at a time, which is a huge departure from the system at Walt Disney World, which allows guests to make up to three FastPass+ reservations at once, with guests not able to make another FastPass reservation until they have used their last FastPass (or, in the case of World of Color, enough time has passed), like with paper FastPass. And speaking of the latter...