One of the most asked questions I get about Walt Disney World is “When is Fastpass+ coming back?” I don’t know, and neither does anyone else. But the truth is I don’t really want it to come back (at least not in the same Fastpass+ iteration we have come to know). Read on to find out why.
Update! Sharla got her wish granted by a Genie! The FastPass system is being replaced by the Disney Genie+ system. Check out her blog on this new option from Disney!
Fastpass+ (Formerly known as Fastpass) is Walt Disney World’s front-of-the-line pass. It allows you to skip most of the regular line and move closer to the front of the line, thereby having a much shorter wait time. You can get a Fastpass+ up to 60 days in advance of your trip to Walt Disney World. Fastpass+ is free to everyone who enters the theme parks, regardless of where you’re staying, regardless if you live locally or come from across the world.
Don’t get me wrong, I do love Fastpass+ when it’s around. But since Walt Disney World reopened after the COVID-19 shutdown in 202, Fastpass+ has not been available just yet. We do not know its status in terms of when or if it will be coming back to the theme parks.
My (controversial) opinion is that I really don’t want it to come back! As least, I don’t want it to come back in the same version. Fastpass+ is nice when you have it, but if you don’t, you’re stuck.
FastPass+ Slows Down the Standby Lines
We have all seen very long lines at Walt Disney World. Some of the popular attractions can have wait times as long as 3 hours on crowded days. While that is rare, it does happen. And on those days, if you’re lucky enough to get a Fastpass+, then good for you, enjoy it! But for those waiting in the standby line, your wait time is longer because people with Fastpass+ cut in front of you. This is a fact- someone that has a Fastpass+ is cutting in line, in an acceptable way.
If no Fastpass+ is in place, then the line can keep moving! Now I know that it has to stop sometimes, for the accessibility passes or for other reasons, but that’s just life. Those instances are few and far between, whereas Fastpass+ has a lot more people at one time holding up the lines.
I Prefer the “Legacy” Fastpass System
The legacy Fastpass system still exists at all theme parks around the world, including Disneyland. It’s only Walt Disney World that has the Fastpass+. To me, the older version works so much better! It’s nice to just go up to a kiosk and grab a ticket to come back, rather than fight with technology with the MyDisneyExperience app at 60 days before my trip. I really like some spontaneity in my vacations and having to plan out my Fastpass+ really takes a lot out of that.
In addition, the newer Fastpass+ system does not allow you to pre-select options if you park hop. You must use all of your Fastpass+ in one park before you can get one in another park. This was not the case in the legacy system.
Finally, I really liked making “magical moments” for people with my Fastpass tickets. If I had leftovers, or decided not to use one, I loved giving them away to other people as I was leaving the park. It’s just so fun and not wasteful if you can give them away. You can’t do that with the new system. Sure, you can cancel it, but it’s not the same as giving it to someone else as a great surprise!
It’s Hard to Get a Fastpass+ at Some Attractions
Several attractions, including Flight of Passage, Millennium Falcon: Smuggler’s Run, and Frozen Ever After are very difficult to get a Fastpass+ for, even if you’re staying at one of the Walt Disney World resort hotels and have that extra time (60 days vs. 30 days) to grab your Fastpass+. This happens with the new and popular attractions all the time.
But, because demand is high, the Walt Disney World powers that be will allow more Fastpass+ to be selected. And, once again, the standby line will become longer and slower because of this.
It’s an Inferior Product to Universal’s Express Pass
Universal Orlando’s Express Pass is the best “skip the line” option that I have seen in theme parks. It differs from Fastpass+ in several ways, one of which is that the Express Pass is not free. It has a cost that is not insignificant, and can cost almost as much as a one day theme park ticket. You can get the Express Pass included if you stay in one of Universal’s deluxe resorts then you won’t have to pay more for it.
The way Express Pass works is that you just show up at an attraction with it. No pre-planning, no time you have to show up. You just show up. This is why it’s better than Fastpass+. You literally can ride a ride as many times as you want using the Unlimited Express Pass with almost no line.
Now I know this is not the perfect solution. Walt Disney World has more hotels and if they offered a version of this at their hotels then it would have to be different because of the sheer volume of guests. And Walt Disney World has always prided themselves on the fact that Fastpass+ is free for every guest. I get that. I just believe Universal’s option is much much better.
That’s why I believe that Fastpass+ is not a great option for Walt Disney World theme park guests. Do you agree with my assessment? What would you like to see when and if Fastpass+ comes back to Walt Disney World?
I don’t disagree with you in theory. But Legacy FP is not coming back to WDW. Disney has invested a lot in technology to bring back a paper ticket. Plus think about the cost of those tickets alone. I think WDW should do a Legacy FP through the MDE. No one gets any FP’s ahead. When you get to the park you can start choosing FP through MDE. Or they could do Virtual Q for most rides
Yes, I agree that the Legacy FP won’t come back. I think Virtual Queues are the future. As long as they don’t allow you to only do that (i.e. for Rise of the Resistance it’s the only way to ride, and that won’t work for every single attraction). Maybe they’ll come up with a system that will blow us all away!
The beginning of you post makes sense: FastPass+ requires pre-planning, allows some individuals to cut in line at the expense of other individuals, limits the amount of magic to be gifted, and is limited to one park at a time. Maybe we are better without any FastPass system at all.
You lost me when you rambled on about Universal having a better system. Are you kidding me?
Imagine Disney selling a FastPass for a significant fee to those can afford it, and allowing a select group of rich people to cut in line an unlimited amount of times for Splash Mountain or Seven Dwarfs over and over. Meanwhile, a family that scraped together enough to take their kids to Disney just has to suck it up and stand in line without a chance of ever getting a fast pass?
While Disney does clearly prioritize resort guests over others, it still is possible to get a fast pass as they drop additional ones. And, it doesn’t matter who you are or what you can afford… It’s limited to a few rides at a single park…
And, oh yeah..
It’s free for everyone.
“But it all started from a daddy with two daughters wondering where he could take them where he could have a little fun with them, too.” – Walt Disney
I don’t disagree that it would stink to pay for it, but Disney already does this with MaxPass at Disneyland. My point is that ExpressPass is a better system because it does not require you to stress out at 6 am when your window opens, and to only get 3 Passes (vs. Universal that you can ride everything). No system is perfect but I prefer Universal’s.
Agree! I hate planning my rides 60 days out. It’s stressful as well as we’ve had times on the day of where we skip other rides/attractions because we “have to make our fastpass window.” I miss having the freedom to be more spontaneous. I think they will bring it back at a cost, which is fine, I guess, if they revamp the system and make it a day-of thing and a seamless experience on MDE (otherwise, I’m going to be annoyed that I paid extra for it and the app crashes when everyone logs in to use it or it loses the reservations that I’ve made).
Yeah, I can see them bringing it back for a cost. I am not sure how it will work, but maybe kind of like MaxPass at Disneyland.
I have to disagree with you on the Universal comparison. It’s expensive and even with the pass over spring break we waited 75-90 minutes for rides. Regular wait times were 3 hours so it was better to have the pass than not, but it made me long for Disney and organized planning.
Hi Gwen, I am sorry you had that experience with Express Pass- that is not usually the case! I know it’s expensive, but it’s included with three of their hotels so that certainly helps! No front-of-the-line pass is perfect but I prefer the Express Pass over Fastpass any day!
Park guests who do not believe in planning their vacations want to just stand on lines the entired day. Guest who do plan ahead will always have a better time on their vacations. Those who stand in lines, want to stand in lines.
That is a good point, but a lot of guests simply don’t know about Fastpass+, nor so they know that it is (currently) free. Another great reason to use a travel agent!
I agree. Elitch Gardens (6 Flags) in Denver, Colorado had the same system as Universal Studios.
Nice, I do love Six Flags, but I have never used their front-of-the-line passes.
They need to bring the disability pass back that was a good system but it should be for permanent disability that way people want get a temporary disability card which is easy to do
Hi Karen, Walt Disney World does offer a Disability Access Service Card. You can find more information here: https://disneyparks.disney.go.com/blog/disney-parks-disability-access-service-card-fact-sheet/