The Fiery FastPass Fiasco
This week, an announcement rumoured for years was finally made at Disneyland Paris with implications felt at Dsney Parks around the world...paid FastPass service called Disney Premier.
The service, scheduled to start later this year, will see a cost of between 8 euro and 15 euro upcharges per person per ride imposed on select Disney attractions for line jumping (you can see the full details here).
The announcement has been met with instant backlash and fears that FastPass as we know it will be gone at North American Disney Parks.
Here is why it is a BAD idea, without the emotions of losing a valued part of the experience for guests (particularly those staying on-property).
Another Resort Hotel Guest Benefit Disappears
One of the benefits of staying on-property at resorts such as Walt Disney World is the ability to book FastPasses before other non-resort hotel guests. This is a major perk for those staying at a Disney-operated or partner hotel since it made it possible to secure FastPasses on the more popular attractions without the struggles of doing so with locals / those staying off-property.
The loss of this benefit, along with others in 2022 (such as Disney's Magical Express and free MagicBands) are dramatically changing the equation when it comes to paying a premium for staying on-property.
Essentially, at this point, the only benefit to staying on-property is free resort transportation, which is really open to anyone visiting the resort anyways and advanced entry by 30 minutes into the theme park (which starts on October 1) which is replacing extra magic hours (which have been reduced now to 30 minutes).
Costs Are (and Must Be) Excessive
The cost of a line jump, express pass for attractions is very expensive at between 8-15 euros per person per ride. However, there is no other way to handle a paid service, since if the price is too low, everyone will use it (which makes the paid service useless). Any paid service must be prohibitively expensive for there to be value in paying the up-charge in the first place. These types of changes will definitely lower guest satisfaction and drive complaints at Guest Services.
Disability Access Queues Will Likely Increase With Those Who Don't Really Need It
The sad result of a paid FastPass service will likely mean that other, non-paid options will be exploited by those who want to take advantage of them. This isn't to say that those requiring such services should avoid using them, but it will mean that those who may not necessarily need accessibility services will be tempted to use them to avoid paying the up-charge.
In the end, the truth is that time will tell how guests feel about the change. Disney measures guest satisfaction with every change and complaints will result in changes and tweaks to the program. However, don't expect a "pay once, ride all day" type scheme since any changes that bill guests must drastically reduce their time in line in order to provide value for money spent.