The Walt Disney Company sure has been focusing a lens on its FASTPASS system as of late. When I wrote my recent article for WDW Fan Zone, “I Want a Golden Ticket- The Search for a Hotel FASTPASS”, I had no idea that the topic was quickly becoming a Disney lightening rod. From the announcement that the Parks will begin a stricter enforcement of return times in early March, to recent testing of Main Street Electrical Parade and Wishes FASTPASSES at Walt Disney World, to rumors of a future XPASS, (a premium system that would potentially allow some guests to pre-book their ride slots before their vacation begins), Disney is spending serious time and potential capital on revising this 13 year old system.
Our personal FASTPASS eye-opener came with last summer’s excursion to Disneyland Paris. Guests staying at their Disneyland Hotel were given 2 “Hotel FASTPASSES” per guest, per day,
and we received 1 Hotel FASTPASS each during our stay at Disney’s Sequoia Lodge. Concierge-level guests at Disneyland Paris on-property hotels receive all-access VIP FASTPASSES- splendide. These promotions were unheard of at our “Home Park” in Orlando, and we were intrigued by this unexpected touring bonus. Thinking this was a feature that was exclusive to the European Park, I was shocked to receive a similar perk during last month’s trip to Anaheim’s Disneyland.
I received a Hotel FASTPASS from the Disneyland Hotel, which was good for 2 attractions during that stay, and then another such pass when I moved to the Paradise Pier Hotel. (This pass was placed into the existing FASTPASS Service machine, and presto; a FASTPASS for that attraction- to be used immediately- was dispensed.)
Although I received only 4 additional FASTPASSES during my 5 days, I can’t tell you how much they impacted my Park touring plans! Because of the Tinker Bell Expo, the Meet-Up and Fly Away, and the Tinker Bell Half Marathon, my time was tight. By using the regular FASTPASS system plus this promotion, I was able to see and ride every attraction on my list. All 3 on-site hotels at the Disneyland Resort offered these Hotel FASTPASSES in an equal way.
Sooo, I’m still asking- is this a trend? A sign of things to come? Will there be a battle of the “haves” and “have-nots” approaching? Will there be an unseen price for that Golden Ticket??