Oh, so you want to go on the Ratatouille ride with your partner and two kids, but you don’t want to wait? That’ll be $50, please. Disneyland Paris has announced that the free FastPass service, a way for folks to skip the line by reserving a slot ahead of time, will instead be replaced by a pay-per-ride service — prompting concerns that the global parks may one day do the same.
Disneyland Paris has started advertising its new service “Disney Premier Access,” launching this Northern Hemisphere summer (and yes, it has the same name as the Disney+ service for watching theatrical releases at home for a higher price). First reported by WDW News Today, Disney Premier Access charges guests between €8 (about $12 and €15 (about $23) to reserve a spot in the “designated fast lane” — in other words, to use the service that used to be free with FastPass. It’s the latest in a series of post-pandemic closure decisions that have been frustrating Disney Parks fans — most notably replacing annual passes with a new membership program, the details of which have not been unveiled yet.
Disney Premier Access will be available for Big Thunder Mountain, Peter Pan’s Flight, Ratatouille: L’Aventure Totalement Toquée de Rémy, Buzz Lightyear Laser Blast, Star Wars Hyperspace Mountain, Star Tours: l’Aventure continue, The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, and Autopia. Guests wanting to use the service have to reserve one of the “limited availability” spots ahead of time through their Disney accounts and then scan the QR code to get into the designated fast lane. However, paying for the service doesn’t even ensure that it’ll work.
The website notes that “purchasing a Disney Premier Access gives you fast access to the attraction you choose, but does not guarantee immediate access.”
It’s not the first time we’re seeing paid FastPass programs at Disney Parks (no surprise, considering the FastPass system had its issues). Disneyland has the MaxPass program while Disney World has FastPass+.
However, both of those options were in addition to the free FastPass programs (it’s also important to note that they’ve been suspended during the novel coronavirus pandemic, along with FastPass itself). In addition, Disneyland Paris isn’t the first park to implement Disney Premier Access.
Shanghai Disneyland looks to have quietly replaced its FastPass program with the paid service last year — although that one is through packages, not per-ride payments. However, the increase in these pay-to-play programs is adding fuel to the rumours of replacing the free FastPass program in the U.S. parks, which have circulated for years.
According to Orlando Weekly, Disney Parks have been working on monetising queue jumping since the mid-2000s. Disney wouldn’t comment on whether the U.S. parks would be switching to Disney Premier Access, stating that it’s only a Disneyland Paris (and Shanghai Disneyland) program at this time.
However, just because FastPass is gone at Disneyland Paris doesn’t mean folks are doomed to wait four hours or more every time they want to go on Peter Pan’s Flight. The park has also been implementing Standby Pass, a virtual queue system that lets guests digitally hold their place in line for certain attractions. Unfortunately, Standby Passes aren’t available all the time, like FastPasses usually are.
They’re only implemented on select rides to reduce crowding and help with social distancing. Because we’re still in the middle of a global pandemic.