When Walt Disney World reopened after a closure caused by the Covid pandemic, they did so without the parks’ longtime “FastPass” feature, which allowed guests to reserve times on popular attractions in advance on their phone or computer. The system was first introduced in the late ’90s, when guests could visit attractions and get paper tickets with a return time; they could then ride other stuff (or eat 40 Mickey pretzels) while waiting for the time on the ticket to return. It was essentially a way to wait in line without physically waiting in line. That was then replaced by the current digital system (dubbed “FastPass+”) a few years ago.
In both versions, FastPasses were free for any guests who wanted to use them. In 2017, Disneyland replaced FastPasses with a paid “MaxPass” system that operated along similar lines, except customers were charged a flat rate per day to use it. Now both Disneyland and Disney World will replace their respective pass systems for a new “Genie Service” that’s integrated into their phone apps. And if you want to use its equivalent of FastPasses, you will have to pay.
According to Disney Parks Blog the Genie service “will maximize your park time, so you can have more fun” and “includes a personalized itinerary feature that will quickly and seamlessly map out an entire day.” Users select the sorts of rides, shows, and food they like, and the service helps them plan their day. Then, for $15 per person per day in Walt Disney World ($20 in Disneyland), users can “choose the next available time to arrive at a variety of attractions and experiences using the Lightning Lane entrance. You can make one selection at a time, throughout the day – from classics like Haunted Mansion to thrill rides like Big Thunder Mountain Railroad and newer favorites like Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run.”
Then, for the most high-end rides (the website specifically mentions Seven Dwarfs Mine Train at Magic Kingdom Park and Radiator Springs Racers at Disney California Adventure park”),you’d have to pay a per-ride fee to skip the line. That sounds like it could get pretty pricy, pretty quick. Here’s a video that breaks down how it all works.
FastPasses were a popular perk for those who knew how to use them, so it’ll be interesting to see how people react to this replacement. Will people gladly pay $15 a day for the convenience? Or will they get angry that they have to pay extra on top of that (Disney hasn’t said how much yet) to get a pass for Radiator Springs Racers? We’ll find out when Disney institutes the changes this fall.
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