It has been a long time coming, but it looks like the Disneyland Resort is finally getting rid of paper FastPasses. Beginning this week, Disneyland visitors are no longer able to go to FastPass machines to get a paper ticket, and much now must instead scan their park ticket using the same FastPass machines, and then flash their ticket (as opposed to a paper FastPass) when they arrive at the attraction to be scanned for entry to the FastPass line. Adding to the confusion under this new system, the Fastpass machines still dispense “reminder” paper slips printed with a return time, and while they kind of look like old-school FastPasses, they cannot be used to gain entry to an attraction’s FastPass line as they previously were.
Though this change may seem a little sudden, it is undoubtedly related to Disneyland’s MaxPass system, which is supposed to debut later this year and will allow guests who pay a fee to book and manage their FastPass reservations with the official Disneyland app, similar to the way Walt Disney World guests use My Disney Experience to manage their FastPass+ reservations. Though Disneyland has taken care to say that they are not simply copying the system at Walt Disney World, it looks like they are certainly taking some of the more successful elements of this system and incorporating them at Disneyland. And even though this system has only been in place for a few days, there have already been some serious side effects…
Guests are waiting longer than ever in FastPass lines
Change is never easy at a Disney park, and true to form, the switch from showing a paper FastPass to pulling out a ticket to scan has led to a lot of confusion from guests, many of whom are annual passholders and have been using the same tried-and-true FastPass process for over a decade. During the first few days of this changeover, lines have been long at FastPass return queues as well as at the FastPass machines themselves throughout the park, as guests now need to pull out their park tickets, which is an extra step many weren’t prepared for.
More FastPass reservations may go unclaimed
Though guests probably don’t go out of their way to grab FastPasses they aren’t going to use, plans change, and plenty of FastPasses go unused every day. However, at Disneyland there is an unofficial tradition guests have (particularly annual passholders) of giving away paper FastPasses to other guests as a random act of kindness. However, now that paper FastPasses are now officially going away and the new FastPass procedure links FastPasses digitally to each guest’s annual pass, there is no way to transfer or give away unused FastPasses, meaning that if your plans change, your FastPass will be completely wasted. And though this sounds like a bad thing at first, there’s at least one silver lining here…
It’s the end of FastPass scalping
Though rare, some unscrupulous individuals have made a business of heading to popular attractions at the Disneyland Resort early in the morning, grabbing FastPasses for experiences like Frozen: A Musical Spectacular, Radiator Springs Racers, and most recently Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission BREAKOUT, and then selling them for a few bucks apiece. This is of course is unfair for a number of reasons, and violates the terms of FastPass usage (which is printed right on the ticket!). However, since FastPasses can no longer be transferred from guest to guest with this new system, this unethical practice will no longer be going on at the Disneyland Resort.
A free version of MaxPass is likely on the way
Earlier this year the Disneyland Resort announced the MaxPass digital FastPass service, which costs $10 per person, per day and allows guests to use their phones to make FastPass reservations. And while these changes being made around the resort to the FastPass system are reportedly being made to support this new system, we can’t help but feel like Disney wouldn’t be investing so much capital in this new system if they weren’t planning on rolling out a wide-use “lite” version of MaxPass for annual passholders as well as regular day-guests as well (its worth remembering that annual passholders make up a significant portion of guests at the Disneyland Resort, and would be unlikely to pay for a MaxPass over and over). While we don’t know what this downgraded version might look like, we’d imagine an announcement will be made sometime soon that will see more than just guests purchasing a MaxPass using Disneyland’s digital FastPass system.
Though Walt Disney World has settled into its all-digital MyMagic+ system in Orlando, the Disneyland Resort has been slow to convert its own FastPass system into something similar. And though guests still have to physically go to FastPass machines to scan their annual pass to get a FastPass return time, we’re guessing eventually that will be done away with as well as Disneyland gets their own all-digital FastPass system (even if they won’t call it MyMagic+ or FastPass+). How do you feel about the end of paper FastPasses at Disneyland? Will you miss them, or are you ready for Disneyland to move into the future? Let us know what you think below!
-From Theme Park Tourist, June 22, 2017 by Amanda Kondolojy
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