Earlier this year, the Walt Disney World theme parks and many of the Resort hotels reopened, but not without a few changes.
Aside from the mask requirement and limited capacity, one of the biggest changes at the theme parks has been the temporary suspension of FastPass+.
According to Disney, the FastPass+ service was suspended because they are utilizing “additional queue space to manage capacity at [their attractions] and maintain physical distancing.”
In fact, the FastPass+ feature has been temporarily removed from My Disney Experience. Just a few weeks ago, Disney published a page on DisneyWorld.com discussing guests using FastPass+ for their trips in January and February. The page appeared to us to contain information entirely from 2019. It was our guess that it was added back to the website because it is going to be edited and updated according to the options available for this coming year. The page was updated later and no longer mentions FastPass+.
We’ve seen some things from before the park closures, like character dining return in modified ways. Other queue space has also been modified since the reopening. For example, the graveyard at The Haunted Mansion was open on our most recent visit, yet had been closed since the parks initially reopened.
The question that has constantly been on our minds is whether FastPass+ will be returning soon. We decided to see what you all think so we asked our readers on Instagram “Do you think Disney World will bring back FastPass+ by the end of 2020?” The majority of our readers felt that Disney World will NOT bring back FastPass+ by the end of 2020.
Let’s see what some of them had to say.
Some strongly hope that FastPass+ will come back soon. One reader told us they really hope FastPass+ comes back because “[w]ait times are getting out of control for people going on a once in a great while type of vacation there.” Although the parks were fairly empty when they first reopened, we have seen wait times gradually increasing since the reopening. One park in particular — Disney’s Hollywood Studios — has consistently felt more crowded to us.
Another reader said they want FastPass+ to come back because they’re “going in mid December and [are] worried it’s going to be at capacity. And it’s hard to wait in 80 min long lines with a 3 year old.”
Although Disney has been limiting the capacity of guests within its parks, we have seen Disney Park Pass reservations filling up around holidays. While we anticipate that crowds will not reach the levels they normally do during the holiday season (hopefully we’ll avoid that shoulder-to-shoulder, sea of people experience) they will likely be more crowded than we’ve seen so far around Christmastime, which will likely result in longer wait times.
Another reader said “They better do something if they continue increasing capacity. If not fast passes then more virtual queues.”
While we don’t have any official word as to whether Disney has itself been increasing capacity, we have noticed the parks feeling a bit more full. Near the end of September, Florida moved into Phase 3 of its reopening, which means that Theme Parks are allowed to operate as normal with limited social distancing protocols in place and no mandatory capacity caps.
Disney has said that they are evaluating the executive order, but are not currently making any changes regarding capacity limits.
Some clearly hope, however, that Disney takes some kind of action to help handle the incoming holiday crowds — whether that be the reinstatement of FastPass+ or some alternative. We’ve seen a virtual standby pass experience utilized for some attractions at both Disneyland Paris and Shanghai Disneyland. Could we see this system implemented in Disney World instead of the return of FastPass+? Only time will tell.
Many readers, however, were happy to see FastPass+ go. One told us they hope it never comes back! That reader said, “It’s been so nice to have standby ride queues that move well. The fastpass system was so unfair. If Disney needs to do something more for resort guests then they should consider bringing back extra magic hour / early park entry for resort guests.” As of right now, extra magic hours are still temporarily suspended.
Another reader shared similar feelings. They told us “I honestly wish they would remove FP+ all together. It’s too stressful planning your whole day months in advance!”
Obtaining a FastPass+ for some of the most popular attractions, like Seven Dwarfs Mine Train or Flight of Passage, was once an incredibly difficult task. Those hoping to get a FastPass+ for some of those attractions in the past would have to plan their visit months in advance, get up extremely early on the day their FastPass+ window opened to try to get a FastPass+, and, if they weren’t lucky, consistently check back for any openings frequently.
For some, planning this far in advance is wonderful and makes them feel like they’ve got at least some attractions secured for their trip. For others, however, particularly those who like to make surprise visits to Disney World or whose idea of a vacation doesn’t include extreme planning, the FastPass+ system could be seen as more of a hindrance than a help.
Click here to check out our video: Is Disney World getting more crowded and what does it mean for you?
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What do you think? Are you a fan of FastPass+ and do you think it will come back soon? We’d love to hear from you!