Today Disneyland announced some changes to their Fastpass system. We're going to attempt to break it down a bit and hopefully add some much needed levity to the typical online reaction of these changes being a "cash grab".
Written by Gregg Condon
First and foremost, here is the link to the full description of the changes.
Parts of it are kind of vague but here it is in a nutshell:
Ok, so let's break this down piece by piece.
Fastpass being added to Toy Story Midway Mania and Matterhorn:
Not sure why. Neither one of these attractions has the capacity to support Fastpass. If they want to add Fastpass to TSMM they need to add a third track like they did in FL. Matterhorn has two separate tracks and not a whole lot of queue space. Just doesn't make sense to us.
MaxPass system (and Photopass) for mobile fastpasses for $10 per day:
If I was a frequent visitor/AP I'd for sure have concerns about this. They are giving the option to add this to your AP price so you can use it on every visit (no price given) or you can use the $10 a day option.
As an infrequent visitor (our last visit to DL was in November 2015) I'm all in on this. On our last visit we rode about 5 attractions due to the crowds and FP's being gone.
Disneyland is called the "Disneyland Resort". But it's not a Resort. It's a locals park. There are over 1 million Annual Passholders right now. If Disneyland wants to reach that resort level they need to start catering more to tourists who make periodic visits and make sure that they are able to experience attractions while they are at the park. Period.
The current paper fastpass system is NOT going away
Obviously with this new system there is the possiblity of paper fastpasses being reduced by a certain amount. Because if somebody is paying $10 to get Fastpasses they need to be able to actually get them. There will probably be some kind of trial and error period but it's possible that the amount of paper fastpasses will depend on how many people use MaxPass on any given day. But again, details are vague.
Unlike the WDW system, this will not allow advanced reservations, you will not be able to use the MaxPass system unless you are in the park
Right now, Disneyland has over 1 MILLION annual passholders. The week leading up to Christmas this year with all APs blocked out except the very top tier had ride lines that averaged about 30 minutes each day. This was less crowds than a Tuesday in September or October. And once AP blockout days were lifted on January 4 the park reached capacity. Something that hadn't happened through the entire holiday season (including New Years Eve).
So to say that APs are greatly influencing the historcal "off season" structure of the park is an extreme understatement.
But let's say that this new MaxPass system allowed reservations, and was free. And like WDW you were able to go on say 30 days before a visit and make a FastPass reservation. They would be gone within SECONDS. People would be getting Fastpasses "just in case" they were going to visit that day. It would be chaos. It would insure that anybody who is a "day" visitor or "vacationer" would have zero ability to get fastpasses.
The announcement definitely presents more questions that answers, but of course that doens't stop people from freaking out about it. This change has been inevitable for years, and with Star Wars Land coming in a few years the time to make this change is now.
Couple this with the rumored changes to the AP Program coming next month (including elimination of the payment plan) and it seems Disney is trying to reduce the number of APs but also increase revenue.
It's something that worked for Universal Studios Hollywood where they reduced APs, had moderate attendance over the summer but had the HIGHEST guest spending and guest satisfaction in the history of that park. So you can bet Disney has been paying attention to that.
As more news comes out about these changes we'll keep you updated of course.
So what do you think? Is this something you are going to use when you make visits to Disneyland? Are you able to at least see the AP/Non-AP side of it? We are interested to hear your thoughts, be sure you share them below.