Disney World rolled out its original FastPass system way back in 1999. For two decades, Disney has allowed guests to reserve their timeslots for the most popular attractions.
For most of this time, guests had to collect paper tickets from a kiosk in front of the attraction. However, in 2014, Disney introduced the FastPass+ system which allowed guests to make reservations from the MyDisneyExperience app. Not only did this means that guests didn’t have to run around the parks unnecessarily, but we could now book our FastPasses from our couch up to 60 days before we even arrived in Disney World!
Universal’s Virtual Line
Disney’s FastPass+ is truly revolutionary, but competition in the theme park business is always on the move.
Universal has been working on its virtual line systems, too. Universal’s system allows guests to reserve an available one-hour return time slot from the app and then they are granted access to the attraction once their reserved time arrives.
This system is in use at Jimmy Fallon’s Race Through New York and Fast & Furious: Supercharged. Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure, which opened in early June, is now using this system as well.
This limits the time waiting in line and puts guests out in the parks and restaurants where they are likely to spend money. It’s a win-win for the park and guests!
Disney’s (Anticipated) Response
Disney has always been the industry leader in this arena. They introduced FP in the first place because they knew that keeping guests out of long lines would increase satisfaction and revenue.
Attendance at Disney parks has increased substantially in the last 20 years. In many cases, guests are still waiting in standby lines.
The problem may be worse shortly after Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge opens in Disney’s Hollywood Studios next month. There won’t be a reservation-only system like Disneyland used (or at least we don’t know of one yet), and Millennium Falcon will not have a FP line on opening day.
Disney will also adjust the FastPass+ reservation tiers. The newest attractions like Slinky Dog Dash, Alien Swirling Saucers, Millennium Falcon, and later Rise of the Resistance and Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway will all be Tier 1 along with older attractions like Rock n Rollercoaster Starring Aerosmith and Twilight Zone Tower of Terror.
As of yet, Disney hasn’t responded by changing up their FP+ system in a major way, but the company is probably exploring options.