When the pandemic started in March, 2020 all US Disney Parks along with most other Amusement Parks were shut down. When Disney World in Florida reopened, it did so with some major changes. One of those changes was the discontinuation of Disney’s Fast Pass in the parks.
For those that may not know what FastPass is, where have you been? Sorry, the sarcastic side of me came out there. FastPass is a FREE service that Disney had offered for free to park visitors. FastPass allowed you to make “reservations” for a timeframe for a specific attraction in one of the parks. This meant that you did not have to wait in the “Stand-by” line for long periods of time.
We Disney World in Florida reopened there were many things that they would not be doing until safe, Fireworks, parades, Meet and Greets are some. Disney also suspended the FastPass program so that they could use the FastPass Queue’s to help the “Standby” Queues be able to optimize social distancing and that lines did not wind outside the ride and clog up the pathways around that individual park, further hampering social distancing requirements.
Throughout the past couple of years, Disney World has been slowly removing shows and perks from the parks with very little acknowledgment from Disney fans. Disney had removed the nighttime parade (Main St. Electrical Parade) from Magic Kingdom without replacing it. Disney also started charging for those that parked their vehicles while staying at a Disney Resort Hotel ($25-$45/night).
Within the last month, Disney has been cutting even more perks to the point where even the most diehard Disney Fans are getting really pissed off to the point where they are questioning whether renewing they annual passes or staying at a Disney World Resort Hotel is even worth the price anymore. Within the last month, Disney has announced the discontinuation of the following programs
- Free Magicbands for those staying at a Disney World Resort Hotel.
- Free Luggage Tags for those staying at a Disney World Resort Hotel.
- Luggage checking and transport to Orlando International Airport on checkout day.
- Airline checkin.
- Discontinuation of Disney’s Magical Express in 2022.
- Suspension of Extra Magic Hours for 2021.
These are some major perks that have ended and are making people question whether it is worth paying 70-90% more for a Disney World Resort Hotel or whether to stay at one of the many, many hotels and resorts that are off-property and charge a fraction of the price.
Our next question is, will FREE FastPasses ever come back? I don’t think that Disney will abandon FastPasses, they have invested too much money into the program to just scrap it. I do believe that when the FastPass program is reinstated, probably sometime this Summer, you will have to pay a fee. If you look at Six Flags and Universal Studios, both have programs that are similar to the FastPass program, but you need to purchase it for an additional fee above the admission price to get in the park.
I can honestly see Disney issuing a fee for the right to use the FastPass system that will be in addition to the cost of admission into the park.
If this is done, I can see a mass exodus of true-blue, lifelong Disney fans. I think that if Disney is going to try to do a money-grab like this, it will cost them so much more in the long-run.
I also don’t see FastPass as the only “perk” that will be at a cost. With Disney suspending Extra Magic Hours, I can truly see Disney now having after hours specially ticketed events (at an additional cost without doubt.).
I truly understand that Disney is a business and the the pandemic over the past year has cost them BILLIONS of dollars, yes, that is a “B” and that they are going to try to recoup some of their losses. The problem that I have is that they don’t seem to understand that the entire world has gone through the same issues that they have. The people that visit the parks are also hurting for money, have been laid off, etc, and cannot afford the additional costs to the point where a vacation to any of the Disney Parks would not be financially feasible when the parks open.