Video out of Disneyland today suggests that some big changes could be coming to Fastpass at Disneyland. Testing appears to be underway on some potentially new Fastpass technology in Anaheim. What could this mean for your next Disneyland vacation?
Over the summer, several Disney news sites reported that Disney would soon begin testing Fastpass+ at Disneyland. On October 19, 2015, Disneyland visitors saw the very first potential evidence that Fastpass changes might be coming Anaheim. The regular Fastpass queue for Space Mountain at Disneyland was outfitted with two bar code readers, as captured in this YouTube video from Disney fan site Inside the Magic. Guests with Fastpasses scanned their paper tickets before entering the ride rather than have a cast member collect them manually.
In case you aren’t up on the latest Disney technology, Fastpass+ is Disney’s next generation virtual ride queuing system. It has been used in Walt Disney World parks in Florida since December 2013. It allows Disney guests make up to three advance ride reservations online prior to their vacations for popular attractions.
Fastpass+ reservations are for a one hour time window and allow guests to cut most of what would be an otherwise long line, seriously reducing wait times for those who use the service. At Walt Disney World, pre-planning is essential for securing popular reservation times on the most popular rides. Walt Disney World guests can make Fastpass+ reservation 60 days in advance if staying at a Disney-owned hotel, and all other guests can make reservations 30 days in advance. Guests redeem Fastpass+ reservations using a Magic Band or a RFID card that stores the reservation time.
So why is this significant for Disneyland visitors? Disneyland still uses the original Fastpass system from 1999 that utilizes paper tickets. Unlike Fastpass+ at Walt Disney World where pre-planning is crucial, paper Fastpass tickets are only available in person on the day of a Disneyland visit. Guests go to a kiosk near their desired attraction and are given a ticket for a return reservation window (also 1 hour long) to come back and ride the attraction later in the day with minimal wait periods. While the system is quite similar to what Disney World has, serious Disney fans who know the system’s intricacies at Disneyland can often obtain more than a dozen of these Fastpasses in a given day using the right strategies.
If Disney does decide to go forward with Fastpass+ at Disneyland, then there could be a lot of changes coming to Anaheim, especially for those who like to take last minute trips or who know how to maximize Fastpass use under the current system. It remains to be seen, of course, how Disney might implement the system differently if and when it does come to Disneyland.
What do you think about the Fastpass testing at Disneyland?