Why Bringing Back FastPass+ Wouldn’t Solve Disney World’s Problems

When Walt Disney World reopened last year, they announced that they would be suspending all FastPass+ reservations and it has not returned since.

Morning at the Magic Kingdom

With the increase in Disney park capacity and growing crowd levels, it’s left a lot of us wondering — when will we be able to skip the line again? And, we get it, getting on Flight of Passage was a lot nicer when it didn’t involve an extended wait. But, could Disney really bring FastPasses back anytime soon? 

Why Bringing Back FastPass+ Wouldn’t Solve Disney World’s Problems

Social Distancing

Disney reopened the theme parks with strict health and safety guidelines including social distancing requirements of at least 6 feet between parties. To ensure that guests could remain distanced in lines for rides, Disney put down distancing stickers and put up plexiglass.

Plexiglass on Pirates of the Caribbean

Ride queues are designed to pack as many people into an area as possible so Disney had to make some major adjustments to lines when they reopened, including extending some into lanes previously reserved for FastPass+ guests.

Smugglers Run Queue

Even with the added space, when you think of how many people can fit within 6 feet, it’s no wonder that these distancing guidelines have caused some major line back-up in the park.

Peter Pan’s Flight

Just the other day we spotted the Na’vi River Journey line at 65 minutes which meant that the line started in Pandora went out towards Harambe Village, and then looped back into the existing ride queue.

Na’vi River Journey Line

We’ve also seen the Rock ‘n’ Rollercoaster line back up to Sunset Boulevard with a 60+ minute wait.

Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster Line down Sunset Boulevard

These wait times are already on the lower end for some of the most popular rides in each Disney park and adding FastPass+ back into the mix would likely only extend both lines further outside of the queue area and cause more issues for social distancing.

Park Hopping

And that brings us to the next dilemma Disney would have when bringing FastPass+ back right now — park hopping. Right now, guests must make a Disney Park Pass Reservation for the park that they plan to go to for each day of their visit, enabling Disney to control capacity without long lines at the entrances.

Park Pass Reservations are required to enter the park

On January 1st, 2021, Disney brought back park hopping but with some limitations. Guests can park hop but only after 2PM and the ability to get in is dependent on the park’s capacity.

Park Hopping begins at 2PM!

If Disney were to bring back FastPass+, they would likely have to limit guests to only making FastPass+ reservations at the park that they have reserved for the day since there is no guarantee that guests will be able to park hop as they desire. This would make the return of skipping the line a lot less beneficial to guests who are visiting multiple parks in one day.

We’re Answering Your BIGGEST Questions About Park Hopping in Disney World

All in all, FastPass+ was a long-time park benefit that may not be much of a perk if it were to make its return to Walt Disney World under the current health and safety conditions. If anything, we’re sure that Disney is a couple of steps ahead of us in thinking all this through! We’ll keep you updated as Disney announces more updates to their park policies!

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15 Replies to “Why Bringing Back FastPass+ Wouldn’t Solve Disney World’s Problems”

  1. My SIL was just at WDW this week. The parks were sold out at 35% capacity. She is an annual pass holder, goes all the time. She said the posted wait times were actually half that, only longer looking lines because of distancing. She said it was definitely not crowded. We went in August when capacity was at 25% and had a similar experience. Flight of Passage had a 40 minute wait time but, when we walked through the line was actually closer to a 20-25 minute wait. I agree they need to think about opening up the shows, especially at parks that are more show heavy like HS but, I can understand why they just can’t do that right now. I really love the character cavalcades more than the set parade times because those really cause crowding!

  2. Honestly, I hope that they don’t bring back FastPass+. The idea of having to reserve a ride time slot 60 days in advance is ludicrous. They need to revamp the system and introduce something more like the MaxPass system that Disneyland uses. Book your FastPass, on the app, once you’re actually in the park.

  3. The spirit of this e-mail is correct. Fast Pass right now will make the crowds worse. So what can Disney do? How about expanding park hours and opening up shows? These are the two factors that are creating the long lines. The shows take a huge percentage of the crowds and help disperse them throughout the day. If basketball and hockey arenas can have 25% capacity, what not Disney?

    1. Bring back shows would help capacity tremendously. However, from what I understand, the problem with bring back shows lies with the cramped space in the backstage areas does not allow for social distancing among cast members.

      With three vaccines and herd immunity just around the corner, I think we will see shows return by mid to late summer.

  4. You could only have active (not used/expired) FP reservations at 1 park during a particular day, right? Or did I miss when that changed?

  5. The (hopefully temporary) loss of FastPass+ is huge for those who only go once a year or so, and who know how to really use the system well. In fall of 2018 and 2019, we never waited in a single line longer than 20-30 minutes. Typically, we were able to get FastPasses for all headliners one way or another. In September of 2020, we spent a significantly larger amount of time in line. In fact, last year was the first time I ever went standby for Tower of Terror. I hope they bring it back!

  6. I think eventually Disney will have to do something. The perks for DVC members and for visitors staying on Disney property are all gone. So why stay at a Disney resort? Do they think people will rush down there as DVC members to get the 10% discount on restaurants and merchandise and nothing else? What Disney will come to realize is people have other DVC options besides WDW. The longer people are standing in line and the more people have to spend just to get to WDW (DME gone, luggage service gone) the less they will spend on food and merchandise. The next thing you are going to see is Disney raising room rates and ticket prices. Let me make it absolutely clear to Disney: I will not come down there to stand in line for hours for a two minute ride. So increase capacity all you want. And see how eager people are to spend $100./day to stand in line for the bulk of their day.

  7. Disney’s biggest problem is they’ve expanded hotel capacity without a proportional expansion in park and ride capacity. On top of that, they advertised like crazy and then wonder why they can’t control crowds. They then raise ticket prices and act like that will keep people away.
    By removing more and more perks combined with the price increases, that will speed up people staying away, until they advertise like crazy again and start the cycle all over.

  8. Long lines with no fast pass stinks. you spend all day in line. you don’t buy much of their delicious snacks. eat kids meals so you are not stationary long. we didnt have time to really take in the experience, and we were there 7 nights. universal takes better care of resort guests giving them a fast pass on all rides.

  9. Without Fast Pass, guests will soon be spending all day standing in lines accessing few attractions for the money, less value for the money. We are supposed to go in September and are paying a premium to stay onsite. Guests will not have a “magical day” standing in lines.

  10. If Disney had a desire to get Fastpass+ going again, I am sure they would find a way. The lines and crowds a week ago have me rethinking future trips. I know that Disney doesn’t release numbers other than 35% capacity awhile ago but all of the parks felt like much more than 35%. Listening to guests’ comments makes me think the breaking point is being reached. Fast passes, some non ride entertainment and other “normal” activities would help to relieve some of the pressure.

    1. The problem is that 35% of park capacity, when all the shows and half the restaurants are down, becomes 70% or more of ride capacity. For example, Flight of Passage at full capacity is 1440 riders/hour; the Finding Nemo musical handled 1500 people per show, and the Festival of the Lion King was similar. So if Animal Kingdom is at 35% of park capacity with about 10,000 people, but then you take out 5000 people/hour capacity off the top by closing Lion King, Finding Nemo, and Kali River Rapids, and then close Tusker House, the Boneyard, character meet and greets, street shows, and all the other things that would keep people out of line for the remaining rides, you get wait times that are just as bad as the pre-COVID parks.