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Disneyland moves to eliminate paper Fastpass tickets

June 21, 2017, 5:24 PM · The Disneyland Resort today took the next step toward eliminating paper Fastpass tickets.

Disneyland visitors still reserve Fastpass ride reservation return times the same way — by inserting their admission ticket into Fastpass machines at attractions around the two parks. But instead of using the paper ticket they get from those machines as their admission into the Fastpass return lines at each attraction, Disneyland visitors now must scan their park ticket to get into the Fastpass line.

The Fastpass machines still dispense those paper tickets, printed with your return time, but now they are intended simply as reminders, rather than valid readmission media to the Fastpass line.

The switch has led to long lines at Fastpass return points throughout the park, as guests now need to pull out their park tickets instead of simply showing their paper Fastpasses. That's a change of nearly 18 years' practice, and although Disney appears to have trained its operations staff in anticipation of the change, it's done pretty much nothing to prepare guests in advance of today's switch.

The switch prepares Disneyland to support its upcoming Maxpass system, which will allow guests who pay for that service to book and manage their Fastpass reservation via the official Disneyland app. Disneyland has not announced any plans to bring a full Walt Disney World-style Fastpass+ system to Anaheim, including advance booking of ride reservations, holding multiple reservations at once, or using MagicBands instead of cards as admission media.

But today's switch helps lays a technical foundation for any of those changes, should Disney choose to move in that direction.

Today's switch also puts an end to the long-standing "random act of kindness" tradition of handing off unused Fastpasses to other guests. Since such a high percentage of Disneyland visitors are annual passholders rather than people who obsessively have planned to spend the entire day in the park, it's common to see visitors who choose to leave early giving their unused Fastpasses to remaining guests. But since you now will need to scan your admission ticket to get access to its associated Fastpass reservation, having someone else's paper reminder slip won't get you into the Fastpass queue any longer.

Well, at least that will be the case once Disneyland starts consistently enforcing the new system. I've heard that some locations still are letting people slide in with the paper tickets and a good sob story. Don't expect that to last, however.

On the flip side, today's change also eliminates any possibility of Shanghai Disneyland-type Fastpass scalping, or of independent "tour guides" being able to collect Fastpasses from abetting passholders, who now would have to give up their tickets instead of paper Fastpass return slips to supply their return times.

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Replies (16)

June 21, 2017 at 6:20 PM · Will they streamline this for APers? Swipe your ticket. And the fast pass goes to the app.
June 22, 2017 at 9:53 AM · Universal and Knott's have front-of-the-line passes that they charge extra for. Disney's Fastpass has always been free, but it can make the standby lines very slow, because they stop the lines to let Fastpass holders go by.

Can Disney be phasing out the free Fastpass in favor of the extra charge Maxpass? As an annual passholder who goes frequently for just a few hours, I'm not really reliant on Fastpass.

When I go in the morning, I can hit a lot of rides without the need to use FP, although I may get one, just to hit an additional ride. If I go late in the afternoon, FP is already 'sold out', so again, I'm not using it.

But I can see FP being valuable to the infrequent visitor who's in the park all day and wants to see everything.

If Maxpass becomes like the other park's extra charge passes, I can see the standby lines becoming longer, but at least they wouldn't be stopped for 5 minutes at a time, because fewer people would be 'cutting in line' with the pass.

And I wouldn't offer Maxpass as an add-on to annual passes. As I said above, I don't think APs really need it. If APs want Maxpass, they can buy per day like everyone else.

Not sure about all this, but it would be interesting how it would play out in reality.

June 21, 2017 at 8:48 PM · Took them too long to fix the loophole. There's still another loophole. Do they check if the admission ticket is valid and not an old ticket?
June 21, 2017 at 8:48 PM · Paper fast pass - the only free souvenir you will ever get from Disney. I usually pick up the extra ones left on top and use them as bookmarks.
Guess everyone gets to keep the paper ones now, instead of handing them over.

Maybe they will sell more lanyards for annual passes and admission tickets now, instead of having to dig into a pocket, purse, backpack...

June 21, 2017 at 10:09 PM · Anton M: yes. A park admission ticket cannot reserve a Fastpass until it has been used for Main Gate admission to at least one park that day.
June 21, 2017 at 11:25 PM · I was there today, and the lines moved fairly fast and really didn't cause much of a difference.

The other thing it prevents is the common so story of I lost my pass... So it actually shortens the FP line.

Overall it was pretty basic.


Anton - no, Disney is not phasing out free fast pass, but they may be reducing the total number of FPs available.

Also, Anton, that loophole of invalid tickets never worked as FP machines are connected to the turnstile system and don't give a FP if you didn't enter the park properly.

June 21, 2017 at 11:27 PM · Also, the photo at space mountain is unfair to attribute to the new FP statement as it's been that way for over a week, since the return of the traditional Space Mountain and not Hyperspace.
June 22, 2017 at 6:16 AM · All of the changes to FastPass in both Orlando and California have been for the worst. Not a single change has improved upon the original system.

At this point I'd like to see Disney eliminate free FastPass and just start charging to use it. I'd be willing to pay a hundred dollars or more per day for an unlimited, front of the line FastPass, like Cedar Fair's FastLane.

June 22, 2017 at 6:58 AM · The reason the lines are so long is that fastpass "rules" have changed. More fastpasses are being issued per hour block, and the bubble has disappeared. You can now get a fastpass that is valid in five minutes if it's available, no matter how long the line is. This is leading people to grab a fastpass and immediately gain access to the fastpass queue.
June 22, 2017 at 9:05 AM · "I'd be willing to pay a hundred dollars or more per day for an unlimited, front of the line FastPass"

That's exactly why Disney can't charge for FastPass. You might be willing to pay $100 for unlimited FP, but there are probably enough people out there that would pay $200 or $300 for the benefit. If Disney charges for FP, but makes it at a reasonable/accessible cost, they'll sell out in a matter of minutes, but if they price it where it needs to be ($300-$500 during peak periods), fans will cry foul, claiming that Disney is only catering to deep pocketed guests. Disney has established an unfortunate precedent by offering FP free, and must now deal with the consequences. Probably the only was they can start "charging" for it is by allowing resort guests to make more advance reservations than off-site guests (perhaps lower off-site guests to just 1 or 2 advanced FP+ reservations per day and allow deluxe resort guests make more reservations than moderate and value resort guests).

I think FP+ is a slight improvement over the original FP system, but Disney needs to figure out a way to eliminate for guests the need to grab reservations 30-60 days before your trip (why they can't make it 14 days ahead for resort guests and 7 days for everyone else is beyond me).

Linking FPs with tickets is a smart move, and hopefully will allow them to integrate the system with the park app, eventually allowing for the elimination of paper altogether. The current lines are an obvious product of new procedures being rolled out, and once regular guests get the hang of the new process, things will smooth out. The same thing happened when WDW rolled out FP+ and began enforcing return times, but now the FP lines move just as quick as they did before.

June 22, 2017 at 9:39 AM · Anton M - Based on what I've read, what you describe was going on for a long time. Old or unused tickets would still generate a fastpass ticket. Recently the system has been modified so that the FastPass machines will not issue a return time unless that ticket bar-code was used to enter a park that day.
June 22, 2017 at 2:30 PM · For the record, I did not ask the question about phasing out free Fastpass.
June 22, 2017 at 3:13 PM · OK, but you post asks ..."Do they check if the admission ticket is valid and not an old ticket?" I understand that was going on quite a bit, and that loophole has been fixed too.
June 22, 2017 at 4:15 PM · Aye okay
June 23, 2017 at 7:06 AM · I thought the system was fine. Stop messing with it. FP did not effect the regular line that much.
June 25, 2017 at 6:54 AM · Ultimaterollercoaster, I agree with you 1000%. Nothing they have done is for the better, and I fear the problems will only become worse. I, too, would be willing to pay an up charge for my family; however, I think at this point, their system and volume may have gotten so big to make that difficult. Maybe this system at DL will work well enough that they scrap the system in WDW for the DL system. I will wish upon a star.

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