Paid 'Fastpasses' come to Shanghai Disneyland
Last month, we showed you a report from a Theme Park Insider reader who said he had seen people selling Fastpasses inside Shanghai Disneyland
. At the time, we wondered if the idea that other people were selling front of the line access to its rides would prompt Disney to get in the game and head off those deals by selling Fastpass-style access itself.
Guess what? Now the park is doing just that.
Here's the scoop, direct from Shanghai, courtesy Adriel Tjokrosaputro.
"Disney Premier Access" allows you a one-time Fastpass queue entry to each of seven top rides in the park, anytime you wish to visit during the day of your access. The cost for one Fastpass entry is RMB 120 (US$17.41) or RMB 150 ($21.77) on "peak" days, when park admission tickets cost more, too. But the cost for the set — all seven — is RMB 480 or 600 (US$69.71-87.14), which works out to about $10-12.50 per Fastpass, a price that I suspect many America visitors might pay.
[*Note: An earlier version of this story missed that the set price in the photo was the one for all seven Fastpass entries.]
Disney is providing a park-approved way for people to pay for extra access to attractions, without having to go through middlemen. Shanghai Disneyland is drawing about a million visitors a month, putting it behind the Magic Kingdom-style parks in Orlando, Anaheim, and Tokyo for annual attendance but ahead of Paris and well ahead of Hong Kong. Yet Shanghai Disneyland has fewer attractions than the Disney parks that attract more visitors, which means longer lines in Shanghai.
According to Adriel's earlier report, scalpers were charging around RMB 100 for a pair of Fastpasses, which means that Disney's charging more for its version, so we'll see if this has the presumably desired effect of drying up demand for middleman Fastpass sales.
This isn't the first time that Disney has sold preferred line access, of course. VIP Tours at its other parks around the world often provide that perk, and hard-ticket events such as the recent "Early Morning Magic" at the Walt Disney World Resort also provide much shorter waits than during regular operation. But those "line skips," if you will, come packaged with other perks and services. This is the first time I can recall that Disney has put a direct price on using the Fastpass return lines... and nothing else. (Disneyland's upcoming MaxPass charges for using the park's app to manage your Fastpasses — a benefit that Walt Disney World visitors get for no extra charge — but it does not allow you to hold more than the one Fastpass you can by using the traditional paper system.)
Paid line-skipping is standard practice at other companies' parks, of course, with Universal, Cedar Fair, and Six Flags parks all selling various passes and systems to allow you to spend less time in line.
Will Disney bring its Disney Premier Access to its US theme parks? Or is this a unique solution to a particular problem in Shanghai? Make your prediction in the comments.
Please don't bring this to the US. Fastpass is special because it's fair game for anyone with a park ticket.
I'm personally against paying for queue jumping privileges, and I think that Disney could have found a better way to solve this problem. I can see things going this way in the US too.
Oh yeah, they will do this in the US but it won't be $17 it will be more like $100 to $150.
With many middle class families struggling to afford a Disney vacation for their kids, I don't see them doing this stateside anytime soon. It would aggravate the disparity between haves and have nots in the parks.
They have to do something different at WDW, as the current system is broken. Once Star Wars opens, do you think people will accept riding an attraction once after the first several months pass? Right now lines have gotten unmanageable at WDW, and a person can go To Universal and experience three to four times the number of attractions per day with the Express Pass, so something has to give. Not sure if this is the way. I do think with the billions they are making in the movie division, that it is time for a fifth gate in Orlando. They can bring the missing attractions like Mystic Manor, Center of the Earth, and even a second Pirates (the Shanghai version) with an explorer's themed park. Certainly the sea of people is a good problem to have, but I do think if they manage it better it would increase guest satisfaction and make them even more money.
Disneyland Paris has been doing this for years if your staying in one of their hotels. They will sell you an unlimited fastpass for all their fastpass attractions but they cost 60euro per person per day. That was the price the last time I stayed there two years ago. They don't advertise it as such but you can ask at the reception when you are booking in.
Well Orlando area parks are pretty great but it would be in trouble for locals if they start selling them. We would never get to ride attractions again.
WDW just needs more attractions at parks not called magic Kingdom. a 5th park is totally unnecessary until the others aren't half day parks.
This is AWESOME!
For years I bought Orlando fastpasses from an operation that called themselves "Magical Park Tours." They went out of business when Disney switched to digital FP's and enforced return windows. -- I could order whatever/however many FP's I wanted and they would deliver them to my hotel. My son and I went on TSM 10 times in a day once.
Instead of tearing down one ride to replace it with one ride, Disney should start adding rides to MK to alleviate this. Maybe a new land like villains village or something...they might be able to squeeze a few well,thought out rides and a dining experience. But, as it currently works, the fast pass system is not fair to everyone. We can only visit the disney parks after sunset. So people that used their three fast passes can get additional ones. We can only ever use three. I would love Disney world to offer their after hours party once a week to each park. I would pay to visit one park a day with limited crowds. The after hours party is so worth the price. Or, bring that pass to the US. Or maybe do what Universal does, stay on property to access fast pass. But something needs to be done because the disney experience is not as magical as it once was.
Amen...I know it sounds like a broken record, but Pirates and Haunted Mansion should never ben over an hour wait and they consistently are since they started the new fast pass reservation system...I've been to Disney twice since it was implemented and both times just really didn't have a magical time at all. Got Universal season passes this year and the day just always feels relaxed and fun, even if I don't have express passes. That's how it should be.
You don't even know what lines are till you've been to Japan in a standby queue.
yeah I just went with my family to Tokyo Disney Resort two weeks ago. It was my 7th time going over the last 15 years and It was an hour wait for just small things like buying popcorn. Hour and a half waits just to get a fast pass. 4 hour waits for regular standby rides ! I will never go to Tokyo again. Waste of time and Money IMVHO
Bob Iger is absolutely right to charge for fastpasses in Shanghai. After all, Disney must recoup the $5.5 billion wasted in Shanghai somehow.
Just to clarify that anonymous posters comment. Japan is totally worth visiting, however the Disney parks there are nothing special. I can assure you aren't missing much if you've done WDW and UOR. Tokyo Disneyland is the same crap as out here. DisneySea has great themeing but far too many people and too few rides to be enjoyable. Hour long waits for salted popcorn is just dumb.
I don't think Premier Access will ever come to the US parks, but I do think some form of paid Fastpass is on the horizon. Personally, I'd like to see the whole system reworked into a true virtual queue (like Accesso's Qbot system that Six Flags uses) rather than the reservation system they are currently using, as in my experience systems like that are the most fair and efficient all around. As soon as a guest enters the park, they can enter the virtual queue for an attraction using their smartphone or a kiosk in the park. They are given a return time equal to the current wait time of the ride, and may then return to the attraction anytime after that to ride. Once they have ridden, they are free to enter the virtual queue for another attraction, but they may only be in one virtual queue at a time. Depending on how elaborate the system is, any number of different free and upcharge options could be implemented (for example, free guests may only use 5 virtual queues per day, but for a fee the reservation cap is increased or removed completely and/or additional attractions are made available). I would be disappointed if Disney completely eliminates a free Fastpass option, but as they are the only major corporate theme park chain (at least in North America) that doesn't offer a paid system, I don't see anything wrong with adding one.
We made it to Shanghai Disneyland! Had 18-hour layover from 6am to midnight with China Eastern Airlines LAX to Manila flight.
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