Fast Passes Are No Longer Free At Disney Parks, And Guests Are Upset

by Christina Marfice
SOPA Images/LightRocket/Getty

Fast Passes, a free way to skip lines at Disney parks, are about to be replaced by an app guests will have to pay for

Nobody likes waiting in lines when they visit Disney parks. That’s why, for years, the parks’ Fast Pass system has been a guest-favorite feature: You simply scanned your ticket at a popular attraction and received a time window later in the day when you could come back and jump the line. This service was included in the cost of all Disney parks tickets — any guest could use it. But Disney just announced that the Fast Pass system is going away, and what’s replacing it has park lovers pretty pissed.

Disney just announced its Genie app, which will be a sort of park concierge for visitors. Download the app, pick which attractions, activities, or restaurants you want to make sure you go to, and the app will help plan out an itinerary that makes sense for you. Honestly, it’s a pretty cool feature upgrade for the parks, which haven’t really taken advantage of smartphone technology to their full potential, until now.

But to skip lines at the parks’ most popular attractions, you’ll need access to Lightning Lane, which means you have to upgrade to Genie+, tacking on an extra $15 per ticket per day at California’s Disneyland, and $20 per ticket per day at Florida’s Walt Disney World.

Lightning Lane will allow guests to skip the lines at more than 15 attractions in Disneyland, and more than 40 in Disney World. Genie+ also comes with some other cool features, like exclusive audio features, augmented reality lenses, and unlimited PhotoPass downloads. But it was losing free access to Fast Passes that got the most attention from park lovers, and to say they aren’t pleased would be putting things lightly.

This move comes just one year after Disney raised prices for tickets to its parks, breaking $200 per day for the first time in its history.

Despite the backlash from fans, Disney executives show no signs of slowing down this plan. Josh D’Amaro, Disney Parks chair, told CNN Business that the Genie and Genie+ apps will help guests have better experiences at the parks.

“We’ve had 60 years of experience in theme parks,” he said. “So we know exactly how people are behaving, how the attractions are behaving. We know exactly how to optimize a day. So with technology advancing, we’re able to take all that information and all of that data that our industrial engineers have and serve it up in a very convenient way to our guests.”

And he’s right — it will be convenient. Just only for the guests who can pay for it.