Disney is to replace its FastPass, FastPast+ and MaxPass services this autumn with a Disney Genie app that includes an optional charge of $15-$20 per person to skip queues.
The theme park operator says Disney Genie has been developed in response to guest feedback, but some Disney fans are not happy about charging for a once-free perk.
Disney Genie will launch at Walt Disney World Resort, Florida, and Disneyland Resort, California, this autumn, as ‘a complimentary and convenient new digital service designed to create your best Disney day’.
While the basic Disney Genie app is free, guests who want to skip queues must pay for Genie+, which adds a feature called Lightning Lane and costs $15 a day per person at Walt Disney World and $20 a day at Disneyland.
Lightning Lane selections can only be made on the day of the visit, which has not gone down well with Disney fans who like to pre-plan.
There will also be a ‘pick and choose’ option, for guests to fast track to up to two attractions each day. Pricing for this will vary by date, attraction and park and will be announced closer to launch, Disney said.
FastPass was previously offered as part of the overall ticket price, although it was replaced in 2017 at Disneyland California by the MaxPass, which is included in some ticket prices, but costs $20 per person for others.
“While the FastPass, FastPass+ and Disney MaxPass services will be retired, we’re incredibly excited about the flexibility and choices Disney Genie service provides. You can choose from all of our new options, a mix of them or none at all, and continue to have a great experience no matter how you decide to plan your best Disney day,” Disney said.
“We’ve been listening to your feedback– you want planning to be easier, you want more flexibility and you want better tools to help you make the most of your visit – and that’s exactly what Disney Genie is here to do.
“For even more convenience and flexibility, there are two other options for enjoying our theme parks, through a queue we are introducing called the Lightning Lane entrance that also saves you time in line.”
Many Disney fans are upset about the move, with one posting on Disney’s blog that ‘free plan-ahead FastPasses for resort guests are now a paid option’.
“Guests are getting sick of watching free perks vanish,” another said. One person feared the move would ‘price out guests and families who aren’t uber-rich’.
Disney was also accused of ‘switching magic for money’; ‘alienating people who like to plan’ and ‘excluding the groups of people that can barely afford the experience as it is’.
Read more on Disney’s blog about the new changes.