Today In Disney History ~ July 21st
Disney’s Fastpass (styled as FASTPASS), FastPass+, and MaxPass are virtual queuing systems created by the Walt Disney Company. First introduced in late 1999 (though the idea of a ride reservation system was first introduced in world fairs), Fastpass, FastPass+, and the recently announced MaxPass allow guests to avoid long lines at the attractions on which the system is installed, freeing them to enjoy other attractions during their wait. Disney’s Fastpass and FastPass+ services are available at no additional charge to all park guests, while MaxPass costs US$10 a day.
Each attraction inside a Disney theme park has a maximum number of guests that attraction can handle in a given operating day. For example, a ride-through attraction like the Haunted Mansion may be able to carry 2,000 guests per operating hour. During a 12-hour operating day, 24,000 guests can experience this attraction. Similarly, a live theatrical show with a theatre capacity of 3,000 guests that has five shows during the day has a capacity of 15,000 guests. When Fastpass is installed on the attraction, a certain number of those seats (in the theatre, on the ride vehicles, etc.) are set aside. The remainder are made available on a “stand-by” basis to other park guests. At the beginning of the operating day, the enabled attraction’s wait is pre-set at a given time (for example, 45 minutes). The number of Fastpasses available is evenly divided into time intervals (usually five minutes, but sometimes three minutes). As guests obtain Fastpasses for the attraction, time intervals are depleted, moving the return time to later in the day. For an average attraction, the Fastpass wait will generally stay near this initial pre-set time. In the case of very popular attractions, such as Splash Mountain or other major thrill rides, time intervals are depleted quickly, resulting in longer virtual waits. Sometimes, all the time intervals will be depleted early in the day, at which point Fastpasses are no longer obtainable for the given attraction during that day.
FastPass+ allows guests to reserve and plan a visit to a Disney Park in advance for select FastPass+ attractions, Character Greetings, entertainment, and viewing areas for parades and fireworks. The new system allows guests to make reservations up to 60 days in advance, and change at any time. FastPass+ is a reservation and scheduling system, unlike the old paper FASTPASS system, which was a virtual queuing concept. Additionally, guests are encouraged to reserve FastPass+ sections with their group and are allowed to change the group’s FastPass+ reservation as an individual guest would.
On January 11, 2017, Disney announced Disney’s MaxPass for the Disneyland Resort. The new system will work in conjunction with the original FastPass system. It will be the first virtual queue system from Disney that will not be free, costing US$10 a day when it is launched later in 2017. The system will allow users to receive a FastPass return time on their smartphone through the Disneyland mobile app when they are inside the parks. Guests who buy the MaxPass system will also be able to download their PhotoPass pictures for free.
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