We have discussed several times the return of FastPass+ here on ModernLifeisGood. Increasingly we suspect the service isn’t going to return. There have been occasional stories of FastPass making brief appearances on My Disney Experience, and occasionally signs and kiosks are temporarily uncovered, but there have been no firm announcements. Disney has now announced that a new service called Extended Evening Hours will be starting in October for guests staying at Deluxe Resorts. We might be suspicious, but we think this is a sign FastPass is not returning.
Extended Evening Hours is a new service for guests staying at Deluxe Resorts. Guests staying at one of these resorts will be able to enjoy extended evening hours on select nights in select theme parks. Disney will publish the dates for Extended Evening hours closer to the time. We have queried previously whether it is still worth staying at a Walt Disney World Resort due to the loss of benefits, and perhaps this new perk might tip the balance?
However, this isn’t the only new perk that will be arriving in October. There has now been an announcement that Early Theme Park Entry will also start on the 1st of October. This new benefit, which replaces Extra Magic Hours, will be available for all Walt Disney World Resort guests and guests of other select hotels. Guests will be able to gain 30-minute early entry to any theme park every day. However, you will need a Disney Park Pass.
A valid Disney Park Pass will also be essential for guests taking advantage of Extended Evening Hours. However, guests may visit with a Park Hopper option as long as the park where they made their reservation earlier in the day.
You might be wondering why this is evidence that FastPass+ is not returning? We think Disney is going to introduce a paid replacement for FastPass+ like Universal Orlando. However, unlike Universal Orlando, it will be reluctant to give free Express Pass equivalents to all Deluxe Resort guests. Universal Orlando only has 3 Deluxe equivalent hotels, but Disney has numerous, including 12 Deluxe Disney Vacation Club Resorts. That will mean Disney will have to issue an awful lot of free paid FastPasses each day to Deluxe Resort guests.
The answer to this problem, I suspect, is Extended Evening Hours. A couple of hours exclusive access to a park several nights a week, but is it enough? Disney has a lot of Deluxe Resort rooms and villas, and therefore, crowds could be significant. We imagine each park will have at least one night of Extended Evening Hours each week. Guests hopefully should be able to ride a few big attractions with less wait, but will it make up for the loss of FastPass+? Time will tell!
Visit our Beginners Guide to Walt Disney World to learn more. Our guide includes all the latest information on the reopening of Walt Disney World.
This Guide is part of our “Road to 2021 at Walt Disney World” series. Check out the rest of the guides for the latest information.