Something that Disney has just done at its Paris theme park has angered many members of the Disney fan community.
The Disneyland Paris theme park recently reopened after another pandemic shutdown. Like Disneyland and Walt Disney World, Disneyland Paris parks will not reopen with Disney’s traditional FastPass service. But unlike California and Florida, French parks introduced a replacement. This is the replacement that has driven so many Disney theme park fans crazy.
Disneyland Paris actually introduced two new products. One, called Standby Pass, sounds like the old FastPass, but it works in place of a standby queue instead of one. If an attraction’s wait time becomes too long, Disney activates the Standby Pass, which requires park guests to obtain a return time through the resort app. This way, no one will have to wait in a physical queue longer than an hour.
It’s probably the best mix of traditional and virtual queues I’ve seen at a theme park. Use a traditional physical queue for short waits and a virtual queue for long waits. easy. No mixing standby and FastPass queues either. I’d love to see Disney bring this product to their US theme parks.
However, no one is talking much about Standby Pass. It’s the second new product — Disney Premiere Access — that has a lot of fans upset. It is a pay-per-use line-skip, somewhat like the Fast Lane of Universal Express, Six Flags the Flash Pass and Cedar Fair. For eight to 15 euros (about $9.40-$17.60), guests can skip the once regular line at attractions like Big Thunder Mountain and Peter Pan’s Flight.
The addition of another extra charge at Disney theme parks has pushed some fans to an emotional breaking point. However, the irony here is that the fewer people who buy Disney Premiere Access, the better and more attractive the product will be. To explain The Incredibles Syndrome, if everyone skips the line, no one does. In order to work, Disney Premier Access needs enough people to buy the product to make it sellable—but not so much that buyers don’t see any value in it and everyone else gets frustrated with the standby wait.
Disney has introduced a lot of products overseas that were never made in the United States. Disney Premiere Access might be one of them, ultimately making it pretty much out of nothing.
If anything, I hope fans remember that collectively, they wield enormous power. Sure, consumers can make or break a consumer product. But, ultimately, you spend your money on entertainment, not to determine the fate of The Walt Disney Company, but to make you and your family happy.
If paying extra to wait less makes you happy, welcome that opportunity and go for it. But please don’t let the mere existence of that option make you angry. There are many other great attractions ready to welcome fans looking for an alternative to Disney.