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BREAKING: Disneyland Resort Will Launch Digital FastPass Service in November

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Disneyland Resort has been testing a new FastPass system for their theme parks in a very limited capacity over the last year or so. While the tests were never very widespread and it seems that the actual rollout of the new system has been continually delayed, it appears that Disney is finally ready to unleash a digital version of FastPass on the West Coast.

Barcodes in the Disneyland app and on tickets will be the key to a new Disneyland Resort FastPass service
Barcodes in the Disneyland app and on tickets will be the key to a new Disneyland Resort FastPass service

While it may not be a full rollout, we can confirm that Disneyland Resort is looking to launch their new digital FastPass service at Toy Story Midway Mania at Disney California Adventure park starting on November 20th, 2016. Some recent queue modifications were made at the attraction in preparation for this. New FastPass signage and such will be installed by Walt Disney Imagineering at the attraction in Mid-November. Toy Story Midway Mania did not open with or add any FastPass service despite being quite popular at California Adventure, but there is a queue that was constructed that can be used for it.

Toy Story Midway Mania will be the first attraction in California to test a digital FastPass service
Toy Story Midway Mania will be the first attraction in California to test a digital FastPass service

It is unknown how exactly the FastPass bookings will work through the app, but it is assumed that this is a permanent installation of the system in the park. There are reports that other attractions around the park are already installing the infrastructure to join the digital FastPass system in the following weeks and months.

As previously reported, the new system will use the official Disneyland app to allow guests to book FastPass reservations digitally. The new system will utilize a barcode within the app or on a guest’s Disneyland Resort park ticket to redeem the FastPass. The app will be the only way to book the FastPass reservations during the early stages. In-park kiosks for booking may eventually be introduced.

The Disneyland Resort has continued to use the old paper FastPass system, even though Walt Disney World’s FastPass+ system using digital FastPass booking and RFID ticket media has been in place for almost 4 years now.

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About the author

Tom Corless

Tom has been regularly visiting the Walt Disney World® Resort from the time he was 4 months old. While he has made countless visits in the last 28 years, he did not become a truly active member in the Disney fan community until the summer of 2007, when he decided to launch the WDW News Today website and podcast. Tom has since become an Orlando-local and is a published author on Walt Disney World.

50 Comments

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  • I went to Florida twice last year; both trips were kind of last minute and had complicated group reservations. The system in Florida really prevented us from doing as much as we would have liked in the parks. I am sad about this, simply because I have yet to have a positive experience with this system. I know that there are people that like it but I’m one of them.

    We stayed at the Floridian, Art of Animation, and the Yacht Club.

    We had such a bad experience that we aren’t really looking to plan anymore WDW vacations for now. We were, and still are considering a Disneyland trip soon but it won’t be the same.

    Seems odd that they would force people to use the app. Maybe if they set up kiosks they’ll print out a bar-code. Or maybe because this ride never had a Fastpass before they figure people still won’t really need to use it much.

    • *I’m not one of them. EDIT.

      Dang, I thought that I proofread that.

      Not trying to be a hater, just sharing my experience. I would love to hear or read someone defending fast pass plus because I want to like it.

    • Well since you planned them last second, you can’t really expect it to be a perfect system for you. There are people that plan a whole year in advance. They get up early 6 months before their trip and make ADRs, and they do the same thing 60 days out for Fastpass+ reservations. I’m curious as to what your problems were though. We had made our fp+ reseravations well in advance of our trip, but 2 days before our trip, our friends’ family decided to Tagalog. So we had to do a bunch of last minute fp changes for 2 different families and there was only ever one time that we had any issues.

      • The only things that were available were attractions for which a fastpass would have been pretty useless like Philharmagic. We had problems changing reservations when we tried to add people. For the most part the cast members were pretty understanding. This system also makes it clear that Disney doesn’t seem to want people to parkhop anymore, which was something that we usually do almost every day of our trips.

        The app was extremely difficult to navigate and if you made a mistake between your two parties you simply miss out. Grandma makes a reservation for something that she thinks looks fun at a park that you aren’t going to today? Sorry, can’t help you.

        It feels like the old system allowed us to enjoy our vacation at a relaxed pace outside of one or two attractions that you had to show up early for. We would parkhop and see what was left. With the new system, everything is gone even earlier. And you have to keep your schedule or you miss your shot. We ended up reserving times that we didn’t really want because they were the only things available and then we simply missed out on the attraction.

        I guess if you only even used 3 fastpasses it could be a good system but we probably used 5 or 6 fastpasses on a given day previously and we could walk around and see the times and make spur of the moment decisions. We typically only make one ADR but other than that we pick the park that we most feel like going to the day that we get up.

        I see a lot of benefits of the new system for disney and only a handful for the typical consumer. The people who always had their homework in early or had the money to hire a tutor(Deluxe resorts) will probably enjoy the new system but for the rest of us, it’s just a lot of work.

    • We used FastPass plus and found it no worse than the old paper FP. There was only two of us, I imagine if you had large complicated groups and were trying to find FPs last minute then you won’t find as many options. But for two of us, I booked about half our days at 60 days and then only made plans for other days two days out and still got a few FPs.

      I used to get really frustrated with paper FP that if you turned up in the park at 11am as you needed a lie-in then Toy Story Mania, Soarin’ (and Cars in DCA) and several other popular attractions had distributed all of the FPs for the day. At least with the new system you can do it on the app on the bus to the park if needed.

      But as will many other things in life if you need to make plans for a large group you need to do it early. Getting a table at any restaurant for two is usually easy, but for 20 you might get turned away.

    • I don’t think this will replace the current system. If anything it will be in addition to it. Another way to help spread the crowds. Imagine when Star Wars opens if every single person sprints to the back of the park. Only to get a fast pass. It already happens with radiator springs and space mountain. This new way will allow those of us living in the current century (seriously who affords Disneyland that doesn’t have a smartphone) can get our passes ahead of time. Whether paper or mobile they all have barcodes

  • I also much prefer Disneyland’s paper fastpass over Disney World’s digital system. This is sad news. My husband and I frequent Disneyland and it’s always unplanned. We pick up fast passes here and there but we’re always able to do everything we want. In Florida we weren’t familiar with the system and the fast passes were already unavailable because people can book them through the website days in advance (also how do you know what time to book them all at?). I dislike the amount of preplanning the digital passes require. It really was a lousy experience to show up without any fast passes and not be able to do any of the main rides you want because 2-3hr waits. Even in Epcot most of the sit downs restaurants were booked. We watched two couples before us be turned away from the half full Chinese restaurant because they didn’t have a reservation (neither did we and were also turned away). After unsuccessfully deciding on another place eat. My husband checked online out of curiosity because the restaurant had been half full… sure enough made a reservation. Walked back in no more than 15min later and they were happy to seat us. I couldn’t believe they had been turning people away despite having room just because they didn’t make a reservation in advance. All of the Florida trip left a bad taste in our mouth about everything being reliant on online reservations and digital fast passes. It’s not for me. I like at Disneyland that you physically have to be there to get the fastpass and you don’t need a smartphone. Seems more fair. Hope in park kiosks or something keep the physical aspect of having to be there to sign up for a pass.

    • For people staying on site at WDW the time to reserve Fastpasses is no earlier than 60 days prior to your check-in day. 7 am EST. I got up yesterday morning just before 5 am (Colorado/mtn time) to do this since that was the 60 day mark. Right at 5 am is when my dates opened up and I was able to book what I wanted (not always with a preferable time but that’s okay – sometimes things can be changed later, working around dining reservations and break times, etc.). What’s a shame is you can only reserve up to 3 FPs per day and in just one park (can’t book a 4th FP until the 3rd one is used or has expired on the day of its use, but at least then the 4th FP and onward can be in a different park if hopping)…I wish it was more like FIVE per day. In Disneyland we were able to have lots of Fastpasses on hand (sometimes for more than 4 attractions, spread throughout the day) and we kept pulling new ones when the time came up to do that. And then with dining reservations it’s recommended to book them no earlier than 180 days prior to the start of the trip, to get the best availability. Sometimes there are sit-down places available closer to the time of your trip (many people often cancel while reworking their plans) and sometimes walk-ups are available but I haven’t seen it happen too often. And not likely for large groups.

      That said (all about WDW above), I enjoy the FP+ system and use it to my best advantage. Nice to be able to book them on my smartphone and/or at a kiosk in the park. I am glad that DCA’s Toy Story Mania ride will finally get FP even if it’s the new digital one that locals will have to adjust to using. We often skip that ride because the standby queue is just too long to wait, and we’re used to the WDW version in Hollywood Studios having FP capability.

      • I forgot to add that for people NOT staying on site at WDW (in one of their resorts/hotels), they can book FPs 30 days ahead of time. I can’t remember if annual passholders get to do 30 days ahead or 60 days ahead. On days with less crowds it is possible to find Fastpasses available the day of, while in the park….but often not for any big headliner attraction.

      • We went the first week they had the current fastpass systems and we were able to get all our fastpasses to be for 9,10, and 11. After that we literally just kept refreshing the app to check for last minute fp cancelations. We did that all day and rode every popular ride. It’s definitely not a perfect system, but when you get used to it, I think it’s wonderful

        • I really like it too….I just wish they allowed more than 3 when first booking them (more like 5 would be great). For those of us who plan ahead and try for our favorite rides when booking FPs, it’s a great system. Helps the rest of the day go more smoothly. And refreshing the app after scanning the 3rd FP in the return line often does give good options for our 4th passes.

      • You mention getting more and more paper FPs at Disneyland, you can still do the same at WDW, once you touch in at the third attraction, get on the app and reserve the fourth. Same when you touch at the fourth, open the app and reserve the fifth, yes there might not be many options, but we got five FPs at day.

        With paper FP, you still can’t hold too many at once as you can’t pick up your next one until you use the first FP, or two hours has passed. I found then that if I got a FP at 11am, it might have a return time of 4pm and I can’t get a second FP until 1pm. Then the FP I collect at 1pm may have a 3:30pm return time than overlaps with my first FP and therefore requires a lot of walking criss-crossing the park collecting and using FPs. At least with the WDW app you can get your next FP while stood still in line!

        Also at some parks they can’t offer more than 3 in advance as there simply isn’t enough FPs to go around everyone. It was the same with the paper ones, there aren’t enough slots on some rides for every guest in the park to get one.

      • I had the same experience. Not to mention the fact that because of the new system spaceship earth is always packed and you can’t have two of the best tier rides reserved. So at Epcot you can’t even get test track and soarin’. Guess you’re waiting 3 hours for something or skipping it.

  • I’m not excited about this at all if this will be like Disney World’s FP system, because I live close to Disneyland and like to just go when I feel like it. If Disney does this just in the parks day of then it’s fine.

  • Hopefully for Disneyland the Digital Fast Pass will only be able to be made a day or two ahead of time since most trips are a day or two.

  • Let’s see, not everyone has a SmartPhone, and not all smartphones use the “Phone 4G or similar network”, And unlike WDW, there is no WiFi offered inside of Disneyland and DCA to guests

    So some folks, including many foreign visitors will not be able to use the service, doesn’t seem like an improvement to me.

    • I would be very surprised if they don’t roll out WiFi to go with the new FPs. It might not be immediate, but I would expect WiFi at Disneyland in 2017.

  • As an annual pass holder who goes for say, 4 hours to have lunch and ride 3 or 4 rides and go home, I will be very unhappy if I am not able to get fast passes on the day I decide to go. I do not want to have to book in advance like dining reservations. My husband is handicapped and we can only go on the days he feels strong enough. He cannot stand in line for an hour but refuses to ride in a wheel chair. Fast pass is our only answer to getting on popular rides.

    • Hi Joann. You need to get him a DAS Card (good for 60 days). You don’t need fastpass service and he he doesn’t need a wheelchair to have the service. Arrive at an attraction and receive a scheduled return time to the front of the line.

  • I would be all for this if tickets aren’t available in advance or outside the resort.
    (And especially we get wifi as part of the deal!)

    However I am worried about the speed of scanning a barcode versus taking tickets or scanning RFID. I’m envisioning crowd build-up at fast pass entrances…

    In addition, the lack of kiosks is worrying. It seems biased against those who don’t have smartphones or don’t have the room or battery to use the app during the day. Also, The learning curve of realizing you need to use the app seems higher than just replacing the current paper-distributing kiosks with new digital kiosks, making the system biased against the average tourist.

    But these problems should hopefully be fixed and overall it should be a good change.

  • Very sad that Disneyland will be introducing fastpass similar to Walt Disney World. We have visited the Florida resort multiple times and need to plan so far in advance and need to plan where we are going to be months in advance. That is now even harder to do since schedules are not released until a few weeks in advance. Once in the parks, you must have a plan and reservations to go about your day. We visited Disneyland over this past summer, in July, and had the best time! We were able to get fastpasses to what we wanted and were able to do everything we could have possibly wanted to do because of the paper fastpass system. We loved it. With the digital fastpass, waits for standby are going to suffer as well as any flexibility. Disneyland tried to do digital fastpass in the past and realized it does not work for their parks. It is sad that they are not considering their mistakes from the past and looking to try this again. So happy we visited Disneyland when we did and so sad that these changes are being made.

    • It’s not even remotely close. The system will be the exact same. Just I can get a pass on my phone instead of paper. It in advance. Literally exactly
      As before. But it will spread crowds and prevent dangerous rushes to big rides

  • I’ve read somewhere that these digital fast passes will only be available when you are actually onsite-hopefully only if your ticket has been scanned. That would be a lot more reasonable than booking in advance.

  • This is great news. After using the Magic Bands at WDW, using paper FP’s seemed so archaic. Hey Tom….would it have been too much to expect when you put this article together to actually use an attraction that had FP’s?

  • No!!! My family travels to WDW every year and we have scheduled our first visit to Disneyland this December. The thing we were looking forward to most, you ask? Paper fast passes. My husband and I were ecstatic when we realized Disneyland uses the old fast pass system and we didn’t have to mess around with magic bands, picking our fast passes WAY in advance, and having the excitement of “which one should we get next??”. I’m bummed Disneyland is getting rid of the old system. Hopefully it will still be mostly intact when we are there!

  • Disneyland is a different culture from Disney World. People who vacation in Disneyland do not plan out meals and rides in advance, the most avid park goers plan their attack the morning of, and it works for the style of park Disneyland is. I have heard that this new fast pass + will not be like WDW and it will be still booked day of. Guests from WDW might be in shock, but when people used a fast pass, they were regulated and it actually made the lines shorter. Also, you can get into pretty much any restaurant without a reservation (not the same for WDW). It’s just a more casual form of vacation that works for the west coast. This process will just make it easier for those with phones to book fast passes and they don’t have to have a runner to go all the way to the ride and come back to their group, it can just be booked on their phone.

    • While there are differences between WDW & DLR, I don’t want people to think restaurant reservations aren’t important at DLR.
      They are.

  • God you Disneyland locals are such whiny losers. You’re probably just jealous you don’t have Hall of Presidents so you won’t have the HONOR of having a President Trump AA Figure. Don’t worry, since it’s going to be wonderful and huge, I’m sure they’ll add him to Disneyland. I think he’d be a great replacement for that tired old Lincoln figure. I don’t know about you, but I prefer Presidents that weren’t shot by actors. Great Moments with Mr. Trump will be the biggest most beautiful attraction in theme park history.

    • Trump has to do with everything you nasty woman. You’re the ignorant one for not realizing how different the parks will be once Mr. Trump has his very own attraction.

    • Pam, he/she is a troll. Ignore them, and they will die soon enough. Just like all the homophobic, xenophobic red necks on the east coast.

      • I am insulted that you would insiduwait that all us red nexks is on the east coast. It is peeples like you that are the intolerant ones.

      • I would also just like to point out that you seem very complacent with the fact that there are homophobic and xenophobic people. This can lead me to assume that you are a Caucasian, which shows that you are perfectly fine with white privilege since you see it as a problem that will be eventually fixed in the future when they all die off rather than a serious issue that needs to be addressed immediately. Homophobic and xenophobic people indoctrinate their children to hate certain people that are different in the same way they were in indoctrinated by their parents. Simply waiting to let these types of people die out is is the lazy way of pretending like you care. So ultimately your inaction is furthering the problem rather than fighting it.

  • If you can only reserve through the app will it let you do multiple people? Like for my children that don’t have phones there for no app.

      • Just so long as they don’t accidentally decide to look at the app on their own later because they forgot how it worked and accidentally delete all the fastpasses or remove themselves from something.

  • This is a horrible idea. Disneyland is a locals park, that some tourists attend. My wife and wake up on Saturday morning and decide if we want to go that day on some weekends. Just like thousands of other local pass holders. We don’t like being forced into this planning garbage they have at Disney World. Disneyland is for locals, not people who plan months or weeks in advance.

    • Hi Danny. Your claim is open to discussion since there are over 22,500 hotel rooms within 2 miles of Disneyland. They can accommodate about 60,000 guests. You may be one of a very few who share this opinion. I would add my opinion that locals should be able to take more advantage with this than tourists because of experience.

  • Hmm, almost all the comments here have taken me by surprise. I have no special Disney connection. But the few ‘official’ notices I’ve seen related to digital fastpasses at Disneyland have been pretty clear that it would be digital (meaning on your cell phone or ticket) – not advance fastpassses like WDW or use a magic band. I thought Disney had the locals well in mind with the change. But since everyone seems to be thinking different – I guess I’ve missed something.

  • Whatever Disney decides to do, one thing is clear…the concern of what their customers won’t have any impact. They did the swap in Florida and spent enough on it to build another theme park. But they did it to capture information, marketing, and plan to make the money back from their investment. Remember too, fast pass is to keep paying and buying guests out of lines to buy more. NOT to make it a more fun day. Current management doesn’t care about experience, though California has it a little better than Florida in this respect.

    • I agree. That’s why we aren’t currently planning a WDW trip. We are down from every year to maybe every three to five years just so our kids get the experience. They sure did manage to keep us out of lines or riding any of the headliner attractions!