Disney cracks down on FastPass abuse, much to the concern of local tour guides

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PHOTO BY SETH KUBERSKY
  • PHOTO BY SETH KUBERSKY
Disney World’s FastPass+ can be difficult for many to figure out, but some guests have found loopholes that allow them an advantage. One of the most infamous groups to play up these loopholes are the third-party concierge companies that charge guests to give them tours of the parks.

In recent years, Disney has attempted to slow these groups through various means, including charging for no-shows at dinner reservations and cracking down on abuse of guest assistance cards, but this month they’re rolling out one the most aggressive means they’ve ever attempted.

FastPasses, or ride reservations, are linked to a guest's MagicBand, an RFID wristband that guests use as their admission ticket, ride check-in, and numerous other things.

Guests can link several MagicBands to a single account and make ride reservations ahead of their visit for all the linked bands at a single time. This allows for families or groups traveling together to make ride and show reservations all at once. Guests are allotted three FastPasses before the day of their visit – once they have used those three, or the assigned time for the third has passed, the guest can then make more FastPasses, one at a time, throughout the rest of their day if any passes are still available.

The issue is the MagicBands, while linked to a ticket, aren’t always linked to an active ticket or to a guest who will be traveling with the party the day of the reservation. Certain guests have been bringing in multiple MagicBands, allowing them to reserve ahead of time more than the three-allotted pre-visit FastPasses. Some third-party tour guides also use expired tickets to gain FastPasses for multiple rides via the kiosks in the park first thing in the morning.

Now Disney is checking at attraction entrances if the MagicBands being used for FastPasses are linked to an admission for that day. Those who are using MagicBands that have no admission linked to them are then having their accounts frozen until they can speak to Guest Relations to resolve the matter.

While this is an inconvenience for some guests, who may have accidentally confused which MagicBand to use or simply didn’t know the rule, this could be detrimental to the third-party tour companies, causing major issues while touring guests around the park and limiting the amount of desirable FastPasses the tour companies can make.

This also allows for FastPasses to be open to more guests since certain guests are no longer hoarding the passes via these extra bands. No details on what Disney is doing for those who continue to abuse the system but they have been gone as far as trespassing guests in the past for certain ticket abuses, though that only happens in extreme cases. Disney has singled out specific tour companies and guides in the past as well, requesting that they stop the tours they are offering inside the parks. Disney does offer its own tour guides and numerous tour options, some of which include certain FastPass-style privileges.

The system is still in testing and could be updated at any moment.

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