It was only a matter of time. As of late March 2017, Shanghai Disneyland is offering a paid version of their FastPass service known as Disney Premier Access. Keep in mind, the free version of Disney’s FastPass is not going away. For now. More on that later. First, lets take a look at what this paid FastPass service entails and how it differs from the version that has been in place at Shanghai Disneyland since opening day.
Naturally, the first major difference in this paid FastPass service is price. Disney Premier Access for one attraction is 150 RMB (or about $21.75 ) on peak days and 120 RMB (or roughly $17.50 ) on non-peak days. Even for American prices, that cost is a bit steep. However, if you’re looking to purchase the entire set of tickets available on Disney Premier Access, the prices are cheaper per attraction. Peak days will set you back 600 RMB (roughly $87 ) and 480 RMB (about $69.75). What attractions are available, you may ask? Here is the official list:
- Soaring Over the Horizon – Adventure Isle
- Roaring Rapids – Adventure IsleRON Lightcycle Power Run – Tomorrowland
- Buzz Lightyear Planet Rescue – Tomorrowland
- Seven Dwarfs Mine Train – Fantasyland
- The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh – Fantasyland
- Peter Pan’s Flight – Fantasyland
The major benefit of these paid FastPasses is their flexibility. They can be redeemed anytime the attraction is open. You are not tied to the traditional one hour window FastPass normally gives you. In addition, you must have your photo taken at the time of purchase to buy a Premier Access pass. Even for one attraction and the person in the photo (you) must be the one who redeems it.
Now you may be wondering, “why bother offering this service at all?” A few reasons. Shanghai Disneyland is a very feast-or-famine kind of park. When it’s slow… it’s dead. But when it’s busy, the park is packed and there isn’t a heckuva lot of in between. Therefore, FastPasses on busy days get snatched up early and they can become a hot commodity between the haves and the have-nots.
Now the bigger reasoning is that there are some would-be entrepreneurs out there who will go to the park to specifically snatch up as many FastPasses that they can as soon as the park opens. They will hang out by the distribution locations and will casually offer to sell their FastPasses either because the times being handed out don’t work for a particular family or they are completely sold out. This practice has become so popular that these entrepreneurs are coming to Shanghai Disneyland Park daily and can turn a pretty good profit.
Here is another example. Shanghai Disneyland, just like all Disney parks, sell the iconic Mickey shaped balloons on Mickey Avenue. Unfortunately, balloons of any kind aren’t allowed past the security check point at the train station near the park entrance and many balloons get abandoned there. Yet again, there are folks trying to make a buck who will buy those gently used helium filled balloons at a slightly discounted price. So let’s say the guest paid $15 for that balloon in the park. They sell it to someone outside the train station for $7… that’s half their money back on a souvenir they can’t even take with them! Why wouldn’t you do that? That guy who just bought the balloon now hangs out in DisneyTown in front of the park entrance and says they are selling balloons in the park for $15! But he can sell you his for $12. A bargain… and many people take them up on that offer.
Ingenious? Absolutely. Unethical? Probably. Illegal? Not exactly. Unlike laws we know in the West, China doesn’t have a clear cut law on trespassing someone for your business if they are unwanted. I’m dead serious. You can read a little about it in this link. What does that mean for security Cast Members working for Shanghai Disneyland? It makes their job pretty difficult at times. Essentially, while they can walk unsavory types to the front gate, those same people can use their ticket and come right back in again.
This means Disney has been working on coming up with some creative solutions to the selling of not only FastPasses, but knock-off Disney merchandise in Shanghai Disneyland as well. Will this work? Hard to say. The price is not exactly cheap and scalpers could definitely sell FastPass tickets for cheaper than what Disney is offering, but this could make a dent in the process. Your thoughts?
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