For Annual Passholders visiting Walt Disney World, taking up time with minor aspects to getting around the theme parks can add up to some serious inconveniences. One of the major perks of being an Annual Passholder, especially if you are local to Orlando, is having the ability to head to a Disney park last-minute, without taking too much time or additional spending out of your day. In recent years, Disney introduced Passholder-exclusive lanes to enter the turnstiles of the parks, which can come in handy when so many less-experienced Guests are having a difficult time scanning their MagicBands, but what about Passholder-exclusive traffic lanes?
There are reasonable arguments both for and against Passholder traffic lanes, with the most obvious argument for the lanes being that Passholders will make it into the parks sooner where they do not have to pay separately for parking. Out of town Guests may not be familiar with parking costs or they might not have their cash or card ready to go, and there are simply more of them heading to the theme parks on any given day.
The greatest argument against the possibility of a Passholder-only lane is that like any other separate line in a theme park, it stands to reason that it would make the other lines longer, thus making the experience more tedious for the majority of Guests.
Still, a Passholder-lane seems like a great solution for giving Passholders who spend thousands of dollars a year to enter the parks an added perk for their membership, while perhaps giving other Guests an added incentive to stay at a Disney resort. Perks for Disney resort Guests have been few and far between as of late, between the changeup of Extra Magic Hours to shortened early park entry experiences, and the loss of Disney’s Magical Express.
If traffic lanes to enter the parks had longer lines from losing a lane or two to Passholders only, it seems this would bring up an additional reason to stay at a Disney resort. Some Disney resorts are within walking distance to the parks, or accessible via boat or monorail, thereby cutting out traffic altogether. And the ones that do not have those options have buses for Guests to use that are complimentary (included in the cost of your stay). Buses have their own lanes, so for the most part Guests on a bus will not be backed up in traffic. They also pull up closer to the front of the park than parking areas, meaning unless the line to get onto the bus is unusually long, you would probably arrive at the park quicker.
Of course, this might seem like an added cost passed onto the Guest, that they are seemingly forced to wait in a longer line or pay to stay closer to the parks with transportation included. But this is a tricky point to make because it is also an added perk for Annual Passholders, who many feel do not receive enough perks as it is, and as an audience they have the greater ability to make more repeat visits. (From the Company’s standpoint, it might be worth it to prioritize getting Passholders into the parks quicker because they might be more likely to just stop in to shop or go out for dinner more often.)
Will Disney ever make separate lanes for Annual Passholders? We’re not sure. If it were ever in the plans for the parks, we do not believe it would happen anytime too soon. The resort is still recovering from staffing challenges that began during the COVID-19 pandemic, and installing new signage and spreading the word that Passholder lanes are available plus the potential of needing extra staff at the entrances, makes us think this is probably not top of mind.
The other consideration is that new Annual Passes outside of select options for Florida residents are still not available to purchase for Walt Disney World. If this were to be an added perk for Passholders, it would make sense to announce it when passes are available.
It will be interesting to see if Passholder Lanes ever do come to Disney Park entrances, though! If so, we will keep you updated here on Disney Fanatic.