The rides at Disneyland and Disney World are fun, but standing in long lines all day can be frustrating. Even during the off-season certain rides can develop lines that are over 60 minutes long. Luckily, Disney has a solution to this problem – the Fastpass. It is an extremely useful system but many park attendees are unfamiliar with how it works. My Disney YouTube guide covers How to Use Disney’s Fastpass System, as well as how to use the basic knowledge to Become a Fastpass Expert, so be sure to check those videos out for a demonstration of these tips in action.
The Basics – What is a Fastpass?
A Fastpass is a special ticket that allows you to skip the lines at certain Disney attractions, usually the ones that tend to accumulate long lines throughout the day, like Space Mountain, Splash Mountain, and Big Thunder Mountain Railroad at the Magic Kingdom. It is included with your park admission, so you do not need to pay anything extra in order to use the system. You can see all the attractions that offer Fastpasses listed on your park map.
How Does it Work?
To use the Fastpass service, first pick the ride that you would like a Fastpass for. There will be a sign saying “Fastpass Distribution” along with a one hour time window that the machine is currently offering Fastpasses for. Simply go up to one of the machines and insert your park admission ticket. The machine will then print you a Fastpass ticket for this attraction, like the one below. You will need to get one Fastpass per person that will be riding the attraction, using each person’s individual park entry ticket.
You can’t use your Fastpass right away. Instead, your Fastpass ticket will display a “return time,” which is a one hour time window that tells you when you can return to ride the attraction. For the Splash Mountain Fastpass above, you could return any time between 5:25 and 6:25PM to skip the line using your Fastpass. Hold onto your ticket and find other things to do until your Fastpass becomes usable.
Using your Fastpass
When the return time comes, go back to the attraction and show your Fastpass to the Disney cast member at the entrance. You will be granted entry into a separate queue that will have little to no wait at all! Be sure to hold onto your Fastpass until the end of the line, because another employee will collect it from you before you can ride.
After you’ve enjoyed your ride, repeat the process, skipping as many lines as possible!
How Many Fastpasses Can I Get?
To prevent guests from going crazy and hoarding all the Fastpasses in the park, you are only allowed to have one Fastpass at a time. What this means is that the system will not print you a new Fastpass until a certain time, which will be indicated on your ticket. This will either be the same as the return time also listed on your ticket, or two hours after the Fastpass was obtained, whichever comes first. The second case only occurs when a ride is offering Fastpasses with return times many hours into the future. For example, imagine it is 11:00AM now and the return times are from 3:00-4:00PM. Rather than making you wait until 3:00 to get a new Fastpass, you would be allowed to get one after 1:00PM (2 hours after 11:00AM).
So when Disney tells you ,”You can only hold one Fastpass at a time,” this doesn’t mean you can literally only have one Fastpass in your hand. As long as it is after the return time on your current Fastpass, you get a new one before handing in the one you already have.
What’s the Deal With The Picture Above? How Can I Get That Many Fastpasses at Once?
There’s nothing fishy about the picture above. All of those Fastpasses were obtained legitimately on the same day using two park tickets (we each had 4 Fastpasses) and all were used by the end of that day. Once you have a basic idea of how the system works, you can use the following tips and tricks to maximize your Fastpass usage and minimize the time you spend waiting in lines.
- Tip #1: Get a Fastpass Right Away – The first thing you should do when you enter the park is grab a Fastpass. It can be for any ride, but it’s best to get one for the rides whose lines fill up quickly, like Space Mountain, Splash Mountain, or Thunder Mountain (or Toy Story Mania at Hollywood Studios!). Even if the wait time is short now, get a Fastpass anyways. You can take advantage of the short wait time and ride the ride, then return later in the day when it is busier and ride it again with your Fastpass.
- Tip #2: Use Everyone’s Ticket – Is Space Mountain too intense for Grandma and Grandpa? Sometimes there will be members of your party that don’t want to ride a particular ride. You can use their tickets to get additional Fastpasses so that you (or your kids, if you have them) can ride twice. However, only do this if these individuals don’t plan on getting their own fastpasses for another attraction during this time.
- Tip #3: The Return Time printed on your Fastpass is Flexible – Your Fastpass will tell you what time you must wait until before you can return to the attraction. You won’t be allowed to ride before this time. However, most Disney employees are VERY flexible with the second part of the time bracket, and will usually let you ride even if you return after the time window has passed.
- For example, if your Fastpass for Splash Mountain tells you to return between 2:00 and 3:00, you would not be able to ride at 1:45. However, if you returned at 3:30 you will USUALLY be allowed to ride. Most employees will even let you ride long after the window on your Fastpass.
- Actual Example: I obtained a Fastpass for Space Mountain in the morning, that was valid from 9-10 am. I decided to return to the ride at 8:00PM, and I was still granted access with no problem.
- A word of warning – I’ve heard that cast members will sometimes turn people away after the one-hour window. It’s really up to the discretion of the individual employee, so you may want to use caution when trying this. However, I’ve been to the Disney Parks in both Florida and California 8 times over the past three years and have used this trick each time and have never been turned away. So you really don’t need to stress yourself out over using your Fastpass on time.
- Tip #4: Get New Fastpasses as Soon as Possible – Remember that time printed on your Fastpass ticket telling you when you can get a new one? Take note of it and get a new Fastpass as soon as you’re able to. Sometimes you may want to make your way to the other side of the park during your wait time to ride some different rides and grab Fastpasses for another big ride before returning to use the one you got earlier. Whatever you do, always try to get a new Fastpass before you use your old one. This will allow you to get the most Fastpasses in a day and help you skip more lines.
With all that said, you should now have enough information to use the Fastpass System like a pro. Enjoy the looks of envy on the faces of other guests while you bypass them standing in a long line! 🙂
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