Updated December 10, 2012.


First introduced in 1999, FASTPASS is a “virtual queuing system” offered at many of Disney’s most popular attractions.  Unlike other theme parks that charge for “front of the line access,” FASTPASS is completely free for all ticket holders.  All a person needs to take advantage of FASTPASS is the ticket they used to gain entrance to the Park.

FASTPASS is similar to the “take a number” system you may be familiar with at your local Department of Motor Vehicles.  Each FASTPASS-enabled attraction has a bank of machines near its queue entrance.  Visitors may obtain a FASTPASS by inserting their Park ticket into one of these machines, which will scan and return the ticket along with a small piece of paper known as a FASTPASS.  Instead of having to wait for a number to be called, each FASTPASS has a return time printed on it for some time in the future, allowing the user to “save” their spot in line and tour the Park freely while they wait.  Once the time stated on the FASTPASS arrives, the FASTPASS user can return to the attraction and enter the FASTPASS queue, which is designed to have a wait of ten minutes or less.  This arrangement is beneficial to both theme park guests and Disney.  Just one use of FASTPASS can save a visitor more than an hour in line, allowing them to explore the Park and see additional attractions.  Disney benefits because a person that isn’t stuck in a long line is more likely to spend money at a store, kiosk, or restaurant.

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Edit: DINOSAUR is back on the FASTPASS system, meaning they work there just as they do at other attractions.  I’m not sure what was going on at the beginning of April – either a fluke or they were trying to send more people than usual to DINOSAUR.

It’s been about two months since Disney began enforcing FASTPASS return times and we now have a clearer understanding of what that means.  On March 7th, Disney began enforcing FASTPASS return times.  Before that, you could enter the FASTPASS return line with your FASTPASS at any time after the return window opened.  For example, if you were holding a Space Mountain FASTPASS with a return window of 1:15pm to 2:15pm, you could return any time after 1:15pm.  That means you could ride at 9pm with your 1:15pm FASTPASS.  That’s no longer true.  Currently, you must return within your FASTPASS window with a 15 minute grace period attached at the end.  In our example above, you would need to return to Space Mountain between 1:15pm and 2:30pm.

Let’s take a look at how to maximize your FASTPASS strategy so that you can still tour efficiently, eliminate walking/backtracking as much as possible, and return within the FASTPASS windows at each theme park.

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