FASTPASS at Disney World – How To Take Advantage of Disney’s Fourth Greatest Invention

by josh on December 10, 2012

Updated December 10, 2012.

What is FASTPASS?

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.

As previously mentioned, FASTPASSes are printed with a return time for some point later in the day.  Each attraction prints a certain number of FASTPASSes for each return window, which is usually one hour long.  The minimum return time is 40 minutes in the future.  For example, if you collect a FASTPASS for The Many of Adventures of Winnie the Pooh at 9:00am, chances are that it will have a return window of 9:40am to 10:40am.

Each attraction distributes a certain number of FASTPASSes for each hour-long window.  If demand doesn’t exceed supply, then the machines will continue to distribute FASTPASSes with return times that are just 40 minutes in the future.  If demand exceeds supply, then the return time will be later and later in the day as the attraction runs out of FASTPASSes for each specific window.  For example, let’s say that The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh distributes 100 FASTPASSes for each possible hour-long window.  That means 100 FASTPASSes would be distributed for 9:40am to 10:40am, 100 for 9:45am to 10:45am, 100 for 9:50am to 10:50am, etc.

If fewer than 100 FASTPASSes are distributed, then FASTPASSes will continue to give return times just 40 minutes in the future.  However, if more than 100 FASTPASSes for a window are distributed, the attraction will then give out FASTPASSes for the next window.  Let’s say that 500 people pick up FASTPASSes for Winnie the Pooh between 9:00am and 9:10am.  The first 100 people would get the 9:40am to 10:40am FASTPASSes.  The next 100 would get the 9:45am to 10:45am FASTPASSes.  The next 100 would get the 9:50am to 10:50am FASTPASSes, and so on.  By 9:10am, 500 FASTPASSes would be distributed and the current FASTPASS return time would be 10:05am to 11:05am, or 55 minutes in the future.  Thus, attractions that give out fewer FASTPASSes or have higher demand tend to run out of FASTPASSes earlier and give return times that are further into the future.

For convenience, the return time printed on the FASTPASS is actually a one hour long window for rides and a specific return time for shows.  Shows rarely offer FASTPASS these days, but it’s possible that you will see FASTPASSes distributed for Finding Nemo the Musical, Festival of the Lion King, and possibly others during very busy weeks.  For example, our Winnie the Pooh return windows from before were 9:40am to 10:40am or 10:05am to 11:05am.

Beginning in March 2012, Disney began enforcing the FASTPASS return time.  Prior to that, you could return any time after your FASTPASS window opened.  You’ll need to return to the ride within the window of the cast member will more than likely turn you away.  There is supposed to be a 15 minute “grace period,” which is printed on the low right hand corner of each FASTPASS.  You should be able to return up to 15 minutes past the end of the window, but I wouldn’t plan to do this as some cast members will give you trouble about it.

Also, be sure you head to the line that is designated with the “FASTPASS return” sign.  You will need to show your FASTPASS to the employee at the front of the queue and then another employee will take the FASTPASS ticket shortly before you board the ride.  Each FASTPASS is valid for one ride or show, not unlimited use during the return window.  The FASTPASS line and the standby line generally merge shortly before the ride’s preshow or boarding area.  Expect to see some very sad faces in the standby line as you pass in front of them because FASTPASS users are given priority – not to mention they may have already waited 60 or more minutes in line.  It would be inconsiderate to make comments like, “How was that 90 minute wait?  Even the five minutes I spent in this FASTPASS line was agonizing” before boarding the ride vehicle.

WHY IS FASTPASS IN ALL CAPS EVERY TIME YOU USE IT?  FASTPASS IS AWESOME I GET IT.  YOU DON’T HAVE TO YELL.

I am sorry.  The proper name of “Fastpass” is FASTPASS in all capital letters.  Just like with Fantasmic! and the exclamation point, it’s best to use the proper term, even if it’s annoying to both of us.  Plus, you know I would never yell at you.

So if FASTPASS is so Great, Why Don’t I Just Collect Them for Every Ride First Thing in the Morning?  Why Doesn’t Everyone Use Them?

There are limits to how often a person can obtain a FASTPASS.  Each FASTPASS ticket has a time listed on the bottom of it that indicates when another FASTPASS can be acquired.  Generally speaking, the next FASTPASS will be available once the original FASTPASS becomes due or after two hours, whichever comes first.  For example, if you got a FASTPASS at 9:15am for Peter Pan’s Flight and the return window was 10:20am to 11:20am, you would be able to get another FASTPASS after 10:20am.  It doesn’t matter whether or not you use the original FASTPASS – Disney has no way of tracking which FASTPASS tickets are actually used in real time.  If you collected a FASTPASS at 12pm and the return window was 6:15pm to 7:15pm, you would be able to acquire another FASTPASS at 2pm, which is two hours after 12pm.  This is the general rule of thumb, but there are exceptions, so it is important that you check the time at the bottom of the FASTPASS that indicates when the next FASTPASS will be available.  If you attempt to get an additional FASTPASS before the stated time, the FASTPASS machine will print a ticket that explains the FASTPASS rules.

The FASTPASS return window will be clearly visible above the FASTPASS machines.  Don’t get a FASTPASS for a ride if you won’t be in the Park when it becomes due.  No Disney employees will be able to take the FASTPASS back and reset your ticket to allow you to obtain a new FASTPASS.  If you end up with unusable FASTPASSes, consider giving them to someone you meet during the day.  People will be particularly appreciative if you give them to someone who is mulling over whether or not they want to enter a lengthy standby queue for that same ride.  Don’t be surprised if it’s difficult to give FASTPASSes away though.  A lot of people seem to think you’re trying to sell them something.

Like many things Disney World, FASTPASSes are underutilized because they are often misunderstood.  A lot of people assume there is a charge involved or don’t understand the process.  It’s not uncommon for someone to return from Disney World lamenting the fact that they couldn’t use FASTPASS because they didn’t have the right ticket type or didn’t want to pay extra for the privilege.    Unfortunately, the people who have the least pleasant time at Disney World are often those who did not adequately prepare and plan their vacation.  While the FASTPASS system itself is exceedingly simple – just put your  admission ticket in a machine and return to the FASTPASS line when the FASTPASS tells you to, most people don’t take advantage of it.  Of course, this is greatly to our advantage because it will allow us to use FASTPASS more often with earlier return windows.  Please don’t be apprehensive about using the FASTPASS system as much as possible.  Other than arriving at the Park as early as possible, it is the best way to reduce your wait at the most popular attractions.

Which Rides Use the FASTPASS System?

The FASTPASS system is not always available at all rides that advertise it.  If lines are extremely short, the FASTPASS system may be shut down.  This is somewhat rare, but it does happen.  Kali River Rapids at Disney’s Animal Kingdom is a good example.  When it’s cold in December, January, and other months, standby waits at the very wet Kali River Rapids are usually 10 minutes or less.  When this happens, the FASTPASS machines will likely not be operating.  In July and August, when Kali River Rapids’ wait times are 60+ minutes, the attraction often runs out of FASTPASSes earlier than Expedition Everest or Kilimanjaro Safaris.

During morning Extra Magic Hour, the FASTPASS system will usually give out FASTPASSes with return times during the morning Extra Magic Hour, but it depends on the theme park and time of year.  For example, the first FASTPASS for Expedition Everest given out during morning Extra Magic Hour will give a return time of 8:40am to 9:40am, assuming the Extra Magic Hour began at 8am.

FASTPASS may or may not be running during evening Extra Magic Hours.  At Hollywood Studios, they have not been offered since 2009.  At Magic Kingdom and Epcot, they may be offered at the most popular attractions for the first hour of evening Extra Magic Hours if crowds are expected to be heavy.  Check, “Are Extra Magic Hours Worth It?  A Strategic Guide” for more information.  FASTPASSes have been offered less and less often during evening Extra Magic Hours.

The following rides at each Park offer FASTPASS.  I have put them in order of desirability.  The first ride listed is the one you will want to get a FASTPASS for as early in the day as possible.  Rides lower on the list may not require a FASTPASS.  More explanation on FASTPASS strategy at each Park is also explained at the end of this article.

Animal Kingdom:

  1. Expedition Everest
  2. Kilimanjaro Safaris
  3. Kali River Rapids (In June, July, August, September, and other months where temperatures are high, Kali River Rapids is a higher priority.  Plan to FASTPASS it before the other attractions if the high is 85+ degrees).
  4. Primeval Whirl
  5. Dinosaur

Epcot:

  1. Test Track
  2. Soarin’
  3. Mission Space
  4. Maelstrom
  5. Living with the Land ((FASTPASS usually not available)

Hollywood Studios:

  1. Toy Story Midway Mania
  2. Rock ‘N’ Roller Coaster
  3. Twilight Zone Tower of Terror
  4. Star Tours

Magic Kingdom:

  1. Peter Pan’s Flight
  2. Space Mountain
  3. Splash Mountain (when it’s warm, FASTPASS return times will be much further out.  When highs are 80 degrees or less, FASTPASS return is usually just 40 to 60 minutes out, making it a lower priority)
  4. Princesses at Town Square Theater
  5. Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh
  6. Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
  7. Journey of the Little Mermaid
  8. Barnstormer
  9. Jungle Cruise
  10. Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin
  11. Dumbo
  12. Mickey Mouse at Town Square Theater

FASTPASS Strategy

The FASTPASS Runner – A Love Hate Relationship

Everyone over the age of three must have a FASTPASS to enter the FASTPASS line for any given attraction.  Even those who are just accompanying others and don’t plan to actually ride the ride need a FASTPASS.  However, every ticket holder does not need to put their own ticket into the FASTPASS machine.  The machines are self-service and it doesn’t matter if the ticket holder or Donald Duck puts the ticket into the machine.  This allows groups to designate one person to retrieve FASTPASSes for everyone, so long as they are given the Park tickets necessary to acquire the FASTPASSes.

The person designated to get FASTPASSes is often referred to as the “FASTPASS runner.”  One of the inconveniences of the FASTPASS system is that the FASTPASS machines for most attractions are situated right next to the attraction.  If you wanted to get a FASTPASS for Peter Pan’s Flight in Fantasyland and you were currently standing next to Jungle Cruise in Adventureland, it would take you a good ten minutes to walk all the way over to get to the FASTPASS machines at Peter Pan’s Flight.  By utilizing the FASTPASS runner, only one person would have to trudge over to Fantasyland with the group’s tickets, thereby allowing the rest of the group to continue on with their itinerary in Adventureland.  This practice can significantly reduce the amount of backtracking necessary when taking full advantage of FASTPASS.

The FASTPASS runner can also be helpful when groups want to meet characters and ride the rides.  One person can go off to obtain FASTPASSes while the rest of the group waits in line to meet Mickey Mouse, Cinderella, or whoever else.  The designation can also be given to responsible teenagers or young adults who are looking for something to do, but don’t want to wait in line for the Tomorrowland Indy Speedway or Finding Nemo.  I would recommend some sort of communication device between the FASTPASS runner and the rest of the group, in case someone gets lost.   Remember, that trip to Peter Pan’s Flight is going to take  15 – 20 minutes roundtrip and the group might have moved on to another location by the time the FASTPASS runner returns.  In the modern age of cell phones and texting, communication should be relatively easy.

Keep in mind that a ticket must be used to enter the Park that day before it can be used acquire FASTPASSes.  It isn’t possible for someone to wake up early and enter the Magic Kingdom before the rest of the group and use the group’s tickets to obtain FASTPASSes before the group arrives.  Otherwise, people could just bring a pile of tickets into the theme parks every day and collect dozens or even hundreds of FASTPASSes for their own use or to resell.

The downside is that at some point in your vacation, you are destined to be caught behind the FASTPASS runner.  This is someone who might have eight tickets to put through the FASTPASS machine, thereby holding up the rest of the line.  The good news is that there are multiple FASTPASS machines at most of the attractions and there usually isn’t much of a line, other than at Soarin’ or Toy Story Mania.  Don’t be worried about getting FASTPASSes that all have identical return windows.  FASTPASSes are usually issued in five minute increments and there are usually at least a hundred FASTPASSes for any given return window.  This means that if not everyone gets the 11:30am to 12:30pm return time, the rest of the group will get 11:35am to 12:35pm provided they insert their ticket into the machine shortly thereafter.

Two Approaches to FASTPASS

The FASTPASS First Then Ride Immediately After Approach

One good way to take advantage of the FASTPASS system is to use it when the standby line to a FASTPASS attraction is short and the return window is also only a short time away.  For example, you might visit Maelstrom at the Norway Pavilion at 11:30am, when the FASTPASS return time is 12:10pm and the standby wait is ten minutes.  You could very easily obtain a FASTPASS for Maelstrom, hop in line, ride, get off, and then enter the FASTPASS line to ride again after grabbing a snack or looking around the Pavilion a bit.

This is also a popular technique to use immediately after the Parks open because it guarantees two rides on your favorite attraction with minimal waits.  For example, if you walked straight to Soarin’ after Epcot opened in the morning, you might grab a FASTPASS and then immediately enter the standby line.  Chances are very good that the standby wait will be shorter first thing in the morning than it will be at any later point in the day.  This guarantees that you will be able to ride Soarin’ once with a minimal wait in the morning and then a second time later in the day.

I recommend a similar approach at Toy Story Mania at Hollywood Studios.  Many people see long lines form at Toy Story Mania immediately in the morning and assume that the line will “let up” later in the day.  This is highly unlikely because wait times balloon as more and more guests enter the Parks later in the day.  Since FASTPASSes for Toy Story Mania usually run out by the early afternoon, the FASTPASS then ride approach is the best way to experience Toy Story Mania two times in one day with the shortest waits possible.

The fact that you got a FASTPASS first thing with an early return time will also allow you to get another FASTPASS for another popular attraction as soon as possible.  For example, you might head to Rock ‘N’ Roller Coaster and Tower of Terror right after riding Toy Story Mania.  By the time you finish both of those rides, chances are your FASTPASS return window will open up and you’ll be able to get a FASTPASS for either of them when you’re conveniently in the area.

The FASTPASS Now and Return Later Approach

The most common way to use the FASTPASS system is to obtain a FASTPASS for an attraction and then experience other nearby attractions while waiting for the return time.  This is ideal when the standby line exceeds 30 minutes.  We don’t want to get in most lines that are 30 minutes or longer and chances are there will be attractions nearby with shorter waits that we can enjoy.  When the line to the FASTPASS attraction is longer than you want to wait, it is usually better to obtain a FASTPASS and head elsewhere rather than get the FASTPASS and head immediately to the standby line.  The only exception would be if you know you want to ride twice, won’t be returning to the Park again, and it’s unlikely that the wait will be shorter later in the day.  A 30 minute wait isn’t terrible for rides like Peter Pan’s Flight or Kilimanjaro Safari, especially during crowded weeks.  The decision on whether to get in line immediately after obtaining a FASTPASS would depend on how important a second ride would be and how much is left on your itinerary.  It really is a classic example of “opportunity cost” and where your time is better spent.  If you have plenty more to accomplish, you may want to forego a second ride and instead focus on seeing other attractions.

If the FASTPASS return time is several hours in the future, you’ll need to decide how many additional FASTPASSes you want to get and whether or not you’ll be able to get back to that ride earlier on another day when the line is likely to be shorter or the FASTPASS return window will be earlier.  Remember, if the FASTPASS return time is more than two hours in the future, you won’t be able to acquire another FASTPASS for two more hours.  If you get a FASTPASS from a ride with a return window that is sooner, you would be able to get additional FASTPASSes.  The problem is that as the FASTPASS return window gets later in the day, the likelihood that FASTPASSes will run out increases dramatically.  For example, if you got a FASTPASS for Peter Pan’s Flight at 2pm with a return window of 7:15pm to 8:15pm, you wouldn’t be able to get another FASTPASS until 4pm.  However, FASTPASSes will run out at Peter Pan’s Flight very soon and you’ll have to wait in the standby line if you don’t get a FASTPASS now.  This is another tough decision where you’ll need to weigh how important the ride is against how much you have left on your itinerary.  If you aren’t planning to FASTPASS other rides, then there’s no reason not to get the FASTPASS.  If the return time is much sooner at other FASTPASS rides and the ride with a FASTPASS far in the future isn’t that important, you’ll probably want to skip it and return at another time.

It’s also a good idea to get a FASTPASS with a return window far in the future before a sit-down meal.  Since you won’t be collecting FASTPASSes while you eat anyway, there’s not much harm in grabbing that FASTPASS for Peter Pan’s Flight with a distant return window if you’re going to spend the next 60 minutes eating.

In the morning, you will see a lot of people grab a FASTPASS for a popular ride and then run off to get in the standby line of another popular ride across the Park.  This is an especially popular tactic at Soarin’, where people routinely grab a FASTPASS first thing and then sprint to Test Track to get in the standby line.  At Hollywood Studios, a lot of people will get a FASTPASS for Toy Story Mania and then hurry to Rock ‘N’ Roller Coaster and Tower of Terror.  This works well if you’re only interested in riding the ride you got a FASTPASS for first once or if you plan to get a second FASTPASS for that same ride soon after the first FASTPASS becomes active.  Since the lines at Soarin’ and Toy Story Mania build very quickly, getting two FASTPASSes as soon as possible in the morning isn’t a bad idea.  The only downside is that you will need to return to the first ride (in this example Soarin’ or Toy Story Mania) as soon as the first FASTPASS time is due or be prepared to stay in the Park for most of the day.  FASTPASSes run out so quickly at Toy Story Mania that by the time you return for your second FASTPASS, the return window will likely be into the afternoon or early evening.  Getting two FASTPASSes for the same ride also requires a lot of backtracking.  Soarin’ is a good ten or fifteen minute walk away from Test Track and Toy Story Mania is not convenient to Rock ‘N’ Roller Coaster.

FASTPASS at Animal Kingdom

The two FASTPASS rides with the longest lines later in the day are Kilimanjaro Safaris and Expedition Everest.  Expedition Everest usually runs out sooner, so I would recommend getting a FASTPASS as early as possible.  If you arrive prior to the Animal Kingdom opening in the morning, you will likely want to head straight for Kilimanjaro Safaris, ride it, FASTPASS it, and then head to Expedition Everest to ride and collect FASTPASSes.  Because you need to arrive within the FASTPASS window and Safaris is a solid 20 minute attraction, it’s going to be difficult to get back to Safaris if you’re headed to Everest and then DinoLand, which is why we collect FASTPASSes after,  Because it has a lower capacity, Primeval Whirl’s return time will usually be further out than DINOSAUR’s.  DINOSAUR almost always has FASTPASSes with return times that are 40 minutes out.   Primeval Whirl’s can hit 60 to 80 minutes out, but any longer than that is uncommon.

FASTPASS at Epcot

The rides with the longest lines later in the day are Soarin’ and Test Track.  You will want to get a FASTPASS for Test Track as early as possible because they run out first.  If you arrive first thing in the morning, head straight to Test Track, FASTPASS it, ride it, and then head to Sum of All Thrills and then Mission: Space while you wait for your Test Track FASTPASS to be ready and ride again.  Then head to Soarin’ to FASTPASS it and do some other things in Future World East or save Soarin’ for another morning.  It’s not unheard of for Soarin’ and Test Track to be out of FASTPASSes by 3pm when Epcot is particularly busy.  With downtime and increased popularity since Test Track’s refurbishment, FASTPASS return times are usually further out.  FASTPASS return times for Mission: Space are often just 40 minutes out and rarely longer than 60 minutes out.  Maelstrom also has return times that are almost always 40 minutes out.  With Maelstrom, it’s easy to pull FASTPASSes, walk around the Mexico, Norway, or China Pavilions, and then return to ride when the FASTPASS is ready for use.

FASTPASS at Hollywood Studios

By far, Toy Story Mania has the longest lines at Hollywood Studios and it usually has longer waits than any other ride in all of Disney World.  You will want to get a FASTPASS for it as early as possible and ideally first thing after Hollywood Studios opens in the morning.  It’s not uncommon for FASTPASSes to run out before noon, even when the overall crowd level is low and Hollywood Studios is a recommended Park to visit.  Rock ‘N’ Roller Coaster generally has the second longest wait at Hollywood Studios and you’ll want to obtain a FASTPASS for it as soon after Toy Story Midway Mania as possible.  FASTPASSes often run out in the afternoon or early evening, depending on how late Hollywood Studios is open and the current crowd level.  FASTPASS return times for Twilight Zone Tower of Terror are usually 40 to 60 minutes out, making it much less of a priority than Toy Story or Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster.  When crowds are much heavier or Tower of Terror was down during the day, return times can get up to two or so hours in the future.  Still, you’ll most likely want to rely on FASTPASS in the late morning and afternoon when standby waits are 30+ minutes.  Thanks to a high capacity, Star Tours’ FASTPASSes usually have a return time 40 to 50 minutes in the future and FASTPASSes are often available up to an hour before the Studios closes.  It’s your lowest priority.

FASTPASS at Magic Kingdom

Peter Pan’s Flight ordinarily runs out of FASTPASSes before any other Magic Kingdom attraction.  Return times are also further in the future, making it your top priority.  FASTPASSes are usually available through at least the middle of the afternoon, but they can run out as early as 3pm or 4pm depending on when Magic Kingdom closes.  Space Mountain is another top priority, though FASTPASSes are more plentiful than Peter Pan’s Flight and its capacity is much higher.  You’ll still want to collect FASTPASSes earlier than most other attractions because return times are more likely to take off.   In the summer, Splash Mountain may be a higher priority because it’s more popular when temperatures are higher.  Be mindful of both when the high is 85+ degrees.  Since Rapunzel was added to the Town Square Theater, return times have been further out.  Because she ordinarily only appears through 4pm, you’ll also want to collect them before 2pm to guarantee that the return time is early enough to meet her.  The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh has a lousy capacity and wait times that are often 40+ minutes, causing FASTPASS return times to be later in the day when Magic Kingdom is crowded.  Note that FASTPASSes are distributed next to Mickey’s PhilharMagic rather than near the attraction.  Big Thunder Mountain Railroad is the last one that you normally need to be concerned about getting.  Usually, FASTPASS return times are just 40 to 60 minutes in the future because its capacity is about 2,500 riders an hour.  Still, you’ll want to collect FASTPASSes for it before the attractions lower on the list.  Journey of the Little Mermaid’s importance is difficult to gauge at the moment due to the newness of it.  Wait times are often 60 to 120 minutes, though FASTPASS return times are just 40 minutes in the future because its capacity is so high.  Unless you’re visiting early in the morning, you’ll probably want to rely on FASTPASS.  But because wait times are still 40 minutes out even when Magic Kingdom is slammed, it remains a lower collection priority than most other attractions.  Barnstormer FASTPASS return times are usually 40 to 60 minutes out, but can be longer if posted waits are 30+ minutes.  Barnstormer FASTPASSes are distributed next to Dumbo in a tent in the back of Storybook Circus,

Unless it’s extremely busy or the attraction closes for part of the day due to malfunction, Jungle Cruise and Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin have FASTPASSes available all day with return times just 40 minutes in the future.

Dumbo and the Mickey Mouse Meet inside Town Square Theater have FASTPASSes that are not connected to the system, meaning you can collect them whenever you want, even if you have FASTPASSes for another attraction.  For example, you can collect FASTPASSes for Dumbo and then Barnstormer right after or Town Square Theater and then Mickey Mouse.

Mickey’s PhilharMagic no longer distributes FASTPASSes, but you may get a “bonus FASTPASS” for it when you collect them for Winnie the Pooh.  You almost never need FASTPASSes for PhilharMagic and the “bonus FASTPASS” is really just a way for Disney to increase the number of people that will visit the attraction.  Even so, you might as well use the FASTPASSes if you’re planning to see the show and it’s convenient.  But they certainly aren’t required.  Stitch no longer offers FASTPASS.

Conclusion

When it comes to short lines and easy touring, FASTPASS is your biggest asset, other than arriving at the Park before it opens in the morning.  FASTPASS should be used whenever possible and there’s no reason not to collect as many as you can for the attractions you’re interested in experiencing.  Keep in mind the “rules” and be careful about getting FASTPASSes with a return window much later in the day because it will seriously cut down on the number of FASTPASSes you are allowed to obtain.  Focus on getting FASTPASSes for the rides that have the longest lines in the afternoon.  Consider utilizing a FASTPASS runner to get FASTPASSes for the group if everyone isn’t planning to see attractions in the area near the FASTPASS attraction.  This reduces the walking necessary for those who get tired more easily.  Since FASTPASS is completely free for all ticket holders, there is no reason not to take full advantage of it.

{ 20 comments… read them below or add one }

Tabitha October 7, 2010 at 11:27 am

Great FP explination, very detailed!

Steve November 12, 2010 at 12:35 pm

I would highlight your statement “be worried about returning with a FASTPASS after the return window expires – Disney employees almost always let people get in the FASTPASS line as long as the FASTPASS is from that day and the return window has begun” under its own heading. Until this week, when friends told us about this, we always assumed the FP expired and that was that. This is great info to know about and thought you might want to draw better attention to it.

Kelly February 21, 2011 at 2:58 pm

What can you tell me about having more than one active FP at any time? I’ve heard both that you can only have one and that you could have more than one?
Thanks

josh February 21, 2011 at 3:03 pm

You can have as many FASTPASSes at a time as the system will let you have. You can either collect a second FASTPASS two hours after collecting a FASTPASS or after the original FASTPASS window opens. For example, if you got a Space Mountain FASTPASS at 9:20am that was good beginning at 10:15am, then you would be able to get a second FASTPASS after 10:15am. If you got a Space Mountain FASTPASS at 3pm and it was good at 7pm then you would be eligible for a FASTPASS at 5pm (two hours after 3pm). Each FASTPASS will tell you when you’re eligible to collect another.

Becky March 5, 2011 at 5:57 am

I am so grateful for this web site. This is all completely new information for mw- I thought you had to pay for FASTPASS. I am taking 4 kids in a week twins age 6 and twins age 3 and I am so thankful you are explaining this!

DeAnn May 16, 2011 at 9:19 am

Josh–Would you consider adding pictures of the fastpass machines as well as fastpass tickets to this post? Being able to see these items helped me prepare for our first visit last year. Great article, I plan to make it “required reading” for the other adults in our group!

Lori June 17, 2011 at 9:49 am

We have only had problems using an expired FASTPASS once and it was at Soarin. It was a new cast member and I just politely asked her if she could please check with her supervisor because i knew that it was not Disney policy to turn away expired FASTPASSES….she asked and the supervisor corrected her and we went right in. Just make sure to ask politely, and you should have no problems. We have done this every time we have gone to Disney and this one time was the only time we had a problem and it was easily corrected.

kelly June 19, 2011 at 7:15 am

My father in law is retired military so we purchase tickets at a discount and without sales tax. We need his ID to purchase, but we are not required to have an ID to enter the park. I guess this is a perk for military families. The ticket sales at the base told us that we could add a water park option at the gate at Disney for a discounted rate. Does the person with the military ID have to be with you to purchase the option or do you have to show your military ID?

Clark August 11, 2011 at 1:58 pm

I would add that FASTPASS works “fantasmic” in conjuction with Parent (baby) Swap for multiple rides in a short amount of time. For example, Mom, Dad, and 2 children get FASTPASS – (4 total) and then Mom and child “A” that is tall enough to ride goes to the ride and asks for a “Child Swap” pass. This leaves you with 2 FastPass’s. Mom and child “A” ride the ride using FASTPASS. After, Mom and Dad “Swap” which lets Dad and Child “A” go through the line in the FASTPASS lane without using the “FASTPASS” tickets because they are “Parent Swapping”. After Dad has had a chance to ride There are still the 2 FASTPASS tickets that have not been used so you can do the whole thing over again. This will allow you to ride one ride 2-3 times in a very short amount of time if you want.

Levon December 10, 2012 at 6:20 pm

So what are inventions 1 through 3?

My favorite FASTPASS story was when my DD realized there was a line for the ladies room and asked ” can we get a FASTPASS??”.

RebeccaMcK December 10, 2012 at 7:07 pm

Some of the comments are outdated now, from 2011….so future readers should note that expired FPs can’t be used any more. And @Levon, that is hilarious about the ladies’ room.

josh December 10, 2012 at 7:12 pm

Where does it say you can still use expired FASTPASSes? I tried to take out those references.

Mary December 10, 2012 at 7:41 pm

The FASTPASS Now and Return Later Approach
that paragraph

Danielle December 10, 2012 at 7:46 pm

I also read that but looked thru and couldnt find it.

haven_alise1997 December 10, 2012 at 7:48 pm

@Josh she means in the comments section it’s still showing comments for 2010-now
and some of the prior comments refer to the old FP approach.

josh December 10, 2012 at 7:48 pm

I’m super dense. If you could copy/paste the line I’ll edit it or reword it so it’s clearer. You should see:

“Beginning in March 2012, Disney began enforcing the FASTPASS return time. Prior to that, you could return any time after your FASTPASS window opened. You’ll need to return to the ride within the window of the cast member will more than likely turn you away. There is supposed to be a 15 minute “grace period,” which is printed on the low right hand corner of each FASTPASS. You should be able to return up to 15 minutes past the end of the window, but I wouldn’t plan to do this as some cast members will give you trouble about it.”

Right in the middle.

Quietgirll December 10, 2012 at 8:32 pm

No, the actual comments by readers- the older ones still refer to using expired fps…that could be confusing to someone…

BobZ December 11, 2012 at 1:06 am

I think Quietgirl is referring to this comment;
“Lori June 17, 2011 at 9:49 am

We have only had problems using an expired FASTPASS once and it was at Soarin. It was a new cast member and I just politely asked her if she could please check with her supervisor because i knew that it was not Disney policy to turn away expired FASTPASSES….she asked and the supervisor corrected her and we went right in. Just make sure to ask politely, and you should have no problems. We have done this every time we have gone to Disney and this one time was the only time we had a problem and it was easily corrected.”

John W March 21, 2013 at 4:53 pm

What do you know of FASTPASS+? When is it available? Who’s getting “selected” to test it?

Lucy October 24, 2013 at 6:07 pm

I’ll be visiting Disney world for the first time ever on my honeymoon this November. Can’t wait! If I obtain a FASTPASS for a ride and return during the time the ticket says, will there be a separate line to enter from for the ride?

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: