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What is a FASTPASS & How Do I Use It?

by Tad on January 20, 2012 · 7 Comments · in Rides, Shows, Parades & More

To help you take advantage of this awesome The Twilight Zone Tower of Terrortime-saving tool, here’s a helpful guide (including examples) for using Disney’s FASTPASS Service.

What is Disney’s FASTPASS?
Disney’s FASTPASS is a free service that, in effect, allows you to reserve your future place in line for an attraction. Disney’s FASTPASS Service is available at the more popular attractions and is included on ALL Walt Disney World tickets.

How & where do I get a FASTPASS?
You’ll see a “Disney’s FASTPASS Distribution” sign outside each participating attraction. You’ll also see a “Return Time” displayed on the sign. This is the one-hour window when you’ll need to return to that attraction in order to use your FASTPASS. Nearby or directly under the sign are the FASTPASS machines. They look a little different at each attraction, but for the most part you’ll see a row of rectangular machines that have a slot for inserting your ticket and a drop window where you’ll receive your FASTPASS.

Let’s use Splash MountainSplash Mountain as an example:
It’s 10:30 a.m. and you’ve decided to get a FASTPASS for Splash Mountain at Magic Kingdom. What now?
1. Go to Splash Mountain in Frontierland and find the “Disney’s FASTPASS Distribution” sign. Make sure the “Return Time” works for you and that you don’t have anything scheduled during that time (like a dinner reservation or show).
2. Now insert your admission ticket into the machine and obtain your FASTPASS. Before you turn around and walk away, make sure you have both your ticket and your FASTPASS. (It’s easy to forget one in the machine.)
3. Put your ticket and your FASTPASS in a safe place and make a note of your return time. An easy way to keep track of your “Return Time” is add it to your schedule on Undercover Tourist’s apps. In this example, let’s say your “Return Time” is 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m.

What do I do now that I have a FASTPASS?
OK, it’s currently 10:30 a.m., you have your FASTPASS for Splash Mountain and your “Return Time” window is 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m. Here are some fun things to do while Pirates of the Caribbeanyou wait.
1. Visit less popular attractions or ones with shorter wait times like Pirates of the Caribbean or it’s a small world. (You can find which attractions have short wait times on Undercover Tourist’s apps.)
2. Use the regular stand-by line at a nearby attraction like Big Thunder Mountain Railroad.
3. See a show that begins early enough that you’ll be able to return to Splash Mountain at 12:00 p.m. (Dream-Along with Mickey is a good choice.)
4. Meet a few of your favorite Disney characters for a picture and an autograph. (Be prepared with my Top 10 Character Greeting Tips blog.)
5. Avoid long lunch lines by dining early at a Counter-Service Restaurant. (You can find Disney Dining info on Undercover Tourist’s apps, too.)

It’s almost my “Return Time,” what do I do?
It’s nearing 12:00 p.m. and you’re ready to plummet five stories from the top of Chickapin Hill in your log flume. But wait!
1. As soon as the “Return Time” for your current FASTPASS rolls around, you can obtain your next FASTPASS. So before you put on your poncho and waterproof your belongings, go to another FASTPASS attraction and get your next FASTPASS**.Peter Pan's Flight FASTPASS
2. Let’s use Peter Pan’s Flight for our example. Go to Peter Pan’s Flight at noon and get a FASTPASS. The “Return Time” for your Peter Pan’s Flight FASTPASS is 2:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.
3. Now you’ll board Splash Mountain with an even bigger smile since you’ll be even closer to your FASTPASS “Return Time” for Peter Pan’s Flight.

What happens when I go through the FASTPASS line?
So far, so good…You’ve obtained your FASTPASS for Splash Mountain, you’ve enjoyed other attractions around the park while you wait for your “Return Time” and you’ve already gotten your next FASTPASS for Peter Pan’s Flight. What now?
Splash Mountain1. Go back to Splash Mountain and find the FASTPASS line. There will Cast Members there to make sure you’re in the right place. (It would be awful to get stuck in the stand-by line, right?)
2. Make sure everyone in your group has their FASTPASS and is in line together. (It’s easier if one person holds them all, especially if you’re traveling with kids.)
3. The Cast Member at the entrance of the FASTPASS line will check that you have an eligible FASTPASS. Since you read this blog and you know what you’re doing, you’re good to go and she waves you through. YES!
4. You will reach a second Cast Member who will collect your FASTPASS.
5. Wave and smile at the people in the stand-by line.
6. Reach the loading area of Splash Mountain in about 5 minutes because you used a FASTPASS!

What do I do now that I’ve used my FASTPASS?
It’s a good thing you already have your next FASTPASS for Peter Pan’s Flight, and as the shampoo bottle says…lather, rinse, repeat.

Is there a time when I shouldn’t use a FASTPASS?
Yes and here are those times.
1. The stand-by line is 30 minutes or less. In this instance, use a FASTPASS at attractions with longer wait times. Here’s an example: It’s a typical day at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. The stand-by line for Expedition Everest is 30 minutes, but the stand-by line for Kilimanjaro Safaris is 60 minutes. Grab a FASTPASS for Kilimanjaro Safaris then use the stand-by line at Expedition Everest.
2. You have other activities scheduled at the same time as the “Return Time.” An example: The FASTPASS “Return Time” for Test Track is 1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. You have Advanced Dinner Reservations at Tutto Italia Ristorante in the Italy Pavilion at 1:10 p.m. Realistically you will not have enough time to go on Test Track AND arrive at Tutto Italia in time for your ADR.
3. The “Return Time” is more than a few hours away and you’re not sure you’ll still be in the park. This is a classic Toy Story Mania! situation…it is not uncommon for the “Return Time” for Toy Story Mania! to be more than five hours. (We’ve seen 6:30 p.m. “Return Times” for FASTPASSes obtained at 10 a.m.!)

I just want a few quick tips for the FASTPASS. Do you have any?
Of course!

  • Designate one person in the group to handle obtaining, holding and presenting the FASTPASSes. This will save you LOTS of time and confusion!
  • FASTPASSes are only good on the day they are printed.
  • Encoded on your FASTPASS is your specific ticket information. Make sure you keep both tickets and FASTPASSes in a safe place.

**A few notes about when you can get your next FASTPASS: Generally, you can obtain your next FASTPASS as soon as you enter your “Return Time” window. If your “Return Time” is more than two hours away, you can obtain another FASTPASS two hours after the “Return Time” window on the FASTPASS you’re holding. Printed at the bottom of every FASTPASS is the time when you can obtain another one. When in doubt, ask the attending Cast Member.

Wondering what to do if you’re stuck in a stand-by line? Read ‘When the FASTPASS Isn’t Fast Enough’ (blog).

Stay cool!
–Tad


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7 Responses to “What is a FASTPASS & How Do I Use It?”

  1. Justin says:

    Can I take all the admission tickets for my family and go obtain the fastpasses for the whole family while my wife and kids wait in another line and go on an attraction? Do they need to have their admission tickets to get on the rides? Then I could do the extra walking and not my young kids. Thanks!

    • FrogBlog says:

      Hi Justin,

      Yes, you can take all of your family’s tickets and get FASTPASSES. If you don’t mind the added walking on your part, this can be a good strategy for saving time.

      – Leap

  2. [...] will allow guests to book guaranteed times for certain shows and attractions in advance. With the current FASTPASS system, guests have to physically visit ride locations to obtain a pass to come back during a specified [...]

  3. [...] Learn how to use FASTPASS – What is FASTPASS? Glad you asked. Disney’s FASTPASS® Service is the primary program Disney uses to help you avoid the long lines at the busiest rides. It basically takes you right to the front of the line.  (What is FASTPASS and how do you use it? Check this post.) [...]

  4. [...] our wait time apps. They now include Fastpass return times. Familiarize yourself with the existing Fastpass system (as Fastpass+ still hasn’t launched). You may have used our crowd calendar when you began [...]

  5. [...] in conjunction with Fastpass, the wait-time app will save you time and needless traversing through the parks! No more wondering [...]

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