Disney World Crash Course #3 - FASTPASS 101
The term FASTPASS is a foreign word to a lot of people. If you have never been to Disney World then chances are - you have never used one!
What is a FASTPASS?
A FASTPASS (FP) is a brilliant idea that Disney first introduced in 1999. It allows park guests to designate a time frame for certain rides. Simply put, it's a computer controlled queue system. The actual FP itself is a simple, small piece of paper that can keep you out of waiting in line for hours on end.
How do you receive a FASTPASS?
There is not a charge for using Disney's FP system. But sometimes it takes a little thinking to determine if it will benefit you. To obtain a FP you need to find a ride or attraction that offers a FP. You'll need to go to the FP machines and insert your Key to the World card or your park ticket. For each card you insert (one per person that will be riding) you will receive a small card that is the FP. It will have listed on it what time you should return to that particular ride to immediately go to the front of the line to wait with other FP guests to board the ride. It's an awesome idea and one that every Disney World visitor should take full advantage of. It's almost like a VIP queue! Also listed on the ticket is the time you can receive your next FP.
How do you take full advantage of the FASTPASS system?
One thing I recommend when considering a FP is that you weigh your options. For example -
In the Magic Kingdom, the Buzz Lightyear Space Ranger ride has a 20 minute standby wait. It's currently 10:00 a.m. and the FP return time is 10:15 to 11:15 a.m. In this situation my family would get FPs and then get in the stand-by line. We'd ride once, get off the ride and then enter the FP line with our FPs, and ride a second time. This allows us to ride twice within a 20 to 30 minute time frame.
There are plenty of ways to maximize your time in the parks with the help of FPs. You just need to think outside of the box!
Can you visit Disney World and not use a FASTPASS?
Of course you can! I have spoken with people who have traveled to Disney World and never taken advantage of the FP option. But in order to make the most of your time I do highly recommend FPing several of the more popular rides such as Toy Story Midway Mania, Expedition Everest and Splash Mountain. And honestly for my personal situation I don't think I would know how to go without a FP during a trip to Disney World.
What happens if your FASTPASS return time is hours later?
As I mentioned above, every time you use your Key to the World to get a FP you should weigh your options. If the FP return time is hours later it can still be a huge benefit for you. I'd much rather work my park day around a specific return time than stand in line for a 90 minute wait to ride just one ride. You can accomplish A LOT in those 90 minutes that you are avoiding in one queue. Yep, you might have to walk around and ride a few other attractions in the meantime, but at the end of the day you will find you accomplished a larger portion of the park.
And I know that the way my family "does" Disney is not the only way, nor the "right" way, it's what works best for us. Your family may be very different!
What attractions use the FASTPASS system?
On each of the park maps you will see a red and white "FP" label on each of the rides that offer FPs. Be sure you check them out as soon as you enter the park to determine which FP you want to obtain first.
Here's a list of current attractions at Walt Disney World that use the FP system (these are subject to change):
Magic Kingdom® Park:
Big Thunder Mountain Railroad - FASTPASS RECOMMENDED
Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin - FASTPASS RECOMMENDED
Peter Pan's Flight - FASTPASS RECOMMENDED
Space Mountain - FASTPASS RECOMMENDED
Splash Mountain - FASTPASS RECOMMENDED
Stitch's Great Escape!
The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh - FASTPASS RECOMMENDED
Coming soon - Meet Mickey Mouse!
Living with the Land
Soarin' - FASTPASS RECOMMENDED
Test Track - FASTPASS RECOMMENDED
Disney's Hollywood Studios™:
Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular
Rock 'n' Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith - FASTPASS RECOMMENDED
The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror - FASTPASS RECOMMENDED
Toy Story Midway Mania! - FASTPASS RECOMMENDED
Voyage of The Little Mermaid Show
Disney's Animal Kingdom® Theme Park:
Expedition Everest - Legend of the Forbidden Mountain - FASTPASS RECOMMENDED
It's Tough to be a Bug!
Kali River Rapids
Next up - Disney Crash Course #4 - Why Choose a Disney Resort?