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Friday, February 15, 2013

Avoid Lines, Use FASTPASS

I hope you enjoyed our previous post Kids+Lines=Crazy Parents. It contained various tips to help make your wait time seem shorter and keep your kids from driving you and everyone around you crazy. This post will focus on how to avoid long lines altogether and gain more time in the Parks. The number one method to avoid lines is Disney's FASTPASS.

FASTPASS is a free system to all Disney guests that allows you to reserve a place on a ride for a specific window of time. The image below shows a typical FASTPASS return ticket. The ticket shows the ride selected, the return window, the date, and when your next FASTPASS is available.

These tickets are given out at various attractions throughout all the Disney Parks. The attractions that support FASTPASS have kiosks usually near the ride entrance, you will see a sign like in the picture below. The times on the sign show what time your return window will be. These times are in 5 minute increments and continuously count up as FASTPASSs are distributed throughout the day. If the time place are blank then the FASTPASS distribution is closed due to distributing the maximum number of FASTPASSs or an attraction closure.

Beneath the "Distribution" sign will be a group of kiosks like the one below. You will insert your park ticket into the top slot, then the machine will eject a FASTPASS ticket below. It's important to not forget to grab your park ticket back from the top slot.

The system allows you carry multiple tickets, however you must wait 2 hours between retrieving your next FASTPASS or when your return window is open (whichever is shorter). When it's time to ride arrive at the attraction within your 1 hour return time (most cast members allow you to enter up to 15 minutes late) and look for the "FASTPASS Return" line.


Show the cast member your FASTPASS ticket and enter the line. Be sure and take your time and enjoy passing all the people waiting in the "regular" line. Don't get me wrong, you will wait some in the FASTPASS line but it will be much shorter. Typically the wait time is 5 minutes or less, yet sometimes due to ride shutdowns or bad weather you could wait longer. 

Now that you know how to use the FASTPASS system here is our method for maximizing your fun and minimizing your wait times.
  1. Arrive at the Park just before opening.
  2. Designate one person in your party to go get a FASTPASS for the whole group.
  3. Enter the Park and send the runner to pickup the FASTPASS at a popular attraction.
  4. The rest of the group should go get in line for a different ride since the wait will be short at opening.
  5. Reconnect with your group and visit another major attraction.
  6. Now your FASTPASS return time should be open, get another FASTPASS on your way to ride your first one.
  7. Repeat this pattern throughout the day, and have fun!
This technique allows you to ride 3-4 major attractions within the first couple of hours arriving at a Park! Now you have lots of free time to explore other areas, shows, and attractions. 

Rider Swap
A quick word on Rider Swap. Rider Swap is a FASTPASS ticket for those with little ones who don't meet the height limits of an attraction. Here's how it works:
  1. Find the cast member near the attraction main entrance and ask for a rider swap. 
  2. Then one person plus the "little one" hold onto the ticket while the rest of the party enters the line and rides the attraction.
  3. After the ride the group meets back together to swap the "little one".
  4. Next the the person who waited and up to 3 more people from their party may use the Rider Swap ticket to enter the FASTPASS line. 
  5. Note that Rider Swap does not have return window or expiration time so if you cannot ride right away you may use it later that same day.
Final Note: Disney is beginning testing of a new RFID system that will eventually replace the current FASTPASS kiosks called MyMagic+. This new system is designed improve the overall guest experience and interact with your smartphone. I will post a blog discussing this new system once it has been fully implemented. Thanks for reading and enjoy skipping those lines!

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