The Expeditious Use of Fast Passes at Disney

{This originally appeared on my Facebook Page, but since vacation time is coming, and people sometimes ask me for tips on the parks, I thought I’d re-post it here.}

Walt Disney World has a feature available to every guest that allows you to bypass the long wait times for their popular attractions, and move to almost the head of the line. With a little planning and some willingness to walk, you can spend the entire day without much time in lines.

How do these passes work?

In most cases you scan your ticket in a machine, and a pass with a specific time to return and bypass the line is issued. Normally these will say that you are to return during a certain hour, but at some parks the only time that matters is the earlier time. That is, if you are to return between 1:00pm and 2:00pm, the only time the attendants look for is that you are coming after the 1:00pm time. This is very helpful if you push your times pretty close.

For instance, at Disney’s Hollywood Studios you could head for the Tower of Terror and get a fastpass and then hurry over to the Rockin’ Roller Coaster, ride it once, and have the urge to ride again. If you ride again, you will be pushing the range of time on your fastpass for the Tower. You could miss that window if the park is busy. But as long as you come after the earliest time listed you should be able to get in the line.

How do you get the most out of the Fastpass?

First, decide what you want to do multiple times. These will be priority Fastpass goals for you. Enter the park and go directly to the fastpass dispenser. After you get your pass, look at the times. When can you return to ride? And more importantly, when can you obtain another Fastpass?

Now, if the normal line wait time is acceptable to you could choose to enter it. Or, if another high priority attraction is close, you might go there while waiting for your pass time. For example, at Disney’s Animal Kingdom you could head right for Expedition Everest to get the Fastpass, and then decide whether to ride then, or head down to Dinosaur.

Be aware that some attractions fill up fast. Epcot’s Soarin’ is very popular, and waiting until after lunch to get a pass will most times result in disappointment.

As you are heading to use your first pass, see if you have passed the time where you can get another pass. If so, it may be worth your while to swing by another attraction for a pass before using the current one.

Even if it means going across the park, the time spent walking to get a pass will be more enjoyable than standing in line, especially late in the day when your feet may be hurting. Would you rather be walking through a creative and entertaining environment or standing in a maze of rope, chain, and fence packed with people?

With regard to lunch, after using a pass, select the next pass attraction and get one. Then enjoy a leisurely lunch waiting for your time to arrive. Hopefully, you have chosen to ride something that doesn’t make you motion sick.

It can be annoying to see a line of people go into the attraction immediately even though you have been waiting for over an hour. Taking of advantage of the passes available to you can take some of that edge off. Using them effectively can mean a more fun-filled outing at your favorite theme park.