Fastpass is a godsend for families visiting Walt Disney World, as a way to sidestep long line-ups for popular rides.
How Fastpass works
Head to your favorite attraction, which is probably everybody else's favorite attraction, too: Space Mountain, for instance. At the entrance to the ride, you'll see two signs: "Standby Entrance: 30 minutes"; and "Fastpass Return Time: 1:00". "Standby Entrance" simple means the ordinary stand-in-line entrance.
Look at your watch: it's 12:05. You now have a choice: stand in the line-up for "Standby Entrance", and you'll probably get on the ride within 30 minutes or less (--the standby time estimates are always high-end estimates.) Or get a Fastpass: insert your park entrance pass into a dispenser machine, and a little ticket pops out.
If you get the Fastpass, it will have two times printed on it:
- your Fastpass Return Time. In this case, you'll be able to return between 1:00 and 2:00 (--most rides have a one-hour time-window), and enter a special "Fastpass line-up" where you'll zip past the Standby lineup in a very satisfactory way. Meanwhile -- as long as you return before 2 p.m.-- you can go off and enjoy another part of the park.
- the second time is when you can use your Fastpass again-- read on.
When can I get another Fastpass?
This is a tricky question.... Generally, all you need to know is that you can use your Fastpass one minute after your Fastpass Return Time starts (i.e. 1:01 pm, in the example above).
But in certain cases -- when the attraction is very popular, and yourFastpass Return Time is hours and hours into the future-- you will want to look at the second time that's printed on your Fastpass ticket. It will tell you that you can use your Fastpass again in two hours (sometimes less.)
So, when can you use your Fastpass again? Whichever time comes first: one minute after your Fastpass Return Time; or at the second time that's printed on your ticket.
To get the most out of Fastpass, you should use it strategically. Here are three tips.
- Get a new Fastpass before you ride.
In the Space Mountain example, as soon as the clock reaches 1:01, you'll be permitted to acquire another Fastpass. If you want to ride Space Mountain twice, pick up a second Fastpass before you enter the ride. You'll probably be able to do your second ride shortly after you complete your first one.
Suppose you like both Splash Mountain and the nearby Thunder Mountain Railroad ride. Check the "Standby Entrance" time and "Fastpass Return" time for each attraction, and figure out which one makes better use of your Fastpass privilege. Some rides have short "Standby Entrance" times, and long "Fastpass Return" times; some have the reverse. You do the math! Maybe you can stand in line for Thunder Mountain while you're waiting for your Fastpass return-time for Splash.
- Think twice before taking a long-time Fastpass
Some attractions are either so popular, or have such a low intake rate, that your Fastpass return-time may be hours into the future. With the Winnie the Pooh ride, for example, if you acquire your Fastpass at 1 p.m., your return-to-the-ride time might be 4:00. You will be able to get another Fastpass before that time -- see details above-- but probably not for two hours; do you want to give up your use of Fastpass for that long? (You might be wiser to ride this attraction early in the morning on another day.)
- More adetails