The Disney FAST PASS is FREE with your ticket price, so there's no reason not to take advantage of it.
What you need to know about the DISNEY FAST PASS
- Keep your entry ticket as you can not get a FAST PASS without it. I wondered why people had lanyards around their neck but soon discovered it was to keep them close, dry and safe.
- All persons in your party must be in the park in order to use the FAST PASS so you can't send one person ahead of time. Although one person can go with ALL their party's tickets in hand if everyone has been scanned into the park.
- Once popular rides are full they will stop issuing a FAST PASS. Radiator Springs is currently the hottest ride and was sold out by 11am everyday.
- The FAST PASS is good for one entry only for the one hour window that is specified on the ticket.
If you look where the blue arrow is pointing it says the Stand By time is 180 minutes, yep you read right 180 long and painful minutes.To avoid that kind of madness you can go to the FAST PASS line and it will tell you what time you can can go back to ride as seen in the picture below.
MUCH MUCH better, this means you can go and do some other rides or have a meal whilst waiting. Your FAST PASS will tell you a time at the bottom of the ticket for when you can get another FAST PASS ticket, generally 2 hours after you got the current one but I found that to differ.
At the entrance of each FAST PASS attraction, there is a set of machines that are similar to ATM machines. You insert your theme park ticket into the FAST PASS machines, and it will spit out your FAST PASS. On the FAST PASS is a "return time" window. When the time on the FAST PASS arrives, simply go back to the ride and enter the line through the special FAST PASS entrance (which is generally very well signed.
So, when we went I saw the ridiculously long line for the Radiator Springs FAST PASS and thought we should ignore all previous advice (yes really!!!) and go straight to the ride where we waited for 2 hours. Seeing all the FAST PASS people speed by you is like a form of torture. We sang, we danced, we had minor tantrums but we did make it.
The next day I got to the FAST PASS line at 7.45 am, it opened at 8.00am and I had my hot little tickets in my hand by 8.15 am. In the meantime Shane and the kids went and stood in line for another long ride, I walked straight up and joined them. We returned at our designated time and waited 10 minutes to get on. So a total of 45 minutes and another ride taken in that time. Much better.
Not all rides have FAST PASS, it is indicated on the Park Map.
Just to be confusing even though you get a FAST PASS for Radiator Springs it does not count as a FAST PASS so you do not have to wait till a specified time to get another FAST PASS for an alternate ride. Hope this makes sense.
It is an art, a game but well worth learning.
Hope this helps.
If you have a mobile phone with a local sim card which I HIGHLY recommend then get this fantastic wait times app which we found to be pretty spot on. I would check the wait times when we came off a ride and see what had a smaller wait. It really does change and fluctuate all day with exception to Radiator Springs and Space Mountain.
Do your research before leaving, if you get your phone unlocked there are some great deals for sim cards that give unlimited data, text and local phone calls. In this day and age that we live in having all the information you need at your finger tips is priceless.
Paper maps are a thing of the past, when we were driving I would just use google maps. I could search places to eat close by and get directions. Calling cabs when we needed them.
Wondering what a particular building was and being able to google it. When you don't have it you don't realise how much you use it.
Hope that helps in explaining what a FAST PASS is all about