Fastpasses....love em or leave em? I am not a huge Fastpass user. I will occasionally get them for the big ticket rides (like Toy Story Midway Mania, Peter Pan's Flight, and Soarin'). But for the most part, I haven't had a huge need for this service (when I go to Disney, the park crowds aren't bad and we decent wait times). In case you don't know, Disney offers complimentary Fastpasses to allow guests to get a ticket (Fastpass) to return to a ride with a shortened wait. This way, you can go enjoy other attractions and come back at your printed time slot. So, do I find Fastpasses useful? Yeah! I do. They free me up to enjoy the day rather than spend my precious park time in line. Am I in favor of Fastpasses? Sure! But, I do think that using Fastpasses, the right way, requires a bit of planning and "know how". Today we are going to talk Fastpass effectiveness so that you can utilize the system to its fullest!
Plan Your Passes
Having a plan for your Fastpasses helps to save you time! So, what exactly do I mean by a plan? Well, I think it helps to know three things:
1. What rides have Fastpasses?
This question is helpful in planning your day because you'll know which rides to hit up early for a good fastpass and which rides will leave you on standby wait. This also helps me plan my course of action. For example, I know at rope drop I'll be making the mad dash for Midway Mania (or whatever your fastpass pleasure).
2. What is the current standby line wait like?
I've actually seen rides with fastpasses with low wait times. Once I booked it through Epcot to Soarin' to get a fastpass and I was pleasantly surprised by the 20 minute wait. We decided to get the fastpasses anyway so that we could enjoy our favorite ride twice! Next time you have your mind set that this is a Fastpass only ride, check out the standby time. Maybe you'll be pleasantly surprised too!
3. What is the return time?
This is an important question because often Fastpass return times are for later in the day...and for big rides we are talking way later. I always check out this time and think: Am I still planning on being in this park at that time? Do I have dining reservations at that time? Is there something else I would rather do at that time?
These three thoughts get my mind out of the dream that I sometimes fall into in the parks and helps me use my Fastpasses effectively. Let's be real, you don't want to waste time going for Fastpasses that you aren't going to use!
Once you decided on Fastpasses you might need someone to play the role of keeper of the passes. In my family we select one person to get the Fastpasses from Fastpass distribution. This means that person is a keeper of the tickets (Key to the World tickets) and use those tickets at Fastpass distribution to collect a Fastpass for each ticket. I like it this way because we are all sure to get a Fastpass, all Fastpasses are kept handy for return times, and we don't clog up the Fastpass lines.
I write this because there are some restrictions for Fastpasses. The picture above isn't really a good representation of this stipulation because I won those passes by finding a hidden paintbrush on Tom Sawyer Island. Here is a better representation...
Here's the deal, Fastpasses have a time printed on them for when you are free to get another pass. This means that you can't get another Fastpass until that time. That means you can't just go around making a collection of Fastpasses (but that would be nice). For this reason, I say, know your choices and choose wisely. I've even forgotten this little stipulation and we decided to abandon Epcot for the Magic Kingdom. When we got in the Magic Kingdom I wanted a Fastpass for Splash Mountain and wouldn't you know it...I couldn't get one when I wanted it. So, if you are planning on doing the same thing...use those passes wisely and don't get caught in a stinky spot!
Timing is Key!
Did you hear the one about strict Fastpass return time enforcement. It is true! The Fastpass police are out in full force! I saw my fair share of people getting turned away because they were "too early" or "late" for the return time printed on their Fastpasses. Look at your return time and appoint someone to be the time keeper. There's an hour time frame for you to cash in your Fastpass for a shortened wait time (so don't get too busy and miss it). On the flip side, the time is there for a reason so don't be that guy that gets a Fastpass and tries to go through the Fastpass hours before you time. Be fair!
I have a couple of tips to utilize the time between getting your Fastpass and your return time:
- Don't go too far.
-If you are close to your return time, don't try to get in crazy lines or long attractions/rides. It is helpful to know how long you'll be waiting and enjoying. For example, did you know the Ellen's Energy Adventure is 45 minutes long? 45 LONG minutes...in one place...I'm not a fan by the way!
-Use the Tip Boards (one at each park- MK: On Main Street USA, Epcot, one between InnoventionsFastpass availability.
I hope these tips and suggestions help you to wrap your head around Fastpasses. Maybe you'll go in as a novice Fastpasser and come out a Jedi! Maybe I missed a point that you know of. Use the comment section below to participate in this post! I don't know if I say it enough, but I really do love each and every one of you! Thank you for taking the time to read, respond, and share the Disney: Done Right love! :D You make me smile!