I must apologize. I have several friends who recently visited the Disney parks and asked me what those fast pass tickets were and how much they cost. I felt so bad for not having filled them in before hand! I think fast passes are such a common topic that I assumed I already blogged about them; apparently not.
So here you go...
What is a fast pass?
A fast pass is a free ticket available to anyone in the park to bypass a large portion of a popular rides line.
Which rides offer them?
Rides such as Indiana Jones, Space Mountain, Big Thunder Mountain, Splash Mountain at Disneyland have these, as do Radiator Springs Racers, Soarin, Grizzly River Run and Tower of Terror at California Adventure. There are more, but I don't think I need to list them all...
It is easy to see if they are available for a ride, because next to the current walk on wait time you will see a fast pass return time posted.
Where can I get one?
You can get a fast pass for a ride at a ticket machine usually near the rides main entrance, or else close by the ride itself. If you can't seem to locate it, simply as a cast member and they will point you in the right direction.
You will need your park ticket to get the pass. Simply walk up to an available machine and put your card in. It will be scanned and out of the bottom of the machine will pop a fast pass ticket with a time of return listed on it. Do not lose this (of your park ticket for that matter...)
How do they work?
When the time listed on your fast pass arrives, simply return to your ride and enter the 'fast pass' line. A cast member will ask to see your ticket and let you through. The fast pass line usually runs right along side the main line but will be relatively empty. On a busy day you may still end up waiting 10 minutes or so to get on your ride, but it is nothing compared to the poor folks who have been waiting for 45. At the end of the line a cast member will take your fast pass ticket from you and you can then proceed onto the ride.
Do I have to use my fast pass during the listed time?
That's a tricky question. I have never been let on a ride earlier then my fast pass time, however I have heard of many people using their fast passes long after their time has expired. Disney World has recently stated that they will be enforcing their ticket times, where as Disneyland has not said anything about it. I think this is one of those times where it just depends on the cast member you get. That being said, we always just use our fast passes when it is the right time as we have a system.
Are the fast passes ride specific?
Yes! You can not use the same fast pass ticket for Indiana Jones as you would on Space Mountain. They will each require a separate fast pass.
How many fast passes can I hold at a time?
You cannot simply run all over the past grabbing fast passes for every ride first thing in the morning. There is an actual time limit on your ticket. You can get a new one every few hours or once your current ticket expires.
Does each ride have an unending supply of fast passes?
No! When you go to get a fast pass at a ride you will see a current 'return time' listed above. For popular rides at popular times of travel, fast passes can be gone for the whole day within an hour or two of park opening. So if you are travelling during a peak season and have a ride that makes the top of your list, I suggest heading there straight away and securing your pass.
Our system is to get a fast pass for one ride and then head to another close by while we wait. For example, we will get a fast pass first thing in the morning for Indiana Jones and then go on Pirates of the Caribbean and Tarzans Tree House. Or we will get a pass for Space Mountain and then proceed to ride Buzz Light Year and Astro Blasters in the meantime.
I will add that fast passes are not worth your time unless the ride you desire to go on has more then a 20 minutes wait. Our general rule is that if the rides line is under 20 minutes we will simply do walk on, but if it's 25 minutes or more, we get the pass for it.
And may I just add what a wonderful feeling it is to join the fast pass line and walk past all the other guests who have been not so patiently waiting forever... Sorry, was that a little mean?
Hope I've helped! If you have any more questions please feel free to send them my way!