Author, Walt Disney World with Kids
If there's any justice in the world, the genius who created Fastpass is relaxing somewhere on his yacht. Because Fastpass helps Walt Disney World theme-park guests drastically cut down on the amount of time spent waiting in line. Which means more rides, and fewer tantrums.
It works like this: Let's say you enter the Animal Kingdom at 9 am and find that a long line has already formed for Kilimanjaro Safaris. Rather than queue up for an hour, go to the Fastpass kiosk and insert your theme-park ticket. You'll get the ticket back, along with a small Fastpass (it looks like a movie-admission stub) showing you a time frame in which to return—say, between 10:30–11:30. You can ride other attractions in the meantime, and when you return to Kilimanjaro Safaris, show your Fastpass to an attendant who directs you to a much shorter line.
Pretty slick, huh? To maximize the benefits of Fastpass, keep these tips in mind.
1) Go early. Only a limited number of Fastpasses are available for each attraction each day. At a popular ride on a crowded day, all the Fastpasses might be gone by early afternoon.
2) Choose the right attraction. Fastpasses are most useful for rides like Space Mountain, which draw long lines, and less essential for shows like Finding Nemo, which let in hundreds of people at a time.
3) Keep 'em rolling. At the bottom of your Fastpass, you'll see the time when you qualify to get another. If you've gotten that 10:30 Fastpass for Kilimanjaro Safaris, you should be able to get one for another big-deal ride—say, Expedition Everest—at around 10:15.
4) Be prepared for some walking. There's talk of Disney creating central kiosks that would distribute multiple Fastpasses within each park, but until then resign yourself to hoofing it to an attraction, getting a Fastpass, and then hoofing it back later to use it. Wear your most comfortable shoes, and remember that this system still beats standing in line.
5) Hold on to those little pieces of paper. I constantly get mail about people who either (a) accidentally leave their theme-park ticket in the Fastpass kiosk, or (b) realize they've lost their Fastpass just when it's time to board the ride. Put one adult in charge of holding on to everyone's theme-park tickets and Fastpasses (maybe in a little resealable bag?) to cut down on the confusion.
About the Author
Kim Wright Wiley, mother of two, wrote her first edition of Walt Disney World with Kids in 1989, and 20 editions (going on 21) later, she's exceeded 50 visits to the parks, a statistic that stuns even her. Her Disney favorites? "I'm addicted to Rock 'n' Roller Coaster, my favorite character is Eeyore, and if I have anything big to celebrate, I do it at the California Grill." When not at the theme parks, Kim lives in Charlotte, NC.