Make more out of your time...
FastPass is a new free service available to all guests, which allows to reserve a ride-time for FastPass-enabled attractions in advance and then skip the waiting-line to proceed directly to the attraction. Thereby it reduces the time spent in line for the FastPass-enabled attractions, if the guest does use FastPass, and frees time to spend exploring the theme park and it's manyfold offers of attractions, shops and restaurants...
How FastPass works
FastPass issues free reservation tickets, that allow their holders to return to the attraction during a time-window indicated on the printed ticket, skip the usual waiting line and approach directly to the attraction. With a FastPass-ticket the waiting time at the attraction is usually reduced to something around five or ten minutes.
Guests get their FastPass-ticket from machines found in front of the FastPass-enabled attractions, but can't choose the ride-time / time-window on their own. Instead the computer-based system has a certain amount of tickets for every time-window available and hands out tickets for the nearest available time-window, till it has issued all tickets available for the operation-day of the attraction. The number of FastPass-tickets available for a time-window / for an attraction per operation day depends on the maximum-capacity of the attraction, of which up to 80% are available through FastPass, while the rest of available spots is filled with guests waiting in the usual line.
Guests can hold one ticket for every(!) FastPass-enabled attraction at the same point of time. This means: a guest can walk from one FastPass-enabled attraction to the others and collect a FastPass for each and every of these attraction before using the first of the FastPass-tickets, thus enabling him to plan his visit to all of these attractions at once. The only limitation is that guests can't obtain two FastPass-tickets for the same attraction before the time-window of the first ticket hasn't arrived. This is controlled as the FastPass-tickets are issued by automated machines for a certain attraction in front of this attraction after checking the passport of the guests only.
How to use FastPass
Approaching the FastPass-enabled attractions one sees three different entrances: the usual queue, now officially called "Stand by line", an entrance for FastPass-ticket-holders and a third area near the attraction where FastPass-tickets are handed out. Above this area an electronic signs informs for which time-window FastPass-tickets are handed out at the moment. If this time-window suits your plans for the further day proceed toward this area. Here several machines are located that produce the FastPass-tickets. Just put your themepark-passport into the machine, which now checks that you are not currently holding another FastPass for the same attraction which's time-window has not yet arrived. Afterwards it returns your passport and then prints out your FastPass-ticket which depicts the time at which you are entitled to use your FastPass-ticket at this attractions. In case you are encountering problems (e.g. a breakdown of the FastPass-issuing-machine) there is a castmember around which will help you. After receiving the FastPass-ticket please exit the FastPass-issuing area through the exit - don't turn back and use the entrance as many guests do, as this is one of the causes why sometimes lines build up in front of the FastPass-machines.
Now it's time to enjoy the whole theme park with it's other attractions, do some shopping or maybe take a lunch or dinner in one of the restaurants. Starting at the point of time indicated on the FastPass-ticket you can return to the attraction - look for the FastPass-entrance. A castmember will check there that you have a valid FastPass-ticket for the attraction and that the time-window has arrived (showing up before the indicated time won't help you, as you are not allowed in by the castmember). After this first check you enter a special queuing area where you can walk toward a second castmember quiet fast usually. This second castmember is threading the FastPass-ticket-holder into the line of the guests without FastPass - he will keep Your FastPass-ticket. From this point on both groups, the FastPass-ticket-holders and the guests waiting in the Stand-By-Line, are waiting together in one short queue which usually takes around five or ten minutes till you can enter the real attraction. Enjoy it! To further enhance you benefits of FastPass read our tips!
On crowded days the FastPass-tickets may sell out quiet soon, so turn up early at the FastPass-attractions - this is especially true for the FastPass-tickets for Peter Pan's Flight which on most days sell out well before those at the other attractions. In fact it might be worth having a short stroll through the whole park to gather FastPass-tickets before you do the first ride, so that you can avoid the lines later on. Just make sure that the time-windows on your different FastPass-tickets will give you enough time to walk from one attraction to the other later in the day. You can check this before getting your FastPass-ticket thanks to the signs above the entrance to the FastPass-machines which displays the the time-window for the currently handed out FastPass-tickets.
To get a second FastPass as early as possible for the same attraction check the FastPass ticket as soon as you receive it. Usually you can't get another FastPass for thes ame attraction before the time window of your current FastPass opens but depending on crowds in the park the system may decide for another, different point of time as of which a new FastPass is available for you. This time will then be printed onto your FastPass ticket. In the standard case (that is your next fastPass is not available before the time window of your current one opens), go to the FastPass-machines and take a second FastPass-ticket as soon as the time indicated on your first FastPass-ticket has arrived - the FastPass-machines only check that the time-window of the FastPass-ticket issued earlier has arrived, but not whether you used it. Only after this proceed to the attraction and take use of the first FastPass-ticket.
Don't worry if there is a line at the FastPass-entrance to the attraction. A possible reasons could be, that a breakdown of the ride earlier has resulted in people from several time-windows lining up - the castmembers will reduce the FastPass-line as fast as possible. But there is a second more common cause for lines at the FastPass-entrance: guests show up before their reserved time-window and are turned back by the castmember at the entrance and then form a line beside the entrance to wait for their time-window to arrive. So there is no sense in showing up to early, you wont be allowed to enter the attraction. If you are on time and there is a line check out with the castmember at the entrance which of the two causes resulted in the line building up. As said, most common is the second one, so you could enter the attraction without waiting if you are on time.
Want to collect FastPass-tickets as free souvenirs? Please: don't take a FastPass-ticket and let it expire without using it. Keep in mind: the number of FastPass-tickets for each time-window is limited so someone else would have to wait longer. Instead try to get a second FastPass-ticket at the same attraction before the time-window of the first one arrives. The machine will then print out a non valid-FastPass-ticket on the usual FastPass-ticket-forms you wanted to collect.
One last wish: if You got a FastPass-ticket and don't want to use it - please hand it on to guests in the Stand-By-Line, they will be happy!
Does FastPass work?
First of all: FastPass does not increase the capacity of the attractions or the theme park in general - instead it redistributes the guests throughout the themepark.
By getting a ticket for a certain time at a certain attraction guests are free to enjoy other attractions, the shops, restaurants or the atmosphere of the theme park instead of standing in line. It's up to you what you do with the time you save thanks to FastPass.
Whether this has an positive effect on your day in the themepark depends on what you do with your time - if you just stroll around or do some additional shopping or dinning you certainly saved time. But if you use the time to visit another attraction the effect depends on the behaviour of the other guests and the number of other guests using FastPass. With a growing number of guests using FastPass and visiting other attractions in the time they won thanks to FastPass, the lines at the non-FastPass-enabled attractions will get longer and guests will spend time they would have spend, let us say, e.g. in the line for Space Mountain, now on the longer waiting-times on, let us say, e.g. Autopia. In other words: the benefits of FastPass depend first on how a guest and the majority of FastPass-users spend their time and second how many guests do use the system. Also the Disneyland Resort Paris is advertising FastPass strongly throughout the resort there are still plenty of guests who step back from using the system as they seem to have problems understanding it - as long as this situation continues their might be a positive effect in the form that FastPass-users may be able to visit more attractions in the same time than before the addition of FastPass. If the number of users grow the effect may go down to zero for those guests who just want to visit the attractions, while everybody interesting in exploring the many rich treasures of the park, it's beauty and special atmosphere still is set to win.
But there is a "downside" of FastPass anyway: FastPass-ticket-holders don't pass through the usual waiting-area and therefore miss something of the elaborate theming and the story told through the scenes in the waiting-areas. The short lines FastPass-ticket-holders walk through inside the attraction-buildings don't feature so elaborate scenes and theming. This may be a small downside compared to another result of FastPass: the usual waiting-lines at the FastPass-enabled attractions, now called "Stand-By-Lines", move slower than before, as only down to 20% (depending on the attraction and the number of FastPass-tickets used in a certain time-window) of the seats / spots available for the attraction are allocated to guests waiting in the line, while before FastPass it were 100% - keep that in mind when judging a waiting line for a FastPass-enabled attraction.
A problem of the system at the moment is also the fact, that FastPass-tickets are issued on demand, meaning: the FastPass-machines hand out tickets as long as tickets for the day are available and not only for the next X hours. So it is possible that due to high demand for FastPass-tickets at a popular attraction FastPass-tickets may be issued around midday that are valid for the last hour of the operation day (which may be as late as 10.00 to 11.00 pm), so that the FastPass-tickets are sold out well during afternoon. This is a cause of anger for guests arriving later at the attraction and causes problems when planning your day at the themepark. So especially if the FastPass-tickets are available only for a very late time on the operation day it may be more interesting to take use of one of our insider-tips to visit the attraction with a short waiting time...
FastPass and Disabled Guests
Disabled guests still can use the entrances for disabled guests and pass by the waiting lines if the attraction does offer such an entrance (usually the case in the Disneyland Park, but not in the Walt Disney Studios) - if there is no extra entrance for disabled guests, and only then, they should make use of the FastPass-system too.
VIP and Disneyland Hotel FastPass
Guests of the suites at the Disney Hotels should note that they receive a "VIP FastPass" during the check-in which allows unlimited(!) use of the FastPass-entrances to all FastPass-enabled attractions without the need to obtain a FastPass-ticket and wait for FastPass-time slot to open. The VIP FastPass is limited to the number of guests booked into the suite.
Guests of the Disneyland Hotel with the exception of guests in its suites receive three "Disneyland Hotel FastPass" per stay each of which allows them once(!) to use the FastPass-entrance of one(!)l FastPass-enabled attraction of their choice without the need to obtain a FastPass-ticket and wait for FastPass-time slot to open.
FastPass is currently available at the following attractions:
Studio Tram Tour featuring Catastrophe Canyon was originally outfitted with FastPass when the park opened but the system at this attraction has been closed since early fall 2002 - still it can be expected to reopen in the future.