***Updated 02.18.13: There are dozens of rumors flying around about the new FastPass system and when and how it will be implemented.  At this time, this post is still relevant.  I’ll keep it updated as we learn more about the new system.***

***Updated 08.15.13: And there are still dozens of rumors flying around.  😉  There is testing happening with larger and larger groups of guests, so hopefully we’ll have something new to share by the end of the year!

***Updated 01.24.14: It looks like legacy aka paper FastPasses are a thing of the past at Walt Disney World, sadly.  Check out our post on Disney’s MagicBands for info on FastPass+ and keep an eye on the blog for more planning info in the near future as Disney World continues to roll out this option.

The basic premise of Disney’s FastPass is simple…it “holds” your spot in line while you go enjoy other attractions, meals or just take a break.  Awesome, right??  Here’s the best part – it’s FREE with your theme park admission.  That’s right!!  No, you don’t have to be staying on property.  Nope, it doesn’t cost extra.  Not just for VIPs.  If you have a park ticket, you can use FastPass.

Get Your FastPass!
First, take a look at the standby time to see if you even need one.  I mean, why waste a window if the wait time is less than 20 minutes.  However, if it’s a short wait time, and you want to ride it again, definitely grab one before you hop in standby.  Near the wait time clock will also be a clock stating the current return times for the FastPasses.  Both clocks are updated frequently.

Decided to get one?  OK…take your theme park ticket (this might be a “paper” ticket, plastic credit card-type ticket or, in our example, your Key to the World Card) and insert it into the FastPass machine.  FYI: Your ticket can only be used to get a FastPass if it has been used to gain park entry aka no using your sleeping sister’s ticket to get an extra FastPass!!

Your Key to the World card can also be your ticket
FastPass Machine (this one at Toy Story mania)
Picture borrowed from DisneyEveryday.com

After you slip your ticket into the top slot, your FastPass comes out of the bottom one.  Don’t forget to take your ticket back after you receive your FastPass.

The Anatomy of a FastPass

This is a FastPass.
Once you receive your FastPass, you should note the return time (circled in red).  FastPasses are not accepted prior to the return time, which in this case is 12:10 PM.  Ideally, you’ll return during that hour, but (unofficially, of course) cast members have been known to accept a late FastPass just in case you got stuck in a restaurant or ended up on the wrong side of the parade route (beware Mickey’s Jammin’ Jungle Parade at Animal Kingdom!!).
***Updated 02.14.12: Rumor has it that cast members will now be more strict with FastPass return times and may no longer accept them after the window has closed.***
***Updated AGAIN 06.05.12: FastPasses are officially no longer accepted outside of the return time!!!  There are reports of a 15 minute grace period and possibly a 5 minute early bird leeway, but as with all things Disney, your miles may vary.  It’s usually up to the discretion of the CM.***
Also, take note of the time you can get another FastPass (again, circled in red).  Life would be fabulous if you could grab FastPasses for your favorite rides one after another, but you have to wait until a new window opens.  In this case, once your return time arrives, you can get another FastPass.  Stop and get it on your way to Big Thunder (maybe one for Splash Mountain since you’re in the area), or anytime after 12:10 PM.
But, what if you get stuck with a return time hours away??  Say, for Soarin’?  It’s not unusual to get a 6:00 or later return time for Soarin’ or Toy Story Mania.  Well, you’re NOT outta luck.  Again, make sure to take note of the fine print (yep, still circled in red) at the bottom.  In this case, you can get a new FastPass at 3:36 PM instead of the 6:39 PM return time.
Picture borrowed from interactivewdw.com

Here is the back side of water…uh, I mean a FastPass (you’ll get that joke after your trip!!), enlarged for easier reading. It has all the fine print regarding FastPass usage.

And here’s a scan of our “surprise FastPass” for Mickey’s PhilharMagic that we received when we got FastPasses for Peter Pan’s Flight, both of which we highly recommend!!
Where to Use a FastPass
Not all attractions offer FastPass, so here’s a list of attractions that do…
Animal Kingdom:
Expedition Everest***
Kali River Rapids*
Kilimanjaro Safari**
It’s Tough to Be a Bug
Primeval Whirl**
Magic Kingdom:
Big Thunder Mountain Railroad*
Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin*
The Jungle Cruise*
Mickey’s Philharmagic*
Peter Pan’s Flight***
Space Mountain***
Splash Mountain**
Winnie the Pooh*
Hollywood Studios:
Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular*
Rock ‘N Roller Coaster featuring Aerosmith**
Star Tours***
Tower of Terror*
Toy Story Midway Mania***
Voyage of the Little Mermaid*
Test Track**
Living with the Land*
Mission: SPACE**
*Maybe you need one, maybe not
**Good idea to grab one
***You’re doomed to 120 waits if you don’t get one!!
(Of course, these are all just my personal opinions)


Make the Most of It!!

  • Send a runner to grab FastPasses for the group.  This cuts down on congestion in the FastPass lines and the rest of you can grab a snack or take a quick break.  Remember, each ticket must have been scanned at the entry gates before it can be used to get a FastPass!!
  • Make sure you get the *** FastPasses first!  Don’t waste your window on Voyage of the Little Mermaid if everyone wants to ride Toy Story.
  • FastPasses do run out (Toy Story tends to run out around noon on busy days), so make sure you grab those must-do rides ASAP!
  • If you decide not to use your FastPasses, don’t toss ’em!  Find someone in standby that can use them.  We do this all the time, and it can really make someone’s day.  In fact, on our October ’11 trip, some guy hugged me every time he saw me after we gave him a couple of Peter Pan FastPasses.
  • None of this make sense???  There is always a cast member near the machines if you need help. 🙂

Feel free to post any questions in the comments!!

Jessica at Magic, Memories, Mayhem