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The Joy of FASTPASS - details and secrets


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  • [Other] The Joy of FASTPASS - details and secrets

    The best place to start a discussion of FASTPASSes is the official Disney description of FASTPASS...

    Well, it sounds so nice and easy... well, the system is actually quite complex, and keeps changing.

    Note: The "Enhanced" FASTPASS option that was available from 2003 thru 2006 has been discontinued.

    Now, how does it work, well, think of the FASTPASS machines as a computer network, with each attraction being a "unit" in the network. When a "regular" user attempts to get a FASTPASS, the machine does two things, the first test is that it checks to see if you have a current FASTPASS for the same attraction (that is a FASTPASS whose start time is later than the current time aka not yet valid), and the second test is to see if you have received another FASTPASS in the same park (There are two separate networks, one for Disneyland, and another for DCA). The rule here is you are not allowed to get another FASTPASS until the starting time of the first FASTPASS, or after 2 hours of issuance of the first FASTPASS. The easiest way to check this is to look at the bottom of the first FASTPASS, it will state "Another FASTPASS will be available at XX:XX" Now certain FASTPASS machines have not been connected to the network. In this case, the machine only cares about the first test, do you have another FASTPASS for THIS ride?, and will issue you one only if the starting time has passed. (For example, you go to Indy, and get a FASTPASS for 11:30 AM to 12:30 PM at about 10 AM. The machine will refuse to issue you another FASTPASS until 11:30 AM, at which time, the machine would issue one for say 1:40 to 2:40 PM, once again, you will be blocked out until 1:40 PM, when the machine will once again give you a new FASTPASS for say 3:10 to 4:10 PM....)

    First off, no wonder that Disney doesn't advertise these "tricks" I am about to talk about, as it is hard to explain to a Guest. You will find out that many CM's have no idea about what is a "Stand-Alone" machine, or other information talked about in this post. They do know the information as described on the official website, since this is what Disney has taught them. They have no idea about the "secrets".

    There are TWO networks, one for the Disneyland Park, and a second for Disney's California Adventure. They are totally separate, so you can always get one FASTPASS for each park. Let's look at the Networked machines....

    In Disneyland, the following rides are networked

    Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
    Indiana Jones Adventure
    Splash Mountain
    Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters
    Space Mountain
    Haunted Mansion Holiday (October thru early January) Regular version does NOT offer Fastpasses

    At DCA, the networked attractions are

    California Screamin'
    Mulholland Madness
    Soarin' Over California
    Tower of Terror
    Grizzly River Run

    Now, not every attraction is part of the network, 1 attraction (at present, and these attractions have changed many times) doesn't look at the network.

    Independent Machine (AKA Stand-Alone)

    Roger Rabbit's Car Toon Spin(DL)

    And now we have a new version of machines, one where Disney decides to turn off the machines 7 days a week.

    Non-Operational Machines

    Haunted Mansion (During the Regular version from February thru September)

    While the machines and signage are still posted at this attraction, they are not being used.

    A new addition is the decision to not offer FASTPASS on a daily basis on some attractions, but only to offer them on Weekends during the off-season (they should be offered daily during Peak and Holiday seasons).

    Some of the following attractions do not offer FASTPASS during the week:

    Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
    Tower of Terror
    Mulholland Madness
    Grizzly River Run

    The TIMES Guide handed out at the turnstyles does list which FASTPASS attractions will be offered that day. Though it has been wrong, so I recommend you check the status at the actual attraction.

    Also, FASTPASS machines are turned off when an attraction has been temporarly closed down to fix a problem. They are turned back on when the attraction returns to normal operation.

    So, our first problem is that we are talking about different types of FASTPASSES, and there is no easy way to tell the difference..

    The independent machines are nice and simple, each of the rides has its own machine, and you can get ONE FASTPASS for each of the two rides without affecting any other FP.....

    PLEASE NOTE : All times are an example, and should not be a reflection of the time you really get on your FASTPASS

    One trick that is important is that the ending time is not important, the CM does check the start time and the date, but they have been told to be very flexible on the ending time, who knows why you have been delayed, you could have been stuck on another ride, etc.... so they almost always never say anything when you show up late with a FASTPASS...

    The trick with the independent machines is to get a NEW FASTPASS prior to riding, for example, it is now 11:15 am, and you want to ride Roger Rabbit, before going in the FASTPASS line to ride, pick up another FASTPASS (the window is now open), and you will be given a new Roger Rabbit FASTPASS for 2:10 pm to 3:10 pm, this will allow you to come back later, after 2:10 pm for a second ride on Roger Rabbit, and get a third FASTPASS for Roger Rabbit later in the day.

    So, what can I have, PRIOR to even accessing the "networked" machines...

    Well, I can have a Roger Rabbit's Car Toon Spin, and a Grizzly River Run FASTPASS.

    OK, now to talk about the "Networked" machines, you can have (in most cases) one DL and one DCA networked FASTPASS in addition to the above FASTPASSES...

    Once you get one networked FASTPASS, you are not allowed another "networked" FASTPASS within the same park (either DL or DCA) until the earlier of these two events happen...

    1. The time window on the FASTPASS becomes valid

    2. Two hours have passed since receiving the FASTPASS

    OK, lets look at some examples...

    It is early in the day, and you go to get a Splash FASTPASS at 9:15 am, the FASTPASS issued to you is valid from 10:20 am to 11:20 am...

    In this case, the next FASTPASS would be available at 10:20 am, and that would be the time printed on the bottom of the FASTPASS

    But, lets say it is a bit later, say around 10:30 am, you get a Splash FASTPASS, but now it is good between 2:40 pm and 3:40 pm...

    In this case, the next FASTPASS would be available at 12:30 pm. (Two hours after the FASTPASS was issued), and the bottom of the FASTPASS would state 12:30pm... there is one additional rule, you would NOT be allowed to get a Splash FASTPASS, you cannot get a new Splash FASTPASS until the window opens at 2:40 pm, but at 12:30 you could get an Autopia, BTMRR, Indiana Jones, etc.....(any networked ride OTHER than Splash)

    And one of the most important tricks to maximize your FASTPASS usage is to get a NEW FASTPASS prior to using the current active one, let's say at 11 AM you got an Indy FASTPASS good for 12:35 pm to 1:35 pm, at 12:30, I would head over to Splash Mountain, and at 12:35, get a Splash FASTPASS (say good for 2:50 pm to 3:50 pm), then ride Indy... at 2:35 pm (don't forget the two hour rule), I would pick up an Autopia FASTPASS, then ride Splash.........

    OK, so now you can have a Roger Rabbit, GRR, HMH, plus one or two DL networked rides, and a DCA ride...

    Another thing to think about is the Single Rider Passes available on Splash, Grizzly River Run, Soarin', California Screamin', Mulholland Madness, and Maliboomer. If you are willing to use Single Rider Passes (Which in most cases are quicker than FASTPASSES, with the exception of Soarin', which in many cases can have a longer wait than a FP)... you won't need to pick up FASTPASSES for these rides, and can use the FASTPASSES on other rides, such as Autopia.

    To Sum up the FASTPASS system....

    Think of the systems as DIFFERENT, and that there are THREE sets of FASTPASS machines, Roger Rabbit, the DL networked system, and the DCA networked thinking in this manner should help you make the most use out of the FASTPASS system.....
    Last edited by Darkbeer; 05-16-2009, 10:49 AM. Reason: Removing the "Enhanced" option, which has been cancelled
    Check out my Theme Park Photos at

  • #2

    I actually read all that and came out confused. So basically, they're giving the people who pay for the AAA bookings the "enhanced" version of Fastpasses? That's interesting; how big is the market for AAA bookings?

    Thank you for the advice for us regular FastPass folks, even though I hardly use them. I usually take one for Splash or Space Mountain (when it was open; definitely going to use it now), and that's about it.

    ALSO: Still a major proponent for updated queue and FP system for the Matterhorn!

    I just hope there isn't some sort of weird class system that develops in Disneyland regarding FPs. I mean, we already have that in APs (sort of) vs regular single-day ticket buyers. It would be depressing for someone who didn't get a FP or has regular access to have to wait even longer in the Splash line because of enhanced FPs
    Well, light travels from the sun. Then, bounces off of our planet, and back into our eyes so we can perceive color. My body can intercept that light and dance around on it!

    -- --


    • #3
      I'm a AAA member and when we last visited we stayed at a "Good Neighbor" (BW) Hotel.

      When i was getting Info from AAA before i left the bay Area, I was told about the "Enhanced" pass option, but as my Wallet is Not of the "Enhanced" size, i had to settle with what I had.

      I think they are going to keep pushing the envelope until one day there will be 2 classes of DL guest. The "better" Class, willing to pay more will get all day fast passes, better seats, better everything for a certain premium per ticket.
      How much would you pay? While the "Average" Schmuck pays $53, the "Premium" Guest $125?

      I sure will MISS Disneyland the day that comes. I will go to the beach for free.
      DISNEYLAND: Greatest Man-Made Place On Earth :thumbup:

      YOSEMITE NATIONAL PARK: Greatest *GOD-Made Place On Earth :thumbup:


      • #4
        They have something like that at Universal now. "Don't want to wait in line? Just pay more". It seems like a bad idea. eventually you'll get people who want to pay more to get in front of those people, and so on and so forth.
        "What single word is the name of a magazine, a cereal, a board game, and a never-ending series of soul-crushing disappointments which slowly leech away your hope and idealism until you are nothing more than a bitter husk of a man?"


        • #5
          Originally posted by robotpirates
          I actually read all that and came out confused. So basically, they're giving the people who pay for the AAA bookings the "enhanced" version of Fastpasses? That's interesting; how big is the market for AAA bookings?
          You have to book thru AAA AND stay at one of the three DLR hotels to get the enhanced Fastpass. Obviously this adds to the cost.

          One clever trick I read was a woman who booked thru AAA for 2 nights at a DLR hotel (the minimum to get the enhanced Fastpass), got a five-day parkhopper with enhanced Fastpass with the package, then stayed at a cheaper hotel the other nights.


          • #6
            i hate fastpass.
            ...I finally changed my avatar...


            • #7
              Originally posted by Crazybirdman
              They have something like that at Universal now. "Don't want to wait in line? Just pay more". It seems like a bad idea. eventually you'll get people who want to pay more to get in front of those people, and so on and so forth.
              Sucks. Maybe some day we will have to bow to them also as they walk past us.
              DISNEYLAND: Greatest Man-Made Place On Earth :thumbup:

              YOSEMITE NATIONAL PARK: Greatest *GOD-Made Place On Earth :thumbup:


              • #8
                Wow, that's way too confusing. It's like at Magic Mountain with the Speed Lane or something like that, where you pay more money to get front of the line privelages at rides that really have no lines (i.e. Revolution)...shuoldn't they be working on a way to make the AP holders happy rather than the people who are only going to go through AAA and meet all of their many demands? Why not give us the "enhanced" experience, since so many of us go on a nearly weekly basis. jeeeeeez

                ^clicky clicky^


                • #9
                  Back when Enhanced Fastpass first came into being, it was available through WDTC and you didn't have to book a hotel. We went in July 2003, booked through WDTC and only booked our tickets and meal vouchers. It was classed as a package though so we got the Enhanced Feature. For the middle of Summer, we had it so easy. The longest we waited all week was 15 minutes, and that was in line to see Tigger They've made it harder to get the Enhanced Fastpass now though, since we have to book from overseas, we wouldn't go through AAA, WDTC was far easier. And although I've stayed at a Disney hotel in the past, it's not something we can afford to do on every trip, especially after paying at least $1500 each in airfares.
                  Next trip September 2013

                  Past trips:
                  May 2010 TDL and DisneySea
                  September 2006 TDL and DisneySea

                  Dec 2005 DL
                  June 2003 DL
                  Dec 2002 WDW
                  April 2002 DLP
                  Dec 2001 DL
                  Nov 2000 WDW
                  Oct 2000 DL
                  Oct 1997 WDW
                  April 1994 DL


                  • #10
                    I'd rather see the Matterhorn Bobsleds imploded into a pile of rubble than see Fastpass added to them... just what would be the point of Fastpass at Matterhorn? Even with the line going to the back of the mountain, it's less than a 45 minute wait.
                    See more of my horrible photos (and a few good ones) at my Flickr photostream


                    • #11
                      i actually like waiting in line at disneyland, because there is always something to look at, and people are so friendly. Fastpass seems to just make families rush around, unhappily, and it just makes everything bad. Plus the fact that it's free, and people don't seem to get that, and when they find out later, they are livid. More unhappiness.
                      ...I finally changed my avatar...


                      • #12
                        Wow, I read the whole thing and now I have a headache.


                        • #13
                          Nice job Darkbeer... I appreciate the tips and the work that went into presenting it to us. Thanks!
                          Permanecer sentado por favor...


                          • #14
                            :botox: ummm


                            • #15
                              I don't use fastpass. But if I did, I would use your tips. Good job!

                              This has been a Filmways presentation dahling.


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