FastPasses are a helpful way to shorten waits at the Walt Disney World theme parks, but using them in the summer is a little different than at other times of the year.
The parks only distribute a limited number of FastPasses for each ride. Once they’re gone, that’s it for the day, even if it’s not even noon yet.
Here are five tips for using FastPasses in the summer peak season:
1) Get to your Disney theme park of choice as early as possible in the morning. That means either at opening time or an hour early if you’re staying at a Disney-owned hotel and you’re going to the park with early entry for hotel guests that day. The earlier you get your first FastPass, the better your chance of getting another one before they’re all distributed for the day.
2) Choose your FastPass wisely. Make sure you get it for the most popular ride possible. For example, at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, if you’re faced with a choice between Toy Story Mania, the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, and Rock N Roller Coaster, go for Toy Story Mania. Out of those three rides, that’s the one that gets the worst line. It can reach two to three hours on the most crowded days. Also, Rock N Roller Coaster has a single rider line that you can use for a shorter wait if you don’t mind splitting up your party.
3) Don’t get behind a tour guide at the FastPass distribution machines. Summer is prime tour group time, and the group leaders head to the FastPass machines with dozens of tickets in hand to get FastPases for their entire groups. If you get in line behind a group leader, you’ll wait forever and the return time will keep ticking later and later.
4) Check to see when you can get your next FastPass. Normally, you can’t get another FastPass until the return window starts on the one you already have. However, in the summer there’s an exception to this rule. Sometimes you get a FastPass in the morning for a popular ride like Soarin’ and get a return time in the late afternoon, or even evening. When that happens, you can get another FastPass earlier. The time will be printed on your slip.
5) Make sure to return during the proper time window. For many years, the Disney parks let you return and get in the FastPass line any time after your return window started, even though it technically only runs for an hour. That’s all changed now, and if you don’t return when you’re supposed to, you FastPass becomes useless. Watch the time and make sure you’re back within the hour window so you don’t waste that precious time saver.
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