***Updated July 20. 2017
***MaxPass launched 7.19.2017. Disney invited me to spend 7.18.2017 in the parks learning hands on with the new system. You can watch a video from that day of what MaxPass will look like here.
***Digital FASTPASSES (or Classic FASTPASSES) went live 6.21.2017. Read below for so much to know and this link has a video walk through of what you can expect.
The most common complaint I hear about Disneyland is about wait times. No one likes standing in line. And, while we can’t control the crowds at the parks, we can control how we navigate through them.
Utilizing FASTPASSES at Disneyland and California Adventure can make all the difference in your visit. Take a few moments to learn how this works and you’ll be glad you did while you’re at the parks.
In this article
- What is a FASTPASS? This is a pass given to you at FASTPASS distribution points at each park’s busiest attractions.
- How does it work? Machines are set up at many popular attractions in each park to distribute FASTPASSES to guests, allowing guests to wait a shorter amount of time in line. Insert your ticket or annual pass into the machine if the time slated to return works for you. Go enjoy another part of the park until the time frame printed on your ticket arrives. Then, return to the ride and skip ahead to the ‘FASTPASS’ line to cut out a considerable wait time for this attraction.
- When can I pull my second FASTPASS? Once the time is up from your first FASTPASS, you may pull your next. Meaning, if you pull your first FASTPASS at 8:01am and you have a return time frame of 8:40am-9:40am, you may pull your next FASTPASS at 8:40am.
- How long does a FASTPASS line take? Most often, it will only take around 10 minutes to board the attraction.
- Can I save my FASTPASS for the next day if I didn’t use it? No. FASTPASSES are only good for the day of issue.
- How much do FASTPASSES cost? Nothing! They are included in the cost of your ticket.
- Where do I find these FASTPASS distribution machines? Most distribution points are located near the entrance of the attraction. There are a few exceptions, listed below.
- Are FASTPASS distributed during Extra Magic Hour/Magic Morning? Only select attractions distribute FASTPASSES during EMH/MM. And none of these are guaranteed. But, most often, at Disneyland, you can get a FASTPASS for Space Mountain during EMH. At DCA, you can grab them for Guardians, RSR, and Toy Story Midway Mania.
- Can I schedule FASTPASSES for the entire day at once? No. Most often, you cannot hold more than one FASTPASS at a time.
- Are there exceptions? Yes. If you have plans to see World of Color at California Adventure, absolutely grab this FASTPASS upon entering. The World of Color FASTPASS gives you priority seating for the show that arrives much later in the day. (This FASTPASS is distributed to the right of Ariel’s Undersea Adventure.) Holding this pass will not stop you from retrieving other FASTPASSES. The Fantasmic! FASTPASS is another priority seating pass that will not stop you from retrieving other FASTPASSES. (This FASTPASS is distributed along Big Thunder Trail in Frontierland.) ***Fantasmic! is on hiatus until 7.17.2017.
- Are there any other exceptions? Kind of. If the FASTPASS you pull is for a much later time in the day, a message at the bottom of your FASTPASS will include the time you may pull another FASTPASS. See this example:
(More often than not, you will not see this added message on your FASTPASS. In this case, the guest arrived at 8:30am and the soonest she was able to ride this attraction was over four hours later. Disneyland does not want you waiting for four hours. So, they open up this next FASTPASS window. Grab your next FASTPASS at the time stated and be happy you have two scheduled attractions!)
Disneyland FASTPASS Attractions
- Big Thunder Mountain
- Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters
- Haunted Mansion
- Indiana Jones Adventure
- Roger Rabbit’s Car Toon Spin
- Space Mountain – with the Hyperspace Overlay
- Splash Mountain
- Star Tours (distributed next to Buzz Light Year’s distribution point)
****Beginning 3.2.2017, Buzz Lightyear’s Astro Blasters is not “disconnected”.
California Adventure FASTPASS Attractions
- World of Color (distributed to the right of Ariel’s Undersea Adventure) – disconnected – grab this whenever you want!
- California Screamin’
- Goofy’s Sky School
- Grizzly River Run
- Radiator Springs Racers (distributed near It’s Tough to Be a Bug)
- Soarin’ Around the World
- Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: BREAKOUT!
- Toy Story Midway Mania (New! As of 4.6.2017)
***What does ‘disconnected’ mean? If a FASTPASS is disconnected, you are permitted to grab another FASTPASS while holding the one that is disconnected. Otherwise, you may only hold one pass at a time.
- Everyone in your group must have a FASTPASS to ride. I recommend nominating one person in your group to hold all tickets or annual passes for the day. At the distribution point, have one person collect all the FASTPASSES. My kids like to pull their own FASTPASSES, but they all return their annual passes and FASTPASSES to me before we leave the distribution point.
- Little ones (ages 2 and under) do not need a FASTPASS for attractions since they were not granted a ticket upon entry to the parks. (They wouldn’t have a ticket to insert for a FASTPASS.)
- FASTPASSES are available on a first-come, first-served basis and they do run out. Start your day early and utilize these passes as often as possible.
- The most common attractions from both parks that run out of FASTPASSES are Space Mountain, Star Tours, Splash Mountain, Soarin’, Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: BREAKOUT! and Radiator Springs’ Racers.
- FASTPASSES are not accepted AFTER the time frame on your ticket. Disney used to be flexible on this, but they have grown strict with the rules.
*Helpful tip: To avoid missing the time frame on your FASTPASS, set an alarm on your phone for your start time.
Digital FASTPASS (or “Classic FASTPASS)
Digital FASTPASS started June 21, 2017 and I was there at opening to figure it out. Check out this video on Facebook that walks you through the process.
Here’s the basic info to know:
+To pull a FASTPASS, enter your theme park ticket or annual pass. A “reminder” pass will be issued to you.
+When it’s time to ride your attraction, scan your theme park ticket or annual pass. The paper “reminder” pass is just that – a reminder. Your FASTPASS now lives on your theme park ticket or annual pass.
+You’ll scan your ticket two times. Once, as your entering the line. Then, again, as you near boarding the attraction.
- MaxPass should work like this, but your Disneyland app will hold the information and you’ll be able to grab the FASTPASS digitally, from across the park. MaxPass is not available in the parks yet. This post will be updated when it is.
- Magic Bands are not used at Disneyland. They may arrive one day in the future, but for now, they do not work at Disneyland.
- Rider Switch will be issued via the usual routine for now. When you return with your paper Rider Swap pass, have your theme park ticket with you.
- You will still walk to retrieve all FASTPASSES. You cannot grab them from your app at this point. (I was told it could happen next month. It will be called MaxPass when it happens.)
- Scanners will scan your theme park ticket or annual pass up to 5 minutes prior to your FASTPASS rerun time.
- If you are wanting to use the FASTPASS system, this is your only option. Every guest will now use Digital FASTPASS. This is free to every park guest.
- Standby lines are available and still work like normal.
- You do not need to use a mobile device at this point. All you need is your theme park ticket or annual pass.
- You are be able to use the Disneyland app to scan at each machine – if your annual pass or theme park ticket – is connected to it. Utilize this option instead of pulling out your annual pass or theme park ticket at each scanner.
- If you are using the app, turn your brightness up for quicker scanning.
- You will scan your theme park ticket or annual pass twice just as you did with paper FASTPASSES. You showed it once upon entering the line and then again shortly before boarding the attraction. Same goes for Digitial FASTPASSES. There is a cast member stationed at each scanner. Scanning twice keeps guests from 1) Entering and going through the wrong line and 2) Hopping from the standby line to the FASTPASS line after that first scan at the front of the line.
- Some attractions will only include one scanner. Some will have two.
- Regardless of where you purchase park tickets from, every guest is issued a Disneyland park ticket before entering the park. You will use this ticket to pull FASTPASSES as described in this post. Discounted tickets can be found here:
- Every Disneyland ticket has a barcode to scan at FASTPASS distribution machines. Whether paper or plastic, you will have a barcode to scan. The SoCal City Pass will work just like a park ticket.
- If you are concerned with kids losing their annual passes or park tickets, I recommend purchasing a lanyard and using them all the time. Less fumbling through bags and room for error. Lanyards can be purchased on site if they’re not bought before you arrive. Save money by purchasing at this link. (They’re $10+ in the parks.) Your theme park ticket or annual pass will scan through the plastic sleeve at the end of your lanyard.
- Guests using the DAS system will continue using it as before. Visit a guest relations kiosk to schedule a return time for your next attraction using your annual pass or theme park ticket. The DAS system will work separately from the Digital FASTPASS option on your ticket or pass, allowing you to use both options.
- Keep your FASTPASS Reminder until it’s time to return to the attraction. If machines go down, you have a backup proof of FASTPASS. You will have the option to recycle your Reminder after you scan your ticket the first time at some attractions. There are containers to take your Reminders right after the first scanner machine.
- The same rules that you know now for FASTPASSES should apply to this new system. You still must use your FASTPASS during the block of time given. You will be able to pull your next FASTPASS as soon as the time for your current one arrives (and as the FASTPASS Reminder ticket states). There is no reason you should have to use/scan the first FASTPASS to pull the next. You will be able to pull subsequent FASTPASSES if your timing is 2+ hours out after that 2 hour mark.
- World of Color and (eventually) Fantasmic! will continue with paper FASTPASSES. They will be pulled as they were before – using your theme park ticket or annual pass – but will not be scanned to enter your viewing section. So, hold onto those!
- Technically, your FASTPASS Reminder will scan for you in place of your theme park ticket or annual pass. However, the FASTPASS Reminders won’t be around forever. And there is no way to predict when this won’t work. Get used to using your theme park ticket or annual pass for FASTPASSES.
- I’ll be testing morning strategies asap to work on pulling multiple FASTPASSES at the same time. Take a look at this post for some initial findings on 6.27.2017. Good things ahead!
Here are some images, too:
Arrive at the FASTPASS distribution machines just like before. They’re all in the same places.
Put your theme park ticket or annual pass into the machine and receive a FASTPASS Reminder for when to return to the attraction to use your FASTPASS. This Reminder will only be used to remind you of your return time. You will scan your theme park ticket or annual pass to confirm your FASTPASS.
It looks like this:
Keep your FASTPASS Reminder until it’s time to redeem your FASTPASS. If machines go down, you’ll want that back up.
When it’s time to use your FASTPASS, enter the FASTPASS line and instead of handing your FASTPASS Reminder to a cast member, scan your theme park ticket or annual pass at a machine like this:
After that first scan, you can recycle your FASTPASS Reminder. There’s a container to collect them right after that first scanner machine at most attractions. It looks like this:
Continue on through the line.
And, just like before, there will be a second place to stop. Scan your theme park ticket or annual pass – at a machine just like the first – but much closer to actually boarding the attraction.
And, now you’re done. Enjoy the attraction.
Single Rider Lines
FASTPASSES work well for groups, but if you’re OK with riding separately, consider the Single Rider option. This works well if you have one person in your group who wants to ride and you don’t want to wait the standard time for the attraction. Single riders must meet attraction height requirements and be at least 7 years of age.
*Matterhorn Single Rider line is incorporated into the FASTPASS line for the attraction. Enter there to ride as a Single Rider.
*Soarin Around the World was rumored to have the Single Rider line open as Soarin’ Over California did. It hasn’t happened. Cast members will often fill seats, though, with Single Riders. So, listen for them to ask while you are in line.
Rider Switch (or Rider Swap or Child Swap) might work for you. Here’s how it works: As you approach the line, let a cast member know you’d like to do a Rider Switch. Everyone (adults and children) will then stand in line together. When it’s your turn, one adult will ride (with or without an eligible child) and the other adult will stay with the remaining child or children. Then, the other adult will receive a pass to return to ride without having to wait in line all over again. This means the eligible child can ride twice!
Rider Switch is available at these attractions in Disneyland:
Big Thunder Mountain (Frontierland)
Gadget’s Go Coaster (Toontown)
Indiana Jones (Adventureland)
Space Mountain (Tomorrowland)
Splash Mountain (Critter Country)
Star Tours (Tomorrowland)
Rider Switch is available at these attractions in California Adventure:
California Screamin (Paradise Pier)
Goofy’s Sky Skool (Paradise Pier)
Grizzly River Run (Grizzly Peak)
Radiator Springs Racers (Cars Land)
Silly Symphony Swings – tandem or single (Paradise Pier)
Soarin’ Around the World (Grizzly Peak)
Tuck and Roll’s Drive ‘Em Buggies (a bug’s land)
***To maximize your day with young children, use FASTPASSES along with Rider Switch. Have each adult grab a FASTPASS and then use Rider Switch on each. You’ll be holding two FASTPASSES at once, essentially, doubling your ability to enjoy attractions.
Beginning, 7.19.2017, MaxPass will be an optional purchase for all park guests.
The MaxPass works within the Disneyland app and allows you to grab a FASTPASS electronically for an attraction, rather than walking across the park to do it. The cost will be $10 per guest, per day. You will be able to add more than one guest onto the app to manage, however, each guest will be required to pay the $10 to use it. With the $10 per day purchase, each guest will receive unlimited PhotoPass privileges, too, including attraction photos.
Watch this video for what MaxPass will look like.
- MaxPass will pop up on your Disneyland app as an optional purchase when you open it, after you walk through the turn stile.
- You may not buy MaxPass prior to entering the park.
- You may not select a FASTPASS prior to entering the park.
- You may select a FASTPASS from DCA if you’re standing in Disneyland or vice versa. You only have to have entered one park to become eligible to do so.
- To select FASTPASSES for others in your party (meaning, people you add to your app for MaxPass), each of those guests has to have entered the park.
- FASTPASSES on the MaxPass portion of the Disneyland app are available during Extra Magic Hour and Magic Morning, just as Classic FASTPASSES were. And just like they were prior to MaxPass launching, not every attraction will be available during EMH/MM.
- You may hold more that one FASTPASS at a time using MaxPass, just as you were able to with the regular system. Look for when your device tells you that you’re eligible to pull your next FASTPASS.
- If you scan your device as entered into the attraction you selected a FASTPASS for within MaxPass, you will then be eligible to select your next FASTPASS.
- You may cancel a FASTPASS within the MaxPass portion of your app. This can happen for one person in your party or all.
- If you have 4 people in your party, you can all select your own FASTPASSES. You don’t have to all choose the same attractions.
- If you do break up to ride separate attractions, and have only one device managaing MaxPass, a guest within your party may use his or her own app to scan entry into the attraction once the return time arrives. Or, a paper theme park ticket will suffice, too. All of this to say – the barcode that lives on your app and theme park ticket or annual pass is connected. It’s all the same code and holds all of the same information.
- Your app will automatically adjust its brightness when you go to scan your code when it’s time to board an attraction. No need to drain your battery by keeping it at the highest level at all times.
- If an attraction breaks down and you are granted a “freebie FASTPASS” or “readmission”, your app will automatically store that info as you depart the attraction. A cast member will not have to add that to your app.
- Fantasmic! and World of Color FASTPASSES will remain on paper.
- If you pull a FASTPASS with your ticket or annual pass at the machine, it will show up on your device under MaxPass. The two systems work together.
- All FASTPASSES – pulled at the machine or selected with the MaxPass portion of your app, will come from the same inventory. There isn’t a set number held for one option or the other.
- PhotoPass is part of your $10 MaxPass purchase. It entitles you to all images from around the park, including attractions and character meals. (No prints, however.)
- MaxPass can be added onto Annual Passes for $75 for the duration of your pass. It is free for Signature Plus pass holders. To add the $75 upgrade, guests will need to visit the ticket booths between the two parks. The $75 is NOT prorated for the remainder of your annual pass duration, so those guests with just a month or two before renewing might consider waiting to add it on.
- Rider Switch will continue to work as is – ok paper.
- DAS will continue to work as is.
- Children age 2 and under do not need MaxPass, as they won’t have a theme park ticket to attach to the app for FASTPASSES.
The Disneyland app will now show you this “Get FASTPASS” option if you purchase MaxPass.
Add friends, family, etc to your “party” from the front page or at the “link a ticket or pass” noted on this screen.
I choose Haunted Mansion.
Click on the attraction you want secure a FASTPASS for.
And then when it’s time to redeem, click on “Redeem”.
You’ll use the barcode at the top of this image to scan at the machined to redeem your FASTPASS.
As soon as it’s redeemed, select your next FASTPASS from the app.
I’ll be in the parks weekly to show you what a day WITH MaxPass looks like compared to a day WITHOUT it. Then, you can determine whether or not the cost is justified. Paper FASTPASSES will still be available to all park guests. So, using the MaxPass will be voluntary.
I can’t think of many reasons why you shouldn’t pull a FASTPASS if it’s available. If there’s a short wait time or you’re leaving the park early and can’t wait for the next available time, go to the Standby Entrance. Otherwise, grab the FASTPASS and plan around it.
And, as with any crowded day at Disneyland, follow these three rules for the best results:
1. Arrive at least 30 minutes before the park opens and have a strategy in place for your day. Take a look at my post on how to start your day.
2. Use FASTPASSES.
3. Take a break mid-day and return after a few hours.
No need to mingle during the meltdown hours with kids (and parents) falling apart. Go back to your hotel for a swim or a shower and return refreshed for the evening.