Hello frog friends! You may have hopped here looking for information on Disney MaxPass. This new optional FASTPASS paid add-on debuted in July 2017. While MaxPass is a great tool to maximize your time in the park, we’re focusing on the free, traditional paper FASTPASS distribution in this post. We are also sharing a few tricks our frog squad has learned from using MaxPass that can be applied to free FASTPASS below.
We're always looking for tips to make the most of our time at The Happiest Place on Earth. One of the best ways to save time and get the most of your trip is through the Disneyland FASTPASS service. It's FREE and available to all park guests.
While it can seem a little confusing at first, once you know how it works, it can mean the difference between a 10-minute wait (or less) and a two-hour wait. We like to think of it as one of our many tools for maximizing time at Disneyland and Disney California Adventure! With the information provided in this post, you can, too.
The Disneyland FASTPASS service allows you to skip the lines for some of your favorite attractions in Disneyland and Disney California Adventure Parks. Today, we're walking you through all of the ins and outs of the Disneyland FASTPASS service. Let's jump right to it!
How to Use Disneyland FASTPASS Service
A number of Disneyland Resort attractions (listed below) offer FASTPASS, which allows you to skip the regular line or reserve a spot at a show. To use the Disneyland FASTPASS service, all you need to do is:
- Go to the FASTPASS distribution kiosk at the attraction you want to ride to see the standby and FASTPASS return time (note that you can also check wait times and FASTPASS distribution times on the Disneyland mobile app before walking over).*
- If the return time works for you, insert your admission ticket into the FASTPASS machine and you will receive a FASTPASS return time reminder ticket.
- During your return time, visit the attraction's FASTPASS return entrance with your park admission ticket for scanning (this is usually near or next to the regular line).
*Some FASTPASS distribution kiosks are located in a different location than the actual attraction.
So Long, Paper Disneyland FASTPASS Tickets
Ever since the FASTPASS system was placed inside Disneyland, the printed FASTPASS tickets were your ticket to ride, so to speak. As of June 2017, the paper FASTPASS tickets are simply a reminder of your return window and aren’t really necessary. The actual FASTPASS is digitally stored on your park ticket or annual pass, so you’ll scan your ticket or pass at the ride or attraction at the appointed return time.
Shows such as World of Color and Fantasmic! still use the paper FASTPASS system, so be sure to hold onto those FASTPASS tickets. The show FASTPASSes have recently gone digital, allowing Disney MaxPass users to make FASTPASS reservations for shows through the Disneyland mobile app without having to collect a ticket.
Guests without MaxPass need to obtain a FASTPASS in person from a distribution machine, but can then manage all FASTPASSes through the Disneyland app (in case they want to cancel their plans or encounter a ride closure — see tips below). Both MaxPass and regular FASTPASS reservations are linked to the user's park ticket or annual pass. Keep in mind that the shows are running out of FASTPASSes much faster each day due to this change.
Key Points of the Disneyland FASTPASS Service
- FASTPASS distribution is now available during early entry, but the availability can vary.
- All members of your party must have FASTPASSes to use the FASTPASS return entrance, but it is not necessary for your entire party to enter the FASTPASS distribution line. It saves more time if one person in your group enters the queue and obtains FASTPASSes for your whole party. Your designated "FASTPASS runner" just needs to have all of your group's admission tickets to obtain return time tickets.
- If you send a runner to get the FASTPASSes with everyone’s park tickets, keep in mind that all guests’ park tickets must have been used to enter the park that day. You cannot acquire a FASTPASS for someone still asleep at the hotel. First come, first served. Park Hoppers need to have entered a park for the day.
- You cannot obtain another FASTPASS until the start of the return time for your current FASTPASS or two hours since you obtained the FASTPASS have passed. It states on the FASTPASS at what time you will be eligible to acquire another FASTPASS.
- If your return time is less than 30 minutes away from when you acquire a FASTPASS, you will be eligible to acquire the next FASTPASS after 30 minutes.
- You can acquire another FASTPASS for a different ride even if you have not used the first FASTPASS, as long as you are eligible.
- When an attraction is closed, the FASTPASS distribution is sometimes closed during that time, but not always.
- The FASTPASS distribution machines at Disneyland and Disney California Adventure are on a closed grid, which means if you hold a ticket for a ride in one park and are not eligible to acquire another ticket for another hour, you won't be able to acquire a ticket in the other park either until that waiting period has ended.
- If Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge hits capacity, you can join a boarding groups at various FASTPASS distribution machines. It's kind of like a FASTPASS for entering the land. You can check the status of your boarding group number at signs around the park and near the land entrance.
Disneyland FASTPASS Tips
- Some rides distribute FASTPASSes more quickly than others. Space Mountain at Disneyland and Radiator Springs Racers and Toy Story Midway Mania! at Disney California Adventure often run out of FASTPASSes early in the day.
- Many rides at Disney California Adventure run through their FASTPASS distribution very quickly, so utilize them in the morning before they run out. Disneyland Park usually has many more FASTPASS choices available later in the evening.
- Grizzly River Run, Goofy’s Sky School, Haunted Mansion (but not Haunted Mansion Holiday), Buzz Lightyear’s Astro Blasters, Roger Rabbit’s Car Toon Spin (when there’s no fireworks that night) and “it’s a small world” can usually be your lowest priority FASTPASS acquisitions since they are often still distributing return times in the afternoon and evening.
- Download the free Disneyland Park app to check ride wait times and current FASTPASS distribution return times before walking over to the distribution area.
- Link your ticket to the Disneyland app to be able to manage your FASTPASS to cancel, scan at the FASTPASS return from your phone, keep track of Rider Switch, or take advantage of other perks (like knowing how many multiple experience/ride closure FASTPASSes you have). From the app’s home screen, click My Tickets, the plus sign at the upper right corner, then Link Tickets & Passes. You scan the barcode for the pass or ticket and now you can manage your FASTPASS reservations. This is such an improvement over the old days where you could not change your mind and cancel a FASTPASS.
- Acquire your second pass (even if you have not used your first one yet). In the morning, plan to use your FASTPASS near the end of the return window (you can arrive up to 10 minutes late) and take advantage of the shorter morning lines for rides that do not offer FASTPASS.
- Don't use FASTPASS if the standby queue is 30 minutes or less. That being said, we sometimes grab a FASTPASS for a short wait anyway because it makes the wait even shorter. We love skipping lines!
- FASTPASS distribution can run out and frequently does during peak times for the most popular attractions.
- The FASTPASS return time is strictly enforced. You will need to return within the designated return time in order to enter the FASTPASS queue. (You can usually use your FASTPASS up to 5 minutes early or up to 10 minutes late.)
- FASTPASSes only are valid on the day they are issued.
- Always look at your FASTPASS return tickets after you've printed them. Verify that each of your party members has received FASTPASSes for the same return window. If you pull your next FASTPASS too soon after obtaining your previous FASTPASSes, you will be printed a ticket that says you are not yet eligible to obtain the FASTPASS.
- A number of FASTPASS attractions also offer Single Rider lines, which are usually just as short as FASTPASS and do not have time restrictions. If your party members are at least seven years old and don’t mind being separated on the ride itself, this is the way to go! Keep in mind that if the Single Rider line gets too long, they will close it temporarily. Radiator Springs Racers and Space Mountain are our favorite go-to Single Rider lines. The Matterhorn tops the list, too. Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run has a Single Rider line, but the FASTPASS lines are not operating yet.
- Consider a Buddy Pass for Toy Story Midway Mania or Monsters Inc. to shorten the wait. The Buddy Pass is similar to a Single Rider line for small parties of one or two guests (possibly three — two adults and a small child) to fill empty rows for these rides. You do not get special requests for seating and these passes are subject to availability. Larger parties will be separated.
- FASTPASS for World of Color is distributed near The Little Mermaid ~ Ariel's Undersea Adventure. This the best (FREE!) way to ensure you get preferred viewing for this popular show. If you are park hopping and want to hop back into California Adventure for the last show of World of Color, be sure to pick up a FASTPASS for it earlier in the day. They may require you to have a valid ticket and FASTPASS to get back into the park, especially if show time is right at park closing.
- Pick up a FASTPASS for a show like Fantasmic! or World of Color early and hold onto it until show time. Obtaining a show FASTPASS will not affect your ability to acquire a ride FASTPASS as the systems are disconnected from each other.
- If you have a baby, toddler or preschooler who is under 3 years old but able to see a show or go on a FASTPASS ride, you do not need a FASTPASS for him or her. Children under 3 do not have a ticket to put into the machine. Just tell the ride attendant, and he or she will wave you through as long as everyone else has valid FASTPASSes.
- If you are traveling with a child who does not meet the height requirement for a ride, you can combine Rider Switch with FASTPASS.
- Guests using Disability Access Service (DAS) can also utilize FASTPASS. When traveling with a friend or family member who uses DAS, we tend to schedule rides that don’t have FASTPASS with DAS and obtain FASTPASSes for eligible rides.
- If some members of your party use MaxPass (sometimes one person will purchase MaxPass so the group can enjoy the included PhotoPass downloads) while the others use free FASTPASS, you should all use the FASTPASS distribution machines to get the same return window. Keep in mind the person with MaxPass may have a shorter window to wait before they are eligible to obtain a new FASTPASS. (MaxPass' longest wait is 90 minutes vs. 120 minutes for regular FASTPASS users.) Go by the longest waiting period in the group so that you can all obtain the next FASTPASSes at the same time.
Disneyland Park FASTPASS Attractions
- Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
- Buzz Lightyear's Astro Blasters
- Fantasmic! (disconnected from the FASTPASS system; distributed near Frontier Landing in Frontierland)
- Haunted Mansion
- Haunted Mansion Holiday
- "it's a small world" (distributed near the Matterhorn)
- “it’s a small world” Holiday (distributed near the Matterhorn)
- Indiana Jones Adventure (also offers Single Rider line)
- Matterhorn Bobsleds (also offers Single Rider line)
- Roger Rabbit's Car Toon Spin
- Space Mountain (also offers Single Rider line)
- Splash Mountain (also offers Single Rider line)
- Star Tours - The Adventures Continue
Note that the Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge rides, Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run (now open) and Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance (opening Jan. 17, 2020) will not initially offer FASTPASS, but the signage and queue are already in place for when they join the FASTPASS lineup! In the meantime, enjoy the Single Rider line at Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run (but be sure to wait in the regular queue at least once for cool scenery and elements that are key to the ride's storyline).
If you hold a FASTPASS, but the ride is temporarily closed until the end of your return window — breakdowns do occur — then your FASTPASS becomes a Replacement FASTPASS. Present your park ticket at another FASTPASS attraction in that same park to use it in place of your missed reservation. This is the only way you can use your FASTPASS outside of your one-hour window. You can use it any time that same day in that same park until park closing.
There is a new tiered system in place for Replacement FASTPASS. If you have a FASTPASS for a Tier 1 ride, such as Space Mountain, Indiana Jones Adventure, Matterhorn Bobsleds, Toy Story Midway Mania or Radiator Springs Racers, you can use your Replacement FASTPASS for any of those rides (in the same park) OR for any other FASTPASS ride in the same park. All other FASTPASS rides are considered Tier 2. If you hold a FASTPASS for a Tier 2 ride and it breaks down, you can only use the Replacement FASTPASS to ride another Tier 2 ride in the same park, not Tier 1 rides.
Disney California Adventure FASTPASS Attractions
- Goofy's Sky School (also offers Single Rider line)
- Grizzly River Run (also offers Single Rider line)
- Guardians of the Galaxy — Mission: BREAKOUT!
- Guardians of the Galaxy — Monsters After Dark (at Halloween time)*
- Incredicoaster (also offers Single Rider line)
- Radiator Springs Racers (NEW DISTRIBUTION LOCATION behind Ramone’s House of Body Art and Flo’s V8; also offers Single Rider line)
- Soarin' Around the World
- Toy Story Midway Mania!
- World of Color (disconnected from the FASTPASS system; distributed near The Little Mermaid ~ Ariel's Undersea Adventure)
*Note that during Halloween time, Guardians of the Galaxy — Mission BREAKOUT! runs from park opening until about 4:00 p.m. The ride closes and reopens at 5:00 p.m. as the Monsters After Dark version. Keep your eye on the FASTPASS distribution that day. FASTPASS return windows until 3:00 p.m. are for the daytime version, and FASTPASS return windows beginning at 5:00 p.m. are for Monsters After Dark, but all FASTPASSes for that ride will say Guardians of the Galaxy.
Related: Disneyland MaxPass Guide
We hope you've found this information on the Disneyland FASTPASS service helpful as you plan your visit to Disneyland. Have a FASTPASS tip or question we haven't covered? Share it in comments below!