When planning a trip to Disneyland, FASTPASS is quite the magic word. Whether you’re a first-time visitor or seasoned Disneyland veteran, the effective use of FASTPASS is integral to an enjoyable trip. When used properly and efficiently, FASTPASS is a major time saver that allows you to make sure you’re able to enjoy your favorite attractions, without worrying about whether or not there will be a long line. When you have kids in tow with limited energy and patience (I even have limited energy and patience as an adult) FASTPASS is a huge help, but it does take some education and preparation which is why I’ve done some research and found which Disneyland Rides have FASTPASS.
What is the Disneyland FASTPASS?
Regardless of the actual attraction wait time, those with FASTPASS typically only spend about 5-10 minutes in the queue, with 20 minutes being the maximum we have personally experienced. Pretty great, right? Oh, and standard FASTPASS is included with regular park admission. That’s a MAJOR plus. MaxPass does come at an additional cost, but we’ll touch on that later. Many people describe FASTPASS as a tool to “skip the line” on attractions, which is partially true, but that idea tends to give people a false impression. While it doesn’t push you directly to the first place in line, it does allow you to fast forward through a majority of the wait time.
Which Disneyland Rides Have FASTPASS?
Lucky for you, FASTPASS can be used on all of the major rides at Disneyland and Disney California Adventure. Attractions which do not offer FASTPASS typically don’t have a need for it anyway, meaning those rides rarely garner too much of a wait time.
In Disneyland Park, the following attractions and entertainment offerings feature FASTPASS services:
(FASTPASS receipt distribution locations are at or near the entrance of each attraction, unless otherwise noted below.)
- Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
- Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters
- FASTPASS distribution located along the Rivers of America, across from Frontier Landing
- Haunted Mansion (seasonally operated as Haunted Mansion Holiday)
- Indiana Jones Adventure
- “It’s a Small World” (seasonally operated as “it’s a small world” Holiday)
- FASTPASS distribution located near Matterhorn Bobsleds entrance
- Matterhorn Bobsleds
- Roger Rabbit’s Car Toon Spin
- Space Mountain
- Splash Mountain
- Star Tours – The Adventures Continue
Over at Disney California Adventure Park, you can utilize FASTPASS for these rides:
- Goofy’s Sky School
- Grizzly River Run
- Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: BREAKOUT! (seasonally operated as Guardians of the Galaxy – Monsters After Dark)
- Radiator Springs Racers
- Soarin’ Around the World
- Toy Story Midway Mania!
- World of Color: FASTPASS distribution located near The Little Mermaid ~ Ariel’s Undersea Adventure
How does Disneyland FASTPASS work?
When visiting Disneyland or Disney California Adventure Parks, visit the FASTPASS Distribution sign for your desired attraction – this is typically located near the ride entrance. A current “return time” will be listed. For example, if you head straight to Big Thunder Mountain Railroad at park open, the advertised return time may be at around 11AM. (The later in the day it is, the later the return times will be, until all times are “booked up” for the day.) If this timing works for you, you simply insert your Disneyland ticket for verification, and a FASTPASS “receipt” with your return time will be immediately printed. Once that return time rolls around, head back to the attraction with the same ticket you used to get your FASTPASS receipt to be scanned by a cast member before being directed to a separate, much shorter line. You’ll feel like a VIP, and your little ones will love it too.
FASTPASS is first-come, first-serve. The earlier you arrive for your FASTPASS receipt, the earlier your return time will be. Once the last return time has reached its virtual capacity, no more FASTPASS reservations will be available for that attraction or show. It’s important to note that high demand rides can complete FASTPASS distribution very early in the day, so strategize accordingly! To give you an idea, Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission BREAKOUT! tends to max out on its FASTPASS distribution before noon hits, while at that time, early afternoon FASTPASS distribution is likely still available for lesser-demanded rides like Goofy’s Sky School.
Our advice is to figure out which rides are a priority for you and your family ahead of your trip, which require FASTPASS more than others, which are likely to run out the soonest, and take action accordingly. Indiana Jones Adventure is my family’s top pick and a quite in-demand ride, so we always snatch a FASTPASS for that ride ahead of anything else and plan on sticking around in that area for a bit until our return time hits.
Keep in mind that FASTPASS reservations cannot overlap. Going with our hypothetical scenario of arriving at park open, if you pick up your Big Thunder Mountain Railroad FASTPASS at 9:15AM and your return time isn’t until 11AM, you can’t collect another FASTPASS at a different ride until that window begins at 11AM. You typically have one hour to redeem your FASTPASS, so a good plan of approach would be to snag another FASTPASS as soon as you are able at 11AM before heading to Big Thunder Mountain Railroad to use your first receipt before it expires at noon. Everyone in your party who plans on riding the attraction must have their own FASTPASS return time receipt. Oh, and make sure little ones meet the height requirement before grabbing them a FASTPASS!
When FASTPASS is used for entertainment offerings such as Fantasmic! or World of Color, the FASTPASS grants you reserved, designated seating as long as you arrive within the provided window of time.
What is MaxPass?
Available at an additional cost, MaxPass holds all of the awesome power and benefits of FASTPASS, but through the convenience of the Disneyland mobile app. Upon entering the park with valid admission, you can make a few simple clicks in the app to purchase MaxPass. For $15 per person per day (in addition to standard ticket admission) you can make FASTPASS selections straight through your phone without having to navigate through the parks from ride to ride to pick up your return time receipts.
The beauty of MaxPass is that you can use it in combination with the free FASTPASS system and collect twice the number of FASTPASS selections. Some virtually through the app with MaxPass, and through the standard, physical FASTPASS distribution locations for each ride. It’s an awesome way to double your fun and cut down on your queue time!
Before planning your day with MaxPass, keep in mind that Fantasmic! and World of Color do not currently offer FastPass distribution through the app, and you will have to go the “old fashioned” FASTPASS way in picking up a return time receipt nearby. Also, MaxPass is only “worth it” in our experience if you are arriving early enough in the day to take full advantage.
Another huge perk of MaxPass is that the cost includes all of your PhotoPass downloads! So let’s take a brief detour in explaining that …
What is PhotoPass?
Throughout both Disneyland and Disney California Adventure parks, Disney PhotoPass photographers are stationed at every iconic spot you can imagine. From the perfect castle shot, to a holiday card-worthy group picture in front of Radiator Springs, PhotoPass photographers use professional cameras to help you remember your vacation in all of its glory! The number one benefit promoted for PhotoPass is that it allows everyone to get in the picture, without having one family member take the photo or asking a stranger for assistance. My girlfriend loves that the photographers suggest unique, fun poses for us, too.
In addition to the great locations, PhotoPass photographers offer Magic Shots. “Magic Shots” refer to virtual props or pixie dust being added to your photo between the time it’s taken and the time it appears for you to view in the Disneyland mobile app. Our favorite is pretending to float away with Mickey-shaped balloons! PhotoPass also includes all of the pictures taken on attractions – like my legendarily horrified face on Space Mountain – and those taken at character meet-and-greets.
Purchasing MaxPass is the only way to have download access to your PhotoPass photos without purchasing them each individually for download or print. We totally recommend! My girlfriend and I love updating our families with pictures of our daughter throughout the day, and it’s the best way to save those memories for years to come.
While plotting your FASTPASS receipt and redemption can be daunting to fit into your day, especially as a first-time visitor, it is totally worth it. What’s the best approach? Our top tip is to study the rides and maps of the parks and get familiar with where your desired attractions are located. Once you get into the swing of it, FASTPASS is nothing but an excellent tool to help enhance your vacation. Having maximum fun time and minimal queue time is what we’re all about … because that means getting our money’s worth and riding as many attractions as possible! What’s your favorite part of FASTPASS? Tell us in the comments below.
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