I’ve heard it mispronounced and misrepresented too many times to count but FastPass can be a huge time saver and with small children in your party it can truley be a vacation saver.
Here’s how it works. FastPass does cost extra and is included in every admission ticket. Most attractions have a separate cue line for those guests that acquired FastPasses for that attraction. To get one is simple. Find the ATM size machines that flank a ride, insert your park ticket (which may also be your room key) and out comes a FastPass with a return time. The return time can very but it is usually 1-4 hours from the time you receive it. When you return to the attraction make sure you enter the line for FastPass.
The most popular attractions “sell out” of FastPasses early into the day. For example, let’s use an extreme case, Toy Story Mania at Disney’s Hollywood Studios typically has standby wait times of 2+ hours and generally runs out of FastPasses by 11am. FastPasses typically can not be overlapped so if you have a FastPass in your pocket you most likely can not get another so don’t waste your FastPass privileges on an attraction that typically doesn’t have much of wait time.
The return time! Here is a helpful tip, the return time is merley a suggestion. Yep, that’s right, the rule is later, not earlier. The return time will typically have a 1 hour window like “Return between 12:45 and 1:45″ but this is not exactly true, you see, you can return anytime after 12:45 in this example. That FassPass is good for the rest of the day.
Child Swap? No, this isn’t like the ABC show Wife Swap but it is something very few families know about. A child swap ticket is a blank FastPass (no return time specified). You get this ticket by asking a Cast Member for a “Child Swap Ticket” and is meant for families that have small children in the party. Here is an example. Mother, father and baby are visiting a park, mom and dad both want to ride Big Thunder Railroad but they can’t take the baby and they have no one to watch the baby while they both ride, this is where a child swap ticket comes into play. Dad rides first and while he is inline he requests a child swap ticket which he can give to his wife so she does not have to wait in the standard cue making the wait time less for everyone.
Thinking about how to game the system? Many people try, they think they are sneaking into the FastPass rider line only to be confronted just before entering the main loading area with a Cast Member wanting to collect their ticket and ultimately get sent to the back of the standby line. I see this a lot and I’ve also heard a thousand excuses of why they don’t have the ticket. It doesn’t work, they are very strict about it. I’ve also seen FastPasses being sold online which can sometimes get past a Cast Member but more often that not, the Cast Member will notice the date and keep your ticket.
Remember, FastPass is not available at every attraction, don’t waste your FastPass access on rides that have a short cue and the FastPasses are good even after the return time has pasted.