A couple of months ago my family and I embarked on our first big vacation together. We crammed as much stuff into our car as possible and, after a full day of road tripping, we arrived at the mecca of all things magical: Disney World. I hadn’t visited the park since my parents brought me almost two decades before and what I found once we walked through the gates of the Magic Kingdom was not the childhood theme park I remembered so fondly.
It was better.
I wasn’t quite prepared for all the new features the park had to offer. I know that technology has come along way over the last twenty years, but having not visited a theme park in a very long while, I hadn’t thought about how those advances would positively impact our experience.
One of my favorite things Disney had to offer? The FASTPASS. Once we learned how the system worked, my husband and I grabbed a map and developed a game plan for how to use the pass to our advantage to cut down on wait times and ensure we got the most out of our visit.
If you haven’t been to Disney World recently you may not be familiar with the FASTPASS so let me clue you in. It is basically Disney’s way of allowing you to maximize your time enjoying the sites and sounds of the park and minimize the time wasted waiting in lines. Awesome, right? FASTPASS is not available for all of the rides and I recommend identifying ahead of time which attractions have the option.
Here’s a quick guide by park:
Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin
Peter Pan’s Flight
The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh
Living with the Land
Voyage of the Little Mermaid
Toy Story Mania
To use the service, look for the sign near the entrance of each ride that let’s you know what the current return time is for FASTPASS use. If it’s a time that works for you, insert your admission ticket into the FASTPASS machine and collect your ticket. It will have the time for you to return for your ride printed on it.
The best part is that time will be a one hour window leaving you free to have lunch or hop in line for another ride while you “wait.” If you have a Verizon phone you can download a handy app that will let you know what the current FASTPASS return times are in the park without having to trek all over for the information. It will also allow you to find your favorite disney characters with GPS enabled maps.
That Mickey Mouse thinks of everything.