What is a FASTPASS at Disneyland and Disney's California Adventure?

Entrance to Radiator Springs Racers at Disney California Adventure
Photo © 2012 Kayte Deioma, licensed to About.com

Disneyland and Disney California Adventure offer the FASTPASS on certain rides to cut down on wait time. But what is it, and how does it work?

An Appointment to Ride

The lines at Disneyland rides can be crazy long. The FASTPASS system was designed to let visitors schedule their ride time on select rides and shows, to reduce the amount of time you have to wait in line. Unlike other theme parks' "front of the line" tickets, there is no additional charge for FASTPASS. Everyone has equal access.

The FASTPASS itself is a printed ticket with an appointment to ride a particular ride at a later time in the day without waiting in the long standby line. Since FASTPASSES are FREE with your entry ticket, there's no reason not to use them when the park is busy, or even when it's not. There are a limited number of FASTPASSES available per ride and they stop distributing them when there's not enough time left for later appointments, so get your FASTPASSES early.

FASTPASSES are offered only on certain popular rides where there is often a long wait, and the ride can accommodate a separate FASTPASS entrance.

 At these rides, a sign will tell you how long the standby wait is and what time the FASTPASS return is currently scheduled, so you can see if it will fit your schedule. 

Follow the FASTPASS Distribution sign to find the FASTPASS machines. They are sometimes in odd places, so you might have to ask a cast member where to find them if it's not obvious.  You insert your park ticket into the machine and receive a time-stamped FASTPASS ticket with your appointment to return later in the day. You can only get one FASTPASS per park ticket, but to save time, one person can take the whole family's tickets to get FASTPASSES while the others are waiting in line at another ride.

At the time indicated on your ticket, return the the designated FASTPASS entrance. Your ticket will be scanned as you enter. Sometimes you can walk right on the ride. At other times, there may still be a 15 to 20-minute wait if all the people with FASTPASSES for that hour happen to show up at the same time.

One at a Time

You cannot pick up another FASTPASS on a different ride until your first appointment has passed or after a designated amount of time printed on the ticket. For example, your FASTPASS might say that your appointment to return to this ride is in 3 hours, but you can pick up another FASTPASS in 2 hours. The times are calculated automatically based on the projected ride load and distribution of passes so far for that ride.

FASTPASS for Shows Too

In addition to rides, FASTPASS is available for one show at each park. At Disneyland, FASTPASSES are distributed for the Fantasmic nighttime spectacular at Rivers of America. They give reserved access to specific seating or standing areas. At California Adventure, there are FASTPASSES for the World of Color show. Depending on the night, there may be one or more performances of each show, so make sure you're getting a FASTPASS for the show you want.

Get Them Early

First thing in the morning, the FASTPASS appointment may be in just 15 minutes, allowing you to get another FASTPASS then and use them both later in the day when lines are longer. That way you can ride other non-FASTPASS rides early. The FASTPASS gives an hour window of time printed on it, but you can generally use the FASTPASS any time after its start time. I confirmed this with cast members at the park but have heard rumors that they're tightening up on this.

Using the FASTPASS system, especially in conjunction with Ridemax, can save hours of time waiting in long lines, allowing you to fit much more into your day.

Disneyland Rides and Shows with FASTPASS:

  • Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
  • Fantasmic! (near Big Thunder Trail)
  • Haunted Mansion
  • Indiana Jones Adventure
  • Roger Rabbit's Car Toon Spin
  • Space Mountain
  • Splash Mountain
  • Star Tours – The Adventures Continue
  • Storytelling at Royal Theatre

California Adventure Rides with FASTPASS:

  • World of Color (distributed at Grizzly River Run)
  • Anna & Elsa's Royal Welcome
  • California Screamin'
  • Goofy's Sky School
  • Grizzly River Run
  • Radiator Springs Racers (distributed near It's Tough to Be a Bug!)
  • Soarin' Over California
  • The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror

FASTPASS rides were accurate at publication, but are subject to change at any time.