Disneyland FastPass Guide: Tips, Tricks, Strategy For Disney FastPass System

disneyland fastpass guideThrough the use of Disneyland FastPass you can minimize the amount of time you wait in line and maximize the amount of Disneyland rides you experience. A FastPass is like getting a reservation for a particular time for Disneyland's most popular attractions.

With these FastPass tips you will be able to maneuver the crowds and allow your group to experience more popular Disneyland attractions in a shorter amount of time.

This article provides an overview of the FastPass system, tips on which attractions you should use FastPass, and advice on how to hold more than one FastPass at a time.

The Disneyland FastPass system has now been updated to be based on your admission material. You must now have your Disneyland ticket or Annual Pass ready to scan for entrance into the FastPass line.

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Disneyland FastPass Rules and Overview

The FastPass system may seem complicated from the outside, but these simple tips and tricks should help you to become a true FastPass master capable of building a perfect day at Disneyland.

Checkout my Disneyland FastPass video guide. 

What is a Disneyland FastPass?

It is a ticket for a specific attraction, show, or experience that allows park guests to skip the line and go into an express line to experience the fun faster. FastPass tickets are available at the most popular attractions. This ticket can be obtained at distribution machines located at the entrance to the attractions.

What is Disneyland FastPass cost?

The Disneyland FastPass system is free to everyone who purchases a Disneyland ticket. While there are no fees associated with the FastPass system the FastPass tickets run out quickly. See our tips below on how to get Disneyland FastPass.

How do you get a Disneyland FastPass?

To receive a FastPass ticket, you stick your park ticket into the FastPass machine located near the entrance to the attraction, and it will spit out a FastPass.  Don’t forget to retrieve your park tickets!  To save time, especially if it is crowded, you can send one person ahead with everyone’s tickets (as long as they are already in the park) to get FastPass tickets for everyone in the group.

How to Use a FastPass? 

Each FastPass has a return time window of one hour later in the day. When the time on your FastPass card arrives, simply go to the attraction and get in the FastPass line. You will scan your park ticket with the Cast Member at the front of the line and then scan your ticket one more time before boarding the attraction. This line is typically much shorter than the main Standby queue.

Can you get FastPass during Extra Magic Hour or Magic Morning?

Only some attractions offer FastPass during Extra Magic Hour and Magic Morning, and even those are not guaranteed. Most likely you will be able to get FastPass for Space Mountain in Disneyland and Guardians of the Galaxy: Mission Breakout, Radiator Springs Racers, and Toy Story in Disney California Adventure.

Unlike with our discount Universal Studios Hollywood tickets, there is no option to cut the line at Disneyland with any sort of Front of Line pass. You will need to visit Universal Studios Hollywood to accomplish that.

disneyland fastpass guide

Important Disneyland FastPass Tips to Know

  • FastPass is included with the price of admission.
  • Only select Disneyland and Disney California Adventure attractions offer the FastPass service (they are listed below).
  • Tickets obtained one day may not be used in the future.
  • New FastPass tickets may only be obtained after you have either used the FastPass that you are holding or two hours have passed so that guests never have to wait a ridiculous amount of time between getting FastPass (there are a couple exceptions that are listed below).
  • The FastPass system at Disneyland Park and Disney California Adventure park are no longer separate. This means that if you are park-hopping between the two, you can still only obtain one FastPass for both parks. Previously the two Disneyland Resort theme parks were disconnected.
  • There are only a set number of FastPass tickets for each hour of operation at Disneyland. On busy days, FastPass tickets run out quickly at the most popular attractions (listed below).
  • Previously Disney was very lax regarding the return times on your FastPass ticket. However, they have since become much more strict on the rule and request that guests return within the hour window. That isn't to say there isn't a kind Disneyland Cast Member who will allow someone with an earlier ticket to use their FastPass, but these are the rules.
  • Now the paper FastPass that is given to you at the machines throughout the park are just “reminder” tickets that can not be used for admission into an attraction, however you should keep them with you in case the scanning system goes down.

Where do you get FastPass at Disneyland?

You can find distribution centers for Disneyland Fast Passes near the entrances to the most popular attractions. If the listed return time on the board above the entrance to the distribution area works for you, insert your ticket to receive a FastPass ticket.  The attractions listed below all utilize the Disneyland FastPass system to allow guests to save time and avoid the long lines.

Sometimes attractions offering the Disneyland FastPass service will change (for example, the Haunted Mansion usually does not offer FastPass from January-September). These changes can be checked on the official website.

In Disneyland: 

  • Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
  • “it's a Small World”
  • Indiana Jones Adventure (Also offers Single Rider)
  • Roger Rabbit’s Car Toon Spin
  • Space Mountain
  • Splash Mountain (Also offers Single Rider line)
  • Haunted Mansion/Haunted Mansion Holiday
  • Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters
  • Star Tours (Available across from the attraction near Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters)
  • Matterhorn
  • Fantasmic! (This FastPass machine is disconnected from the system and can be held even while you are using another FastPass. This FastPass reserves you seats for the popular Disneyland show and can be obtained next to the Mark Twain dock.) The new Fantasmic! show is now open with many new additions and scenes, but with the charm of the old classic.

In Disney’s California Adventure:

  • World of Color (This FastPass machine is disconnected from the system)
  • The Incredicoaster on Pixar Pier (Also offers Single Rider line)
  • Goofy’s Sky School
  • Grizzly River Run (Also offers Single Rider line)
  • Radiator Springs Racers (Distributed outside Flo's V8 Cafe. Also offers Single Rider line)
  • Soarin’ (Also offers Single Rider line)
  • Toy Story Midway Mania

Disneyland MaxPass Service

Disneyland has announced a new style of digital FastPass called a MaxPass that will allow for the digital reservation of FastPass tickets from your smart phone. With this new service you can get reservations for attractions for attractions and shows directly from the Disneyland app on your smartphone.

You can see all of the information on the new Disneyland MaxPass reservation service in our guide to Disneyland MaxPass.

The new Disneyland MaxPass service also provides free downloads for Disney's PhotoPass service.

Disneyland FastPass Strategy

disneyland fastpass strategy

You will be unable to get another FastPass ticket until the time indicated at the bottom of your FastPass ticket.  This means that you can usually only have a FastPass to one attraction at a time.

There is some strategy as to how you use FastPass. Some attractions are more prone to run out of FastPass tickets than others.

The FastPass tickets for these attractions run out very early in the day. Either make sure that you get the FastPass early in the morning for these attractions, or don’t get them at all.

The other problem with FastPass tickets for the popular attractions is that the return time may be for very late at night. Consider simply waiting in the regular or single rider line in these cases so that you can get FastPass tickets on other rides throughout the day.

The attractions most likely to run out of FastPass tickets are:

In Disneyland 

  • Indiana Jones
  • Space Mountain

In Disney California Adventure

  • Radiator Springs Racers
  • Soarin’ (Previously Soarin' Over California is now Soarin' Over the World)
  • Guardians of the Galaxy

At the Disneyland Resort it is easy to jump back and forth between parks most days, so going in between parks multiple times to see parades or find shorter lines is not uncommon.

Which Disneyland FastPass To Start With at the Beginning of the Day

Whether you are starting off your day at Disneyland or Disney California Adventure, the following are the right FastPass options for you to focus on, as they are the most likely to run out quickly and rocket their return times to late in the evening.

Keep in mind that only one person should go into the FastPass distribution lines and do most of the FastPass running. Try not to clog up the area by bringing your entire party into the area.

The below are just my estimations of what will work best on any day at the parks. However, for the absolute best scheduled day at Disneyland to most powerfully maximize your time, you should follow our strategies below:

For Disneyland, when Disneyland begins it's normal operating day, either head for Indiana Jones or Space Mountain to pick up a FastPass. At this same time, I would recommend riding the attraction as the lines will form immediately. If you decided to start with Indiana Jones, get a FastPass for Fantasmic! before moving onward. Fantasmic! is the extremely popular nighttime show which has reserved seating with FastPass.

For Disney California Adventure, line up at the rope drop near the Carthay Circle Theater in order to run to the Radiator Springs Racers FastPass distribution. From here, I would recommend walking up into the land and riding the attraction through the Single Rider line (all parties will be split up in this line, but it moves SO MUCH FASTER). Next, pick up a World of Color FastPass from the distribution area next to the Little Mermaid attraction. This is a reserved ticket that is disconnected from the regular system.

Disneyland App For You

Disney offers a free app that has the official Disneyland wait times and FastPass return times constantly updating. This app is perfect for planning your next steps throughout the day when you don't want to waste time walking to all corners of Disneyland and Disney California Adventure to check out wait times and FastPass return times.

Other Ways to Cut the Line

While this article completely focuses on the Disneyland FastPass system, there are some other ways to save quite a bit of time and legally “cut” the line at Disneyland. These other methods include the Single Rider line, Rider Swap pass, and VIP Tour Guide.

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