How good are you at using Disney's Fastpass?
Disney’s ride reservation system provides fans the chance to skip a lot of lines at the Disneyland Resort. Many annual passholders and experienced fans have become experts at using Fastpass to maximize the number of rides and shows that they can get to on each visit to the parks.
Smart visitors make a trip to a Fastpass machine their first stop of the day, to grab return times to a popular ride even before heading into other empty queues when the park opens. They also know exactly when they can collect their next Fastpass, in order to skip as many lines as possible during the day.
But what local fans have learned about Fastpass at Disneyland won't necessarily help them at other Disney theme park resorts around the world. Fastpass operates differently at each resort, and given Disney's fondness for standardizing its theme park operations (notice how many souvenir bags now say "Disney Parks" instead of "Disneyland"?), fans might wonder if some of those features might one day come to Anaheim, too.
The Walt Disney World Resort started replacing Fastpass with Fastpass+ in late 2013. Under Fastpass+, visitors can hold return times for up to three attractions at once. Plus, they can choose return times and make those reservations before getting to the park. Disney World's registered hotel guests can make Fastpass+ reservations up to 60 days before their visit while annual passholders and day guests can make reservations up to 30 days in advance.
To use Fastpass+, there are no more of those paper return time tickets familiar to Disneyland fans. Instead, you schedule your return times using Disney World's smartphone app, or by logging into an account on your computer. Your return times are associated directly with your theme park ticket, which contains an RFID chip that allows you to tap it at the front gate and each attraction for entrance.
By allowing you to bank three return times in advance, Fastpass+ frees you from having to rush to collect a popular Fastpass as soon as you enter the park.
Other Disney resorts continue to use paper return time tickets, but Disneyland Paris now uses a 30-minute return time window, instead of the 60 minutes currently used at Disneyland and Walt Disney World. That can cause problems.
On my last visit to Paris, I ended up with Fastpasses to both Thunder Mountain and Space Mountain in the same 30-minute return window. I had to hightail it through Fantasyland after riding Big Thunder to make it to Space Mountain on time.
Disney World's Fastpass+ system eliminates the possibility of such overlaps, which also happen at Disneyland from time to time, even if you do have an extra 30 minutes to get to both places.
In Japan, at Tokyo Disneyland, it's pretty much impossible to get two Fastpasses for the same time, because it's often impossible to get two Fastpasses on the same day.
The first time I visited Tokyo Disneyland, I was surprised to see all the Fastpass kiosks covered and closed when I arrived (straight from the airport) at 10:30 am. I wondered if there had been some system failure, but soon learned that the reason that all the Fastpass kiosks were closed was because guests had all ready claimed all the return times for the day!
Tokyo Disneyland fans are the world's experts at visiting Disney theme parks. They don't mess around. Everyone knows to rope drop the parks, and everyone knows how to use the Fastpass system. If you're smart, early and lucky you might pick up a second Fastpass two hours after grabbing your first at park open. But that's it.
So if you ever get frustrated trying to get a Fastpass at Disneyland, just be thankful that you're not at Tokyo Disneyland. In that crowd, you'd never have a chance.
Source: OC Register
Banner Photo Credit: MouseMagicHD