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1999: Disney’s FASTPASS Service introduced

Editor’s Note: This post is part 29 in a forty-part blog series in celebration of Walt Disney World Resort’s upcoming 40th Anniversary. Please welcome to The Window Seat guest authors from The Walt Disney World Moms Panel. 

In 1999, Walt Disney World Resort revolutionized the concept of the standard “queue” with Disney’s FASTPASS system. Learn how you can beat the crowds on your next Disney vacation by effectively utilizing this service at your favorite attractions.


Five things you simply MUST know about Disney’s FASTPASS Service:

1. It’s free! I cannot count the number of times my family and I have been using our FASTPASSes, minding our own business, when the guests in the Stand-by line give us jealous stares as we fly by them.  I’ve overheard more than one guest remark that they can’t imagine how much the FASTPASS option probably cost us. Well, wonder no more fellow ride-lovers, it’s 100 percent free. You paid for it when you purchased entrance to the park. It’s not limited to Walt Disney World Resort guests or guests with a certain package. If you have a park ticket, you can have a FASTPASS. So don’t glare at the FASTPASS folks – just grab one for yourself and enjoy life in the fast lane!

2. Everyone in your travel party (old enough to have an admission ticket) must have a FASTPASS ticket to utilize this service. So, when you send off your designated “FASTPASS-getter” (it’s my husband in our family), be sure to send all of the theme park tickets with him/her. One pass will not allow your entire party to enter the FASTPASS line. When you get your FASTPASSes, you are “virtually” entering the line. If you only possess one FASTPASS, then the computer is only holding one spot. By reserving a place in line for each person in your party, FASTPASS lines and wait times are kept at a minimum (see tip #4). A designated “FASTPASS-getter” saves wear and tear on little legs. The rest of the group is free to do whatever else needs to be done (bathroom, water, or snack break, etc…). It’s a terrific timesaver!

3. It is possible to have more than one FASTPASS at a time. When you get your FASTPASS, it will have a return window and the time you can get your next FASTPASS printed on it. You can get another one in two hours or when your return window opens – whichever comes first.  Either way, the time you can get your next FASTPASS is printed on the one you have. Utilize FASTPASS to the maximum!

4. Even with a FASTPASS, there might be a wait, but rest assured it won’t be anywhere close to the stand-by riders’ wait time. The key to remember is that you don’t have to wait as long. I’ve never waited longer than 30 minutes in a FASTPASS line (the stand-by wait was more than 2 hours) unless there was a ride malfunction. The average FASTPASS wait time is 5- to 10- minutes. 

5. They do run out of FASTPASSes. Some rides are so popular the FASTPASS service for them are gone early in the day. The main attractions (pun intended) likely to run out include Toy Story Mania! at Disney’s Hollywood Studios; Expedition Everest at Disney’s Animal Kingdom; and Soarin’ and Test Track at Epcot. Get these first thing in the morning!

ONE FOR FREE: This should be a no-brainer, but I’ve seen it happen too many times to count, and therefore, I think it deserves a quick mention here. Be certain that when you walk away from the FASTPASS machine that you have ALL of your FASTPASSes, but even more importantly, ALL of your theme park tickets. Many times as guests scan their tickets, they place them on top of the FASTPASS machine. Then, with FASTPASSes in hand, they walk away and leave their park tickets. Take five seconds and count your tickets. It will be worth the time – I promise.



1998: Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park Opens  (The Window Seat)

1997: Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort (The Window Seat)

1996: Epcot International Food & Wine Festival (The Window Seat)



From time to time, the Window Seat publishes articles and blog posts written by guest authors to give you a fresh perspective on the world of travel.

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