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The Magic Years
Disney through the eyes of teens
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Adrienne Krock, editor
FastPass
Hi! How are you guys doing? Hey, have you heard about Disney's FastPass? You've probably seen or heard the commercials. FastPass is actually pretty cool. You know, you want to go on Autopia, but you don't want to waste an hour in line? Well, FastPass is just what the doctor ordered!

A FastPass ticket - art  Disney
A FastPass ticket - art Disney

What is FastPass? Glad you asked. FastPass is a ticket you can get for free. When you get a FastPass, it will have a time printed on it. For example, the time might say "12:15 pm - 1:15 pm" This is the time slot in which you can return to the specified attraction and walk straight into an exclusive FastPass line. The FastPass line is very short because it is only available to people with a FastPass. If you were in the stand-by line (non- FastPass line) for Autopia, you could wait 45 minutes. If you have a FastPass, however, you could wait only five to ten minutes. Pretty neat, huh?

You can get a FastPass at a FastPass distribution machine. Distribution machines are located near the attraction for which you wish to get a FastPass. For example, Autopia's FastPass machines are across from its entrance. So are Splash Mountain's.

FastPass distribution machine
FastPass distribution machine

When you find the machine, simply put your Disneyland passport into the slot and wait for the "accepted" light to come on. Remove your passport then, and take the FastPass which has been spit out by the machine. Your FastPass will say what attraction it is for, the date, and what hour you should return.

This is where you return when you have a FastPass
This is where you return when you have a FastPass

When you go back to your favorite ride later on, give your ticket to the Cast Member (Disneyland employee) who will be collecting them, sit back, and enjoy your short wait. FastPass will save you time and make the most of your Disneyland visit. The problem is, you can only have one active FastPass per Disneyland passport at a time for up to two hours. If (on a busy day) your FastPass return time goes beyond that (sometimes it can go up to four hours) then you may then get a second one.

Since for the most part you can only have one at a time, (unless it goes past four hours) I suggest getting a FastPass for your favorite ride. FastPass is available for these Disneyland attractions: Roger Rabbit's Car Toon Spin, Splash Mountain, Indiana Jones Adventure, Autopia, and Space Mountain. All of these rides are very popular. They usually have very long lines. However, some lines flow pretty steadily. Like Splash Mountain. If the wait is 30 minutes or shorter, I would say that you really don't need a FastPass. Your best chance to find a short stand-by line on Splash Mountain is at night. After the sun has gone down.

Here's where you find out how long the line will be
Here's where you find out how long the line will be

You can always find out how long the wait is for a ride by looking to the sign at the ride's entrance. Also, on Main Street, U.S.A., there is a board telling how long the wait is for the most popular rides in Disneyland. If all else fails, you can ask a Cast Member who works at the ride or the board on Main Street. They will be happy to help you out.

Here are some FastPass tips I can share with you:

Indiana Jones Adventure. The line there really doesn't go that quickly so unless the wait is really short and you want to go on this right now, I would suggest a FastPass.

The newly remodeled FastPass for Space Mountain
The newly remodeled FastPass for Space Mountain

I would also suggest getting a FastPass for Space Mountain for the same reason. Also, being a roller coaster makes Space Mountain one of the most popular attractions in the Park.

Autopia, well, I'd say I would wait up to 35 minutes in this line. It's really not that bad. Besides, the line provides plenty of entertainment and a great opportunity to "people watch" (my favorite sport).

Roger Rabbit's FastPass is getting ready to open
Roger Rabbit's FastPass is getting ready to open

The line for Roger Rabbit's Car Toon Spin is normally kinda slow. I would take a FastPass over a line longer than 20 minutes. The stuff in the line is pretty funny, though, so look around as best you can. It should be open soon.

FastPass is nice, but you can't really look around in line. You know, you can't read all the signs in Splash Mountain, can't see all the cute things in the Autopia line. When you have a FastPass, you miss out on things like that.

Disneyland is bringing FastPass to the Haunted Mansion and to the Pirates of the Caribbean. It is rumored that FastPass may appear on the Matterhorn Bobsleds as well. I will be very happy when the Haunted Mansion starts offering FastPass! It is one of my favorite rides.

Last year during the holiday season, FastPass was available for It's A Small World. After It's A Small World Holiday was over, FastPass was taken from it. This year, Disneyland is planning on offering it again for the ever-busy Holiday.

This is the FastPass set up at Splash Mountain
This is the FastPass set up at Splash Mountain

I am very happy that Disneyland now has FastPass. I think it's a great idea. I think that, even though you miss stuff in line, FastPass provides you with more time to do other things. You may even get to go on a ride twice. Once with a FastPass, and once via stand-by. My best friend Katie and I did that with Splash Mountain, and we found that the 20 minute stand-by line actually moved a little faster than the FastPass line! (Isn't that ironic?)

Another thing you should know about is Rider Switch Pass. Rider Switch is also known among Guests as Baby Switch or Child Switch. Rider Switch is a pass that will make the whole family happy, and might even give you a good excuse to go on your favorite ride twice!

For example, if you, your mom and your dad all want to go on Big Thunder Mountain, but your little sister (we'll call her Suzy) is afraid of it, you can get a Rider Switch Pass. Simply find a Cast Member who works at the entrance of Big Thunder Mountain, explain your situation, and ask for a Rider Switch Pass. You and dad can then get in line, while mom and Suzy grab a Coke and wait for you nearby. When you get off the ride, leave dad with Suzy and go back on with mom. This time, go to the exit of Big Thunder Mountain and give the Cast Member there your Rider Switch Pass. They will get you on the ride as soon as possible. That way, you don't have to wait in line again!

Rider Switch is really convenient and will work whether it's little sister Suzy who's afraid, or your Grandma Angie who's in a wheelchair and shouldn't be left alone. It's also great if it's you who doesn't want to go on the ride. If your older brother wants to go on Space Mountain and you don't, get a Rider Switch Pass! (Don't worry, I won't tell anybody you're scared.)

Tell me what you think of FastPass and Rider Switch. Do you have a different opinion?

Ciao!

~Jewel


Jewel's FastFact: In Pirates of the Caribbean, there is a bed with a skeleton resting on it. On the headboard is a skull. It is said that this is a real human skull!!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Jewel
Hi!
My name is Jewel.

I am almost 13 years old, and a typical junior high student. I live with my mom, dad, and little brother. My family and I have annual passes to Disneyland so we go quite often. I love school, and science has always been a favorite subject of mine. I am in band and hope to be involved in music for the rest of my life.

Right now, my career goal is to become a deejay. In my mind, that is the coolest job in the world! My hobbies include: listening to and playing music, reading, writing, messing around on the computer and hanging out at Disneyland. We have seven cats (four of them found us), a black Labrador, and I have a goldfish.


FastPass photos courtesy of Al Lutz and Todd Regan

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