disney_fastpassI am extremely happy my Disney World tips were helpful to so many of you! In fact, some of you wrote to me with specific questions and I will try to answer as many as I can. If you have any questions that you don’t see answered, please leave a comment and I’ll add your question(s) to my list.

I’ve heard of some kind of pass that informs you when a ride doesn’t have a long line and lets you move to the front of the line. Is this real and if so, have you used it?

What you speak of is called the Fast Pass. Not only is it real, it’s FREE and it will save you a ton of time.

Each of the rides in a Disney World park have a clock showing how long the wait is for that ride. (Trust me, if you see 20 minutes, jump on it. It probably won’t be that long, but even if it is, that’s about as short as it gets. Although, to be fair, because my family goes at off-peak times–like October or May–we have walked on to many of the rides without a wait.)

Back to my answer. So the rides have the clock that tells you how long the wait is. If the wait is over 45 minutes, you may want to consider getting a Fast Pass for that ride. Almost every ride has a Fas

t Pass option and the machines are usually located just outside the ride where the line starts.

To use the Fast Pass machine, you put your park ticket into the Fast Pass machine. The Fast Pass machine takes your ticket, spits out a receipt (or Fast Pass) that tells you when to return to the ride for your turn, and gives back your park ticket.

The time stated on your Fast Pass is usually a 20-minute time frame. For example, the Fast Pass may say to come back to the ride at 12:10-12:30. When you return to the ride some time between 12:10 and 12:30, instead of getting in the regular line, you use the Fast Pass line–which is clearly marked. The Fast Pass line is much shorter and faster and you almost always have less than a 5-minute wait for your ride. So instead of waiting in line for 45 minutes, you used that time to ride something else, then came back to the ride and waited maybe 5 minutes instead of 45.

You can only have one Fast Pass at a time per park ticket. You couldn’t use your park ticket to get Fast Passes for Splash Mountain, Space Mountain, and Peter Pan all at one time. AND you have to wait until your first Fast Pass has expired (the time it told you to return to line) before you can get a new one. So if you got a Fast Pass for Splash Mountain at 9:00am and the Fast Pass return time is 12:10, you can’t get a new Fast Pass for any ride until 12:10.

When my family enters any park, we already know what our first Fast Pass is going to be and we bee-line to those rides to get the Fast Passes. The time the Fast Passes give you is usually about an hour out, but the time varies by ride depending on how busy it is. There is a clock over the Fast Pass area for each ride that tells you what timeyou’re getting a Fast Pass for. Some popular rides, like Soarin’ in EPCOT, will give you a time that is several hours away because it’s so busy. In fact, there are a finite number of Fast Passes for each ride and sometimes you will be too late (though it’s only happened once or twice while I’ve been there). You know there are no more Fast Passes available for a ride if the machines are covered or roped off.

Fast Passes can be very useful if you map out your park route. For instance, on our last day at Disney World on our last vacation, my daughter and I wanted to ride Rockin’ Rollercoaster as many times as we could before the ride had a 30 minute wait. As soon as we hit the park, we hustled over to Rockin’ Rollercoaster to get our Fast Passes. Then we rode without the FPs twice because the lines were so short. Then, as the line was longer by our third ride and it was also our FP time, we got to ride again. That was three rides on Rockin’ Rollercoaster in 45 minutes! It was an exciting end to our vacation because we took advantage of the Fast Pass system.

Melanie Nelson writes tips and instructions for beginning and intermediate bloggers at Blogging Basics 101.