disney-familyConfused about how Disneyland’s FastPass works? Wondering what a stroller pass is and how you use it? Do you really need the Disney Photo Pass when you’re bringing your own camera? I hope this short overview can answer these questions for you.

FastPasses. In order to cut down on queue time on the big rides, terminals have been put in place to issue FastPasses at these rides. They are free and you should pick one up for everyone in your party as soon as you enter the park at any of the rides listed here. One FastPass per park ticket is issued at a time. The pass will have an hour window printed on it showing your return time to board the ride using the FastPass line, usually at least 30 minutes from when you were issued the pass. Now you can ride other rides in the park that don’t use FastPasses and return at the designated time to use your FastPass on a big ride. Even though an hour window has been given, you can use your FastPass anytime later on the same day. Look at the bottom of your FastPass to see how soon you are allowed to draw your next FastPass and do so as soon as possible. There are ways around the system, however. For a detailed look at how to maximize FastPasses, go here.

Stroller passes. A stroller pass allows parents of small children who do not meet the height requirements of a ride, to take turns on the ride in a timely manner without having to wait in line twice. One parent can go on the ride while the other stays with the child. As the first parent exits the ride, they should ask a Disneyland cast member (employee) for a stroller pass. The second parent will now be escorted to the front of the line. You might need to ask for the stroller pass first, as sometimes the cast member may require seeing your stroller/child.

PhotoPass. Professional photographers are situated around the park and will take pictures of your entire party for free. They’ll even offer to take your picture using your camera. They will then hand you a PhotoPass, which you can then give to the next photographer to have all your photos linked together digitally. At the end of your trip, go online to view and purchase a CD of your photos or download them directly. Even though we brought our own camera, I found this service invaluable as many of the photos the professionals took turned out much better than the ones taken on my personal point-and-shoot. I ended up using the photo above from my Photo Pass for our Christmas cards. Your PhotoPass CD will include professional photos of the Disney characters and digital art to dress up your photos or make your own cards too!

Chris is a designer, WAHM and pilot’s wife living in Colorado. She writes as Standby Traveling Mom as well as at MamaBirdsBlog.com. Follow her on Twitter as @BirdBanter.