Waiting for hours for a three-minute ride is sort of the hallmark of amusement parks and Disneyland. But unlike most theme parks, Disneyland has a special little somewhat well-known secret . . . the FASTPASS.
The FASPTASS is probably one of the most brilliant things ever. They help with crowd control, make the regular lines shorter, let people who hate lines enjoy the park and give a benefit to those who understand the system.
But let’s start with what a FASTPASS is.
A FASTPASS is a little ticket essentially that you can get that allows you to skip the longer lines and hop in line for a shorter FASTPASS line. They are distributed out front many of the major rides and are given in five-minute increments. The passes are free with the purchase of your park ticket and you use your ticket to get the pass. However, you cannot get a pass unless you have entered into the park once that day.
Here are the rides in Disneyland Park that have a FASTPASS:
- Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
- Buzz LightYear Astro Blasters
- Haunted Mansion
- Space Mountain
- Matterhorn Bobsleds
- Roger Rabit’s Car Toon Spin
- Splash Mountain
- Star Tours
- Indiana Jones Adventure
And for California Adventure:
- California Screamin’
- Goofy’s Sky School
- Grizzly River Run
- Radiator Springs Racers
- Soarin’ Around the World
- Toy Story Midway Mania!
- World of Color*
- Guardians of the Galaxy Mission: BREAKOUT**
It used to be that you could hold both a FASTPASS from Disneyland and California Adventure at the same time but they are changing that, so you’ll have to plan your strategy around that.
If nothing else, remember this: If you can get a FASTPASS get one. It’s really that simple!
I would also recommend designating one person in your group as the official FASTPASS gatherer and don’t put any FASTPASSes or tickets in those cheap plastic squares that come with Disney lanyards. I have seen too many times where they have fallen off and been lost.
But let’s talk strategy starting with Disneyland.
In Disneyland . . .
If you go during one of the busiest times of the year (summer or Christmas) then chances are FASTPASSes will run out for rides. If you don’t go during a particularly busy time of the year, then you might not have to worry as much about this. FASTPASSes in Disneyland will run out the fastest for Space Mountain. So it would be my recommendation that the first thing you do when you get into the park is make your way over to Space Mountain and grab a FASTPASS before you hit your first ride.
Of these other rides, you can often catch a shorter line so getting a FASTPASS is not as urgent. These are Haunted Mansion, Buzz LightYear, Roger Rabit, and (sometimes) Matterhorn, Star Tours, Big Thunder Mountain and Splash Mountain
The first three can almost be guaranteed to have 15 minute or under wait times at multiple points throughout the day. Big Thunder Mountain, Matterhorn and Star Tours will often have only a 30 minute wait time, but it’s not a bad one to get a FASTPASS for. Most of the time, you can basically walk right onto Splash Mountain when the sun goes down, but if you want to ride it during the heat of the day a FASTPASS will be worth it. However, don’t bother picking up a FASTPASS if the time that it is being distributed is past sundown because chances are you won’t even get to use it.
Indiana Jones and Space Mountain are the big two you absolutely must get FASTPASSes for. Both of these rides will have extremely long waits (don’t be deceived by the short looking Indiana Jones line; it weaves on forever inside).
Once you’ve made sure you have ridden Space Mountain and Indiana Jones as much as you want, I would recommend then moving to Matterhorn, Big Thunder Mountain, and Star Tours, then to Buzz LightYear, Roger Rabit and Haunted Mansion.
In California Adventure . . .
*A World of Color FASTPASS will not count against the other FASTPASSes you get. So once you get one for World of Color you can turn around and get another one for a ride.
**The Guardians of the Galaxy ride is not open yet, but I am sure this will be a popular ride and FASTPASSes will probably go quickly.
Now, the biggest strategy for California Adventure is getting a Radiator Racers FASTPASS the second you walk into the park. These go extremely fast and you won’t want to miss out on this ride. The line for it is often upward of two hours and the only other best option is to ride it single rider, which is just not as fun as going with your group.
Grizzly River Run is like Splash Mountain. The wait time during the day is long, but once the sun goes down you can practically walk on. My siblings have a record of how many times in a row they can ride it.
Soarin’ Around the World is also guaranteed to have a long wait time for almost the entire day and FASTPASSes will come and go before the day is up.
Goofy’s Sky School and California Screamin’ can both vary in how long their lines are, but I have never seen Toy Story Midway Mania! with a line that is under 30 minutes.
With all of this information this is my suggestion for FASTPASSing at California Adventure:
Walk in and get a FASTPASS for Radiator Racers and then World of Color. The next one should be for Soarin’ Around the World or Toy Story Mania! From there, it depends on what the park is looking like that day. If it is a blistering hot day, get one for Grizzly River Run. If that can wait, check out Goofy’s Sky School or Screamin’.
Well friends, now you have my expertise for how to FASTPASS in Disneyland. May you never wait in hour long lines again!