If you’re heading out to either Disney or Universal theme parks and want to fit in the most ‘play’ time along with the least ‘stand in line’ time to really optimise your days in the parks, you’ll want to make use of the passes available. As they differ between the parks, I’ve got a run down here of how each works. In short, where regular lines can average an hour or more wait time per attraction, these passes will reduce that to a maximum of 10 minutes per attraction – making choosing attractions for the family much easier.
So with the Disney FastPass, good news its free for all park guests and you just buy a standard admission ticket.
First, it works like this – at the entrance of each Fastpass attraction you can pick up a ticket from a machine and save your place in line so you can enjoy the rest of the park and come back later at the designated time on your ticket. You’ll then bypass the regular queue to get on the ride within a few minutes. The time slot is normally about 2 hours later, and allows you an hour to come back to the attraction – so you don’t have the pressure of an exact time to rush back for your ride. You can only get one Fastpass at a time, and cannot get another pass until you have used your last Fastpass or the time slot has passed.
Tip here, Fastpasses on the big rides go quickly within a few hours of the park opening so if you approach a ride and the return time slot is too late in the day for you or there are none left, forget picking up a pass. Instead visit the ride when a parade is on – queues are much shorter then! The Fastpass is good, just bear in mind it will involve more exercise and walking as you’ll be revisiting the attractions to take your ride. You’ll also want to prioritise which order to get your Fastpasses in.
Also be warned, not all the rides within Disney World theme parks have Fastpass access – I’ve listed below all the participating rides with the Disney Fastpass.
The Universal Express Plus Pass is available for free ONLY to guests of their on-site hotels, otherwise there is an add-on charge to the standard entrance ticket. Although it really depends on your budget, I consider it worth it as it allows you more time to see and do it all and ensures you get to every ride. With the Express Plus Pass, not only do you get to bypass the line and go straight onto the ride – you don’t need to wait for a designated time slot as you do with the Disney Fastpass. The paid-for pass lets you ride every Express Plus Pass attraction once only.
Here’s a list of participating attractions and rides with the Express Plus Pass.
At Universal Studios:
Universal Horror Make-up Show, Terminator 2 3-D, Animal Actors on Location, A Day In The Park with Barney, Woody Woodpecker’s Nuthouse Coaster, E.T. Adventure, Men in Black Alien Attack, Beetlejuice’s Graveyard Revue, Jaws, Twister…Ride it Out, Revenge of the Mummy, Shrek 4-D, Fear Factor Live, Disaster! Motion Picture Ride, The Simpsons Ride
And at Universal’s Islands of Adventure:
The Cat in The Hat, One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish, Caro-Seuss-el, Poseidon’s Fury, The Eighth Voyage of Sindbad, Dragon Challenge, Jurassic Park River Adventure, Dudley Do-Right’s Ripsaw Falls, Popeye & Bluto’s Bilge-Rat Barges, The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man, Doctor Doom’s Fearfall, Storm Force Accelatron, Incredible Hulk Coaster, Flight of the Hippogriff
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