More FastPasses More Often
In 2002, Disney enhanced its Fast Pass system to allow guests to get Fast Passes more often than every two hours, sometimes as often as every 45 minutes, when the theme parks are not as busy.
Nowadays we suggest trying to get another FastPass every hour, but not for the same ride if the time stated on the Fast Pass you already have is later.
The descriptions below appear to be the way the newest system works but we are not absolutely sure we are correct.
In A Nutshell
Sometimes you can fetch FastPasses for some rides more frequently than for other rides.
The next fetch time stamped on a Fast Pass is the worst case time. You can sometimes get a Fast Pass for a different less busy ride sooner if you try.
Except for the busiest rides we suggest you try for another Fast Pass every hour (or every 45 minutes if you are daring). If you don't succeed, try again in 10-15 minutes.
There appears to be a five minute surcharge if you consider the rule that you could always get another Fast Pass after the one you have matures.
Your experience may vary, usually in your favor, and particularly due to system malfunctions the most common being Fast Pass machines disconnected from a central system.
This page will capture the interest of persons who enjoy mathematical abstractions.
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45 Minutes Later
Restating an older rule for getting another Fast Pass, with a slight change:
"You may fetch your next Fast Pass XXX later or when all the Fast Passes you already fetched have matured, whichever comes first."
"XXX" was orginally stated as two hours but nowadays can be shorter.when the park is less busy. Based on published information as of November 2003, the magic number XXX may be as little as 45 minutes although it can still be as much as two hours and five minutes.
We will sometimes refer to this magic number as the "re-fetch interval" as measured in minutes.
The system takes the time you got your last Fast Pass, adds the re-fetch interval, and if the resulting time hasn't come yet and also if any of the Fast Passes you already have show a later next fetch time, the system prints a rejection slip.
Unadvertised Earlier Next Fetch
This (UENF) is our terminology, not Disney's. Each ride can have a different re-fetch interval. If another ride has a shorter re-fetch interval than the ride you last got a Fast Pass for, you can fetch a Fast Pass for the former before the time for doing so stamped on the Fast Pass you already have.
Note that the next-fetch time as stamped on your latest Fast Pass will not be earlier than the next-fetch time on any Fast Pass you already have. Therefore you might find that the next-fetch time shown on your second (or third) Fast Pass is long after that Fast Pass matures if an earlier Fast Pass has not matured yet.
An extreme example of unadvertised next fetch time is for the Lights Motors Action show at Disney Studios. Its re-fetch interval is around five minutes which means you can get a Fast Pass for that show about five minutes before or after (but not both) getting a Fast Pass for a different ride or show.
Since there is not enough space on the Fast Pass to show the next-fetch times for all of the different rides, you will have to guess. Waiting one hour after fetching a Fast Pass is reasonable before you just try to fetch another. The rule of waiting two hours (give or take a few minutes) or using your current Fast Pass, as described in older Disney park brochures, is still true for some rides during busy times.
Off Line; Disconnected
Once in awhile a Fast Pass machine gets disconnected from the central system. Should this occur, you can get a Fast Pass from it disregarding the next fetch time on any Fast Pass you already have. Although we have not proved it, we expect that the Fast Pass from a disconnected machine will not show any next fetch time. Under normal conditions, all machines are connected to the system.
Guessing the Magic Number
As we mentioned earlier, the re-fetch interval for each ride is a secret and it can change during the day. Here are some educated guesses. We'll let you do the arithmetic of taking the time you fetched your last Fast Pass and adding the re-fetch interval to see whether you should try to get another Fast Pass earlier than the time stated for doing so.
1. After you get a Fast pass, just try for another one (at a different less busy ride) 45 minutes to an hour later. If you get a rejection slip with the black spot, try again ten minutes later.
2. Use the wait time displayed above the standby entrance as the re-fetch interval. If the wait is long, the ride probably does not have a short re-fetch interval.
3. Eavedrop over someone else's shoulder as he gets his Fast Pass. If his next-fetch time is so many minutes from "now" use that as the re-fetch interval for that ride. (This is not accurate if the other person already has some unmatured Fast Passes, which fact you don't know and may be revised by the time you fetch yours.)
Note: The system won't give you any hints if it gives you a rejection slip. Instead the rejection slip will show the next-fetch time already on your previous Fast Pass.
Hypothetical Example of UENF:
At 10:00 AM you get a Fast Pass for Space Mountain and the return time is 3:00 PM. On that day let's say Space Mountain's re-fetch interval was the maximum two hours and five minutes so the time stamped on the Fast Pass for getting another Fast Pass is 12:05 PM.
At 10:50 AM you pass by Jungle Cruise and try the Fast Pass machine. The re-fetch interval (remember, it is secret) happens to be 45 minutes. Since 45 minutes have passed since you got your previous Fast Pass, your second fetch succeeds. Let's say the return time is 11:20 AM.
Since the second Fast Pass matures at 11:20, you would think that you can get a third Fast pass a few minutes later, say 11:25. But the first Fast Pass hasn't matured yet and its next-fetch time was 12:05 PM. Your second Fast Pass will also show the 12:05 next-fetch time. You can still get another Jungle Cruise Fast Pass if you try at 11:25 but you could not get another Space Mountain Fast Pass until 12:05.
At 10:00 AM you get a Fast Pass for Jungle Cruise. The return time is 11:00 AM and Jungle Cruise's re-fetch interval happens to be 45 minutes. The Fast Pass has stamped on it a next fetch time of 10:45 AM.
At 10:50 AM you try to fetch a Fast Pass for Space Mountain, whose re-fetch interval happened to be two hours. Your fetch succeeds because the system will honor the next-fetch time on the Fast Pass you already have. (If the return time for Space Mountain was after 12:50 PM the next-fetch time on your second Fast Pass will be 12:55 PM.
(All times are give or take a few minutes.)
The Five Minute Surcharge
The originally published rule was that you could fetch another Fast Pass two hours later or after using the Fast Pass you just fetched. Actually, nowadays, it is slightly later (about five minutes later) than the maturity time or the maximum time delay of two hours.
When the next-fetch time is based on the maturity time, if you use the Fast Pass and ride first, you will not notice the additional five minute delay because five minutes will certainly have passed before you finish riding and get to the ride exit.
In the rest of our descriptions we have combined the numbers to simply say the maximum time between Fast Passes is now two hours and five minutes.
Two At A Time
We have heard of although not witnessed a short lived experiment where at Epcot guests could go to and fetch Fast Passes for any two rides (but not three) in quick succession. We have no further information or conjectures on how this worked.
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All parts (c) copyright 2003-6, Allan W. Jayne, Jr. unless otherwise noted or other origin/author stated. All rights reserved. Fast Pass is a trademark of the Walt Disney Company.
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