Sunday, March 7, 2010

::walt disney world tips ~ fast passes and baby swap::

Too little to ride!  (And see the little neck pincher?

Oh the glory of a well used fast pass.  Sometimes it is so fun to feel like you got to cut to the front of the line!  But unlike my mother, who will run over a 6 year old to get to the front of the line (don’t lie Mom, I’ve seen you do it) the fast pass process is still a disney sanctioned activity.  

Besides the glory of the FP let us pay homage to the glory of the iPhone.  There are several apps currently available that can assist you with current ride times, FP availability, and FP return times.  I am playing around with “WDW Wait Times”, it seems very smart but I have not used it in action yet.  

The basics::
Fast Pass
FP is included with all park admissions.  If you are in the park you have FP potential, so use it!

Each person can use their Key to the World Card (which is the disney card that has your park tickets, room key, etc. on it) in a Fast Pass Podium to receive a Fast Pass for any ride that offers them.
Most popular rides offer them

To use the FP you come back during the time range on the FP, you go to the beginning of the line and give the FP to the Cast Member there.  They will direct you into a special line for FP holders.  This basically eliminates your ride wait time by letting you cut to the front of the line. 
You can only get one Fast Pass per person at a time
So if you get a FP at Space Mountain and the return time in 10:32-11:32 you can not get another FP at a different ride till after 10:32.
Baby Swap
No you don’t switch babies with another family.  Sometimes I’ve considered that idea, but so far Disney is not promoting that.  The program is designed for families that have a child that is too small to ride a certain ride.

The persons who are riding first go on the ride and then ask the ride attendant for a baby swab pass.  
They will hand you three swap passes.  These are three passes that act as FP’s but have no time range.  No time range.  That is important when I discuss things in more detail.  

How I “utilize” the system: 
(Not cheat!  Cheating is not part of the Disney way!)
Having a large group (>6) and lots a variable ages really helps this process but it can be modified for a family of four as well.  

I will use Epcot as my example park but we use this system at any park.

9A – we arrive at the park and go through the gates
One adult gathers all Key to the World cards and briskly walks to “Soarin”
That adult gets our entire parties FP’s
Return time is 1:30-2:20 (return times vary, this is just an example)
We ride Nemo, play around at The Sea, ride Imagination, get lunch, and maybe have time to ride Energy.

1:20P – the group starts migrating toward “Soarin”.  One adult gathers up the Key to the World Cards and trots over to Test Track.  

1:30P – One adult gets all the Test Track FP’s, return time 6pm-7pm

1:35P – we meet up at Soarin, one adult takes the baby up to the start of the line and asks for a baby swap pass.  They receive the three passes.

1:40P – As many people as we have fast passes for rides Soarin, the baby and the waiting adult ride around on The Land or get a snack.  

2:10P – The older kids and the adult that was with the baby ride Soarin again with the baby pass tickets.  The other adult then gets a turn to ride The Land with the baby or gets a snack.

2:30P – We all meet up and go do all the rest of the attractions or rides that we want to do.

6p – We go to Test Track and do the same FP/baby swap routine to ride it

~If the Gods of the FP are with us we can end up using this process for all the big rides at that park~

Don’t be a Disney downer and try to jump into the FP lane from the regular line lane.  The FP will be checked again before you get on the ride and you will not be allowed through the FP end gate with out a valid FP.  Cutting is not Disney!

You have to come back during the time on your FP.  One minute late or early and the FP is not valid.  They are real sticklers about this. 

If you lose your FP it is just tough luck.  No replacements. 

For some reason the Cast Members have occasionally giving me a little grief about the baby swap issue.  Some want to actually see the baby and some act like you are personally ripping them off.  SCREW THEM!  Saint Disney says that baby swap is a recognized program to make the experience for guest with small children more enjoyable and they will give me my baby swap passes.  Or I will just ask the next cast member down the line and she will do it.  For every 50 times I do the baby swap I get 1 cast member that has a chip on their shoulder about it.    

Baby swap is not advertised.  You just have to ask.  

The whole point of vacation is to spend time together.  The few minutes we spend apart to get passes is worth it.  And when it is your turn to hold the baby I just take that as my one on one time with the littlest snuggle bug. 

THE KEY PIECE OF ADVICE – Disney is magical.  If you are not having fun you are doing it wrong.  It isn’t a race to see how much you can do in one day.  (Unless that is your idea of fun, then knock yourself out.)  Even the lines at Disney are pretty cool.  Chill out and calm down.  Enjoy every moment, it will go by too quick.  


Have a magical day!

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