Boarding Passes, Fast Passes and Stand by Lines
Boarding Passes, Fast Passes and Stand by Lines
Kate K.

Planning a trip to Walt Disney World can be trying. Figuring out dining options, rides, park maps and now what the difference is between Boarding Passes and Fast Passes, and why you need either. So here at Homes4uu we’re trying to demystify Boarding Passes, Fast Passes and Stand by Lines. 

Stand By Lines

Stand By Lines are your standard lines at Walt Disney World. This is where you line up, wait and board. There is nothing you have to do, no app to download, no Fast Passes to plan and this is how most of your ride waits will go. Why? Because, Fast Passes are limited and should be saved for rides that you absolutely cannot miss, or rides with notoriously long lines.

Basically, you do not want to use a fast pass for something like Mickey’s Philharmagic, since that ride has a massive ride capacity and loads a few hundred guests at 20 minute intervals. Other rides that move quickly include Nemo and Friends in Epcot, Grand Fiesta Tour, also in Epcot and things like the Magic Carpets of Aladdin. These should neverbe Fast Passed, even on the busiest of days you can typically get one of these in in under a half hour. 

Fast Pass +

Fast Pass Plus

The Fast Pass system at Walt Disney World got a complete overhaul a few years ago. Instead of putting your ticket into a machine and receiving a paper pass, you now use the My Disney Experience app to pick your fast passes. You have the option of choosing Fast Pass selections 30 days in advance if you aren’t staying in a Disney Hotel, and 60 days if you are. 

But those 30 days don’t mean you can pick your whole trip 30 days in advance of Day one. What that means is that if you are going to be in Disney on the 1st,2ndand 3rdof any given month, you can pick your fast passes for that first day 30 days in advance, then pick Fast Passes for day to the following day, and day 3 the day after that!

And you can pick 3 fast passes for a single park in one day, regardless of whether or not you have park hopper. If you are going to be in more than one park on the same day, you have to pick passes for the first park on your agenda for that day. And then when you’re done with those 3 you can pick more in the second park. There are kiosks and you can use the app on that day. 

To redeem your Fast Passes, you approach the ride at your designated time, and enter the Fast Pass line after taping your magic bands at the entrance. You may still have a short wait, but its usually 10 – 15 minutes instead of an hour or more.

This means that you do need to do a little bit of pre planning before you get to the parks. You should pick which parks you want to visit on any given day, and which rides you absolutely must doon that day. And keep in mind, that even if you are picking your passes 30 days in advance, you still may not get a pass for the rides you want!

There are ways around this though, even the most popular rides in the park, like Flight of Passage, can be ridden if you get to the parks when they open and get right to the ride you want. This is called ‘Rope Drop’ and it is useful for rides like the 7 Dwarves Mine Train in Magic Kingdom, and Soarin’ in Epcot (though there have been mad rushes for that ride so you will still have a bit of a wait!). 

But what about new rides that aren’t a part of the Fast Pass system? We’ll that’s where Boarding Passes come in!

Boarding Passes

Boarding Passes are the newest addition to the Disney ride line management system. It’s only for the newest, and most crowded rides. Basically it’s a way to control how many guests ride a new ride so time can be set aside for daily maintenance so new rides experience less downtime in their inaugural system. Very popular rides without this system can be flooded with hundreds of guests and that kind of wear and tear can lead to breakdowns, especially when you’re dealing with brand new system types like what you find on Rise of the Resistance in Disney’s Hollywood Studios. 

Rise of the Resistance has a brand new set of ride mechanics, from a preshow that loads you into a ride vehicle, then unloads you into a second queue. Then you get loaded into a holding cell, then you are broken back out and loaded onto a set of ride vehicles and then sent through the ride. That’s a lot of moving parts, more than any other ride in the Walt Disney World parks. So Disney decided to control the flow of guests who can board this ride. 

To do this Disney decided to keep the ride out of the usual Fast Pass/Stand By system. If you try to go to the parks and walk onto the ride you will be turned away. And you won’t find it in the typical MDE line up. To get onto this ride, you have to be assigned a boarding group. And to get into a boarding group, you need to be at the front gates of Disney’s Hollywood Studios before it opens at 8:00 Am. Boarding passes are distributed at exactly 8:00 AM on the dot, and they are first come first serve. 

So when you arrive at Hollywood Studios you need to sign onto the park’s wifi and your phones Location Service. You will also need to have the My Disney Experience loaded on your phone and set up with your current park tickets for all party members. MDE needs Location Service on because the Boarding Pass will not distribute unless the App has proof that you are at the park and waiting. Sorry, no boarding passes if you are at your rental or room!

When 8:00 PM rolls around, the click frenzy starts. Every group there is trying for an illusive boarding pass, and the higher the number, the more potential that the ride may break down before you get a chance to ride it! 

Once you have your boarding pass you are free to explore Hollywood Studios until you are notified that its your turn to board. Then you need to head over to Batuu where you’ll be directed to the line for Rise of the Resistance. And yes, you do still have to wait in line. The boarding pass is your right to board, not necessarily your spot in the line. Guests have experienced waits of over an hour after their boarding group has been called. 

So that’s the break down of Stand By, Fast Passes and Boarding Passes. What rides do you Fast Pass when you’re in Walt Disney World? Let us know in the comments. 


Kate K.

Kate K. is a freelance writer, artist, designer, and programmer. She has been working with Homes4uu as our primary blogger, graphic designer, webmaster, and social media manager since 2014. You can also find Kate on her homesite www.k8ilyeverafter.com and her blog k8ilyeverafterpresents.com.

Read More About Kate K. here

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