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Disney Fastpass is a virtual queuing system created by the Walt Disney Company. First introduced in late 1999 (though the idea of a ride reservation system was first introduced in world fairs), Fastpass allows guests to avoid long lines at the attractions on which the system is installed, freeing them to enjoy other attractions during their wait. The service is available at no additional charge to all park guests.
Design theory 
Each attraction inside a Disney theme park has a maximum number of guests that attraction can handle in a given operating day. For example, a ride-through attraction like the Haunted Mansion may be able to carry 2,000 guests per operating hour. During a 12-hour operating day, 24,000 guests can experience this attraction. Similarly, a live theatrical show with a theatre capacity of 3,000 guests that has five shows during the day has a capacity of 15,000 guests. When Fastpass is installed on the attraction, a certain number of those seats (in the theatre, on the ride vehicles, etc.) are set aside. The remainder are made available on a "stand-by" basis to other park guests.
At the beginning of the operating day, the enabled attraction's wait is pre-set at a given time (for example, 45 minutes). The number of Fastpasses available is evenly divided into time intervals (usually five minutes, but sometimes three minutes). As guests obtain Fastpasses for the attraction, time intervals are depleted, moving the return time to later in the day. For an average attraction, the Fastpass wait will generally stay near this initial pre-set time.
In the case of very popular attractions, such as Splash Mountain or other major thrill rides, time intervals are depleted quickly, resulting in longer virtual waits. Sometimes, all the time intervals will be depleted early in the day, at which point Fastpasses are no longer obtainable for the given attraction during that day.
Disney Fastpass tickets are dispensed by machines outside each attraction that uses them. The guest inserts his/her park ticket into a reader on the machine. The machine then returns the admission ticket and a Fastpass ticket will be printed. This ticket will show the time window at which the guest may enter the special priority line at that attraction. The time period given is normally one hour for rides (30 minutes in the Paris parks), and 15 minutes for theatrical presentations. It will also show when another Fastpass can be obtained.
In normal practice, only one Fastpass ticket can be held at a time. Another Fastpass ticket can be obtained either at the start of the current Fastpass ticket's return time or after two hours, whichever is earlier. If a guest attempts to obtain another Fastpass before these times, an informational ticket will be printed indicating when the next Fastpass ticket can be obtained. An exception to this is the World of Color show, which distributes tickets early in the day for the evening performances; guests may still obtain standard Fastpass tickets for other attractions even if they hold a ticket for World of Color.
The presence of Fastpass on an attraction does not imply that Fastpass tickets will be offered on any given day. During less-crowded operating days, the system may not be used on certain attractions as the stand-by wait is expected to be short enough to make Fastpass unnecessary. Fastpass is generally not used at all during separate-ticket events, such as Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party, or during special after-hours events for resort guests or annual passholders, although exceptions do occur.
Fastpasses are also given for any ride any given time, when a guest visits a ride that malfunctions (such as: the soundtrack and the ride not being in sync on Space Mountain, power malfunctions on the Indiana Jones Adventure, if the launch system fails for the Rock 'n' Roller Coaster, or if someone cannot fit on the ride), thus making Disney able to uphold safety guidelines.
Changes in implementation 
At first, a guest could only hold a single Fastpass at a time; if a guest tried to insert a park ticket into another Fastpass machine before the time shown on their previous Fastpass, the machine would generate a ticket with a message printed on it stating that it was not yet time to obtain another Fastpass. Since the initial rollout of Fastpass, the rules have been relaxed a bit, and now additional Fastpasses can be had sooner after one another (maximum 2 hour interval between obtaining two Fastpasses), but still only one Fastpass per attraction per park ticket in every interval.
Vacations to Disneyland which were booked through AAA Vacations in 2006 came with park admission tickets which could be used to collect Fastpass tickets from multiple attractions at one time. Under this exclusive program, a guest could hold multiple Fastpass tickets per park ticket for multiple attractions at the same time. This Multi-Fastpass feature was discontinued as of January 2007, and all AAA ParkHopper tickets since then have been Standard Fastpass.
A bug in the first implementation of Fastpass allowed guests to get a pass by using tickets other than Disney's own admission media. Old tickets and even passes for other parks would result in the machines printing up another Fastpass. This has since been corrected; a ticket will come out stating "This card has not been scanned for admission".
Epcot's Mission: SPACE was the first attraction built with Fastpass in mind, with a specific queue area for it. Earlier attractions were retrofitted for Fastpass by rerouting the queue area to allow a shorter line near the boarding area.
Fastpass is used mainly on the most popular park attractions, such as Space Mountain, Test Track, Expedition Everest, Soarin' and the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror; therefore, the rides that offer Fastpass service vary over time. Smaller attractions would not benefit from Fastpass due to short or fast-moving lines.
On August 30, 2007, the Walt Disney Company filed a patent for using Short Messaging Service on mobile devices as a way to get and use FastPasses in the park. The patent additionally indicated that guests staying at Disney hotels would be allowed to make early reservations for attractions using their in-room television.
The World of Color show at Disney California Adventure uses Fastpass as the only method of getting tickets for entering the Paradise Park viewing area aside from obtaining reserved seating vouchers through a World of Color dining package at select Disney California Adventure table service dining locations or a World of Color picnic package.
Fastpass promotions 
During Disney's Year of a Million Dreams promotion (January 2007-December 2008), many guests received a special Dream Fastpass. Cast members awarded Dream Fastpasses to guests standing at predetermined random locations inside the park, at predetermined times (usually within the first few hours of opening). The Dream Fastpass was a card hung on a lanyard with a removable tab for each enabled attraction. Guests could enter the Fastpass return line whenever they chose, where they handed over that attraction's tab.
At the Disneyland Resort, the Dream Fastpass entitled guests to one priority entry to each attraction with Fastpass access in both Disneyland and Disney California Adventure Park parks. At Walt Disney World, Dream Fastpasses were good only for the park in which they were awarded (for example, an award in the Magic Kingdom was good only for that park's attractions).
Throughout the summer of 2011-2012, dubbed Disney Soundsational Summer, guests staying at any of the three hotels of the Disneyland Resort received two complimentary Fastpasses per person. These passes allowed guests to enter the Fastpass line of any Fastpass attraction (plus The Little Mermaid: Ariel's Undersea Adventure, which does not otherwise offer Fastpass) at any time they chose, similar to the Dream Fastpass. The Disneyland Resort has since repeated this promotion.
See also 
- List of Disney's Fastpass equipped attractions
- Disney's PhotoPass
- E ticket
- Fast Lane, a virtual queue system for the Cedar Fair parks
- Flash Pass, a virtual queue system for the Six Flags parks
Further reading 
- "Disney's Fastpass Service". Disney. Retrieved August 26, 2006.[dead link]
- "Fastpass". AllEarsNet. Retrieved November 17, 2005.
- "Method and system for managing attraction admission - Patent #6,173,209". US Patent & Trademark Office. Retrieved November 17, 2005. - Patent for the Fastpass system