Fastpass


Introduced in 2000, this can now be used on five attractions: Big Thunder, Indiana Jones, Space Mountain, Star Tours and Peter Pan. However, it needs to be used wisely. Using it is simple enough: you merely insert your park entrance ticket into the FastPass machine at the ride you want to use it on. It then spits out a time slot of one hour during which you can return and head for the front of the queue. However, you're only allowed one ticket per two hour period so it's not quite as good as you might have thought. Best advice is to use it on Peter Pan and then Big Thunder; they're the only two rides that maintain a queue until closing time

 

Problems:
Eurodisneyland Railway (The Train)


According to the time of year, Disney will change the policy for boarding the train. On busy days they soetimes refuse boarding at any stations other than Main St prior to lunchtime. To compensate people for having to trek round the lands, they open a shortcut between fantasyland and Discoveryland. However, this still leaves people who would like to use the train as a transport system in the cold before lunch.

 

This January, the Park management introduced 'staggered opening' for the lands, which appears to be something they intend to continue. Effectively, only Fantasyland and one other will open before 11.00 or 12.00. The arguments is that the Lands are more pleasant when there's a lot of people in them. Frankly, we've never enjoyed the park more than when we have it to ourselves!

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FAQs

This applies to the Magic Kingdom - the Disneyland Park. For information on beating queues in the Studios, click here.

How to win!!!

Okay, so you've arrived, waited at the turnstiles (two or three to the left of the dead centre!) and Mickey has come out to the centre in front of you with a young child to open the park. When you hear the train hooter give two blasts the park has opened. The little red arrow on the front of the turnstile changes to green. When that happens, it will accept your entrance ticket and you can enter. Clear the turnstiles and move forward quickly, bearing left.

As you exit the arches from the first open area in front you pass through a covered locker storage area and emerge into the town centre square. To your left is the Town hall, in front is (from left to right) the entrance to the shopping arcade, Main Street itself and the right hand entrance to the shopping arcade on the other side of Main St. Take the left hand entrance and march briskly to the far end. As you exit the doors at the far end immediately to your left is a covered walkway with a white rope across and usually a Disney cast member (sometimes they arrive a few minutes later). Position yourselves at the right hand side of this rope (it's always unclipped at that end).

The rope drop

You'll have about half an hour to wait for the rope drop but don't worry; this will save you hours of waiting in line later on. One thing to watch; if the Disney cast member isn't up to the job (quality can be very variable in France) she may allow people to lean on the rope. If that happens, she will not be able to unclip it easily and this will lose you your time advantage over the thundering hordes positioned at the main entrance to Frontier land on the central hub. Be prepared to 'help' her if she isn't on the ball.

Problems...

The infuritating situation whereby the Lucky Nugget Saloon was opened early for guests having a character breakfast has beenchanged. Fantasyland now hosts the breakfast and those of us wishing to ride Big Thunder Mountain finally have an equal chance to reach it first!

NB: what follows is a guide to avoiding the queues. Clicking on the blue links will give you more information about each ride.

The race

The rope is unclipped following the Disney 'anthem' (Zip a dee Do Dah played by the Prague symphony orchestra!) at 9.30 am and the words in German '...enjoy your day in Disney and please walk, don't run, to your first destination.' This is the cue for you to run, as fast as humanly possible, to the end of the walkway. (Don't worry if you can't speak German; you'll hear it first in French, then in English before it finally appears in German.)

As you exit the walkway you pass in front of the main entrance to Frontier land and you will see that you are ahead of all but the Olympic trainees. Continue straight ahead, keeping the lake to your left and, after passing the shooting gallery, you will encounter the entrance to your left of Big Thunder Mountain.

Here you have to make a tough choice. If you ride Big Thunder one day, head straight for Indiana Jones the second day and Space mountain the third. All these rides get long queues. These instructions apply if you're going to Big Thunder on the first day:

Getting on the ride first!

At the entrance you will be stopped by two cast members who will insist you walk in a controlled fashion into the ride area. Stick like glue to the rears of the cast members (the French, who have never forgotten coming second in the hundred years war, will try to pass you. A good ploy is to link hands across the path which dissuades all but the most brazen from passing!)

At the top of the ramp (about two hundred yards) the queue splits into two. Take the right hand line, ignoring requests to take the left. (NB. For this to work you have to be in the first thirty people; if you're not, take either line.) Follow the Disney people to the train, board, ride and exit Big Thunder Mountain.

Keeping ahead

Turn left, head towards Indiana Jones (first right past the Fuente Cafe then sharp left after Hathi's Pizza place). Check height restrictions for youngest child. Ride if desired. Exit Indiana Jones. Head back towards Frontier land entrance. Exit Frontier land and bear left towards Adventure land. Stay beneath covered way and follow path around buildings keeping buildings to your right. You should emerge at the top of the theme park with Pirates of the Caribbean to your left and the archway to Fantasy land to your right. Pass through the archway and join the line for Peter Pan. Ride twice without waiting using relay system: Mum joins line with one child, father follows but leaves a number of people to get in front first. After first parent has done ride they pass child over to second parent just in time for second go (second parent having just reached boarding point). The number of people the second parent has to allow in front of them varies from ride to ride as follows:

 

Peter Pan 64

Mad Hatter's tea Party 53

Dumbo 30

Very important: the queue for Peter Pan will grow rapidly until it is between 90 minutes and two hours long and, at peak times and weekends, it will run out of FastPass tickets by midday. It doesn't reduce much throughout the day so you have to ride it early.

However, unless you're feeling particularly masochistic, don't waste time riding Dumbo or the Carousel; other fairgrounds have these rides - do the rides which Disney do best.

After Peter Pan...

 Exit Peter Pan. If it's a busy day in the park, cut straight through the castle to Star Tours. Ride then return to the Windmill Buckets ride (to be avoided: it runs only rarely and then breaks down frequently) and enter Storybook ride and Casey Junior. Ride the boats on storybook ride. If there's no queue, ride again - it's smashing! Exit ride, turn right and join queue to Casey junior. This is always crowded but a fast loader assuming three trains operating.

Leave Casey, turn left after passing beneath bridge and head towards 'It's a Small World'. Ride. You'll be humming the tune for the rest of the day - be warned! Return to see France Telecom attractions later. Return to Peter Pan ride and enter Pinnochio's cafe opposite. Nice toilets, cheap Pepsi (with the exchange rate about 1.6 Euros to the £) put your feet up. You now have the major queue rides for today behind you.

After a rest exit, turn right and stroll towards castle. Ride Snow White and Pinocchio if queues not too bad otherwise don't bother; they're not Disney's best. Cross through castle and head towards Frontier land. Walk towards Haunted Mansion. Check to see if the Riverboat is out. If it is, the queue at the haunted Mansion will be directly proportional to the time it has been out. As long as the queue hasn't reached into the overflow area the Haunted Mansion is a fast loader, taking two hundred people every couple of minutes.
Exit Haunted Mansion and walk towards Adventureland. Check location of Colonel Hathi's Pizza Place en route. Reach Pirates of the Caribbean and ride. Exit Pirates and head for adventure Island. Explore caves, rope bridge, wobbly barrels, etc.
The park will now be getting crowded and queues will be starting to build. This is the time to ride the train (but avoid Main St. station for boarding). This takes about fifteen minutes. It's now about lunchtime and you've been on

 
Big Thunder Mountain
POTC
Peter Pan
Haunted Mansion
It's a Small World
the Train
Indiana Jones
Casey Junior
Storybook Ride
Pinnochio
Snow White

 


Lunch time and the afternoon (A complete list of the restaurants in the Parks and the Vilage is here)
This is a good time for a break. If you want a complete break, leave the park by the main turnstiles, not forgetting to have your hand stamped, wander up to Disney Village and thence down to the lake and one of the Hotels. Each hotel (except New York) has a children's play area and a pleasant lounge. Have a drink (Hot chocolate is particularly cheap!) and plan to return to the park by 2.30 p.m. to bag a place to see the parade.
After the parade, enter Discovery land and watch 'Le Visionarium', a nice, air-conditioned 360o film. Exit 'Le Visionarium and stroll down to watch 'Honey I Shrunk the Audience'. This is a phenomenal 3D tactile experience and you'll kick yourself if you miss it.. Exit Honey and check the queue for Star Tours. If it hasn't spilled out of the overflow pens then join the queue. This is the world's third greatest simulator ride (Spiderman and Back to the Future in Universal studios are better - just!) and certainly worth queuing for. Once you reach the main door, the queuing takes about twenty minutes if all six simulators are on line. This queue used to break into two, forming two lines in all. Sometimes, unsuspecting visitors missed an empty queue. If there was no chain across, you could race down the empty queue as fast as possible. However, with the advent of the FastPass system, the second queue line has been removed and you now have only the one route.


After the ride, you'll be marooned a for a time in the giant video game while the kids destroy aliens on a twenty foot high screen.
Exit Star Tours and head for the Airship shape which holds the Hyperion Cafe. Send the two most aggressive in the group to stake out tables on the top tier whilst the other two order goodies. Currently, the show here used to be MULAN which was a superb 30 minute performance by one of the world's greatest acrobatic teams. It's now been replaced with a stunning cut-down version of the Broadway hit, Legen of The Lion King. If you want to see the show, arrive 45 minutes before it's due to be shown and sit in the seating area about three rows back from the very front and dead centre. We used to advise watching the show whilst you ate; that advice no longer applies. The Lion King is just too good a show to share with food! However, check the show and parade shedules to see the most up to date information about the shows running. TIP: children's 'fun meals' are incredibly good value, even for adults. We used to order 4! The food serving in the Hyperion is about as fast as paint drying, so allow a fair amount of time to order.


Eat, relax, watch show, cartoons, etc.


Exit Hyperion. By now the park will be quieter, although you may not be able to notice! Good time to stroll around the shops in Main Street and the Castle. Visit the Dragon in the cave below the Castle. He's good!
If you can, stay to watch whatever they're running to replace the fabulous Main Street Electrical Parade, which - from current statemenbts by the park managements -should be Fantillusions, but check the show and parade schedule to make sure, then leave Park to walk to Lakeside to watch fireworks (they normally set them off over the lake - check at Town Hall to make sure). If you have a lakeside room in the Sequoia Lodge you can do what we did and watch the fireworks from the bedroom or from one of their delightful open balconies whilst supping G & Ts!

 

 

 

 

 

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