Even on a cold, rainy February weeknight you’ll still inevitably face the most despicable of all Disneyland rituals: waiting in line. Enter FastPass, Disney’s free, ride time reservation system, and your best bet at avoiding lines. The short of it is these passes (available at some of the parks’ most popular attractions) are stamped with a specific return time that’ll allow you to hop on a separate, express line. You’ll have to board the ride within the hour window printed on the ticket, and, generally, you can only hold one FastPass at a time; you can only get a new one after two hours or the start of your return window, whichever comes first.
Maximizing your time becomes a numbers game, and it’s one you should absolutely play. So where should you start? Begin your morning at California Adventure and get FastPasses for World of Color and Radiator Springs Racers, which is typically one of the first rides to run out of passes. Afterwards, head to Disneyland and as soon as you can reserve another FastPass, we suggest going for Indiana Jones or Space Mountain, as well as one for Fantasmic.
Disney has also rolled out MaxPass, a $15 per person ticket add-on that lets you book all of your Fastpasses digitally. You’ll save time and miles by not having to physically reserve a time at each respective ride. If you go this route, you typically want to reserve a pass for whatever has the closest return time; if you play your cards right, you could end up with fresh Fastpasses as frequently as every half hour. Do keep in mind, though, that MaxPass won’t let you reserve Fastpasses for a ride that has already run out of passes for the day; show up early to make the most of your MaxPass purchase, as we don’t recommend the expense for parkgoers visiting later on in the day.
Pro tip: Struck out with passes for the major thrill rides? Consider using the single rider line if you’re okay being split up from your group. On Radiator Springs Racers especially, this can sometimes knock the line down from over a two-hour wait to less than 30 minutes. Check out Disneyland’s site for a full list of single rider attractions.