What Are Front-of-the-Line-Pass Tickets and How Can I Get One?
Whether you’re grabbing multi-day DisneylandⓇ Resort tickets or spending a short day at Universal Studios Hollywood™, you’ll want to make the most of your limited time on vacation. Luckily, many theme parks have begun implementing front-of-the-line passes, reserved entry times, or other systems for popular attractions. Some of these systems are free to use, while others are a paid upgrade that needs to be purchased in advance.
Disneyland – FastPass
DisneylandⓇ Resort’s front-of-line ride system is called FastPass. It works the same as FastPass at the Walt Disney WorldⓇ Resort in Orlando, but it only applies to certain rides. For example, the new Millennium Falcon: Smuggler’s Run ride currently does not have FastPass available. The major thrill rides in both DisneylandⓇ Park and Disney California AdventureⓇ Park generally have FastPass available, though.
FastPass kiosks around the park allow ticketed guests to claim a reserved time on a ride. However, guests can only hold one FastPass at a time, and there are only a limited number FastPass tickets available for each timeslot. FastPasses for very popular rides can run out well before the park closes, so guests have to prioritize which rides they want to minimize their wait for and grab FastPasses early in the day.
The Disney MAXPASS upgrade allows guests to reserve FastPasses from their phones instead of returning to a kiosk, but still only allows one FastPass at a time per ticket.
Universal Studios Hollywood – Universal Express
The Universal Express™ ticket allows guests to get in a priority line one time per ride or attraction per day. It also gives priority seating for seated shows. Unlike some parks’ front-of-the-line programs, this one is valid for every ride. It does not include food and drink lines, however.
You can also get the Universal Express Unlimited ticket that allows you to get in the priority line an unlimited number of times per day. This incredible upgrade allows you to make the most of even a one-day trip to the park.
Both tickets are only available in limited quantities, and usually sell out well ahead of their scheduled dates. It can also be very difficult to exchange these tickets for another date, but if you plan your trip well and really need to make the most of a one-day trip, these are well worth buying.
LEGOLAND California – Reserve ‘N’ Ride
LEGOLANDⓇ California has a front-of-line pass option called Reserve ’N’ Ride with different upgrade levels available. The first option is the Express pass, which reduces your wait time by up to 25%. The Deluxe pass reduces your wait by up to 50%, and the Ultimate pass reduces your wait time by up to 95%.
All three of these pass options send a notification to a handheld device or your phone when it’s your turn on the ride you reserved. For the Express and Deluxe levels, there is a limit on how often you can make reservations for certain popular rides, like Knight’s Tournament and LEGO® CITY: Deep Sea Adventure.
Unlike the DisneylandⓇ Resort FastPass system, this system doesn’t necessarily give you a specific, predetermined time to return to the ride at. However, these passes provide a budget-conscious option for families on a tight schedule to maximize their time. They are also easy to use, since you can rent a device to make reservations from or simply use your smartphone.
Other Parks’ Tickets
As parks become more and more popular, they tend to create front-of-the-line-pass programs to help alleviate guest frustrations. Some, like Six Flags Magic Mountain, have created a tiered system similar to that at LEGOLANDⓇ California. Other parks simply have wristbands or another ticket that gives you access to a “fast lane” with shorter wait times.
Since smaller parks are often changing and improving their ticketing systems, you can always call and ask aRes Travel for the latest information on how a park’s front-of-line ticket system works.
Where to Buy
DisneylandⓇ Resort FastPass tickets are available at the park and are free to all ticket holders. The MAXPASS upgrade can be bought from aRes Travel in advance. Since MAXPASS also gives you unlimited photo downloads at the park, it’s a great value that allows you to move between rides without stopping to grab a new FastPass.
Universal Express™ and Universal Express™ Unlimited tickets need to be bought in advance because they run out quickly! Luckily, aRes Travel has a number of them available. Buy them in advance for use on a set date.
The LEGOLANDⓇ California Reserve ‘N’ Ride passes are available for purchase at the park. You can buy a discounted ticket ahead of time and then add the Reserve ‘N’ Ride pass later.
As parks improve their systems, more upgrades may become available from aRes Travel. For the most up-to-date information and to get insider tips on how to beat the crowds, you can call us anytime.
Do You Need a Front-of-the-Line Pass?
It’s tempting to think that visiting in the off-season or on a weekday will reduce your need for a front-of-the-line pass. However, school field trips and other large groups can increase wait times dramatically even in the fall and winter. Crowds at theme parks can be somewhat unpredictable, so if this is your once-in-a-lifetime family trip, it’s best to protect your trip by upgrading.
You’ll also want to maximize your time if you have only one day at a given park. There’s nothing more disappointing than having to give up on riding a favorite ride because the line is unbearably long. Wait times of two hours or more are not unheard of during peak tourist season, especially for roller coasters and other popular thrill rides.
Remember that small children get bored quickly in long lines, and if a ride breaks down suddenly, it can be a disappointment for your entire party. A front-of-the-line pass can help keep morale up and make long, hot days much better.
Guests with disabilities may qualify for a front-of-the-line pass or other expedited entry to rides, but policies vary from park to park and case to case. We recommend calling and talking to the park directly about your needs before buying tickets.
Getting the Best Deal Possible
If you’re traveling on a tight budget, you may be wondering if it’s even possible to afford the front-of-the-line passes. Luckily, by planning ahead and bundling your theme park and hotel tickets together, you can get great discounts that then free up more money for upgraded tickets. Online retailers like aRes Travel often know about hidden discounts, like special off-season tickets, that can make your dream vacation a reality.
Whatever you do, avoid ticket fraud by only purchasing tickets and these upgrades through authorized sellers. If you buy tickets through unauthorized resellers, they may try to tell you that the tickets include front-of-the-line upgrades when they actually don’t. It’s also possible that the tickets may be total fakes or duplicates that are not valid for entry to the park.
For special offers, amazing savings on packages and hotels, and some of the lowest prices on travel, call 1 (800) 434-7894 (international callers use +1 (619) 546-5622) to speak with an aRes Travel planning expert seven days a week, or book online now.
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