But there are some interesting advantages to having a large group, including the option for more fun. But one unique advantage or a larger group is using a runner to get FastPasses.
What Is A FastPass?
Many of you already know what a FastPass is, and if so you can skip this paragraph. For those not familiar with it, FastPass is a system at Disney World where you insert your Disney World ticket into a machine located near select popular attractions. The machine returns your ticket along with a FastPass. The FastPass has a time window printed on it when you can return to the attraction and ride with little or no wait. It’s a very cool service, and it is free. The trick with using FastPass, however, is that you get a FastPass at each attraction’s individual location – and the timing can be, well, interesting. For example, let’s say you want to ride Buzz Lightyear at the Magic Kingdom. You visit the FastPass machine near the attraction’s entrance at 11am, and you get a FastPass which says you can ride Buzz Lightyear from 2-3pm (again, with little to no wait). Cool! Now you can wander off – but you need to return to Buzz sometime between 2-3 to enjoy the ride. So you will need to keep an eye on the clock, to make sure that you don’t miss your FastPass window.
Enter The Runner
If you have a larger group, you can designate someone as a FastPass runner. The term “runner” doesn’t actually mean someone who jogs or physically runs, but instead is the person who goes ahead. It is this person’s job to go ahead and collect FastPasses on behalf of the group. This saves the larger group from some of the extra walking and backtracking that the runner will do for the benefit of everyone else.
They know the parks: You want to be sure your runner can quickly navigate from place to place, without worrying about park maps or getting lost. Normally that means someone who has been to Disney World several times, or at least someone who has a keen sense of direction. They should also be able to make smart decisions on using FastPass – being able to weight options on the tip boards to make smart decisions on which attractions to use FastPass (you can only have one FastPass pending before you can use it and can get another) and which attractions to spend waiting in the standby queue when the wait is short.
They can be counted on: To get FastPasses you will need to entrust the runner with the park admission tickets for everyone in your group who wants to participate in the FastPass process. As we all know, Disney tickets are expensive – and losing them would be very bad news. It’s a smart idea to record the ticket numbers for all your tickets – using the camera on your smart phone to take pictures of the identification information on all of your tickets is a great way to do this. You can get credit for the unused days if you lose them. But still, you really don’t want to lose your tickets in the first place – it will be a scare and a hassle you don’t need.
They should have some extra energy: Your FastPass runner will need to do more walking than the rest of your group, and they will need to have extra energy. This makes a responsible teenager a good candidate.
Tips for using FastPass with a runner
Consider using your cell phones to communicate as the runner splits up from the group. You want to make sure that your group has a way to get back together when the runner splits off, especially if your group tends to wander a bit.
If you have people in your party who don’t want to ride the more thrilling attractions (like grandma and grandpa, perhaps), consider using their tickets to get FastPasses that can be used by those folks who are looking to enjoy the thrill rides. Each admission ticket can have one open FastPass, but the FastPass doesn’t have to be use by the person whose ticket created it. Any person can use a FastPass.
Remember that being a runner is a tiring job. The runner will walk quite a bit more than others. Consider making different people runners throughout the day so that the designated runner doesn’t get completely worn out.
Remember that getting in the maximum number of attractions isn’t all that your visit to Disney World is about. Yes, you want to make the most of your time, but you also want to spend time with your group and enjoy things together. Keep this in mind, and use the FastPass runner concept when and where it makes sense to spend less time in lines and enjoy more attractions.