Visiting Disney California Adventure is a guaranteed good time, especially for older kids and adults. With big hits like Guardians of the Galaxy — Mission: BREAKOUT! dropping you several stories and the Incredicoaster zooming around Pixar Pier, it’s easy to see why the park gets a lot of attention from thrill seekers. 

Plus, young ones can enjoy classics like the Golden Zephyr or Silly Symphony Swings spinning them over the waterfront or rides with Tow Mater and Lightning McQueen in Cars Land. Truly, there is something for everyone in the park, which makes hitting up every attraction on your “must do” list a tad daunting.

Enter the FASTPASS option! In this post, I aim to point out which pass options are available as well as which attractions tend to have the most need for one.

About FASTPASS

FASTPASS is a way to “cut the line” for many big-name Disneyland and California Adventure rides, especially thrill-type attractions. You can acquire free passes by visiting ticket machines near the select attractions (look for signs that say “Ride Name FASTPASS” or ask a Cast Member). Once you use your ticket to get the pass, you’ll have the return time automatically linked to your ticket for that ride. Note that you will need your ticket, whether paper or digital, to redeem your DCA FASTPASS at the appropriate line for the attraction.

Typically, the return times for program users are listed at the stations themselves before you opt to pick up one. It is usually a one-hour time frame during which you can return to use the pass; however, Cast Members may offer some leniency for a few minutes before and after the pass times.

Remember that you are only able to get one FASTPASS per ticket per attraction per time frame. In other words, don’t run around the park trying to collect a bunch of them because you won’t be allowed by the machine to take more than one per time frame. 

Pro recommendation: As soon as you arrive to the park, head to your top-pick thrill ride that has a FASTPASS option. Once you have a pass, you have a guaranteed spot in line with a much shorter wait. 

Here is a complete list of DCA attractions with FASTPASSES:

Another recommendation is to download the Disneyland App to help you keep track of your FASTPASS collection. While you cannot overlap a ton of passes all at once, on busy days when you’re earliest attraction time is in the evening, you can still get others for shows and rides that have earlier return times. Plus, you can sync your ticket to the app and have that ready to go rather than the paper version for each line.

Lastly, if you’re looking to hit every attraction you can without waiting, you can opt to buy into MaxPass. Although you can get about one FASTPASS per hour throughout the parks by hitting up the machines, and you can use the mobile app to track them, you cannot pick up or purchase these shortcuts without MaxPass.

Upon purchase, this program will display in connection with your ticket (separate per ticket in the party) on the Disneyland App. Once you have it, you can select which FASTPASS options you want and use them more readily.

Guardians of the Galaxy — Mission: BREAKOUT!

Not only is it a major thrill ride with a big drop and awesome plot, but it is also one of the most popular rides in Disney California Adventure. Follow Rocket, Star-Lord, Gamora, Drax and Groot on their mission to escape the Collector’s prison while dodging an additional collection of monsters and aliens!

Key Features

  • Vertical 13-story drop (about 130 feet) and several smaller drops
  • Guardians of the Galaxy series characters
  • Rock music
  • Loud noises
  • Surprises (e.g., things appearing from nowhere, things jumping out)

Ideal Riders

  • Height requirement of 40”
  • Older kids (e.g., pre-teens and teenagers)
  • Adults
  • Marvel fans
  • Thrill seekers

Why Use a FASTPASS?

Since this attraction converted from The Hollywood Tower of Terror, the line has been long. People of all ages over the height requirement seem to love the thrill of being thrown up into the air several times to a rockin’ soundtrack straight out of the 1980s. Plus, with the awesome Guardians crew, who wouldn’t want some photo ops while in line?

  • Average wait times exceed 30 minutes
  • Line is mostly outdoors with covered space
  • Little to no seating in queue

Using a FASTPASS for this attraction drops you right into the front of the line typically. Occasionally, such as on high capacity days during peak seasons, the line will wrap around the front of the tower a bit. Most of the time, though, you walk up to the gate and get right inside the front door where you’ll wait for a short time to be moved into one of the “office” queues and then in the 15-minute or less (approximately) internal line for a lift.

Radiator Springs Racers

ZZOOOMM! You can hear the cars whipping by as soon as you close in on this ride!

Take a tour through Radiator Springs with friends like Lightning McQueen, Tow Mater and Doc Hudson. Revel in the desert views and quaint town as you journey through this land of cars. At the end of your trip, you’ll be coached by real racers like Doc Hudson on a hilly track all the way to the checkered finish line. Don’t forget to smile!

Key Features

  • Convertible cars just like the ones from the movies
  • Pristine views of Radiator Springs, including a waterfall
  • Small drops at high speeds
  • Fun story throughout the ride

Ideal Riders

  • Height requirement of 40”
  • Older kids (e.g., pre-teens and teenagers)
  • Fans of the Cars series
  • First-time roller coaster riders

Why Use a FASTPASS?

Since opening day, Cars Land has been packed. Not only is the landscaping amazing (truly like something right out of the films), but the actual Racers attraction takes you on a fast-paced journey just like Lightning McQueen’s first trip to Radiator Springs. Live in his tire tracks for a moment and enjoy the big finale, but know that you won’t be alone!

  • Average wait times exceed 30 minutes
  • Line is mostly outdoors with some covered spaces
  • Little to no seating in queue
  • Height requirements are often not met at the front of the queue, slowing down the whole process

While that last bullet point may be ignored by Guests in the FASTPASS line just as easily as those waiting in the regular line, you should be able to pass the usual issues with the pass. Note that wait times in this line still tend to be long, but they are usually less than half of that of the regular line. Plus, getting a FASTPASS for every member of your party allows you to stay together while moving more quickly toward the attraction.

Of note, there is a Single Riders line for Radiator Springs Racers. This may be ideal for small parties, especially those comprised of adults and older teenagers, but it is not a great option for large parties or those travelling with youth. In these instances, participating in the FASTPASS program is the best way to beat the lines for the ride.

Incredicoaster

Truly one of the best roller coasters at Disneyland, you can zip around Pixar Pier chasing Jack-Jack with his whole family of superheroes! Enjoy speed, adventure and thrill in this classically designed attraction.

Key Features

  • Big drops and small drops
  • “Shot out of a cannon” launch
  • One big loop
  • Fun story following the Incredibles to catch Jack-Jack 

Ideal Riders

  • Height requirement of 48”
  • Teenagers and adults
  • Superhero fans
  • Thrill seekers
  • First-time “loop” riders

Why Use a FASTPASS?

The biggest reason you’ll want a shortcut for this line is that it’s not open all day! In order to accommodate the World of Color show times, Pixar Pier, including the Incredicoaster, shut down earlier in the evening than other attractions. Moreover, because it is considered the only roller coaster in DCA, it tends to be very popular with older (and taller) Guests.

  • Average wait times exceed 30 minutes
  • Line is mostly outdoors with covered space
  • Little to no seating in queue

Of note, there is a Single Riders line for Incredicoaster. While that may be ideal for small parties, especially those comprised of adults and older teenagers, it is not the best option for large parties or those with younger kids. As such, getting a FASTPASS for every member of your party allows you to stay together while moving more quickly toward the attraction.

Toy Story Midway Mania!

Join Woody and his friends for a game-filled ride through the life-size Midway Mania! playset. Each car comes equipped with a pop-gun style shooter that you use to aim at 3-D targets throughout each mini-game. It takes video games and Toy Story to a whole new level.

Key Features

  • 4-D interaction with games
  • Video game interaction (point-and-shoot based)
  • Scoring for the whole car
  • Spinning movements

Ideal Riders

  • Everyone! (no height requirements)
  • Video game enthusiasts

Why Use a FASTPASS?

As funny as the puns Mr. Potato Head has to offer at the beginning of the line may be, they can get pretty old when you’ve heard them a dozen times waiting in the queue. Skip to the glasses pick-up with a FASTPASS for quicker access to a wildly fun interactive attraction.

  • Average wait times exceed 30 minutes
  • Line is partially outdoors with covered space
  • Indoor portion of the line can get stuffy
  • Little to no seating in queue

The other perk of jumping the line for this attraction is that it is located in close proximity to other big hits like the Pixar Pal-A-Round, Incredicoaster, Jessie’s Critter Carousel and Games of Pixar Pier. So, if you end up getting a return time that is just a half hour or so away from or several hours away, there is plenty to do right in the area to keep you entertained!

Soarin’ Around the World

Formerly Soarin’ Over California, this attraction received a big boon when it started flying around the globe! Featuring glimpses of some of the Seven Wonders of the World as well as inspiring locations for Disney films, your flight will not disappoint.

Key Features

  • Simulated flight where your feet dangle as if hang-gliding 
  • Amazing views on an 80-foot screen that you “soar” into to go right up to and over pristine sights
  • Magical musical score played in surround-sound
  • Aromatic elements that transport you to each place you “visit”

Ideal Riders

  • Height requirement of 40”
  • Those not afraid of heights or flying
  • Travellers at heart

Why Use a FASTPASS?

Particularly during peak seasons, especially including the summer, this queue fills up quickly. While most of the line is outside under light coverings, it notably features misters to keep everyone cool. Plus, the concept of the ride is truly novel and one that has yet to be replicated elsewhere in the parks.

  • Average wait times exceed 30 minutes during peak season
  • Line is partially outdoors with covered space
  • Indoor portion of the line can get stuffy
  • Little to no seating in queue

Soarin’ Around the World is well-worth the wait. However, passing up the long outdoor line to get right inside the doors will make your trip that much happier.

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