As of March 7, 2012 guests utilizing Fastpasses at Disney will experience some stricter regulations – meaning the return windows will be actively enforced and allowing guests 5 minute early arrival and only a 15 minute late arrival as per the times printed on the Fastpass.
How is this different than before? Previously, Disney had enforced only the early arrival timeframe, which meant guests could return at any time past their Fastpass window and be allowed to use the Fastpass feature.
For example – if you receive a Fastpass and it says your return time is from 1:15pm-2:15 pm, you will need to return for the ride/attraction from 1:10pm-2:30pm in order to be able to utilize that Fastpass – 5 minutes before and 15 minutes after the printed time (whereas before, you were able able to use the pass if you arrived at anytime between 1:10pm and Park closing time)
This is a BIG change for a lot of people who relied on the lack of late return enforcement on FastPasses, so we will see how long it lasts or if any other changes are made to the policies once it has been in action for a while.
Not sure what a Fastpass is? Essentially it is a ticket that you obtain outside of a popular Disney ride/attraction that gives you a time when you can return for said ride/attraction. When you return at that time, you present your Pass and are directed to the “FastPass wait line”, which essentially cuts up to half or more of the regular line’s wait time (basically cutting the line, but with permission!). For more info about how Fastpass works (including a list of what rides/attractions use the Fastpass system), Click Here