Though the days of standing in the scorching sun while waiting to ride a roller coaster that lasts for only four minutes aren’t exactly over, visitors to Walt Disney World can expect some relief with FastPass+. Since 1999, the theme parks at Walt Disney World have provided a way for guests to reserve space at an attraction in order to minimize their wait. These reservations permit visitors to take a “shortcut” line to the front, thereby avoiding the winding, roped walkways of the standby line. Walt Disney World accomplishes this by setting aside a limited number of seats or spaces for FastPass+ each day. For you to fully take advantage of FastPass+, you must know the following six things.
6. My Disney Experience
The best way to use FastPass+ is to sign up for My Disney Experience and get the app for your mobile device. You may download it to your computer, smartphone, or tablet; just visit your app store for more details. If you’re device doesn’t have an Internet connection, simply access Disney’s free Wi-Fi network, located throughout most public spaces at the resorts and parks. While My Disney Experience is useful for a variety of reasons, it serves as the only way to make your FastPass+ decisions ahead of time. You can make your reservations 30 days in advance or 60 days if you’re staying at a Walt Disney World resort or the Swan and Dolphin hotels.
If you’re not tech savvy, you can still make selections when you arrive at the park. Just look for a FastPass+ kiosk on your guide map; there are four at each theme park. Note that the kiosks are basically computers, so you may want to ask for help from the attending cast member if computers go haywire in your presence. Sorry, but the days of Fastpass tickets are over at Walt Disney World.
5. Hot Attractions
The original Disney Fastpass featured limited waiting for rides only, but FastPass+ opens up the reservation system to parades, shows, fireworks, and character meet-and-greets, as well. Take note, however, that reservations for extremely popular attractions (think Avatar Flight of Passage, Na’vi River Journey, Frozen Ever After, Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, Toy Story Midway Mania, and Soarin’) go quickly, sometimes disappearing before or soon after the park opens. To ensure that you have the chance to ride these hot attractions, make your selections in advanced with My Disney Experience, and don’t forget your personal must-dos when choosing.
The rules of FastPass+ are fairly simple. You may hold a maximum of three reservations per day, one for a high-traffic, popular attraction, and two for other eligible activities. When scheduling your selections, you can only choose those located in the same theme park. Park-hoppers don’t despair; you can make modifications after your first FastPass+ selection is used or expired then select a FastPass+ at another park in the same day. The reservations provide a one-hour window for your arrival, but if you’re less than fifteen minutes late, you may be able to get in. Nevertheless, showing up early ensures that you won’t be ushered into the standby line. Also, make sure you wear your MagicBand or have your park ticket in hand, because you’ll need to press either one against the sensor at the FastPass+ entrance. The sensor indicates a green light for admittance and a red light for a trip to the back of the standby line. Once you use your three initial FastPass+ selection, you can use your My Disney Experience App or a FastPass+ Kiosk to make a 4th selection. Used your 4th FastPass+? Get a 5th FastPass+ and so on until the park closes.
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3. Large Parties
Trying to get your party’s FastPass+ selections coordinated at a kiosk can be a nightmare. With only a limited number of passes available for each attraction for each hour and a considerable number of park guests making their reservations in advance with My Disney Experience, it may be impossible to get your entire party’s entertainment choices synchronized at a kiosk. The best option would be to sign up everyone in your party with My Disney Experience. In advance of your trip, you can link your party together and make FastPass+ decisions within 30 or 60 days of your arrival. You’ll be much more likely to coordinate your reservations if you plan ahead with the app.
Okay, so you’ve done all the right things. You downloaded the My Disney Experience app, made all your selections, and coordinated your party’s FastPass+ assignments. Now the circumstances have changed, so what do you do now? No worries, you have three options. Using the My Disney Experience app on your mobile device, you can switch your assignments. If you didn’t get the app, you should open a browser, navigate to disneyworld.com, and sign in to make changes. The last option involves visiting a FastPass+ kiosk. No matter which method you use to modify your selections, note that your choices may be limited because not all passes will be available. It’s better to change your FastPass+ assignments as early as possible, otherwise you may have to settle for leftover passes or long waits in standby lines.
What might you expect to pay for such speed and flexibility? Many theme parks with similar programs charge a bit extra for them, but Walt Disney World provides FastPass+ for free. Well, technically you have to purchase a park ticket, but there are no additional fees for using this service. In fact, you don’t even have to stay at a Walt Disney World resort to enjoy the privileges mentioned above. Everyone can sign up for My Disney Experience, and everyone can enjoy using FastPass+ to reduce waiting times and secure special seating and viewing. However, if the price isn’t enough to turn you onto FastPass+, you can always enjoy the time-consuming standby lines for everything you do at Walt Disney World.