When Walt Disney World introduced the FastPass+ system paired with Magic Bands and the use of My Disney Experience a few years ago it really changed the way I tour the parks and I enjoy the advantages it gives me when you utilize the system for all of its perks. There are a few things you need to know about FastPass+ so you can make the most of it when you are on vacation.
9. It’s Free!
I often have travel clients ask me how much it will be to add FastPass to their package. I know with Disney they are probably thinking “it must cost me something.” The great news is that FastPass+ is 100% free with any ticket to Walt Disney World. Whether you are booking a package at the Grand Floridian or just buying a one day ticket on the day you arrive you get to utilize FastPass+ to make your park visit more efficient.
8. How Many You Get
Everyone gets 3 FastPasses to start their day. You have to choose all three in the same park. That doesn’t mean you can’t park hop, but to start they all have to be in one park . . . subsequent FastPasses can be made for a different park. After you’ve used your first 3 (or they expire) you can start making more, one at a time. So after number 3 you can make #4, use it and make #5 and so on. Based on availability of course. If you are going to hop to another park you don’t have to wait until you get to that park to make a FastPass there, once you use your 3rd go ahead and see what is available for the next park.
7. Reserve By Priorities
This is a tip that I’ve used since the system started, and the planning site WDW Prep School also recommends it. When making your FastPasses you do not have to go in chronological order. When you are staying at a Disney resort you can make FastPasses for all of the days of your trip on the first day your window opens (60 days before check-in). With this advantage your best strategy is to prioritize your attractions by either the hardest to get (Frozen Ever After, 7 Dwarfs Mine Train, Flight of Passage, etc.), and by the attractions that are the most important must-dos for you. So if your Animal Kingdom day is the 4th day of your trip go to it first and book your Flight of Passage FastPasses, then go to your Epcot day and book Frozen Ever After, and so on. Another strategy along these lines is to put your most difficult attractions at the end of your trip—that way fewer people have had the window for that date open up and you have better odds.
6. Reserve Them ASAP
Of course, your best chance to get those must-do attractions is to start making your FastPasses as soon as you possibly can. Onsite, Disney resort guests definitely have the advantage here. Your window opens up 60 days before you check-in and you can make your reservations for the entire length of your vacation at that point. For some of those most popular attractions the FastPass times could fill up during that 60 day mark and not leave any available for off-site guests. If you are staying off-site you can make your reservations 30 days before each day you are visiting. Each day the reservations open at 7:00am Eastern . . . so you want to be up & ready to go, and be logged in to your My Disney Experience account at that time.
When you are making your FastPasses you have the option to choose Morning, Afternoon or Evening and the system will auto-generate some time options to select, or you can select specific times like 10:00am or 2:30pm. I find that if you click on different time tabs it shows you more options for times. So if you want something at like 10:20am you might select 10:30 and not see exactly what you want, but if you then pick 10:00 it might be there. So play around with the time tabs a bit until you find the best fit.
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4. You Have 1 Hour
Sometimes people don’t understand the 1 hour time frame that Disney gives you for each FastPass. It is not that you can ride that attraction as many times as you like within that hour, it is that you need to show up for the attraction sometime within that 1 hour time frame. So if your time is 10:20am-11:20am you can come as early as 10:20, but no later than 11:20. And you will get 1 ride on that attraction. It also doesn’t take that full hour to ride the attraction. If you are using your FastPass for a show you will have a shorter window in which to arrive to queue up for the performance.
3. Getting Enough for your Party
If you are having trouble getting a party of 4 for a popular attraction you can try splitting your group. Maybe make 1 or 2 FastPasses at a time. So if you can get the first two for 10:15am reserve those. Then go back in to that day for the next 2 people, you might be able to overlap times so that FastPass starts at 10:30am. Now you can all ride together—you just need to arrive at the later start time or before the earlier end time. This also works if someone else decides to travel with you after you’ve made your FastPasses.
2. All of Your FastPasses Don’t Have to be the Same
This is another question I get a lot! Your entire party does not have to ride the same attractions using FastPass. My strategy for my family is to go one and get the most difficult FastPasses first. Then I go back and modify for those of us who do not want to ride that attraction. Or, if the ride isn’t that hard to get a FastPass I just make it for the 3 people who enjoy it. So I’ll do 3 for Space Mountain for my big boys who love thrills, and 2 for Tomorrowland Speedway for my little one & me (who thinks driving is a big thrill). I do try to keep them in the same area of the park to minimize walking.
1. Changing and Adding
My favorite strategy works best in Magic Kingdom where so many attractions offer FastPass+, but you can utilize it any park. Once we check in for a FastPass—scanning our band at the first entrance—I open up the app to see if I can modify the FastPass after it. Sometimes there is availability to bump that time up so we can tour more efficiently by changing it right there in the app. Since your initial reservations won’t allow you to overlap FastPasses there is some down time between attractions—if you can “tighten” them up by modifying in line it helps with that. The second part of this is when you touch your Magic Band to enter the FastPass queue for your 3rd FastPass reservation . . . go into the app right then to try to make FastPass #4. In the past I’ve been able to make one for maybe 20 minutes later at an attraction, so we can hop from one FastPass line to another. All based on availability of course!
What are your Must Know Tips about FastPass+ at Walt Disney World?