The day your FastPass+ window opens is a stressful one. Maybe it’s your first trip to Disney, or you’re a Disney vet who can’t wait to experience the newest attraction. Regardless, deciding what FastPass+ selections to make can be overwhelming. Sure, we all have our favorite rides and attractions at Walt Disney World. Everyone travels differently. A younger family with kids may have a different plan than a couple in their upper 20s, or an older family with teens. Fortunately, Disney has a ride for everyone. Whether you’re traveling with little ones, or taking an adults-only trip, these are the three FastPass+ selections you have to make in each park:
Seven Dwarfs Mine Train
Seven Dwarfs Mine Train opened up in 2014 and has yet to lose any momentum. It’s the most popular attraction and the hardest FastPass+ to secure at Magic Kingdom. Guests literally plan their day around it, opting for pre-park opening dining reservations or arriving for rope drop and racing to New Fantasyland.
The ride deserves the fandom. Seven Dwarfs Mine Train is a family-friendly roller coaster that’s enjoyed by both kids and adults. It’s one of the best-themed attractions at Disney, with an interactive queue, enchanting scenery, and cartoonish architecture. The ride itself boasts some new, impressive technology. The train vehicles feature a new “tilting” technology, allowing them to mimic the swaying and rocking of a real mine car. The ride’s animatronics are new designs from the animation team, with a high range of motion and lifelike projected faces.
Standby wait times are known to exceed 2-3 hours for Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, making it a must-do when choosing your FastPass+ selections.
Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
"The wildest ride in the wilderness" is also one of the most popular rides at Magic Kingdom. The "original mine train” is a fan favorite, and like Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, is designed for the entire family. Opening in 1980, the attraction is full of detail, has an amazing backstory, and is highly themed. It also offers some impressive views of Magic Kingdom. The roller coaster is a Disney classic that spans across three parks: Disney World, Disneyland, and Tokyo Disney. It’s a must-do for both first-timers and Disney vets.
Sort of a curveball here, but the Jungle Cruise absolutely deserves a spot on this list. The kitschy, pun-filled ride has developed a cult following over the years. It’s not the first (or even second or third) ride on anyone’s list, however, it will always have a 60-minute wait or longer.
The ride is a Disney classic, from the theming to the design and aesthetics, and the silly skippers who seem to genuinely enjoy their job. No one will ask or care whether you rode Jungle Cruise during your last Disney trip, but it’d be a mistake to miss a vintage Disney attraction “because the wait was too long.”
Why I didn’t choose…
No doubt, it’s a Disney classic that will have an astronomical wait time by midday. We’ve never waited longer than 20 minutes, though. We’ll usually choose one day to arrive at Magic Kingdom for its morning Extra Magic Hour or rope drop. While everyone runs back to New Fantasyland, we make a right and go toward Tomorrowland. True, this strategy can be applied to most attractions at Magic Kingdom, but Space Mountain is mainly geared toward older riders. Most families will forego the attraction in favor of Seven Dwarfs Mine Train. The morning presents the best opportunity to ride Space Mountain at a low wait time, and for that reason, I’m skipping the FastPass+.
You can easily argue for using all three FastPass+ selections on “The Mountains”: Splash, Space, and Thunder. When you think of Florida, you envision hot, sticky, humid days. On those types of days, taking a plunge into the Briar Patch doesn’t sound so bad, does it? While Florida is hot and humid most of the year, it can be cold and damp between November and March. Because of this, Splash Mountain won’t always draw much of a crowd, and will have a low wait time as a result.
Peter Pan's Flight
Peter Pan's Flight, like Jungle Cruise, is another ride that will have a deceptively long wait time. It’s another classic Disney ride that is very family friendly. Aside from Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, it’s the most popular ride in the New Fantasyland area. While the wait time can and will eclipse 60 minutes during the day, you should be able to get on in very little time during the morning. Because it’s such a family favorite, you can also wait until after the fireworks. A lot of the younger families will stay until Happily Ever After, then leave the park. The later it is, the lower the wait time will be at Peter Pan and other kid friendly attractions.
Avatar Flight of Passage
I get goosebumps just thinking about Avatar Flight of Passage. The new fan favorite at Animal Kingdom’s Pandora warrants every hyperbole in the book. Upon returning from your Disney trip, everyone will ask whether you went on Flight of Passage. The ride features first-of-its-kind technology, immersive theming, and great storytelling. The wait time will be 2-3 hours by midday, sometimes longer during more-crowded periods at Disney.
You can’t go to Animal Kingdom without seeing the animals. Kilimanjaro falls under the family-friendly category, so it’ll always draw a big crowd. Throughout the safari, Disney intertwines its message of sustainability and caring for the planet with fun storytelling and picturesque views. The wait time will sit between 90-120 minutes, whereas a FastPass+ can normally get you through the queue in under 15 minutes.
Expedition Everest is probably my favorite ride at Disney. It’s a bit of an enigma. It continues to be a popular must-do attraction, but its wait time has seemingly seen a drop since Pandora opened. Located on the complete opposite end of the park, Expedition Everest has gone from a 90-minute wait to a 45-60 minute wait most days. Opt for the single rider queue and you’ll be on-and-off in no time. While the wait time has gone down a bit, it still warrants a FastPass+, but you’re not totally out of luck if you can’t secure one. Just head to the Asia area while everyone else rushes to Pandora.
The Slinky Dog Dash Roller Coaster
The overall feeling toward Toy Story Land has been pretty “meh”. Maybe it’s overshadowed by the anticipation of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, or the fact that it’s geared toward kids and younger guests. Regardless, I’m excited. True, the Slinky Dog coaster may not be as exciting as the other attractions in Hollywood Studios, but new rides will always draw the biggest crowds. Getting a FastPass+ for the new roller coaster will be imperative, at least until the novelty wears off.
Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster
I was very happy to see Hollywood Studios implement a similar strategy as Animal Kingdom did with Pandora, moving Toy Story Land attractions to tier one, and everything else to tier two. The days of deciding between Toy Story Midway Mania or Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster are over.
Easily one of the more thrilling rides at Disney, Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster will see a wait time of 90 minutes or longer most days. I’ve seen it as high as 220 minutes.
Tower of Terror
Even if you chicken out last minute, I recommend every Disney fan goes through and experiences the queue at least once. Tower of Terror is the best-themed ride on property. The ride drops and pulls guests back up again at a quick pace. Its doors pull open at the top, revealing a picturesque view of the park, before quickly dropping guests down again. The 13-story plunge added a randomized drop pattern, so riders never know what to expect.
Why I didn’t choose…
Toy Story Midway Mania
Yes, Toy Story Midway Mania absolutely warrants a FastPass+. It’s one of the more popular attractions throughout Disney, as it’s a family-friendly ride that’s designed for everyone. It has some awesome theming and a fun premise. The new FastPass+ system at Hollywood Studios allows guests to choose one attraction from Toy Story Land, and two from another land (like Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster and Tower of Terror). If you only have one day in the park and are looking to wait the least amount of time at attractions, I’d choose the Slinky Dog Coaster — at least for the time being. Guests can easily hop on Toy Story Midway Mania at rope drop, and the ride’s added track has alleviated the wait time quite a bit.
In my opinion, Epcot is the toughest park to make FastPass+ selections for. Based on its tiering system, guests can choose either Frozen Ever After, Illuminations, Test Track, or Soarin’; and pick two from tier 2: Pixar Short Film Festival, Journey Into Imagination with Figment, Living with the Land, the Mickey and Pals character meet, RELAUNCHED! Mission: Space, Spaceship Earth, The Seas with Nemo and Friends, and Turtle Talk with Crush.
That seems like a lot, but it ultimately comes down to deciding which tier one attraction is most important to you, then filling your day with Spaceship Earth and one other tier two “throwaway” attraction.
Frozen Ever After
Frozen Ever After is one of the more heavily debated attractions at Disney. Upon being announced, many fans felt that the attraction was too far removed from the theming of the World Showcase. The World Showcase, after all, is built to educate guests, and Frozen was very much fiction. The argument didn’t slow the Frozen fever, as the ride saw 3+ hour waits upon opening, and still continues to be one of the hottest FastPass+ attractions in Disney.
It’s not the most exciting attraction in Disney, but it’s a must-do if you have a family or are a Frozen fan. Wait times can hit anywhere from 90 minutes to two hours.
While certainly in need of some updates, the ride itself is a classic. The landmark attraction at Epcot takes guests on a ride through history, highlighting the biggest moments that shaped the world we live in today. The wait time will normally sit around 90 minutes.
Meet Mickey and Friends
The Epcot character meet-and-greet is one of the few spots in Disney where you can meet most of the popular, in-demand characters all under one roof. The wait time can jump up to 40-60 minutes, depending on when you go. While it’s not the best use of a FastPass+, it is a pretty unique attraction. Plus, you can’t leave Disney without some pictures with characters!
Why I didn’t choose…
Full disclosure: I’m not a fan of Soarin’. I went on it back in 2015 and the ride felt dated. The attraction has since been renovated with new screens, better projectors, and updated scents. While Soarin’ may not attract the crowd it once did, it’s still a very popular ride and warrants a FastPass+. Like the Slinky Dog Coaster vs. Toy Story Midway Mania argument, I’m choosing Frozen Ever After based on its novelty. The rope drop crowd will be split between the three tier-one rides. 70% will head toward Frozen Ever After, 20% will go to Soarin’, and 10% will go to Test Track. The morning is a great time to ride Soarin’ at a reduced wait time.
I remember when Test Track opened and the idea of racing 60mph around a track in a convertible sounded amazing. Then I became old enough to drive and experienced going 70mph in a real convertible, down an actual road. Suddenly 60mph didn’t feel so fast.
Test Track is still a fun ride. Even with its Tron-like updates, it’s still a pretty solid attraction and will have a long wait. As I mentioned in my argument for why I didn’t choose Soarin’, most guests will go straight to Frozen Ever After. Those who don’t will go to Soarin’, and the remaining few will go to Test Track. Schedule a FastPass+ for Frozen Ever After, then make Soarin’ or Test Track your first priority at rope drop. If you can’t get up for rope drop, use the single rider line for a significantly lower wait time.
What are your must-do FastPass+ attractions? Leave a comment below!