FastPass+ and How to Make it Work for You

FastPass+ and How to Make it Work for You Magic Band

Fast passes have been around in Disney Parks since 1999. FastPasses act as a virtual reservation for an attraction. You are given a one hour window to use said FastPass (e.g. 10 am – 11 am). It reserves your spot in line, allowing you to take advantage of other activities like eating, shopping or visiting other attractions while you wait for your FastPass return time.

From 1999 until 2013 at Walt Disney World, FastPasses were given from paper distribution machines near the accompanying attraction. In 2013, Disney World launched FastPass +, a paperless system. These FastPasses are placed on a MagicBand or card. FastPass + allows Disney World guests to book FastPass+ online under the MyDisneyExperience tab or in the MyDisneyExperience App on your phone. Guests not staying at a Disney resort are allowed up to 30 days prior to their visit to reserve FastPass+, up to 60 days if they are staying on property.
Of course, FastPass+ does have its pros and cons. Let’s take a look at those.
  • The average guest is said to walk approximately 10 miles per day at Disney World. With the new system, less time and energy is wasted by you or a family member to separate from the party to go and obtain FastPasses. Everything is booked ahead of time or at strategically placed FastPass+ kiosks around the parks.
  • Speaking of time, you no longer have to arrive for park opening in order to secure FastPasses like Toy Story Midway Mania for example. That ride is so popular that you used to have to get to Disney’s Hollywood Studios for rope drop just to get a FastPass, sometimes the fast pass not being good for another 8 hours. Now you can have peace of mind, knowing you already have FastPasses that you want and it works around your schedule.
  • Options. Not everyone that goes to Disney World enjoys going on thrill rides the most. There are character meet and greets, parades and shows that are a higher priority. The variety with FastPass+ appeals to every Disney guest.
  • Flexibility. You can cancel and modify your FastPass+ selections throughout the day based on your needs. In the past, once you got a FastPass, there was no going back. You had to wait for a specific time window to open up to select a different one

FastPass+ and How to Make it Work for You Toy Story Toy Story

  • Attractions that used to not have Fastpass now have longer standby waits. Attraction lines that once weren’t stopped to allow FastPass through are now stopped occasionally.
  • Epcot, Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Disney’s Animal Kingdom work on a tiered Fastpass+ system (Magic Kingdom does not). This means that you are allotted only one of your initial three FastPasses to come from Group A at a park. At Disney’s Animal Kingdom for example, Flight of Passage and Na’vi River Journey or both in Group A, meaning you can only select one of those as part of your FastPass package.
  • Planning. Not everyone likes to plan out their day by day operations while on vacation. Now you kind of need a plan 30-60 days out to get FastPasses for certain attractions.
  • Wasted availability. Not everyone who books FastPasses in advance ends up going to the parks or maybe they forget that they booked them. Meaning the time slots for other people FastPasses were pushed to later in the day for nothing. In the past if you weren’t going to use your paper FastPasses you could easily create a magical moment and if them away to passing guests in the parks.
From a time saving and planning standpoint I believe FastPass+ to be a great addition at Walt Disney World. So how you can make the system work best for you?
Here are six tips to help you effectively use the system put into place.
1) Plan your initial three FastPasses back to back to back in the morning. Say the park is open 9 am to 9 pm. If you use your three FastPasses by 12:30 pm, for example. You are now left with several hours in the day to book additional FastPasses. You are not allowed to get additional FastPasses until your initial three are used, so don’t limit your FastPass volume. Getting three major attractions done that early in the day would allow you the opportunity to spend a few hours back at your resort midday at the pool during those 90 degree summer days.
2) Recognize the 5-15 attraction rule. You are allowed to use your FastPass up to 5 minutes early of its start time and up to 15 minutes after its end time. You’re given a grace period so don’t just assume since you missed your hour window and your FastPass won’t work.
3) As soon as you scan your third fast pass with your MagicBand or card at FastPass return you can start booking another available FastPass. Sometimes we can get so caught up with the excitement of using a FastPass for a ride that we forget to book another one until after the ride is over. Being efficient with your time allows for more FastPasses.

FastPass+ and How to Make it Work for You SM SM

4) What attractions are you willing to wait in the standby line for? Say you want to ride both Peter Pan’s Flight and Space Mountain but they are both an hour wait without FastPass. You can get a FastPass for only one. Which one for you is more worthy of the wait? Depends on who you ask, but it’s important to ask yourself this type of question.

5) Refresh your MyDisneyExperience FP+ times regularly. Don’t get discouraged by the first results you get. People are constantly changing and canceling their FastPass+ reservations. You may just find yourself with a FastPass+ to Peter Pan’s Flight despite looking at 8:40pm like I did last month during a visit.
6) If you have not decided on which park you’re visiting until the day of, look at the available FastPass+ times at that park on the My Disney Experience App, if you are seeing mostly late return times available, it might be a busy day at that park so try going to a different park!
Do you do anything specific with FastPass+ or have any tips? Comment below!

In January of 1996 at the age of four, I first visited Walt Disney World. I was blessed to have the opportunity to go to Disney parks 15 times by the time I was 20 years old, despite living in Wisconsin. Since then I've been fortunate to work as a Walt Disney World Cast member in attractions and food&beverage. I'm very passionate about sharing my past, current and future Disney experiences.


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