The FastPass+ system in Disney World is a way for guests to skip the regular standby line for three pre-selected attractions per park per day, and enjoy them with little or no wait. It is complimentary with your theme park admission and selections can be made via your My Disney Experience app up to 60 days out if you're a Disney resort guest or up to 30 days out for everyone else. You can continue to make your selections up to and including the day of itself. Same day selections could also be made at FastPass+ kiosk in the parks for that day. Simply pick the one hour window that suits your park plans and then return to the FastPass+ entrance of that selected ride during your time slot. If used effectively the FastPass+ system can mean that you spend less time waiting in line, and more time enjoying the actual rides or attractions. However if you are new to Disney World or haven't been since FastPass+ was introduced, then you may be unsure of how to best use the system. So here are 10 tips that will hopefully help you and your family to use the FastPass+ system more effectively and really make it enhance your theme park experiences.
Important things to remember when scheduling the times of your FastPass+ selections!
- A busy park means longer wait times for attractions, and ultimately more queuing! Having a FastPass+ scheduled during these busier times will save you lots of time waiting in line and a very effective use of a FastPass!
- Although crowd levels are hard to accurately predict, the attendance in the parks usually peaks from late morning through the afternoon, so this could be a great time to have your FastPass+ selections made for, assuming you plan to be in the parks during this time.
- The exception to #2 would be on major holidays when crowd levels may be high all day and on these days any time will be a good time!
- If you plan to park hop then it might work out better to use your Fast Pass+ selections for your second park. This is because you will likely arrive at your second park late afternoon/ early evening when the crowd levels have peaked. Again you want to maximize the benefit of not having to wait in line, so judge accordingly.
- Try and avoid scheduling a FastPass for the first hour of the park opening. It usually takes until mid morning before the crowd levels build up and in the first hour the wait times for most attractions will often be much less than they will be later. The exception to this rule would be Seven Dwarfs Mine Train in the Magic Kingdom, Anna and Elsa Character Meet and Greet in the Magic Kingdom (still very popular attractions!), Soarin' in Epcot and any brand-new attractions.
- When it comes to making your selections, remember one very important fact that many that are new to Disney World simply don't realize. The parks are very spread out and getting from attraction to attraction will involve a bit of walking. So when scheduling your FastPass times per ride, factor this walking in. For example, if you have a FastPass+ for Peter Pan's Flight in Fantasyland in the Magic Kingdom, you may want to allow yourself a bit of time to enjoy rest of the attractions in this area before racing to Splash Mountain in Frontierland for your next FastPass time. So always allow yourself enough times between FastPasses to experience and enjoy all of what one land has to offer before rushing off to another fast pass in another area of the park.
- When selecting the times of your FastPass+ selections, remember to factor in dining reservations and times you plan to stop and eat. You will find no pleasure in eating lunch at Be Our Guest restaurant if you are panicking that you might miss your FastPass+ time slot for the Mine Train!
If you are new to Disney World, then you may be unfamiliar with the majority of the rides and attractions that you will get to experience. In Disney World you can pick from an array of rides, rollercoasters, attractions, live theatre show, entertainment and character meet and greet on which to use as your FastPass selections. For a current and complete list of these attractions click here. However although there are many to pick from, not all will be a 'good' use of a FastPass. So which of these are good to use a FastPass on? Well the basic principle will help you make your selections - Pick the attractions that will have the longest wait times! So which rides are these going to be?
- Rides that are in the Thrill and rollercoaster style category or ones with height requirements. These are usually very popular and a good use of a FastPass.
- Rides that don't have a height requirement but are known as being extremely popular rides for children and adults alike. For example Peter Pan's Flight in the Magic Kingdom comes to mind, or Toy Story Mania in Hollywood Studios. Kilimanjaro Safaris in Animal Kingdom is also a popular ride to FastPass.
- Any ride, attraction or Character based on extremely popular and current Disney movies. For example the character meet and greets for Anna and Elsa are still extremely popular after the success of the Frozen movie.
- If there is a ride or character meet and greet that your children (or yourself) are really eager to do then regardless of how 'good' a use of the FastPass it would be, you should probably still do it! Happy children = Happy parents! (Usually)
- If your child has an absolute favourite character or movie, then no matter how 'good' a use of the FastPass it is, you may still want to pick that one ride or character meet and greet, that meets their expectations, to ensure they get to enjoy their experience.
- Brand new rides, attractions or shows. New attractions always attract the interest of everyone coming to the parks, whether they are on vacation or local. Everyone is usually excited and eager to see and experience something new! No matter when you plan on visiting Disney World, you can hear all about the newest attractions and updates on scheduled openings at wdwinfo.com or via the DISUnplugged podcasts. If you plan on visiting from summer 2016 onward the newest attractions should include:
- Epcot - Frozen Ever After boat ride
- Epcot - Soarin' over the World (the updated version of this already popular ride)
- Hollywood Studios - New Rides and attractions as they open in Star wars land and Toy Story Land
- Animal Kingdom - The Jungle Book - Alive with Magic Show
- Animal Kingdom - Rivers of Light evening show
- Animal Kingdom - The Sunset version of Kilimanjaro Safaris
Other Tips and Tricks when using the Fast Pass+ system!
- If you arrive early at your FastPass+ entrance for your ride and the standby wait time isn't too bad, you can actually go into your My Disney Experience app and change your FastPass+ selection to later in the day or for another ride depending on availability. Alternatively you could ride once in the standby line and then use your FastPass+ to ride again! Just don't waste it, if you are not going to use it always try and reselect for another ride or time, or simply cancel for another guest to make use of.
- Make use of the 4th FastPass! When you have used all three selections, you are allowed a 4th FastPass, and then when used, a 5th and so on. By the time you have used your 3rd one, the most popular rides may have no FastPass availability left, however it is still worthwhile getting a FastPass for an alternative ride. It could still save you some time from waiting in line. With recent changes these 4th and 5th FastPass selections can now be made via the My Disney Experience app on your phone or tablet and you don't necessarily need to go to a kiosk. This is perfect for saving time, so once you have come off your last FastPass+ attraction, get onto your My Disney Experience app and pick your next FastPass+. Although you may only save a small amount time from waiting in line, it is better than waiting in line - right!
- If you have children under the age of three that do not require a park ticket, then they also don't need a FastPass to go on any rides you may have selected as your FastPass+ rides. However, they will still be allowed to go on with the rest of the family. However, once they are old enough and have their own park ticket, they must have a FastPass+ to ride every attraction with you. The same applies to you, if you are going on a children's ride or meeting a Disney Character, all members of the party that want to enjoy that attraction must have a FastPass.
- You can select different FastPasses from the other members of your party. This is particularly useful if you have children of different ages and interests. One parent could go with one child to meet a Disney character while the other parent takes the older child on their first rollercoaster.
- If you are traveling with young children that do not meet the height requirement for that particular ride you have a FastPass+ for, and you are nearing the end of your FastPass time slot, get a rider switch pass. This enables one parent/guardian to ride with the rest of the family and still use their FastPass+, while the other parent stays behind with the younger child. Once the ride has finished and the parent comes back, the other parent can then go on the ride using the rider switch pass, and even if the FastPass+ window has passed, they can still use the FastPass lane and get on the ride quickly.
- Finally, FastPass+ is a great system and no matter what time of day you plan on being in the parks you really should make full use it. Remember if you have a sudden change of plans and decide to go to a different park than the one originally planned, go on to your My Disney Experience app and re-select new FastPasses for that day. You may not always get the top attractions last minute but the chances are you will get something. Having three walk on rides during a busy park day will always be better than not having any! Enjoy your day at the parks!!!