Disney World Fastpass+ can be confusing to some, but learn how to maximize your time in the parks and minimize stress with these simple tips and tricks.
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Disney World Fastpass+ Tips and Tricks

When Walt Disney World implemented its FastPass+ system, it fundamentally changed the way guests could tour Disney parks. Visiting Walt Disney World requires much more planning than you might think. Fastpass+ is a big part of that. If you know how the system works, you can ride more and wait much less. Or, if your child isn’t interested in rides, you can use it to see more characters. Here are some of my favorite Disney World FastPass+ tips and tricks. The last one is a real favorite of mine; it can be really powerful if you use it, as I can attest. I made a visual guide for that one that hopefully can help you.

Note: I recognize not everyone loves planning and maximizing. Still, if you use one or two of these tips you might make your Disney vacation just a little bit more magical!

Disney World Fastpass+ can be confusing to some, but learn how to maximize your time in the parks and minimize stress with these simple tips and tricks.
Simple rule: Even though the Flight of Passage queue is really cool, get a Fastpass+ reservation for this if you can! (Photo Credit | Kent Phillips, wdwnews.com)

Quick Primer on Disney World FastPass+

FastPass+ doesn’t cost any extra money. As long as you have a Disney ticket, you can make FastPass+ reservations. For Disney guests staying on site at a Disney hotel, you can start making FastPass+ reservations 60 days in advance of the first night of your reservations. For all other guests, you can make FastPass+ reservations 30 days in advance. Fastpass+ reservations are for one hour time windows, usually with a 15 minute grace period. After you’ve used your initial 3 FastPass+ reservations you can make additional FastPass+ reservations, more on that later.

Every Disney guest receives an allotment of 3 initial FastPass+ reservations per theme park day. At the Magic Kingdom, these 3 FastPass+ reservations can be used for any attraction. Epcot, Hollywood Studios, and Animal Kingdom (and the new, awesome Pandora: World of Avatar) have a “tiered” FastPass+ system. That means you can only make one reservation on the most popular transactions. Your other two fast passes can be used for any attraction. The top tier attractions at Epcot are Frozen Ever After, Soarin’, and Test Track. Animal Kingdom puts the Pandora attractions (Flight of Passage and Na’vi River Journey) in the top tier. The top tier attractions at Hollywood Studios that matter the most to the majority of guests are Rock ‘n’ Rollercoaster and Toy Story Mania.

Disney World Fastpass+ can be confusing to some, but learn how to maximize your time in the parks and minimize stress with these simple tips and tricks.
Rides like Dumbo have fun interactive queues for kids, so you don’t need to worry about Fastpass+ for the most part

 

Take advantage of your Disney World Fastpass+ early booking window, especially if you stay on site at a Disney Hotel

One major benefit to staying on site is the ability to make FastPass+ reservations for the length of your vacation. Let’s say you have a 5 night stay on Disney property. 60 days before the first night of your reservation, you can make FastPass+ reservations for your entire stay plus the day you check out. So if you’re staying on site at a Disney hotel, you can book FastPass+ reservations way ahead of everyone else.

There are lots of benefits to staying off site but this is one of the best benefits of staying at a Disney hotel. Regular guests and annual pass holders can only book 30 days in advance, but you have to book day by day. In other words, you can’t do multiple days at once if they’re beyond your 30 day window.

Regardless of your personal window, one of the most important FastPass+ tips is book as early as you can. This will give you the best chance to get those hard to get rides like Frozen Ever After, Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, or the Pandora rides with the least amount of stress.

Book your FastPass+ reservations for early in the day

When you book your initial three fast passes, you want to book them for as early in the day as possible. Since each FastPass+ reservation window is an hour long, booking early in the day basically takes up your entire morning (9-10, 10-11, 11-12).

The reason to book early in the day isn’t the obvious one. When you get to Disney parks early, the lines are much shorter than later in the day, so it’s actually one of the best times to wait in line. Fast passes help make your waits even shorter, but the real reason why you want to use up your FastPass+ reservations early in the day is to utilize the extra FastPass+ reservation you get after using your initial three. We’ll talk more about this “rolling fourth fast pass” later, but basically, after the first three you can keep booking and using FastPass+ reservations one at time.

Disney World Fastpass+ can be confusing to some, but learn how to maximize your time in the parks and minimize stress with these simple tips and tricks.
Seven Dwarfs Mine Train is one of the hardest Fastpass+ reservations to get at the Magic Kingdom (Photo Credit | Matt Stroshane, wdwnews.com)

Prioritize the busiest rides

 If you want to minimize time in line, you’ll want to prioritize getting Fastpass+ reservations for the busiest rides. A list of the busiest ride in each park is below. Unless there’s something you MUST do, try to get most of your Fastpass+ reservations for these attractions. Generally, common sense will tell you which attractions you need to book.

Magic Kingdom

  • Seven Dwarfs Mine Train
  • Meet Mickey Mouse at Town Square Theater
  • Peter Pan’s Flight

Epcot

  • Frozen Ever After
  • Soarin’
  • Test Track

Disney’s Hollywood Studios

  • Toy Story Mania!
  • Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster

Disney’s Animal Kingdom

  • Flight of Passage
  • Kilimanjaro Safaris
  • Expedition Everest

Utilize your extra FastPass reservations early and often

After you’ve used your initial three Fastpass+ reservations, you get a fourth Fastpass+ reservation to use. This reservation can be used for any attraction in any park. In other words, once you get to this point you don’t need to worry about “tiered” attractions. Of course, it’s likely that many of the most coveted reservations are gone. Use these “rolling fourth” Fastpass+ reservations to book attractions that have lines but aren’t the most popular. Each time you use one, you can reserve another, so once you’ve gone through your initial three you can make Fastpass+ reservations for the rest of the day. That’s why you want to get the initial three done ASAP.

Disney World Fastpass+ can be confusing to some, but learn how to maximize your time in the parks and minimize stress with these simple tips and tricks.
Test Track often has a huge line. While it offers single rider, you might want to get a Fastpass+ reservation (Photo Credit | Disney Memory Maker)

Use the My Disney Experience app and this technique for hard to get FastPass+ reservations

I learned a simple technique for hard to get Fastpass+ reservations from the Backside of Magic podcast. The basic premise is this. For hard to get reservations, you can often get lucky on the day of using your My Disney Experience app. First, make a reservation for a non-popular attraction. Then, go into your Disney app on your phone and choose to “Modify” that reservation. At that point you can quickly keep searching for Fastpass+ availability. I personally just jumped back and forth between “Afternoon” and “4:00 PM” until I found availability for Frozen Ever After.

My best guess as to why this works? This is the equivalent of furiously refreshing your browser trying to buy concert tickets or something. People switch Fastpass+ reservations all the time, this “refreshing” gives you the best chance to hop onto them when they open up. Best of all, you can do this in line in another attraction. I had no trouble securing Seven Dwarfs Mine Train and Frozen Ever After for 3 people when I messed around with it last week.

Disney World Fastpass+ can be confusing to some, but learn how to maximize your time in the parks and minimize stress with these simple tips and tricks.

The downside is, your spouse and children might get annoyed that your face is buried in a phone the entire time. But think of how happy they will be not to wait in line!

Final Thoughts

The Disney Fastpass+ reservation system can be a real asset when you tour the parks. Follow these guidelines if they help minimize your stress when entering the parks. You can really use them to your advantage to cut down your wait times!

Any other tips I missed? Hit me up with any questions or comments down below.

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Can’t get enough Disney? Check out our Disney planning podcast, Disney Deciphered (latest episode embedded below)!

 

Disney World Fastpass+ can be confusing to some, but learn how to maximize your time in the parks and minimize stress with these simple tips and tricks.

Joe
Just an average joe trying to fly his family for less
http://www.asthejoeflies@gmail.com

7 thoughts on “Disney World Fastpass+ Tips and Tricks”

  1. For off Disney hotel stays, how do you work the Fastpass when you haven’t bought the tickets yet? Thanks!

    1. You can’t book Fastpass+ reservations until you have a ticket, unfortunately. Are you waiting to buy them in the parks? They cost the same online for the most part. Even if you’re staying ON site you can’t book Fastpass+ without tickets, unless you want to go black hat…

  2. This is probably a small use case, but…

    When I went to Disney World last year, I stayed at a regular, non-disney hotel for the first 4 days. After that, I stayed at a Disney property for my last night. I was able to use my Magic Band for the whole stay (even when I wasn’t staying at the Disney resort, and book my Fast Pass+ passes 60 days in advance (even for the first 4 days).

    I remember figuring out why this may have worked, but now I forget. Do you have to register your tickets to the Magic Band and choose which days you’ll go to which park? That may have been the reason.

  3. Appreciate the helpful tips. I realize Fastpass+ is supposed to be a benefit (and obviously better than no fastpass at all), but I really wish they would go back to the previous system, or maybe the previous system plus the ability to book through the App. I was considering taking the kids for a last-minute trip to Disney World before school starts, but I don’t want to go if all the fastpasses are sold out for the important rides. And I can’t even find that out unless I buy tickets first! This system will probably cause them to lose many potential customers who prefer spontaneity. And I think the 60 day vs. 30 day window for staying onsite is egregious. 60-40 or 45 would be more fair.

  4. Don’t forget you can get the fourth and beyond FastPass as soon as you scan in, which is usually enough time to grab the next one before you ride your current ride!

    1. Yes! I didn’t want to put that in though because some of the rides started doing the second swipe again, so I’m not sure if that gets in the way? Any wisdom here would be great!

      But yeah if you’re riding something like IASW or Pirates it’s not gonna matter

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