In anticipation of Disney Worlds’ reopening in a few weeks, we’re sharing our best tips for using the FastPass+ system:
We’ve been to Disney World in Orlando, Florida three times and absolutely love it! It is truly the one of the happiest places on Earth. The company does a wonderful job in making the parks clean, friendly, and easy to navigate. I shared some of our tips in previous posts on Planning a Trip, Dining Recommendations, the Contemporary Resort, and Disney Springs.
This week, I’d like to share the best ways to maximize the perks of the Fast Pass+ program. Fast Passes allow guests to reserve a specific time to access many of the attractions at all four parks (Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Hollywood Studios, and Animal Kingdom) and therefore, bypass about 90% of the lines and wait time.
Here are 10 tips to know before you start booking your Fast Passes (up to 60 days before your first day of arrival):
1. Create a My Disney Experience account: You’ll need a (free) My Disney Experience account to sign up for Fast Passes. You can also make dining reservations (see my post here) and manage things like the Memory Maker Photo Pass and itineraries in your account. I highly recommend making a My Disney Experience account as soon as you book your trip (you can link travel companions and manage everyone through one reservation number).
2. Know how the Fast Pass works: Guests staying at a Disney owned property can book up to 3 Fast Passes per guest 60 days before their arrival date. Onsite guests can reserve passes for every day of their stay at one time. Guests who have pre purchased tickets but are not staying on property can reserve Fast Passes 30 days before their arrival, but can only reserve one day at a time. Fast Passes are for a 60 minute window, and staff will usually (unless it is super busy) let you on the ride 5 minutes before the start of your time window and allow you to come 5 minutes late. The system will not let you book more than one Fast Pass during a one hour block.
Some parks have a two tier system for rides (the most popular rides are Tier 1 and only allow guests to reserve one Tier 1 ride):
Magic Kingdom: no Tier 1 rides; guests can reserve any 3 rides
Epcot Tier 1: Soarin’, Test Track, Epcot Forever, Frozen Ever After (guests may only reserve a FastPass for one of these rides, and then 2 additional rides not on this list)
Hollywood Studios Tier 1 Rides: Slinky Dog Dash, Minnie and Mickey’s Runaway Railway, and Millennium Falcon: Smuggler’s Run (guests may reserve a FastPass for one of these rides, and then 2 additional rides not on this list)
Animal Kingdom Tier 1 Rides: Avatar Flight of Passage and Na’vi River Journey (guests may only reserve a FastPass for one of these rides, and then 2 additional rides not on this list)
3. Know what parks you are visiting on what days: Fast Passes can only be used at one park per day. If you have a Park Hopper ticket, which allows guests to move from park to park, commit to one park for at least a morning, afternoon or evening. This will be the most efficient way to maximize your time and rides.
4. Use Fast Passes first thing in the morning. You cannot reserve any additional Fast Passes until you have used all three passes. I highly recommend using your Fast Passes back to back with no time gaps: 9am-10am, 10:05am-11:05am, and 11:10am-12:10pm. I recommend racing to a ride that you could not get a Fast pass for right at 9am. Ideally you can squeeze in two rides and still make it to your first Fast Pass for the end of your time window. My ideal morning looks something like:
9:00am-9:20am- walk safely (but quickly) to ride #1
9:25-9:50am- brief wait and ride #2
10am- Fast Pass #1 (window from 9am-10am, with 5 minute grace period on either end)
10:30am- Fast Pass #2 (window 10:05am-11:05am)
10:45am- bathroom or snack break
11:10am- Fast Pass #3 (window 11:10am-12:10pm)
5. Make breakfast reservations inside the park for 7:30am or 8am. This way, you will be ahead of a majority of the crowds when the park opens. Most restaurants are also a distance into the park, so you’ll be closer to the rides. It means getting up super early, but in my opinion, it is worth it to avoid the crowds. Be prepared to show proof of your reservation when you enter the park.
Options for breakfast that allow reservations inside the parks include:
Magic Kingdom: Crystal Palace (buffet featuring Winnie the Pooh and friends and my favorite spot!), Cinderella’s Royal Table INSIDE the castle (so many princesses visit your table!) and Be Our Guest, inside the Beast’s Castle.
Epcot: Garden Grill, Akershus Royal Banquet in Norway, which is next to Frozen Ever After. I highly recommend going there for breakfast, especially if you didn’t get a Frozen Ever After FastPass. Eat breakfast with the princesses and hop right on the ride!
Hollywood Studios: Hollywood and Vine, which is a buffet featuring Disney Junior characters.
Animal Kingdom: Tusker House, which is a buffet featuring Safari Mickey and friends.
6. Know what attractions your group can ride: There are height restrictions for many of the roller coasters; check the height requirements for all rides here. Younger kids will love rides like Buzz Lightyear and Peter Pan’s Flight, which are hard to get Fast Passes for; try for them first. Some of the calmer rides like It’s a Small World, Mickey’s PhilharMagic (3D show), The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, Ariel’s Undersea Adventure, WDW Railroad train, and Jungle Cruise usually have Fast Passes available at multiple times a day, so save those for later in the day.
7. Know what rides your group wants to ride the most. Take a poll of who wants to do what as you start to plan. Hopefully there is some consensus so you can stay together as a group. Fast Passes can be divided up and people can do separate things. Any children under the age of 15 must be accompanied by an adult.
8. Download the My Disney Experience app before your visit. You’ll want this app on your smartphone for many reasons: keeping track of your reservations, checking out Memory Maker photos in real time, and updating Fast Passes.
9. Coordinate a “conga line” for your group. To maximize the amount of attractions you visit and minimize the amount of time in line, have a plan for how you enter the attraction. For my family, my husband is the “line leader”, followed by our kids, and I’m the “caboose”. As soon as I scan myMagic Band, which releases the Fast Pass, I log into my My Disney Experience app on my phone to check Fast Pass availability. Usually, I can find something (except the ultra popular rides) for the next time frame. It may require refreshing the search a few times. In most cases, if I can secure a ride I want with a time frame close to what I want, I reserve it. And then I update and refresh as we approach the head of the (short) Fast Pass line, and an earlier time frame appears. By securing something while you approach your ride, you can save time and avoid long waits.
10. Bring a source for charging your phone. Your phone will be your lifeline of sorts since you’ll need it to schedule and update Fast Passes. There are kiosks located throughout the parks (find the list here) but there tend to be lines and they might not be near your location in the park. Charge your phone during meals or bring a back up charger so you never run out of power.