Disney World FastPass+… Everything you ever wanted to know!
By Catherine Lauer & Stephen Ashley
It’s easy to become overwhelmed by all the logistics involved with scheduling your Disney trip. The FastPass+ system can be especially daunting to newcomers and seasoned visitors alike. So we’ll:
- Explain how everything works.
- Break down the process into simple steps, guaranteed to ease your stress!
What is a FastPass+?
FastPass+ is simply the current ride reservation system at Disney World. It allows you to select an attraction online (ride, show, character meet & greet, etc) that is FastPass+ equipped, and choose the time period during which you would like to schedule that attraction.
While the FastPass+ reservation system will usually make your wait in line much shorter, you still may have to wait. This is especially true during peak crowd periods, for the most popular attractions.
Also, though most of the popular rides and attractions are part of the FastPass+ program, some are not.
Is there a charge for using the FastPass+ system?
Nope, it’s free! There’s no extra charge for this service, as it’s included with admission.
Who can use FastPass+?
Only those who have purchased Disney World park admission tickets can reserve FastPass+ reservations.
Each ticketed member of your party will need their own FastPass+ for each attraction, but one member of your party can book the FastPass+ reservations for all the members of your party. You can also link other people to your account and make reservations for them as well. We’ll show you how to do all that below.
Children under 3 years old do not need a Fastpass+ reservation. They can join you on any ride or attraction that you have a Fastpass+ for.
Who Can I make FastPass+ reservations for?
You can make FastPass+ reservations for:
- Any member of your party (anyone travelling with you who is listed in the package you purchase from Disney, or who is staying with you in your room).
- Anyone you link to your account by using Disney’s Family and Friends option. This allows you to connect your account with others who also have Disney tickets, but are not on your Disney account. Then you can make FastPass+ reservations for everyone at once.
Keep in mind that the FastPass+ reservations you make don’t all have to be for the same rides at the same times. You can split up your party and do different things.
And again, children under 3 years old do not need a Fastpass+ reservation. They can join you on any ride or attraction that you have a Fastpass+ for.
When Can I start making my reservations?
If you’re staying on property at a Disney resort (in 2018 this includes Swan and Dolphin, some Disney Springs area resorts, Shades of Green): You can make your selections 60 days prior to your trip beginning at 7 a.m. eastern time. The extra 30 days can really give you an edge and increase the chances that you’ll get the Fastpasses you’re hoping for. Plus you get an extra perk for staying on Disney property with a “grace period”. This means that on the first day you are allowed to book your FastPass+ reservations, you can book for the full length of your visit.
If you are NOT staying on property: You can make your selections 30 days prior to your trip beginning at 7 a.m. eastern time. You won’t have the same “grace period” as those staying in a Disney resort, so you’ll only be able to make your FastPass+ reservations day by day rather than all at once 30 days prior. So on 30 days prior you can make your first days’ FastPass+ reservations. On day 29 you can make your second days’ FastPass+ reservations, etc.
Annual Passholders: If you’re not staying on Disney property and you have an annual pass, you can make your selections 30 days prior to your trip beginning at 7 a.m. eastern time. You’re permitted to make up to 7 days worth of FastPass+ reservations in any 30 day period. However it changes if you’re you’re staying on Disney property. Then you can make your selections using the same rules above for guests staying on Disney property.
Where do I make my Fastpass+ reservations?
Many people find that using their computer rather than the app is quicker, but some people choose to have both a computer and a mobile device ready to go on the first morning they’re allowed to make FastPass+ reservations. We’ve even heard of multiple people logging into one account at the same time on different devices to make reservations.
FastPass+ reservations CAN NOT be made by phone. If you’re unable to use an app or access Disney’s website online, you won’t be able to make your FastPass+ reservations in advance, but you’ll have two options when you get to Disney:
- You’ll be able to make your FastPass+ reservations at a Disney park, at one of the FastPass+ Kiosks. You can only make reservations for that park that you’re in.
- If you’re staying in a Disney resort, you can make FastPass+ reservations at the Lobby Concierge.
Tip: Disney’s FastPass+ reservation system does not coordinate with your dining reservations. Be sure to have any dining reservations in front of you so that you don’t book your FastPass+ reservations at the same time as your dining reservations.
How Many FastPass+ reservations can I Make?
Initially, you can make up to three FastPass+ selections per day per ticket, and your selection(s) must all be at one park.
But you CAN get more! Once you’ve used all FastPass+ reservations or they’ve all expired, you can make an additional FastPass+ selection using the in-park kiosks or My Disney Experience on your mobile device.
You can make one of these at a time, as many times as you’d like. So after you’ve used your additional FastPass+ reservation, you can use the app or go to a kiosk, and get another, and another, and another… to park closing.
What are Tiers?
In all the parks except Magic Kingdom, Disney categorizes its rides and attractions into categories. The most popular are considered Tier 1, and everything else is considered Tier 2. For example in Epcot, the super popular ride called Soarin is Tier 1, while Spaceship Earth is considered Tier 2. When you make your Fastpass+ reservations, you can only choose one from Tier 1. The other two reservations will have to be from Tier 2. After you use up all three of your reservations, you can choose one more Fastpass at a time, from either tier.
Here are the Tier 1 Rides at Disney World:
Epcot: Illuminations: Reflections of Light; Frozen Ever After; Soarin’; Test Track; Epcot Character Spot.
Hollywood Studios: Alien Swirling Saucers; Slinky Dog Dash; Toy Story Mania!
Animal Kingdom: Flight of Passage; Na’vi River Journey (Flights of Passage is the more popular of the two)
Can I make FastPass+ reservations in more than one park?
As mentioned above, the first three that you make in advance must be all in the same park.
Once you’ve used those up, you can make more Fastpass+ reservations in the same park, or you can make them in another park if you’re planning to park hop and visit another park in the same day.
If you’re making an additional FastPass+ reservation for a different park than the one you’re in, you’ll have to make your reservation using a mobile device, because the kiosks only allow booking for the park you’re in.
Tip: If you’re park hopping, and visiting two parks in one day, some people like to book their three Fastpass+ reservations for the second park. They’ll get to the first park at rope drop (or before to get to the front of the crowd) and enjoy the rides they’re most interested in before the crowds and queues grow too large. Another strategy is to book all your Fastpass+ reservations for the first park. When you’re done with all three, you can start making reservations for your second park, one at a time.
Can I change my FastPass+ reservations?
Yup. You can do it in advance on your computer or mobile device in My Disney Experience. You can also change your reservations at the park using a kiosk, or you can use My Disney Experience on your mobile device.
Tip: My Disney Experience gives you current wait times for rides and attractions. If you can, you might want to see if you can get FastPass+ reservations for the ones that have the longest waits. Of course it’s best to get your reservations as far in advance as possible so you can get FastPass+ reservations for your first choice attractions, but it can’t hurt to make changes while you’re in the park, if they’re available.
What if I can’t get a FastPass+ reservation for the attraction I want?
Some of the FastPass+ reservations go quick. There’s no guarantee that you’ll get the ones you want during the time and date you’re hoping for. If there’s a FastPass+ that you really want to get, you may want to try juggling your park days around to see if you can get it on a different day.
Here are some other options:
- If you can’t get a FastPass+ for a particular attraction, you can always use the trusty stand-by line. Of course you’ll have a much longer wait time.
- If you’re a Disney resort guest, you can try Extra Magic Hours. Disney allows resort guests into a park either before regular hours begin, or they can stay after the park closes to everyone else. Wait times for attractions are usually much less than during regular park hours.
- Try getting to the parks at rope drop, first thing in the morning. Once you’re allowed into the park, head straight over to the attraction of your choice. You’re likely to have a much lower wait time than later in the day.
- Take advantage of special ticketed events. Disney has evening events such as Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party and Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party in the Magic Kingdom. These have limited tickets available, so the lines have tended to be shorter. However we’ve been hearing lately that these events have been relatively crowded with longer lines than in the past.
- Disney World has been experimenting with separately ticketed “After Hours” or “Early Hours” events at Magic Kingdom and Hollywood Studios, though it’s unknown at this time if this will be permanent.
- Don’t give up! Try again, and try frequently. People cancel and your attraction may become available. It’s worth a shot to keep trying.
Tips for getting hard to get Fastpasses
There are a few Fastpass+ reservations that are harder to get then others. Most won’t be a problem, but the following are currently very difficult to get:
- Flights of Passage at Animal Kingdom
- Na’vi River Journey at Animal Kingdom.
- Frozen Ever After at Epcot
- Seven Dwarfs Mine Train
They’re especially difficult to get if you’re not staying on Disney property because all of those who are staying on Disney property were able to get their Fastpass+ reservations before you.
Here are some tips for increasing your chances of getting them.
- Try to get your Fastpass+ reservations on the very first day that you’re allowed to, at your earliest start time.
- Try to get all the harder to get Fastpass+ reservations first, like Flights of Passage in Animal Kingdom.
- Go to the farthest day out of your trip that you can get a Fastpass, and try there first. Once you fill in those hard to get Fastpass+ reservations, you can add the rest of them in.
How do I Use my FastPass+ Reservations in the Disney World Parks?
- When you make your reservations, you’ll get window in which to arrive at your selected attraction. Most of the time it’s a 1 hour window, but for some attractions such as certain shows, it will be less.
- At any point during that time window, head to the attraction and walk to the FastPass+ Return line, bypassing the Stand-By line.
- You’ll be directed by a Cast Member to scan your ticket or MagicBand at the attraction entrance. Sometimes you’ll have to scan it a second time when you’re in the queue.
Scheduling Tip #1 for your Fastpasses – Combine rope dropping rides with Fastpass:
Here’s a strategy many people like to use.
If they’re going to the park at at Rope Drop (when guests are first allowed to go on rides and attractions), many people like to head over to the most in-demand rides first, before using the Fastpass+ system.
The lines are usually much shorter right after Rope Drop, so for the first hour or so after park opening, they’ll use the Standby lines instead of Fastpass+ reservations. They’ll schedule their three Fastpass+ reservations about an hour or two beyond Rope Drop. So for example if the park opens at 8 am, they might schedule their three fastpasses around 10 am, 11 am and 12 pm.
Remember, once those three Fastpasses are used up, you can get an unlimited number of Fastpasses, but only one at a time. We do find that the Fastpasses for the hardest to get rides and attractions are often gone, but people cancel and you can get lucky!
Scheduling Tip #2 for your Fastpasses – How to minimize excess walking:
There’s so much walking in the parks, that it can get tiring. Try to minimize your walking when you make your Fastpass reservations. You’ll want to avoid timing your Fastpass+ reservations so that you’ll be running from one end of the park to the other.
To do that, here’s one possible strategy.
Think about where in the park the attractions you’re Fastpassing are. In fact, take a look at the Disney World Map page and enlarge the map so that you can see the attractions in the park you’re planning for. Then try to time your three Fastpass+ reservations so that you can do whatever else you want to do in the general area of each Fastpass, without having to rush from one side of the park to the other.
So for example, you might make a Fastpass reservation for Buzz Lightyear Space Ranger Spin in Tomorrowland. You may also want to ride on Astro Orbiter and see the Carousel of Progress, also in Tomorrowland. You can leave enough time between your Buzz Lightyear Fastpass and your next Fastpass so that you can do these other things in Tomorrowland.
Or you can make multiple Fastpass+ reservations in the same general area. For example you could Fastpass Buzz Lightyear and Space Mountain, which are both in Tomorrowland. This will minimize your walking!
For complete directions on how create FastPass+ reservations, visit the following page:
For more Disney World planning tips, check out this page here:
Do you have more FastPass+ tips? Please feel free to post them in a comment below.
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