One of the best perks for both on-site and off-site guests at Walt Disney World is Disney’s Fastpass+ system. Under the system visitors to a Walt Disney World theme park can choose up to 3 FastPasses a day that will allow them to move to the front of the line at some of their favorite attractions. The system is absolutely fantastic and can really cut down on the time that your family will spend toughing it out in line, particularly during peak times. However, for a lot of first-time Disney visitors, organizing and getting the most of your FastPasses can be a bit tricky. That’s why, with the busy Summer months approaching, we here at Disney Addicts thought we’d share with you some FastPass Dos and Don’ts to help ease you into the planning process.
1.DO Pay Attention to Booking Windows – Planning a Disney vacation is no longer a simple as booking a room, purchasing park tickets and showing up on the day. Now visitors are encouraged to figure out their plans well in advance in order to take full advantage of the system. One of the most important dates that goes into planning your Disney vacation is the date at which you can book your FastPasses. For guest staying onsite at a Walt Disney World Resort you can do this 60 days out starting at 7am in the morning. Those staying offsite need to wait until the 30 day mark before making their bookings. Is it necessary to make your selections that far out? Absolutely. FastPasses for the most popular attractions can actually fill up well in advance so if there’s rides on your must-do list, the earlier you book the better.
2. DON’T Try to Book FastPasses at More Than 1 Park Per Day – I’ve lost count of how many first-time Disney planners have reached out to me saying that they weren’t able to book all 3 FastPasses on a particular day. Typically the reason for this is that guests will try to book FastPasses across more than one theme park. The current FastPass system does not allow you to park hop with your first 3 FastPasses. So you must use all 3 at the SAME park. Once you’ve used up your first three you can move to another park and use a 4th or 5th but these cannot be booked in advance and can only be booked after you’ve used your first 3.
3. DO Plan out Your Route – As you prepare to make your FastPass bookings it pays to familiarize yourself with the parks and to plan out your routes for each day. This will help you avoid first-timer mistakes like zigzagging across the park to get from one FastPass location to another. There’s a wide range of options available at each park and you can select the times that you want to use your FastPasses for at each attraction. With a little bit of careful planning you can avoid situations like running from Tomorrowland to Frontierland and then back to Tomorrowland. Your feet will thank you!
4. DON’T Book FastPasses for First Thing in the Morning – A common mistake a lot of first time FastPassers make is booking their first FastPass right at park opening at 9am. This is generally not a good idea. The reason being is that when you arrive at the parks first thing in the morning, chances are that the lines will be the shortest that they will be all day. This means that the better option would be to simply get into the Stand-by line of rides with shorter lines and save your FastPasses for when crowds reach their peak around lunchtime.
5. DON’T use your Fastpass if the Stand-by Lines are Reasonable – This is similar to the point outlined above. Let’s say you have a FastPass for Splash Mountain, you arrive there with your family and find that the Stand-by line is only 20 minutes long. Then get in the Stand-By line and don’t use your FastPass! The FastPass system works best when you’re using it for rides with lengthy wait times. If an attraction that you have a FastPass for doesn’t have a long line then change your FastPass selection (using the My Disney Experience phone app or at a FastPass kiosk) to something with longer lines. There is a Wait Time feature on the app which can help you make a more appropriate selection. You can make changes to an existing FastPass right up until your booking window is set to expire. After that you’ve lost that FastPass.
6. DO Book FastPasses for Avatar Flight of Passage or Na’vi River Journey – So with the opening of Pandora in just a few short weeks, everyone will be clamoring to experience the new rides and attractions. Make getting a FastPass for one of these hotly anticipated rides a priority. When booking your FastPasses, Disney doesn’t require you to book day by day in order. Jump to your Animal Kingdom day and lock one of these babies in! Notice I said “one of these.” For the time being Disney is only allowing guests to PICK ONE Avatar attraction as a FastPasses, you can’t book both. So here’s a little bit of a write up we’ve done on each. It’s decision making time.
As a rule of thumb, and using Pandora as an example, its always best to book FastPasses for attractions that have the longest lines. For instance Splash Mountain and Seven Dwarfs Mine Train are much better choices that Haunted Mansion or Under the Sea. If you’re planning a Disney vacation for the first time and aren’t sure what rides have the longest lines do a bit of research or ask your Travel Agent.
7. DON’T Use FastPasses for Nighttime Shows like IllumiNations – Disney does offer FastPasses for evening fireworks displays like IllumiNations at Epcot. Unless this show is absolute tops on your must-do list and you don’t feel like scouting in advance for a viewing location than I usually say avoid the fireworks FastPasses. The reason being is that it automatically eliminates your ability to book a 4th or 5th FastPass because you aren’t using your 3rd FastPass until later in the evening.
8. DON’T Get your Hopes Up for That 4th and 5th Fastpass – One of the FastPass perks that people tend to get the most excited about is the ability to book additional FastPasses after you’ve used up your initial 3. However, its important to manage expectations. By the time you’ve used you 3 Fastpasses and are ready to go to the 4th, you will likely be approaching late afternoon. By this point, it is not uncommon to see many of the headlining attractions like Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, Space Mountain, or Expedition Everest, completely sold out of FastPasses for the day. This means that more than likely, you’ll be using your additional options on non-headlining attractions. If there’s a ride you really want to enjoy ALWAYS include it in your original three.
One final tip before we leave you to your Disney planning. If at first you don’t get the FastPass that you want, keep trying. Like dining reservations, FastPass availability is constantly changing right up until your day at the park. If you’ve tried to book your favorite attraction only to find that it wasn’t available keep checking back. Its not uncommon for availability to open up when you least expect it.
Questions about FastPasses or making the most out of your visit to Disney? Feel free to drop me an email at [email protected].
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Find articles like this helpful? Then why not consider booking with an Authorized Disney Vacation Planner? As an agent with MickeyTravels, I’ll be on hand to help you with everything from finding your perfect package to nabbing those hard-to-get dining and Fastpass reservations. Best of all my services are absolutely FREE. Get in touch at 1.800.801.4025, via email at [email protected] or follow along on Facebook.
Images copyright Disney
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