Like it or not, touring at Disney World now includes using the FastPass+ service. Gone are the days of the most athletic in your family sprinting around the park to gather paper FastPasses for everyone to use over the course of the day. With the advent of these changes, any Disney trip must come with a certain degree of planning – the most important of the planning must include scheduling your three FastPass+ during your booking window. While some attractions are more popular than others, here are our top five tips for scoring that hard-to-get FastPass+!
5 – Advanced Planning – before making your FastPass+ reservations, you need to know the rules – guests who are staying on property, can make their FastPass+ reservations 60 days before their arrival on property. If you are staying off property or are an Annual Passholder, you can make FastPass+ reservations 30 days before your trip. Guests also need to be mindful of the attractions they want to experience (families with teenagers may like the thrill rides, while those travelling with toddlers may want to try the Fantasyland attractions). Guests also need to remember that Disney employs a tiered FastPass+ system at Epcot and Hollywood Studios that limit their headline attraction selection at both parks (at Epcot, guests must choose between Soarin’, Test Track, or Living with the Land; at Hollywood Studios, the selections are Toy Story Midway Mania, Rock and Roller Coaster, Fantasmic!, the Great Movie Ride, and Beauty and the Beast Live on Stage).
4 – Consider Your Touring Plan – parks are busy at different times and that impacts the availability of FastPass+ – for example, Epcot tends to be busier on the weekend than during the week. If your time at Disney World allows for it, consider moving around your days in the park to account for crowds and when Extra Magic Hours are happening to help in securing your FastPass+ selections.
3 – Be Flexible – some guests want to experience attractions on their schedule, but if you are willing to be flexible with your times, you may be able to schedule that FastPass+ during less popular times (during a parade or during traditional mealtimes).
If your FastPass+ isn’t available when you first make your selections, don’t fret. You can continue to check back with the app and see if availability has opened up because of other people moving their selections or Disney opening up more FastPass+ spots based on crowd levels. You may not want or need a FastPass+ for the Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, but you can always swap it later for Peter Pan’s Flight or Pirates of the Caribbean later.
2 – Make Selections Early/Start Early – guests who want FastPass+ selections for the newest, most popular attractions need to make their selections beginning at the 60 day window. FastPass+ for Princess Fairytale Hall and Seven Dwarfs Mine Train routinely are snatched up within a few days of becoming available.
If you are not able to do that, try getting to the park as close to rope drop as possible and head directly to a FastPass+ kiosk that are staffed by cast members. Disney appears to hold a number of FastPass+ selections, even for the most popular attractions, for “day guests” to make their selections. You may have some luck scoring the elusive FastPass+ using this method.
1 – Use Your Fourth FastPass – after using your three FastPass+ selections, guests are able to get additional FastPass+ selections one at a time. Again, depending on demand, guests may be able to grab an additional FastPass+ this way. I have had the most luck using this method at the Magic Kingdom (because of the lack of tiered experiences and the multiple attractions at this park).
If you aren’t able to get these elusive, hard to get FastPass+ experiences, you can always use the trusted tips of trying to ride those rides first thing at rope drop or during Extra Magic Hours. Also, I was able to ride a lot of headline attractions during the special event parties at Disney World with minimal lines because everyone else was trying to meet characters, if you attend these parties and aren’t concerned with character greetings, you can always try this method, too!
For more information about FastPass+ visit Disney.com.
BONUS TIP: Consider planning and booking your next Disney trip with an Authorized Disney Vacation Planner you can trust like Mickey Travels. They’ll help you get the best Walt Disney World deal, share expert advice and their services are totally FREE! It’s genius!
Photo courtesy of Disney Photo Snapper