Once you’ve purchased your Disney tickets, you can begin creating a daily park itinerary. Before we begin, here are some general park day planning tips.
1. Link Your Tickets
If you purchased your tickets directly through Disney, they will probably already be linked to your Disney account. If not, it’s easy to link you tickets either from MDE (click “My Tickets”) or from a computer (go to the Disney site and click “My Disney Experience” in the upper right corner). You’ll want to make sure that your tickets are linked before moving on, so that you can create FastPasses for everyone in your party.
For each park, you’ll want to make a list of your must-do attractions. There are numerous ways to do this, but my favorite is printing off a map of the park that has the attractions listed. (You can google this easily.) Sit down with two colors of highlighters – one for your “A” list and one for your “B” list. Use MDE if you need help with descriptions. Prioritizing attractions helps you make the best use of time.
3. Check Wait Times
Zoom in on the Wait Times map on My Disney Experience (MDE). Locate your “A” list attractions and figure out which have the longest wait times. This is an important step in Fast Pass planning. For example, the Mad Tea Party may be on your “A” list, but you’ll notice from MDE that the wait times are generally low. Instead, you’ll want to choose something like Seven Dwarves Mine Train which usually has one of the longest wait times. Put a star by the attractions that you will try to Fast Pass.
Plan to arrive early to the parks. And by early, I mean before the park opens. Otherwise, traffic and security lines at opening time will hold you up significantly. (If you can’t arrive early, you’re actually better off waiting until 20 or 30 minutes after opening time.) Also, I highly recommend an afternoon break in your itinerary. Whether it be a little trip back to your resort or just putting sit-down, air-conditioned shows in your afternoon itinerary, you’ll benefit from some rest after lunch. Pacing is important, especially if you expect little ones to be in a magical mood at fireworks time.
Now you’re ready. When your FastPass window opens, be ready to make your reservation as soon as possible via the MDE app. Here’s what you need to know:
FastPasses can be reserved 30 days in advance for regular tickets or 60 days in advance for guests staying on Disney property.
You can reserve three FastPasses per day in advance, and they must be in the same park.
FastPass time slots are good for one hour. You can show up anytime within that hour time slot.
You cannot overlap FastPass hours on the same ticket. If you make a FastPass reservation for 9:00, your next FastPass will have to be 10:00 or later.
Once your original three FastPasses are used, you may reserve more one at a time from the MDE app or at an in-park kiosk. Additional FastPasses can be in any park, if you plan to park hop.
You’ll want to reserve your FastPasses for as early in the day as possible. That way, you’ll be able to reserve additional FastPasses sooner.
FastPasses in Epcot and Hollywood Studios are tiered, meaning you’ll need to make a decision about just one popular ride and two other less-popular rides. See step 6 below.
FastPasses can be modified—keep this in mind! If you really want a FastPass for Test Track and the only time available for your party is 6:00pm, go ahead and take it. Periodically you can check back to see if the time can be changed to an earlier slot.
Sometimes FastPass+ can be manipulated by choosing just one or two members of your party. For example, if the only time your party of six can get in to Toy Story Mania is 8:00pm, try going back to just choose one or two names from your list. Perhaps an 11:00 time shows up. Go ahead and take that. Once it’s reserved, you can try the “Change Party” button on the reservation. If that doesn’t work, try creating a separate reservation for the next one or two people in your party—you may end up getting lucky and a 11:15 slot shows up. Perfect! Take it! Now all of you can ride Toy Story Mania at 11:15.
There will always be a ride that meets the FastPass criteria (on your “A” list, typically long lines) for which you are unable to get a FastPass reservation. Make this your “rush ride”, meaning the ride that you rush to first thing in the morning. While everyone else is lingering for entrance pictures, make a beeline for your rush ride so you can enjoy the lowest possible lines of the day. (Come back for pictures later.)
7. Park Plans
Below you’ll find links to our recommended itineraries for each park. Obviously, these plans are just a general rule of thumb and you’ll want to adjust them for your group’s needs and desires using the tips you’ve worked through above.
You’ve done it! You’ve successfully navigated the major decisions of your Walt Disney World trip planning. Give yourself a round of applause! Relax and savor every moment, knowing that you’ve done everything possible to ensure a trip full of lasting memories.