FastPass+ is a free perk to all Walt Disney World guests, making it easier to plan your day and guarantee you will experience your favorite attractions. Theoretically.
Personally, I have a love/hate relationship with FastPass+. Ever the Uber-Planner, when FastPass (the original) was first introduced in 1999, I loved the idea guaranteeing a spot on my favorite ride and waltzing past the other guests like a VIP. But as FastPass has evolved, I’ve begun to resent it more and more.
That’s not to say it doesn’t have its advantages. But, being strapped to a specific schedule, visit after visit, has gotten old. And, I miss the old “paper” system when we could pass along any of our unused FastPasses to unsuspecting visitors.
But any whining here is not going to change things. FastPass+ is here to stay. And anyone who wants to make the most of their Disney vacation must bite the bullet and make those FastPass reservations. (How to? Click here.)
Here’s what you didn’t know you didn’t know about FastPass+….
They are unlimited. Sort of. You can make up to three FastPass+ reservations at a time in one park. After that, you can obtain FastPasses, one at a time after your previous passes are used or have expired. Because Magic Kingdom does not utilize a tiered system (see below) this makes it the best park to attempt an unlimited FastPass kind of day.
All FastPasses are not created equal. Except for Magic Kingdom, the other three parks (EPCOT, Hollywood Studios & Animal Kingdom) have a tiered system. You may choose one FastPass from Tier One and two from Tier Two. This can make planning tricky. You need to decide which is the most important ride for your family and plan accordingly. If two attactions are must-dos, make a FastPass for one but make a beeline for the other as soon as the park opens. And some attractions absolutely need a FastPass due to their popularity. They are highlighted below.
EPCOT – Tier One: Frozen Ever After, Soarin‘ Test Track and Prime Illuminations Viewing. Tier Two: Just about everything else.
Hollywood Studios – Tier One: Toy Story Mania, Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster, Fantasmic and Beauty and the Beast – LIVE. Tier Two: Just about everything else.
Animal Kingdom. Tier One: Pandora’s two attractions – Avatar Flight of Passage and Na’vi River Journey. Tier Two: everything else.
Everyone in your party can FastPass in different directions. You do not have to stay with your party for every FastPass choice. One of our children (we won’t name any names) can not stomach Tower of Terror. So, two or three of us head straight for Tower of Terror and the others get prime seats at Indiana Jones Stunt Spectacular or Star Tours. FastPass+ is not a one size fits all kind of thing and there is plenty of wiggle room to please everyone in your group.
FastPass+ is free. I can’t tell you how many times, while I’m encouraging someone to utilize the FastPass+ system they say, “I can’t afford to pay for anything extra.” This is NOT that other park down the street. Disney’s FastPass is free and has always been free.
Three FastPasses means three FastPasses in ONE park. If you plan to visit another park in the same day, all three of your initial FastPasses must be used in one park before you can request one from another park. Honestly, we haven’t used this option very often. By the time we’ve used all three FastPasses, all the other popular attractions tend to be out of FastPasses. This “perk” has only benefited us a handful of times. But it can’t hurt to look. So, AS SOON as you complete your last FastPass, check the My Disney Experience app and try to score another in your preferred park. Good luck!
There is still a wait with FastPass. Especially during high season, expect to wait about 15% of the Stand-By wait time. For example, if the wait for Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster is 75 minutes, your FastPass wait will be about 15 minutes or less. During peak season, there are just that many more people in the parks, therefore, that many more people using FastPasses.
A FastPass scheduled right when the park opens is a wasted FastPass. If you follow my time-honored tip of getting to the park 30 – 45 minutes before it opens, you’ll waste your FastPass selections as the lines won’t be very long. Unless you WANT to waste a FastPass selection (which we’ve done before) in order to be able to add more once your 3 are used. Otherwise, it’s best to start activating FastPasses about two hours after the park opens.