So you’re planning a trip to Disney World and you need to learn about the FastPass+ system, because everyone talks about it, and it seems like it’d be super easy. It’s the lifeblood of Disney planning and something that you have to have.
Right? ……. and then you stare at the app because you have NO CLUE what Fastpasses you actually need, and what rides you can pass on because they don’t have lines.
You open the app, you close the app. You read some post on Pinterest and you google for answers.
Ehhh- I’ll do it later is the mentality you have.
Then you watch some instagram stories, see how the Disney bloggers manage to knock out 6 fast passes in one day and you start to panic. And then you research some more. Why is it that the Fastpass system is so complicated?
You just need a super basic breakdown.
unless you need money saving tips to actually GET to Disney World. Which I totally get too.
Like what exactly is a FastPass? And what rides can it be used on? and what rides aren’t worth your valuable fastpass?
The good news is that we have you covered! The bad news is… well there’s no bad news!
FastPass+ is so easy to use at Disney World ONCE YOU KNOW WHAT TO LOOK FOR and the best part is that there is no extra charge to use it! If you have a valid park ticket, you automatically get access to FastPass+.
And if you are totally lost, you need to check out this beginner’s section for planning and mastering your Disney World vacation.
This post contains affiliate links at no extra cost to you, check out my affiliate disclosure for more information and all the legal mumbo jumbo.
To start with, What exactly is a FastPass+?
The theory of Fast pass is simple, the application though, requires a little more knowledge.
In a nut shell, you skip the line with a pass. And it’s included in your park ticket. Or your magic band.
In official terms, The FastPass+ allows you to bypass the regular line, for a ride or attraction, and enter through the FastPass+ line, which is much shorter.
When crowds are heavy, regular “stand-by” lines can reach at least 120 minutes for the popular rides (think Flight of Passage and Slinky Dog Dash), but if you have a FastPass+, your wait time can be about 20 minutes on average.
Because it doesn’t move you to the very front of the line- but more like to the front section. Sometimes that’s a 5 minute wait, some times it’s a 20 minute wait.
These Fastpass are scheduled at certain times throughout the day, that you select either ahead of time, or the day off.
If you have a magic band, the information will be stored there. Otherwise it is stored on your park entry card (sometimes you can get paper tickets too- but that isn’t normally the case)
How Do I Get a FastPass+?
Everyone with a valid park ticket is eligible to select FastPass+ for free (it’s ALWAYS free). You can schedule them on the Disney Website.
Guests staying at a Disney owned resort may begin making FastPass+ reservations via the free My Disney Experience mobile app or My Disney Experience website 60 days before before check-in.
Non-resort guests can begin booking their FastPass+ selections 30 days before park arrival, you’ll have to select a date for park arrival.
You will need to login or make a Disney account to use the app and link either your vacation package reservation number or link/purchase park tickets before you can make reservations.
Simply click “Get FastPass+” and you will be shown a list of available FastPass+ to choose from.
You can add friends and family to your account to make reservations for the entire group. Simply add their names or send them an email invitation to link through a Disney account. Once valid park tickets are verified, you can select FastPass+ for everyone.
The key is that you can’t do anything until you have park tickets or annual passes.
You can also select FastPasses at the Parks where they have kiosks for Fast Pass selection.
How Do I Use the FastPass+
If you’re staying on-site at a Disney Resort, you will be sent MagicBands.
A MagicBand is a waterproof bracelet that is linked to your park tickets, allows you to open your resort room door, make purchases and use for FastPass+! Once you make your FastPass+ selections, they are automatically linked to the corresponding MagicBand.
The ones that you are sent are plain colored and you can swap them out with different ones. In fact, you can have MULTIPLE magic bands. You could have one for EVERY DAY OF YOUR TRIP (i say that for those of us that like to color coordinate and plan pictures!)
Personally, I like to have two. One that I wear on my wrist and one that I keep in a puck holder.
Basically, this is the best thing for kids because the bands fall off so easily. You can wear it on your belt, on your neck, attached to your apple watch. The possibilities are endless.
When you arrive at the ride or attraction at the designated name time, simply scan your MagicBand on the Mickey Mouse RFID reader at the FastPass+ line entry. The ring around the Mickey head will turn “green” to allow you to enter. So simple!
If you aren’t staying at a Disney resort, you can purchase MagicBands online at the Disney Store or at any of the parks. They start at $12.99 each. (don’t purchase them offline unless they are sealed in original packaging, but you’ll have good luck on amazon. They can’t be reused from person to person. They only connect to ONE park pass and that’s it.)
You don’t have to have a MagicBand to use FastPass+ though, your park entry ticket can be scanned and used for FastPass+ whether you have a MagicBand or not!
How Many FastPass+ am I Allowed?
You are allowed to choose 3 FastPass+ selections per day in advance. Once you are in the park and use your FastPass+ selections, you can choose another from the available choices. You can continue doing this until park closing or there are no more selections available.
Can I Choose Any Ride or Attraction?
Not all attractions have FastPass+, for example, there isn’t a FastPass+ for Tom Sawyer Island in the Magic Kingdom. You simply wait in line to board one of the water rafts that travel to the island. The wait is never too long and the rafts move quickly too.
I’ll also note that Hollywood Studios, Epcot and Animal Kingdom have a tier system to make sure that the most popular rides and attractions are distributed fairly. and we don’t know when galaxy’s edge will do fastpasses either…
The rides are divided into tiers and you may only select one FastPass+ per tier in advance, and again, once you use all your FastPass+ selections or the window of time you selected has passed, you can choose more.
The Magic Kingdom does not have the tier system, but you can imagine how the most popular rides go quickly! Currently they are the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, Space Mountain and Peter Pan’s Flight.
Can I Use Park Hopper with FastPass+?
Yes! Once you are in the park and have used your advance FastPass+ selections, you can choose another FastPass+ for a different park.
You don’t have to physically be in the park that you are choosing a FastPass+ for, but this is only AFTER you have used the advance FastPass+ selections.
You are not able to choose FastPass+ for different parks on the same day in advance.
What you can do is use all your fastpasses at the first park, then hop to the second park. There you can use your app, or one of the fastpass kiosks to grab the new selections.
What if I need to Change a Selection?
Yes. You can modify or cancel FastPass+ selections via the app or website. If you’re in the park already, the selections may be slim though.
If you end up missing your fastpass because of severe weather there is still hope!
There’s been several times that we’ve gone to Disney World and the weather decided to act up. This last time was over the summer while we were at Epcot. We had just finished up our lunch at Garden Grill and had plans to head to frozen for our fastpass.
Unfortunately, at the same time, we had a torrential downpour come out of no where!
It soaked our stroller and our stuff, and because of that we missed our fastpass window.
Well, we went to the Cast Member that was at the Fastpass window for Frozen and explained the situation, we were about 45 minutes outside of our window because of the weather and she let us go through.
Talk about some pixie dust! But that has happened to us a handful of times over the years and they are normally very kind about it if we talk to them as soon as possible.
People think that they have to change their fastpass if they are going to be running late, and in reality, you can do what you want. BUT, you also need to know that you have a grace period when it comes to fastpasses.
Generally you have 5 minutes before you scheduled time and 15 minutes after your scheduled time to redeem your fastpass.
What If I’m Late to the Ride or Attraction?
You typically are allowed a 10 minute grace period after the time window booked.
It is really up to the cast member at the entrance to decide and if it is a heavy crowd day, you may be turned away. It’s important to get to the entrance within the hour time frame given to avoid any disappointment.
You can also show up 5 minutes EARLY- we love doing this because it makes it easier for us to get it done and move on to the next one!
What Should I Use My FastPass+ For?
Everyone has different rides and attractions at the top of their lists, but some stand out as the most popular, which equates to longer stand-by line times. To avoid these lines, try to get these FastPass+ when making your selections. These have consistently been the most popular FastPass+ picks for each park:
- Seven Dwarfs Mine Train
- Space Mountain
- Peter Pan’s Flight
- Avatar Flight of Passage
- Na’vi River Journey
- Rivers of Light
Hollywood Studios (don’t forget about Star Wars! Rumor has it that they are changing the tiers for fast pass at HS).
- Slinky Dog Dash
- Tower of Terror
- Alien Swirling Saucers
- Test Track
- Frozen Ever After
Secret Tricks for getting the most out of your Fast Pass
We all like a good secret right? Everyone is looking for hacks to make the most of there trip, I mean, you paid good money to go! And time is money, so we want to make the most of it.
If you’re staying on property
For starters, we can start with this first fastpass hack. IF you have booked at a resort this one will work for you!
Disney has stated that when you book at a resort that you can book your fastpasses 60 days in advance (and with a regular ticket just 30 days in advance).
So how do you use this to your advantage?
I’ll tell you. If your going to book on the 60th day of your arrival day, you want to start booking your fastpass on your departure day.
Ok, you don’t have to book 60 days out individually for your whole trip- you can book 60 days out for your entire trip, even if your departure day is 69 days out.
69 days out from departure means you book backwards, so the last day is the first day you pick your fastpasses for. It allows you to snag the really hard to reach ones without having much competition.
Work the app
Another way that you can get the fastpass you want it to work the app in your favor. How do you work it in your favor when it’s a set amount of fastpasses and numbers?
Basically, If you want a fast pass you might need to change the time. Let me show you with some pictures.
Normally, when you pull up the app, it looks something like this picture below. This is what most people see, and they don’t really give it another thought if they can’t find there times listed under morning, afternoon and evening.
BUT, and this is a big but.
If you click through to the individual times, there is a chance that you will find more fastpass+ selections.
This is especially true if you check several times in a day as plans are constantly changing!
How you book matters
Lastly, let’s talk about this important distinction when it comes to booking fastpasses. Now, I’ve got a cellphone and I had to set time limits on how much I use it and my apps, because it’s so addicting.
I know y’all know what I’m talking about! So when it comes to booking fastpasses, I almost always do it on my phone in the My Disney app. And there’s nothing wrong with that, it works very well.
BUT- if you book from the computer, you have a greater chance of grabbing some of those harder to find fastpasses faster than you would on your phone. It’s just basic understanding of technology. It’s easier to see the times on the desktop that it is on the app (that is constantly reloading).
Not only is the desktop helpful, but so is calling the Disney customer service line! Normally you will encounter a wait here (I’ve yet to call and have it go straight to a person), however, they can see times at other parks and dates in your stay that you can’t easily see on the desktop.
If you’re trying to snag a hard to find fastpass, I highly recommend giving them a call and asking if they have any recommendations or times available for you.
It’s a Wrap!
Now that you got the basics of how the FastPass+ system works, spend a little time going over the rides and attractions that you can choose from and select the best ones for you.
If you have any tips for FastPass+ or you want to share your experiences, let us know!