FastPass+ is a virtual queue system that allows guests to reserve a spot in line for an attraction months before they even arrive in Disney World.
Guests can log on to MyDisneyExperience and choose from a variety of attractions. The reservation system is currently unique to Disney World in that there it isn’t done on the day of arrival – it is done in advance. Club Level guests can book 90 days in advance, guests of the Disney resort hotels can reserve 60 days ahead of time, and off-site guests can make selections 30 days before their vacation.
Booking a FastPass can be confusing, so I’m here to help you make the best selections and make your vacation as fun and relaxing as possible.
1. Choose the most popular rides
The easiest way to make your FastPass+ selections, and probably the most obvious, is to choose the most popular attractions – those with the longest lines. In the tiered parks, you can choose one attraction from Tier 1 and two from Tier 2.
At Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Slinky Dog Dash often has long wait times in Toy Story Land. If you have kids who are not tall enough for Slinky Dog Dash (minimum 38″), choose Alien Swirling Saucers for your First Tier option instead. For Tier 2, I suggest either Star Tours, Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, or Rock ‘n’ Rollercoaster. Once Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge opens in August, 2019, these tiers will likely change again to reflect the new attractions in that land.
In Epcot, there are three good choices for Tier 1 including Frozen Ever After (good for the whole family), Test Track, and Soarin Around the World (both have a minimum of 40″ height requirement). Tier 2 suggests include Mission: Space and the Epcot Character Spot.
Magic Kingdom is the only Disney World theme park that doesn’t currently divide their attractions into tiers, so the top selections include Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, Space Mountain, and Splash Mountain. These tend to have the longest wait times even on less crowded days.
2. Don’t choose your favorites
The above attractions are, of course, just suggestions. You can choose your favorite attractions regardless of their popularity or wait times, but there a good reasons you may not necessarily want to do that.
Whether you really love a very popular attraction or not, if you still think you might ride it, choosing a FastPass will mean you’ll wait less for an attraction that isn’t tops on your list.
If your favorite attraction is less popular, the wait time might not be very long, so you still won’t wait very long.
3. Make FastPasses early in the day
Make your FastPass+ reservations for early in the day but not first thing in the morning and use them all. (Keep reading.)
4. Be there before the park opens
When you’re actually in Disney World, arrive before the park opens and head straight to your first choice and most popular attraction. Lines will be very short, and you might even be able to walk on a couple times before lines reach a “wait” time. (Keep reading.)
5. Book more FastPasses
Once you’ve walked onto a few attractions then used up all your FastPasses (hopefully before lunch), you can book more FastPasses either from your smartphone on the MyDisneyExperience app or from a FP+ Kiosk. This means that you can book more than three FastPasses in a day. In fact, you can keep returning to book more FastPasses as long as there are reservations available, as determined by Disney’s complicated and complex queueing system.
Some FP reservations do sell out, so there might not be popular reservations left, but even less popular options are good because you’ll skip long waits.
6. Use the single rider option
Some of Disney’s most popular attraction (Expedition Everest, Test Track, and the Rock ‘n Roller Coaster for example) have Single Rider Lines. A Single Rider Line is separate from the Standby Line and the FastPass Line and often moves much faster because there are fewer people in line than even the FP queue.
The only problem with Single Rider Lines is that if you enter with another person in your group, there’s no guarantee that you’ll get to ride with them. However, if you don’t mind possibly riding a vehicle or two apart, the Single Rider Line is a great option to experience an attraction without waiting in line and without having a FastPass.
7. Choose FastPass+ selectively
So I’ve already said that you should choose the most popular attractions and that you can bypass the wait time with the single rider option, but there’s an even better way to limit your choices when making FP+ selections.
As a general rule, book FastPasses for very popular rides with long waits that you can’t ride early in the morning and that don’t have a single rider option.
8. Do not use FastPasses for shows
Regardless of how much you love a particular show, avoid booking a FP+ for a it. Why? Most shows have very large capacities. Three of the parks nighttime spectaculars take place in the air and be seen even outside of Disney property.
Disney’s Hollywood Studios’ Fantasmic is the only nighttime spectacular that takes place in a theater, and the theater can hold nearly 10,000 people with almost 7,000 of them sitting and the rest standing. There is often plenty of seating, but it does fill up during busy times. If you’re really worried about getting a seat for this show, book an ADR Dining Package, which comes with preferred seating for the show. ADR Dining Packages are also available for Rivers of Light in Disney’s Hollywood Studios.
You can also book Advanced Dining Reservations for other nighttime shows. There are restaurants in both World Showcase and Magic Kingdom that offer excellent views of IllumiNations and Happily Ever After, respectively. Some Disney Resort Hotels offer impressive views of the Magic Kingdom fireworks as well including Disney’s Polynesian Resort and Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa from the beach and Disney’s Contemporary Resort Hotel especially from California Grill.
9. Book a Character Meal instead
There’s also a good alternative to booking a Character Meet and Greet even though I did suggest the Epcot Character Spot. This, as well as Meet Favorite Disney Pals at Adventures Outpost, is a great Character Meet and Greet, but a better option is to book a Character meal because you’ll get much more quality time with the characters than you will at a public meet and greet.
Sure, a character meal will cost you much more than a meet and greet (which is included with your park admission), but it may well be well worth it. If you absolutely can’t book a Character Dining Experience or you want to meet a character that doesn’t host a meal, the meet and greets are still a great option, but don’t waste your FastPass+ here.
10. Set your alarm
Now that you know all the tips for booking and using your FastPasses, it’s time to put it all into action.
The FastPass+ system opens up at 7am EST 90, 60, or 30 days ahead of your vacation depending on where you’re staying. If you’re at Disney Resort Club Level, there’s a good chance that you’ll get your favorite attractions. Even at the 60-day mark, you still have a good selection as long as you’re logged in at 7am to make your selections. This is the largest group of visitors, so options go quickly at this time. By the 30-day mark, there’s a chance that the most popular attractions will be full. However, there are still good options.
Bonus: If you don’t get your favorite attraction on your first try, keep checking back. People are constantly making changes to their FP+ lineup, so you just might get lucky and snag a sought after attraction. It can happen even at the last minute!