Last updated 1/17/2020
Since I’ve started working for UNIGLOBE Ohio Valley Travel, one of the most frequent questions I get from clients is:
why do I need to book my Fast Passes (FP+) so far in advance of my vacation and how do I know which attractions to choose?
Both very good questions! The short answer is that early booking gives you more control over your vacation. While our clients receive, (for free!), one on one assistance curtailed to the unique dynamics of each party, below is a general explanation addressing these questions. I’ll spare you the history lesson on Fast Passes and get right to what you need to know!
FastPass+ is a free service included in your Walt Disney World® Resort ticket price. The FP+ systems allows guests to reserve times for up to three attractions in the same park, per day, during your visit, so you do not have to wait in the standby line. FP+ give you a one hour window in which you can arrive for the selected attraction. Guests staying at a Walt Disney World® Resort property are given some significant perks over guests staying elsewhere. One of these perks is the ability to reserve Fast Passes 60 days before your arrival date. Guests staying off-site must wait until 30 days before their trip. While this ensures Walt Disney World® Resort guests first dibs at Fast Pass attractions, there are still a LOT of Disney guests with whom you are competing! So the wisest of guests, who know how the system works, will be jumping on their computer, with their My Disney Experience account all properly set up at exactly 7am on the 60 day mark to get the FP+ they want AT THE TIMES THEY WANT.
Depending on the type of person you are, there are different things you may wish to plan around on your vacation. If you like parades, you may want to schedule your FP+ so that you won’t miss the fantastic daily parade in Magic Kingdom. If you have Epcot dining reservations, you may want to schedule your FP+ for Mission Space BEFORE you eat. Or maybe you want to return to your hotel for an afternoon swim and would like your FP+ all earlier in the day.
As the saying goes, the early bird gets the worm. Reserving FP+ early in your booking window allows you to plan the day according to what YOU want to do. If you delay, chances are you will be taking whatever time is left, IF there are any at all. FP+ are limited and the popular attractions WILL RUN OUT. Also, for those who REALLY love to save time, it is important to note that once you have used your initial three FP+, you can reserve another one for the same day. And if you use that one, you can book a fifth. This method tends to work best if your initial three FP+ are booked earlier in the day. The attractions which have same day fast passes available are not terribly busy, but booking them will save you a bit of time not spent waiting in standby lines.
So for which attractions should you use your FP+? Again, this depends on your traveling party. Families with small children will likely not want the same selections as a party of teenagers or thrill seekers. UNIGLOBE clients will receive personal recommendations based on their party through UNIGLOBE’s Magical Concierge Service. However, generally speaking, these are the most popular attractions that have the longest standby lines; making them excellent selections for FP+. (Note: Many attractions have height requirements so these will not be suited for all persons.)
Magic Kingdom: Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, Peter Pan’s Flight, Space Mountain, Splash Mountain, Big Thunder Railroad, Jungle Cruise
EPCOT: Soarin’, Test Track, Frozen Ever After
Hollywood Studios: Toy Story Mania, Slinky Dog Dash, Alien Swirling Saucers, Tower of Terror, Rock ‘N’ Roller Coaster
Animal Kingdom: Flight of Passage, Na'vi River Journey, Kilamanjaro Safaris, Expedition Everest, Dinosaur
Below is a sample of FassPass+ selections from My Disney Experience:
Finally, some tips and other items to note. First, a reminder that if you are on the dining plan or have booked table service meals, give yourself plenty of time to eat and travel to your FP+ destination. This is especially important if you are coming from a location outside of the parks as you will have to travel to the park AND get through security.
Second, while you can in theory skip a FP+ you have reserved without consequence, it is polite to cancel it so that others trying to reserve FP+ may use it. Once a FP+ is canceled, it goes back into the system for other guests. If you find you cannot make it in the window to your FP+ it is best to cancel it or change it to a later time via the My Disney Experience mobile app on your phone (be sure to download that before leaving home) or at a FP+ kiosk in the park.
Third, if you are traveling with small children and wish to experience the more thrilling attractions, Walt Disney World® Resort offers a ride swap option so that one adult may ride first, while the other stays with the child(ren). You are given a ride swap ticket, the other parent may ride later in the day without waiting in the standby line. If you plan your trip well, you can schedule a FP+ for one parent to experience one of these attractions, and the non-riding parent and the child(ren) can schedule their FP+ at the same time on another attraction, in a sense, increasing your total FP+ experiences.
Fourth, please be aware that Animal Kingdom, EPCOT and Hollywood Studios all have a tiered fast pass system in which you may only chose 1 Tier 1 attraction, and may choose 2 from Tier 2. For example, in Tier 1 at EPCOT you much choose between Frozen Ever After, Test Track and Soarin', all of which are top rated attractions. If your vacation stay is long enough, you can select a different Tier 1 attraction when making plans for visiting EPCOT on a second day.
And last, before your 30 or 60 day window, you will want to make sure you have your My Disney Experience account properly set up with your reservations, tickets, and family/friends all linked so that you can book with ease! I cannot stress enough how important it is to check this early. Last, if you did succumb to procrastination, rest assured. If you arrive at the parks just before its scheduled opening time, you can hit those popular attractions first thing without the hours long wait. No matter what, relax and go with the flow. Rest assured, you will at least be at Walt Disney World® Resort, while the rest of us are facing our daily routines here at home instead of at the most Magical Place on Earth!