4 FastPass+ Strategies When Visiting Walt Disney World

FastPass+ is a blessing to all of you hoping to visit Walt Disney World.  Some have complained that the system favors those who plan ahead and that’s EXACTLY what it does.  Why is that a bad thing?  It eases the burden of needing to be at the park before it opens just to be able to reserve one of your favorite rides.  And with FastPass+ you can reserve up to three in advance instead of doing it one at a time like they do at Disneyland in California.  The FastPass+ system helps you get on more rides quicker.  This is especially great for families with young children.  You no longer have to worry about getting everyone up at the crack of dawn to make it to the parks on time, but instead can schedule your FastPass times according to your family’s timetable.

Riding on board the Seven Dwarves Mine Train is definitely worth using your FastPass+ selection
Riding on board the Seven Dwarves Mine Train is definitely worth using your FastPass+ selection

The way the system works is that you are allowed to reserve space on up to three attractions per park per day prior to your visit.  At the Magic Kingdom Park and Animal Kingdom you can choose any three experiences while at EPCOT and Disney’s Hollywood Studios you choose from one premium attraction and two other additional attractions.  After using your reserved selections, you can then make additional ones at kiosks located throughout the parks or on your My Disney Experience app on your smart phone.  When that one is used, you can then select another as long as they are available.

Test Track is one of the most sought after tickets - maybe second to Toy Story Mania
Test Track is one of the most sought after tickets – maybe second to Toy Story Mania

Wait to make reservation times for after lunch – Waiting until after lunch is a strategy that has always worked well for our family.  We can usually get on the best rides early in the morning without too much of a wait as long as you are willing to hop all over the park.  While there will be some line, it won’t be anywhere near as long as the line for rides in the afternoon when park attendance is at its peak.  Especially for attractions you REALLY want to ride more than once, we usually head to our favorites first AND use a FastPass+ selection for them also.  One time, by heading over to Expedition Everest first, we ended up riding it three or four times in a row in the space of about 30 minutes which still allowed us to go on the other attractions we wanted to hit without much of a wait there either.

Take into account your party’s mobility – If you are journeying through the park with people who would have difficulty getting from place to place quickly, it might make more sense to stack your FastPass+ selections for earlier in the day so you can use them up and then make additional selections afterward.  Only after making your first three are you able to add new selections.  This might also be a better strategy if you’re coming in the park with very young children.  When my daughter was 3 or 4, we always took a nap in the afternoon which allowed us to miss the most heavily populated times in the park and still go on quite a few attractions (while also minimizing the grumpiness factor).

During Star Wars Weekends, shows like this one ran out of FastPass+ tickets very fast
During Star Wars Weekends, shows like this one ran out of FastPass+ tickets very fast

Know which attractions are likely to run out of FastPass+ – Keep in mind that some attractions do run out of FastPass selections.  Definitely plan your visit accordingly.  In Magic Kingdom, you’re most difficult ticket will be Seven Dwarves Mine Train.  In Epcot, it’s Test Track for sure! At Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Toy Story Mania is the hottest ticket.  And at Animal Kingdom, Expedition Everest is the most popular (however that will most definitely change when Pandora opens to the public).  Of all the parks, Animal Kingdom is the easiest to book your FastPass+ options and at least for us we’ve found Hollywood Studios to be the hardest just because of Toy Story Mania which runs out exceptionally fast.  During high volume events like Star Wars Weekends where you can use your FastPass+ selections to reserve your seat at a show, expect those shows to also run out quickly so make sure to book those FIRST.

Expedition Everest single rider entrance off to the right of the regular and FastPass lines
Expedition Everest single rider entrance off to the right of the regular and FastPass lines

Take advantage of Single Rider lines – Keep in mind selected attractions do offer single rider lines, which can greatly help your “ride per hour” ratio.  Expedition Everest in Animal Kingdom, Test Track in EPCOT, and Rock ‘N’ Roller Coaster at Disney’s Hollywood Studios are great examples (and also three of the most popular).  While they do not guarantee that the single rider line will be any faster, it typically makes a significant difference.  Riding single rider in Expedition Everest and Rock ‘N’ Roller Coaster is similar to waiting in the regular line, but on Test Track the queue is more detailed and interactive in the FastPass line (and of course the regular line) than in the single rider line. The amount you are able to customize your car prior to your ride is much different.

Hopefully, using these strategies will help you make the most of your Walt Disney World vacation!

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