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Disney World FastPass+ Tips and Touring Plan Strategies

Update for guests not staying at a Disney resort: As of March 31, you have the ability to book advanced FastPass+ reservations up to 30 days in advance. More details are available at this post.

Now that legacy FastPasses are no longer available and Disney has opened up FastPass+ to all park guests, we wanted to share some FastPass+ tips and strategies before you hit the parks. FastPass+ has some definite advantages over the legacy FastPass system. Chief among them is not having to trudge across the park to collect your FastPasses! But for those of you used to collecting more than three FastPasses a day, the new system may prove to be more challenging.

FastPass+ tips kiosk

Guests staying at the resort can make FastPass+ reservations up to 60 days in advance of their trip. Park guests who are staying off site can make reservations upon entering the park at one of the numerous FastPass+ kiosks.

The system works by having guests select three preferences from a list of attractions and entertainment options per day. After you make your selections, you are given a choice of hour-long blocks of time to experience those attractions. For those of you who haven’t yet experienced FastPass+, check out our step-by-step guide for using the in-park kiosks.

Our general FastPass+ touring plan strategy:

It hasn’t changed all that much with the integration of FastPass+. You will still see the very lowest waits of the day in the first few hours of the day when the park opens. We recommend riding the highest priority attractions with the lowest durations when crowds are lowest and saving FastPass+ until the afternoon when crowds are at their peak. If you arrive before park opening, you’ll be in prime position to ride most of the major attractions before lunch time. You can stop and have a meal, and then head to your first FastPass+ selections, either high-priority attractions you wanted to ride a second time for the day or other attractions and entertainment.

For families with younger children, it may make more sense to use FastPass+ in the evenings and take a break in the afternoon, go back to the hotel for a nap or a swim, and then come back to the park for a few more rides, the parade and fireworks.

Essentially, use FastPass+ as part of your general touring plan strategy not your entire strategy.

Here are our DisneyWorld FastPass+ Tips:

Attention, park hoppers! You’ll need to pick a FastPass+ park.

FastPass+ tips - kiosk

Yes, you can still use FastPass+, but you can only use it at one park per day. So if you’re planning on starting the day in Disney’s Animal Kingdom and hopping over to Magic Kingdom in the afternoon, know that you can only make FastPass+ reservations at one park. We recommend you use FastPass+ at the second park you’re headed to. Ostensibly if you’re visiting two parks, you will be starting at the first one early when crowd levels are lowest and probably wouldn’t need to use FastPass+ at that park anyway.

Choose your FastPass+ selections wisely

Disney more than doubled the number of attractions that accept FastPass+ over the previous FastPass system. We’re all in favor of more choices, but all attractions aren’t created equally. You want to make sure you use your FastPass+ selections on your favorite rides and those priority attractions with the longest wait times. To help you out, we made a list of priority attractions by park.

Here are the Top 3 FastPass+ priorities by park

FastPass+ tips - Magic Kingdom Attractions

Magic Kingdom Park

  • Peter Pan’s Flight
  • Enchanted Tales with Belle
  • Space Mountain

Epcot

  • Soarin’
  • Maelstrom
  • Epcot Character Spot

Disney’s Hollywood Studios

  • Toy Story Midway Mania!
  • The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror
  • Great Movie Ride

Disney’s Animal Kingdom

  • Meet Mickey and Minnie at Adventurer’s Outpost
  • Kali River Rapids
  • Expedition Everest

Want to see the full list? Check out on our Touring Plan page. It also lists the suggested sequence of lands or areas to visit by park. Each of these are among the most popular attractions within the park that see the highest wait times. In some of the parks, it’s an easier decision because of the abundance of high-priority attractions. At Epcot and Disney’s Hollywood Studios, it’s a more difficult decision, which brings me to my next point.

Mind the tier system at Epcot and Disney’s Hollywood Studios

FastPass+ tips Tier 1 Epcot

Epcot and Disney’s Hollywood Studios have a tiered structure in place for FastPass+ selections. You can make only one selection from the Tier 1 list of attractions and two selections from the Tier 2 list. The Tier 1 attractions include your main headliners, those attractions that you not want to miss. Not uncoincidentally, these are the same attractions with the longest waits.

Epcot Tier 1 Attractions and Entertainment

  • IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth
  • Maelstrom
  • Meet Disney Pals at the Epcot Character Spot
  • Soarin’
  • Test Track Presented by Chevrolet

Disney’s Hollywood Studios Tier 1 Attractions and Entertainment

  • Beauty and the Beast – Live on Stage
  • Fantasmic!
  • Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith
  • Toy Story Midway Mania!

We’ve bolded what we think are the best choices from the Tier 1 lists.

We chose Soarin’ because we know that if we hit Epcot at park opening, we can ride Test Track with a short wait and experience the full pre-show. Tad loves to design his own concept car, and for first-timers it’s really part of the full Test Track experience. We can continue to visit the other Future World attractions in the morning and then either schedule Soarin’ for the late morning before heading to World Showcase or later in the afternoon after spending time in World Showcase.

Those of you who have lined up outside of Disney’s Hollywood Studios for park opening and made the (very fast) walk to Pixar Place so you could grab one of the first FastPasses for Toy Story Midway Mania! can now rest a little easier. Thanks to FastPass+, you can make this your Tier 1 selection and select a reasonable time to ride. That’s what we would do. But we’d still arrive at park opening, hop over to Toy Story Midway Mania! and ride it first thing as well. If lines aren’t too long, we might even ride a second time. Then we’d head to Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster and The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror. But that’s just what we would do.

Choose the rides that are important to YOU and YOUR FAMILY

If you’re traveling with young children who aren’t 40 inches tall, character experiences might be your priority or some of the family friendly Disney classics that don’t necessarily have the highest wait times. Maybe you really love the parades and shows and would rather be guaranteed entry to them without waiting to get a seat or a dedicated viewing location. It’s really up to you. Decide what works best for your family.

Book FastPass+ Reservations early, but maybe not first thing.

Resort guests have the ability to book up to 60 days in advance, and we’d recommend booking FastPass+ reservations as soon as you have a good idea about which park you’re headed to on which day. You can always modify as you get closer to the trip.

FastPass+ tips kiosk

Guests not staying at the Disney World resorts, who are limited for now to making day-of reservations when they get to the parks, don’t necessarily have to book FastPass+ reservations first thing. If you’re arriving in the early morning, you don’t want to spend your precious touring time waiting in line for the FastPass kiosk. We recommend riding a few rides and hitting up a less busy FastPass+ kiosk along the way. If you happen to pass an empty kiosk, go ahead and make reservations.

Don’t wait in line for a FastPass+ kiosk if you can help it

FastPass+ tips - Storybook Circus kiosk

Generally at the beginning of the day, the kiosks closest to the park entrances can get quite crowded, while those toward the back of the park sit empty. Alternately, later in the day, the kiosks in the back of the park may be more crowded than those toward the entrances. There are TONS of FastPass+ kiosk locations around each of the parks. Look for the signs or ask a cast member for a less-crowded location.

Whew! I know that was a ton of information. We hope that these FastPass+ tips will help you on your next trip! Have more questions about FastPass+? Have FastPass+ tips to share? Leave them in the comments.

Hoppy planning!
Leap

 


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35 Responses to “Disney World FastPass+ Tips and Touring Plan Strategies”

  1. CommonSenseMom says:

    At many of the kiosks, they have workers there to do the fastpass stuff for you. One of the cast members was very adept and speeded up the process for me, but most of them slowed me down. Also, there were lines at nearly every kiosk for most of the day. You have to take a photo of the screen so you can remember the times. (You can always go back to a kiosk to check, but that involves waiting in line again.)

    • FrogBlog says:

      Great tips, CommonSenseMom!

      That’s a good point about remembering your FastPass+ selections. You have the option to email it as well, but taking a picture on your phone would be faster. You can also view it in the My Disney Experience app. Even folks who are not resort guests and can’t make reservations via the app yet can view their reservations.

      Leap

  2. Jake says:

    “You can make FastPass+ selections for any park from any of the kiosks.”

    Are you sure about that? A cast member specifically told me otherwise on my recent visit. (I was staying offsite.)

  3. Nicka says:

    Do you have any recommendations for using Fastpass+ with little kids to minimize wait times?

    We scheduled our trip in March with our 5, 3 and 1 year olds expecting to arrive at park open and utilize fast passes in our touring plan. We are offsite timeshare guests, so I am fairly devastated that we won’t be able to utilize the old system–as it seems that the fast passes get “sold out” by resort guests before we’ll have a chance to grab them.

    Any advice on how to manage this with 3 little kids (maybe utilizing waits at “interactive queue” rides) would be greatly appreciated to avoid as many meltdowns as possible.

    • FrogBlog says:

      Hi Nicka,

      If you arrive at the park before opening as we suggest in our touring plan, you should be able to see most if not all of your high priority attractions. We’d definitely recommend taking a break in the afternoon and returning to your hotel for naps and then returning in the evening for parades and fireworks.

      We haven’t read reports of FastPasses being “sold out” by resort guests. Please share if you have more information on this as we would most definitely be interested.

      Leap

  4. Lisa says:

    I hate this new system. As a family of six, that doesn’t like to ride all the same rides , it really messed us up. For instance, we all wanted to Fast Pass Peter Pan but since three of us wanted Space Mountain we couldn’t. This new system really messes with the spontaneity of a Disney vacation. Also, if you plan on going to one park and get your FP for that particular park and get there and it is swamped with tour groups (January is famous for its large Brazilian tour groups) you can’t leave to go to another park and FP there.

    I feel for those staying off-site. The lines at the kiosks were HUGE when we were there. Talked to some people that waited 20-30 minutes for kiosk use. To me it seems like Disney is trying to force people to stay on-site.

    • Kurt says:

      I agree!

    • Jill says:

      My family went to Disney in November and we used the new Fast Pass system…HATED IT!!! Even though we stayed on property and were able to make our reservations in advance, how was I supposed to know 2 months or even 2 WEEKS in advance which park we would be in on which days, and what the wait times would be for rides? And to complicate matters even worse, we were traveling with other family members and it was extremely difficult for us to coordinate our fast pass times, so we couldn’t even ride some of the rides together. I wasted so much time trying to figure out how to coordinate everyone’s reservations…that it probably would have been faster to just wait in line for the ride!

    • William says:

      Agreed, agreed, agreed!!!!!!

  5. Gavin says:

    Can 3 fast passes be booked across two different parks on the same day (ie. 2 in one park and 1 in another)?

    For off-site visitors can fast pass be booked via the My Disney Experience app on the day or only at a kiosk?

    What about editing bookings on the day via the My Disney Experience app for off-site visitors?

    Currently it seems off-site visitors are a bit second class with this new system.

    • FrogBlog says:

      Hi Gavin,

      To answer your questions. 1. No, FastPasses must be booked in the same park. 2. At this time, offsite guests cannot book FastPasses using My Disney Experience app. 3. Same thing, at this time, offsite guests must use the kiosks. It is expected that some of these will change as Disney fully rolls out the system — it is still officially in testing.

      Best,
      Leap

  6. Jody says:

    This system is totally awful. My son has a legitimate disability and we are now forced to wait in long lines not only for rides, but now to actually get fast passes so we don’t have to wait in line. Again, I have sent many emails to Disney to let them know what a terrible system this was going to be. We have four days left on a Park Hopper Passes. We will be selling them to whomever wants them, as we have no plans on going there now or anytime in the future. Discrimination at its worse!

    • ginger says:

      Sadly, you can’t use another persons ticket b/c of the finger printing
      as you enter. Selling tickets was ended many years ago.

  7. Nicka says:

    Hi Leap,

    My friend was in Magic Kingdom in January when Fastpass+ began mid-week. She said she tried to get a Fastpass at 9:30 am for Belle’s Enchanted Tales and the return time was 8:30 that night. Obviously with her 3 year old, that wouldn’t work, so she was able to work it out with the staff to let her in earlier—I guess because it was the first or second day the system was live.

    Since Disney is sending emails to resort guests to use Fastpass+, I could see that by the end of March most Fastpass+ tickets will be “sold out” to resort guests. Are they holding any back for off-site guests, or can all Fastpasses be reserved ahead of time? I’m really feeling upset that we are being treated as second-tier guests because we are staying in a timeshare offsite.

  8. Laura says:

    I was at Disney World last week and stayed off site. I was at Magic Kingdom and asked if I could make FastPass+ reservations for another park other than Magic Kingdom that day and the answer I received from a FastPass+ kiosk attendant was “no”. She told me that you were only allowed to make reservations for the park you were physically located in. Also, I was at Animal Kingdom one day at about 9:05 and the Fastpasses for Mickey-Minnie Character Greeting were not available. Another day I was at Magic Kingdom around the same time and the Fastpasses for Enchanted Tales with Belle were gone. This leads me to believe for some of the attractions the Fastpasses are already 100% reserved by guests staying on property. I have no desire to go back to Disney unless something changes.

  9. Gavin says:

    Hope it changes soon or I imagine there could be some large queues forming at booking kiosks if off-site guests can not use the mobile app.

  10. Cher says:

    We’re staying on-site this summer and I hate the new system already. It is just my young son and I and we have been coming the past few years. I had the old system down and could organize our day fine. How the heck can I plan a day with a child months in advance, maybe that day it may rain and we would rather go to another park, but then will lose our fastpasses, what if we get up and just feel like going to another park, or feel we need the day just to lounge around, we can’t! This is ridiculous, as someone else said, the spontaneous part of a ‘vacation’ is now something that has to planned to the finer detail of what time I can get my child around the park to be at a ride! Really!!! Is that what I’m paying for to stay at Disney. I’m very upset!! A vacation is supposed to be relaxing, not running around to be at a ride, it’s crazy… Also, I’d just like to say, that we only like 2 rides in one park, so since they happen to both be a tier 1, we now can only be ensured of getting a fast pass for one of them. What the heck!! And also, I don’t plan on staying at the parks till 8pm, so why the heck are people getting stuck with fastpasses at bedtime. Doesn’t matter if you’re on site or off, this new fast-passing really isn’t going to be that great for anyone except someone who runs according to a watch, which I don’t normally wear on vacation, since I run by my watch the rest of the year! Also, since we’re “ONLY” staying at a moderate resort, we can only pre-plan on 2 passes anyways. I really don’t like this new system, but then again, I think with the new bands, the meal plan and this new fast-pass system, Disney basically knows where everyone is at all times, what they eat, rides they prefer and with reservations, they can keep track of all that for each person and soon the deals will go by the wayside too since they’ll find a way to exclude or only include certain groups of people. Guess then it’ll be time to vacation elsewhere. Such a shame, because it does take the ‘magic’ out of the magical experience at Disney.

    • Chris says:

      I’m not sure why you think you can only book 2 fast pass selections…. We are staying in a moderate resort in April and I have booked 3 fast passes a day for the length of our stay.

    • Freddy says:

      I’m not sure if the fastpss+ is running different now but we stayed at moderate resort in October and used the fastpass+ system and I was planning all the times for me,my wife,a 10 year old and 1 year old and both grandparents. I liked how it worked. I did my research and scheduled the fastpass+ resvervations for later times in the day when the rides waits got longer.Since we stayed on site I could just use the app on our iphone to change the times,even up to 10 mintues before we were scheduled for our current fastpass+ time. Had to use this some as both children got sick after first day we were there. It took some getting use to but it was nice not having to run all over the park to get the paper fastpasses.Like most things there are plusses and draw backs. Changing times on the fly may be a little bit different now that the fasspass+ is open to all guests.Hopefully you can still get to enjoy your time there.I would call the disney help line as a resort guest with any questions and concerns. They are pretty helpful since this is new to most visitors.

  11. Jessica says:

    So let me get this right, after you wait in line to get in, and wait in line to get your bag checked, then you wait in line to sign up for a ride (assuming the on site guests didn’t book them all 2 months ago), and then you take a picture to know when to come back, then you go wait in line at the first ride, which by the time you’ve done all this waiting, will probably have a really long line? Definitely the feeling of a second class citizen if you stay off site. This “plus” feels more like a minus.

    • FrogBlog says:

      Hi Jessica,

      To be fair, the system is not fully launched and is still considered in test mode. Disney is expected to roll out the ability for park guests not staying at the resort to book in advance as well using My Disney Experience.

      Leap

  12. Laurie says:

    One caveat I’d add … if there’s an attraction you MUST DO, make that FP+ first – I was surprised to follow the common wisdom to ride a few first rides at rope drop at the beginning of Feb, only to find that ETWB was GONE by 9:30 … bottom line, know your priorities and plan ahead!

    • FrogBlog says:

      Yikes! Great advice, Laurie. This will be something we’ll be watching very closely as we head into the busier crowd season.

      Leap

  13. Marisa says:

    I am staying onsite for 5 days, and offsite for 4. I noticed my window of booking is 14 days. I don’t mean to cheat the system, but I was able to book FastPasses for the MK on my offsite day. I wasn’t able to do this even last week, but they must have updated the system, and I was able to do it this morning.

  14. Alyssa says:

    My sister and I are sitting at Orlando airport as I type. Just finished a 7 day park-hopper pass staying on property. Do not like new FastPass system!!! While I could make my FastPass reservations in advance and I did for some of the days, I decided to wait and see where we wanted to go on the last few days and then book the fast passes. On Sunday of this week I tried to get fast passes for toy story mania on Tuesday. None were left. Tried for today, Wednesday, none left. Two-three days in advance those fp were not available. :( .

    Also, the day we went to Animal Kingdom the FastPass line for Safari was longer than the standby line. We noticed it at other attractions as well.

    Just seems like there are many kinks to work out. Really loved the old system. Only perk I see in the new way is not walking all the way to the attraction to get the fast passes. But that never really bothered me anyway.

  15. Nick says:

    I don’t know that I see what the problem was with the old system – other than having to run across the parks first thing in the morning for the rides that fill out Fastpass early (Soarin’, Toy Story Mania, etc). Why not use the FP+ for those Tier 1 rides, but keep the old system in place for the others? With 3 kids, we were able to do so much in a day utilizing the old FP system as we went around the park and really limited much line-waiting (which can be aweful with 3 young kids). I feel that if we were to go now we’d spend 4 times as much of our day waiting in lines or trucking across the MK to get to our next fastpass because a nap, or other unexpected kid request didnt’ put us where we estimated we’d be. Sorry – for a family of 5 (6 if you include my mother who comes with us), it is infinitely more expensive to stay on site, so that’s not an option. With over a dozen trips to Disney in my lifetime – this is the first time I have been un-excited about going back.

  16. Donna says:

    We just returned from a trip to Florida where we stayed off-site and visited Disney 2 days (Magic Kingdom and EPCOT). Like many people, we don’t get to visit Disney very often, so the fact that our visit coincided with testing of the new FastPass+ system was unfortunate. We didn’t have too much trouble in the Magic Kingdom — we were able to get Fastpasses for 3 rides that day. But, we were lucky that wait times weren’t too bad for most rides anyway. EPCOT was a different story. The tiered system is awful, and there are only a few permanent kiosks actually listed on the map. The lines were so long we joked we needed a Fastpass for the Fastpass kiosk. Yes, we came across cast members with iPads, but you don’t know where you will find them or when. By the time we could access the Fastpass+ system, the rides we wanted were unavailable. I am anxious for the full roll-out of the system, because I want to see how this will all work out for everyone. Disney says it’s better…that wasn’t our experience, and I don’t want to go back until it really is better.

  17. Joseph says:

    my family and I were there during the first roll out in January. We knew that we had to make our selections in advance which made it easier for us to plan out our day. Granite I understand were some people are coming from in regards to getting rid of the spontaneousness overall I believe Disney will get it figured out in the long run. It is unfortunate that many people have had bad experiences with it.

  18. Vern Woodruff says:

    Since making reservations for parades and shows at the MK is something new with FP+, is there a website or article that gives the details on where the reserved viewing areas would be?

  19. Kyra says:

    I have 9 people in my party, one of which is 2. Can we split into 2 groups of 4 (excluding the 2 yr old) and for the rides that he cannot enjoy, the first half of my party (4 people) get fast passes and the second half of my party go through the fast pass line on a rider switch? Or will they make the second half also require fast passes for that ride. If we could use the rider switch to our benefit it could possibly benefit us with additional fast passes, or is my way of thinking incorrect?

    • FrogBlog says:

      Hi Kyra,

      This is a good question. Currently Disney allows only 2 guests per Rider Switch Pass, so you would need to have 6 people get FP+ and two (in addition to the child) would not need it. Anyone else have recent experience with this?

      Best,
      Leap

  20. Jamie says:

    Will I be able to use MyDisneyExperience (MDX) app in the park on the day of my visit to schedule my fastpasses instead of queing for a kiosk? I don’t want to waste time standing in line if I can do it on my phone while I’m waiting in another line already. I thought that was one of the purposes of MDX?

    • FrogBlog says:

      Hi Jamie,

      If you are staying at a Disney resort, you can make the reservations up to 60 days in advance. Currently during this part of the test, if you are not staying at a Disney resort, you are limited to day-of reservations at the kiosk and not the app.

      Best,
      Leap

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