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Waiting in line is probably everyone’s least favorite part of a Disney World vacation.
But you can avoid a lot of waiting with the Disney Fast Pass service! I’ll answer all of your questions about FastPass planning and show you how to get the most out of your Fastpasses in 2020 in this post.
What is FastPass+?
Fastpass (aka Fast Pass or FastPass+) is basically a ride reservation system that allows you to reserve access to certain rides, shows, and character meet-and-greets in advance. With a FastPass you’ll usually wait less than 5 minutes in line.
You can choose your FastPasses up to 60 days before you arrive if you are staying at a Disney-owned resort hotel, or 30 days if you aren’t.
I know this might sound crazy if you are new to Disney FastPass and I know what you are thinking… you mean I have to decide what I am going to ride and when I’m going to ride it two months before I go?!?
But trust me, FastPasses will NOT ruin the spontaneity of your vacation or keep you tied to a tight schedule. Here’s why:
- You can only select three FastPasses per day in advance. So you only need to pick a handful of attractions that you really want to experience in advance – everything else you can decide when you’re there.
- You WILL appreciate your advance planning when you are walking on to a ride that others are waiting TWO HOURS for! It makes your visit so much more enjoyable.
- It’s possible to make changes to your FastPasses on the go with the My Disney Experience mobile app or at kiosks in the park. I often make changes to my FastPasses on the same day while I’m in the park.
Next, I’ll give you all of the details on selecting and using Fast Pass at Walt Disney World.
How Does FastPass Work?
Before you can make any FastPass selections for your trip, everyone in your party must have a theme park ticket linked to their account (unless you have a child under three who doesn’t require a ticket).
If you bought a Disney World package, this is already done. If you bought your tickets elsewhere, you will have to link them yourself.
If you didn’t get a package I recommend buying discounted tickets from The Official Ticket Center and linking them to your account – it takes less than five minutes and you’ll save up to $70 per ticket!
When Can You Book Fastpasses?
You can choose your FastPasses at 7 am EST 60 days before you arrive if you are staying at a Disney-owned resort hotel, or 30 days if you aren’t.
To find the exact day your Fastpass booking window opens, enter your check-in date in this calculator and subtract 60 (or 30) days.
What time can you book Fastpasses?
You can start booking your Fastpasses at 7 am EST.
When your booking window opens up you’ll start by finding the FastPass area in either the My Disney Experience website or in the My Disney Experience app. Then you’ll select which park you want to visit on the first day of your trip.
If you are staying a t a Disney-owned resort you can make ALL of your Fastpasses for your trip on that first day your window opens. This is a huge perk!
If you aren’t staying at a Disney resort, you’ll have to reserve your Fastpasses one day at a time. That means logging on at 7 am each day.
You can only make FastPass reservations at one park per day. This is true even if you have a Park Hopper ticket that allows you to visit more than one park per day.
After you use your three FastPasses in the park you can make additional ones from what is available (and sometimes that’s not much).
When you select a FastPass time for an attraction, your time is actually the start of a one-hour window during which you can use your FastPass.
For example, if you selected a 5:40 pm FastPass for Frozen Ever After, you’d be able to use the pass any time between 5:40 and 6:40 pm.
You can not have a FastPass for another attraction that overlaps that window at all, so that makes planning a little tricky.
If you want a step-by-step plan for the parks, I suggest a Touring Plans subscription – get the details here!
Next, I’ll explain how to use your FastPasses and show you which attractions offer FastPass.
Is Fast Pass Free?
Yes! There is no cost to use the Disney FastPass service – it’s totally free.
Universal Studios does have a “front of the line” pass that you can buy for $99, so some people mistakenly think Disney charges for this service.
How To Use Your FastPasses
Your FastPasses are stored in your My Disney Experience account. You park ticket (or MagicBand if you have one – get the details on them here) is essentially a link to your account.
To use a Fast Pass, just go to the attraction during the hour window and find the FastPass entrance. You will scan your park ticket or MagicBand there on a Mickey icon which will turn green if your FastPass is valid.
You’ll then get to experience the attraction with A LOT less waiting – though do expect that you will wait a few minutes for most rides.
Want to know what bag to bring to the parks? Get my picks for the best backpack for Disney World here!
Disney Fast Pass Attractions & Tiers
FastPass isn’t available for every attraction at Walt Disney World, but it is available for most of the popular attractions that build long lines.
Recently Disney divided attractions into “tiers” at all of the parks except Magic Kingdom. This means that you will be limited to only one FastPass from the “Tier One” attractions at Animal Kingdom, Epcot, and Hollywood Studios.
Here is a breakdown of all of the attractions that offer FastPass and the tiers:
Pick one from this “Tier One” group:
- Frozen Ever After
- Test Track Presented by Chevrolet (closed for refurbishment January 13 to February 26, 2020)
- Epcot Forever
Then two more from these:
- Disney & Pixar Short Film Festival
- Journey Into Imagination with Figment
- Living with the Land
- RELAUNCHED! Mission: SPACE
- Spaceship Earth (closing sometime in 2020 for a long refurbishment)
- The Seas with Nemo & Friends
- Turtle Talk with Crush
The Character Spot was formerly on the Tier 2 list but it closed September 8th, 2019.
Pick one from this group:
- Avatar Flight of Passage
- Nav’i River Journey
Then two more from these:
- Expedition Everest
- Festival of the Lion King
- Finding Nemo – The Musical
- It’s Tough to be a Bug!
- Kali River Rapids
- Kilimanjaro Safaris
- Meet Favorite Disney Pals at Adventurer’s Outpost (Mickey & Minnie)
- Primeval Whirl
- Rivers of Light
- UP! A Great Bird Adventure
The FastPass scene at Hollywood Studios is changing a lot thanks to Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge and Toy Story Land (get my tips and tricks for Toy Story Land here).
Starting on August 29th, 2019, these attractions will ALL be in Tier One (which means you can pick only one of them):
- Alien Swirling Saucers
- Slinky Dog Dash
- Toy Story Mania!
- Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster
- Tower of Terror
Since there are no FastPasses available, you’ll definitely want my 10 essential tips for visiting Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge!
There are no less than 25 attractions you can choose to FastPass at Magic Kingdom! While there are no tiers for FastPass at Magic Kingdom, it requires a special strategy since there are so many choices.
Get all of the tips, tricks, and advice for Magic Kingdom in my FastPass Magic Kingdom post here.
And to help with your planning, I’ve created a FREE Disney FastPass Planning Cheat Sheet for my email subscribers. You can sign up below and get your cheat sheet via email immediately! This is current for 2019 and 2020.
Next, I’ll cover which attractions you should consider using FastPass for and which you shouldn’t.
What Attractions Should I FastPass?
This is when you will have to do a little research into what attractions will be most appealing to the people in your group.
What’s nice is that everyone in your party DOES NOT have to have the same FastPasses. You can split up and hopefully prioritize what’s most important to everyone in your group.
I suggest checking out the attraction descriptions over at TouringPlans.com if you are totally new to the theme parks.
Here are pages that includes ratings, suggested age range, and height requirement for each attraction:
And if you want in-depth touring plans customized to your group, I highly suggest you invest in a subscription to Touring Plans.
Don’t FastPass Attractions with Amazing Queues
I have to note that there are some attractions at Walt Disney World for which the waiting area (aka “standby queue”) is truly part of the attraction experience and needs to be experienced!
I suggest NOT using FastPass if possible for these attractions to experience the queue (at least once):
- Avatar Flight of Passage at Animal Kingdom (read my review here – has my vote for the most spectacular queue)
- Expedition Everest at Animal Kingdom (the “Yeti Museum” at the end of the queue is fantastic and worth a 10 to 15-minute wait)
- Toy Story Mania! at Hollywood Studios (worth a 15 to 20-minute wait, includes a talking Mr. Potato Head)
- Haunted Mansion at Magic Kingdom (really fun for older kids and adults and worth a 15 to 20-minute wait)
- Under the Sea – Journey of the Little Mermaid (rarely has long waits and the queue is nicely themed with a talking Scuttle)
Attractions We Often FastPass
What attractions you decide to FastPass will depend on what you most want to see and do in the parks. One thing is for sure – you won’t be able to do everything (I still haven’t and I’ve been 30+ times) so you will have to select which attractions you most want to experience.
Here are the attractions for which we often get FastPasses:
- Seven Dwarves Mine Train – the most popular attraction at Magic Kingdom. Lines build VERY quickly in the morning so get a FastPass if you can.
- At least one character Meet & Greet – the lines for these are SO long and slow moving so I strongly suggest getting a FastPass for the one you don’t want to miss! The Princess Fairytale Hall meets are incredible.
- Peter Pan’s Flight – always has long lines (which people sometimes don’t expect) but it might be the most magical four minutes of your trip so don’t miss it!
- One of the other “mountains” – if you can’t get a FastPass for the Seven Dwarves Mine Train get one for another mountain – Space, Big Thunder, or Splash – whichever interests you the most.
- Soarin’ – My favorite attraction in the park. I ride it every time I’m there with a FastPass.
- Frozen Ever After – I usually try to ride this first thing in the morning without a FP, but you could get a FastPass for this (they are hard to get) and head straight to Soarin’ instead.
- Test Track – this high-speed attraction often has long waits. If your kids are old enough to ride separately from you (at least 7 years old) then you could also use the Single Rider Line.
- Character Spot – gets VERY long lines and you can meet Mickey, Minnie, and Goofy, so it’s perfect for a FP.
- Nav’i River Journey – has a boring queue with long waits so get a FP if you can
- Kilimanjaro Safari – another boring queue with long waits so I always FP this attraction.
- Rivers of Light – get great seats front and center for the nighttime show with a FP
- Expedition Everest – if you’ve already experienced the queue or are visiting during a very busy time you’ll want a FP for this coaster. Also has a Single Rider Line.
- Mickey & Minnie at Adventurer’s Outpost – meet them in their safari outfits. Gets long lines and FastPasses are rarely available the day of.
- Slinky Dog Dash – This family coaster gets the longest waits so use your Tier One FP on this one.
- Rockin Roller Coaster – Do NOT miss this if you love coasters! It is the most thrilling attraction in all of Disney World by far and I always try to score a FP to avoid a long wait.
- Star Tours – the wait can get long and you get to see all of the cool stuff in the FP queue so it’s a good use of a FP.
- Hollywood Tower of Terror – another not-to-be-missed attraction that can get long waits so it’s a good use of FP.
Ok, now on to making your reservations!
How To Make Disney Fast Pass Reservations
When it’s time to make your FastPass reservations and you have an idea of which attractions you want to FastPass, here are some guidelines:
- You can calculate the day your FastPass window opens with this date calculator.
- When you are staying at a Disney Resort Hotel, you can get FastPasses for your entire trip at 7 am EST 60 days before you check-in. You can get FastPasses for as many days as you have park tickets. Try to snag these hard-to-get Fastpasses later in your trip, when it is more likely they will be available:
- Avatar Flight of Passage
- Slinky Dog Dash (the hardest FP to get right now)
- Seven Dwarves Mine Train
- If you aren’t staying at a Disney resort, you’ll need to log 30 days before each day of your trip to get FastPasses for that day. You can’t make your reservations all at once like you can when staying on property, unfortunately.
- If you have a Park Hopper ticket and are switching parks, consider getting FastPasses for the second park you are visiting. If you get to the first park early you can do lots of attractions with little wait, then head to the second park and use your FastPasses when waits are long.
- Don’t plan a FastPass after a meal time if it will make your rush to finish your meal. Nothing ruins your $200 dinner with the princesses like dashing out early to get to your Frozen Ever After FastPass!
Strategy For Hard-To-Get FastPasses
Some attractions are very popular and it can be particularly hard to get Fast Passes for these attractions. These are currently the hardest to get FastPasses:
- Flight of Passage
- Slinky Dog Dash
- Seven Dwarves Mine Train
Here’s a trick that will pretty much guarantee you’ll get these – but you do need to have a reservation at a Disney World resort.
If you are staying on-property you get to book FastPasses for your entire trip 60 days before your check-in date. You can book for as many days as you have park admission and are staying at your resort.
So if you want one or more of these hard-to-get FastPasses, make plans to do these attractions towards the end of your trip. There will be more Fast Passes available later in your trip since many people aren’t aware that they can in fact book more than 60 days in advance.
For example, if you are staying 5 nights with 5-day tickets, plan to visit Hollywood Studios on the last day or two of your trip and grab a Fast Pass for Slinky Dog Dash on the first day you can make reservations. You’ll get all of the Fast Passes you want this way!
What If I Need to Make Changes?
You can make changes to your FastPasses at any time on the Disney website or in the app. You can adjust the time to make another FastPass work or change attractions. Just be careful that you don’t accidentally cancel a FastPass – once they are gone there might not be any getting them back!
If you are in the parks you can also make changes at one of the many FastPass kiosks. Just ask a cast member for directions to the closest FastPass kiosk or consult a park map.
Can I Get More Than Three FastPasses?
Under certain circumstances, YES!
After you use your first three Fastpasses you can get additional FastPasses one at a time, if they are available. Here’s how to do it.
After you’ve used your third FastPass, open the My Disney Experience app. You can make one additional FastPass at any park – not just the one in which your first three Fast Passes was in!
This is especially helpful if you are park hopping (i.e. moving over to a different park).
You can actually make another FastPass reservation as soon as you’ve scanned your Magic Band or ticket for your third Fast Pass. Since you often have to wait a few minutes to actually get on the ride and can make another one while you are waiting!
If there is a FastPass available soon, grab that one because you can make another reservation as soon as you’ve checked in for that one. You can keep making one FastPass at a time until they are all exhausted.
I’ve used this strategy to get as many as seven FastPasses in a day. I’d bet you could get even more if you are visiting during a less-crowded time and if you really set your mind to it!
When Can I Start Making My FastPass+ Reservations?
If you are staying at a Disney resort, you can start making your FastPass+ reservations at 7 am EST 60 days before the day you check-in for your reservation.
You can make reservations for your entire stay, though you will have to have a park ticket for the right number of days for which you want to make reservations.
You don’t have to make any Fastpass reservations for the day you check-in, either. You can choose to make reservations for the day after, but your window still opens 60 days before the date you check-in.
If you are staying off property, you will have to make them day-by-day for each day of your trip, starting 30 days before your first park day.
For example, if you want Fastpass for April 1st, you can make your reservations for that day on March 2nd. Your window will also open at 7 am EST.
More Disney Fast Pass Tips
Here are some tips and tricks for having the best possible experience with FastPass at Walt Disney World!
- If you go to use a FastPass and see that the wait time is manageable, get on the app before you can scan your MagicBand or park ticket and swap it out for something else!
- There is actually a grace period for your FastPasses that starts five minutes before the official time and ends 15 minutes after the window closes. I have tried this out myself (many times actually) and it has always worked for me.
- There is a way to see all of the current FastPasses available for all of the attractions at once at the Touring Plans site. You can see what is available at a glance for up to 70 days in advance! This is an awesome tool for planning your FastPasses.
I hope this post helped you understand how to get the most of the incredible Disney Fast Pass system! Any questions about your Fast Pass planning? Leave a comment below or join our community over at The Budget Mouse Facebook group.
If you liked this post you might also like:
- Disney FastPass Tiers Tips & Advice
- Animal Kingdom FastPass Essentials & Tips
- Magic Kingdom FastPass: Everything You Need To Know