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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 Fastpass service! I’ll answer all of your questions about the service and show you how to get the most out of your Fastpasses in this post.
What is a FastPass+?
Fastpass (aka Fast Pass or FastPass+) is basically a ride reservation system that allows you reserve access to certain rides, shows, and character meet-and-greets in advance. With the right planning, you can avoid long waits at Disney World’s most popular attractions.
You can choose your FastPasses up to 60 days before you arrive if you are staying at a Disney Resort Hotel, or 30 days if you aren’t.
I know this might sound crazy if you are new to Disney FastPass… 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.
- You can 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.
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 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 Undercover Tourist and linking them to your account – it takes less than five minutes and you’ll save up to $71 per ticket!
When your booking window opens up (which is at 7 am EST either 30 or 60 days in advance, depending on where you are staying) you’ll start by finding the Fast Pass area in either the Disney website or app. Then you’ll select which park you want to visit on the first day of your trip.
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 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 the 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. Next, I’ll explain how to use your FastPasses and show you which attractions offer FastPass.
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.
Disney World FastPass 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:
- Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
- Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin
- Dumbo the Flying Elephant
- Enchanted Tales with Belle
- Haunted Mansion
- “it’s a small world”
- Jungle Cruise
- Mad Tea Party
- Meet Ariel at Her Grotto
- Meet Cinderella and Elena at Princess Fairytale Hall
- Meet Rapunzel and Tiana at Princess Fairytale Hall
- Meet Mickey Mouse at Town Square Theater
- Meet Tinker Bell at Town Square Theater
- Mickey’s PhilharMagic
- Monster’s, Inc. Laugh Floor
- Peter Pan’s Flight
- Pirates of the Caribbean
- Seven Dwarfs Mine Train
- Space Mountain
- Splash Mountain
- The Barnstormer
- The Magic Carpets of Aladdin
- The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh
- Tomorrowland Speedway
- Under the Sea~Journey of the Little Mermaid
Pick one from this “Tier One” group:
- Frozen Ever After
- IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth
- Test Track Presented by Chevrolet
Then two more from these:
- Disney & Pixar Short Film Festival
- Journey Into Imagination with Figment
- Living with the Land
- Meet Disney Pals at the Epcot Character Spot
- RELAUNCHED! Mission: SPACE
- Spaceship Earth
- The Seas with Nemo & Friends
- Turtle Talk with Crush
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 dramatically when Toy Story Land opens on June 30th. Here’s what your options will be then.
Pick one from this group:
- Alien Swirling Saucers
- Slinky Dog Dash
- Toy Story Mania!
Then two more from these:
- Beauty and the Beast – Live on Stage
- Disney Junior – Live on Stage!
- For the First Time in Forever: A Frozen Sing-Along Celebration
- Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular!
- Muppet*Vision 3D
- Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith
- Star Tours – The Adventures Continue
- The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror
- Voyage of the Little Mermaid
As you can see, there are LOTS of options for your FastPasses! 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 not everyone in your party has 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 Undercover Tourist if you are totally new to the theme parks. If you click the link to an attraction on these pages you will get a description that includes a rating, suggested age range, and height requirement.
Or you can invest in a good old-fashioned guidebook and read about all of the attractions – I suggest The Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World 2018.
Attractions with Amazing Queues
I have to also 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 heavily 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 20+ times) so you will have to select which attractions you most want to experience.
Here are the attractions for which we usually 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 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.
- Living With The Land – people get off of Soarin’ and want to ride this while they are in the vicinity, so it gets long lines in the late morning and all afternoon. I LOVE this attraction and try to do it every time I’m there.
- 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.
- Mickey & Minnie at Adventurer’s Outpost – meet them in their safari outfits. Gets long lines and FastPasses are rarely available the day of.
The FP scene is changing dramatically this summer. Here’s what I plan to do on my visit in July:
- Slinky Dog Dash – I think this family coaster will get the longest waits so I am going to use my 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.
- Fantasmic! – I’ve used FastPasses for Fantasmic when I can’t do the thrill rides (due to being pregnant or there by myself with our young daughter) and the seats are great.
To help with your planning, I’ve created a 2018 Disney FastPass Cheat Sheet for my email subscribers. You can sign up below and get your cheat sheet immediately! You’ll also get a link to it in your welcome email.
Ok, now on to making your reservations!
Making Your Disney FastPass 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.
- Never make Fastpass reservations for the first hour the park is open! If you arrive before the park opens you will be able to walk on most attractions (except for the most popular ones) during the first hour. If you are visiting during a less-crowded time of year (most dates in January, February, September, and end of August) then you can expand this to the first two hours.
- 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 (the hardest FP to get right now)
- Any Toy Story Land attraction
- Seven Dwarves Mine Train
- Frozen Ever After
- Nav’i River Journey
- 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!
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.
Disney World FastPass 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!
- After you use your first three Fastpasses you can get additional FastPasses one at a time. You can actually make another one as soon as you’ve checked in for your third FP. Since you often have a to wait a few minutes to actually get on the ride and can make another one while you are waiting to get on the ride!
- 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 FastPass system at Walt Disney World! Any questions? Leave a comment below or join our community over at The Budget Mouse Facebook group. You can ask any question about planning your Disney World vacation and get lots of help!