For those traveling to Walt Disney World for the first time or the first time in many years the item I get the most questions about is Fastpass+.
What is Fastpass+
Fastpass+ is a new electronic program allowing you to make reservations for attractions in advance. This was rolled out as a part of the MyMagic+ Program a few years ago. In Walt Disney World there are no longer paper fastpasses that you have to go to the attraction to redeem. It is free to all guests staying on or offsite. That’s right! You do not need to purchase Fastpass.
How Does It Work?
If you are staying at a Disney owned and operated property you are able to go to MyDisneyExperience 60 days in advance of your check in date to make reservations for your favorite attractions for the duration of your trip. If you are staying “offsite” you are able to make them 30 days in advance and must make them one day at a time. The booking window for Fastpass+ opens at 7am EST.
What Do You Do?
When your booking window opens you are able to go online and select 3 attractions per day that you would like to reserve your spot in line. Some attractions regularly have longer wait times so you will want to prioritize those to save the most time in line. We will be talking about my Fastpass strategies in each park over the coming weeks. Not all attractions offer FP+. Your 3 reserved attractions must all be in the same park.
How Does Tiering Work?
Because Hollywood Studios and EPCOT do not have a large enough number of headliner attractions to have every park guest have a reservation without making the Fastpass line as long as the standby line – Tiering is in effect at these parks. They have grouped attractions into Group A (headliners with long lines) and Group B.
The FastPass+ computer system will allow you to choose only 1 attraction from Group A, and 2 attractions from Group B. We will be discussing this more in the coming weeks. You will see that most of the attractions you want to reserve are in Group A and Group B doesn’t really need a reservation. This can be frusterating but it is to help Disney distribute crowds more evenly.
What Happens When You Get There?
Your selections are stored in your My Disney Experience account which is linked to your Magicband or RFID enabled park ticket. (You do not need a Magicband to use the fastpass system.) When you arrive at the attraction there are two entrances that will be clearly labeled. You will have an hour window that you can access the Fastpass line. So if your Fastpass starts at 2:00 you have until 3:00 to use the line. When you get to the line you will see posts with a box on top and a circle with a Mickey head – simply tap your band or ticket to the Mickey head and when it turns green you are good to go! You may need to scan again further down the line (this is to ensure people from the standby line don’t jump to the fastpass line) so keep your band or ticket handy. While in most instances you will walk right up to the loading area there can sometimes be a 5-20 minute wait depending on how the ride loads.
Getting More Fastpasses
Once you have used all three of your pre-selected Fastpasses in a day you are able to make more Fastpasses one at a time. So once you have scanned your band for your third and final Fastpass of the day you are able to use the mobile app (or kiosks in the park) and make an additional Fastpass. Availability is usually limited so don’t expect to get a 4th Fastpass for something as popular as 7 Dwarves Mine Train but by the time I finish my first three it is usually the peak crowd time so Pirates of the Caribbean may have a 30 minute line so at that point it is worth the Fastpass. Again we will talk attractions, strategies and whether I think it’s worth it to Fastpass or not in the coming weeks.
Some Other Things to Know
You can only make a Fastpass reservation for the same attraction once in a day. For example if Expedition Everest is your favorite ride and you want to ride it over and over you can only reserve a FP for one time in the same day. You can use your additional in park Fastpass to reserve it later in the day if available. But you can not make two prescheduled reservations
Disney’s system will not let you overlap Fastpass times. If you have a reservation from 10:20 to 11:20 you can not make another reservation at 11:00. You must start your next booking window AFTER 11:20.
You may not get all the Fastpasses you were hoping for. There are some extremely popular attractions that usually book up even before the 60 day window because you are able to make the reservations for length of trip. If you are trying to get popular attractions schedule those towards the end of your trip. Check back regularly people change their itineraries all the time so you may be able to snag one. Just because you didn’t get a Fastpass does not mean you can’t experience the attraction, heading to popular attractions as soon as the park opens reduces wait times. Of course you can always ride in the stand by line, make some friends, play some games!