Tip Day Thursday – FastPass and FastPass+

FastPass and FastPass+, two services provided for free by Disney to help you have a great time in the parks. FastPass+ is the newer of the two and has only been running even in testing for a few years. It’s only available at the momment at the Walt Disney World Resort and is part of the big MyMagic+ project. Originally, though, Walt Disney World also used the FastPass system. There are many that wouldv love to revert back, however, the odds of that occurring are slim given the sheer amount of money put into it. The general gist of both system is wait virtually in line for an attraction til a given time when you actually enter the line, though with a much shorter wait.

The original FastPass system did this by having machines that when a pass/ticket was read, would spit out a ticket with a return time period. You’d return during that period, show it to a Cast Member, and get sent on thru the FastPass line, where it would be rechecked and collected. With this system, you could send one person ahead with the tickets and grab the FastPasses, while everyone else did something else. Also, the person’s ticket was never examined, so if someone didnt wish to ride, they could give you their FastPass to use. Overall, a fairly good system, though certain rides at Walt Disny World tended to create a mad rush to get FastPasses for (Toy Story Midway Mania, Soarin’, etc). They are/were valid for the one day expiring when the park closed that night. A second pass (from the same ticket) can only be obtained after the return time period is reached. However, it’s important to note that while Disney used to be lax about enforcing the return times (ie they’d let you return anytime that day after the entry window was reached), they have been enforcing the return windows and when the return periods up, it’s expired.

FastPass+ is a whole different ball game. With it you can reserve upto 3 FastPass+ selections per day in advance from My Disney Experience. Onsite Resort Guests (including the Swan and Dolphin) can make these at 60 days out, Offsite Guests can at 30 days. A little known quirk on the advace scheduling is you can only schedule upto 10 days, after that they must be scheduled the day of. Also once you use those 3 you can schedule a fourth, and so on one at a time. Another quirk Disney is supposedly working on, if you schedule your 3 for say Animal Kingdom, but decide to skip one or more to go to different park. If you don’t use or let the three expire, the system glitches if you cancel and wont let you make any new ones. If you do let them expire, you can then start adding them one at a time like you can normally for the fourth, fifth, etc.

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How FastPass+ works is by using the RFID tech in your Key to the World card or MagicBand to talk to the Disney system. You touch it to the Mickey Symbol readers and a screen tells the Cast Member if you’re good to go on into the line. You make selections from the My Disney Experience App or website. There are also kiosks scattered around the Parks and Downtown Disney/Disney Springs with Cast Members present to help you if needed. You can make them for an individual or multiple guests from your party. You can also have someone down for one attraction at the same time others are set to do another one.

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What you can pick out of the attractions, parades, or fireworks have shifted on and off as Disney fine tunes the system. Currently Animal Kingdom and Magic Kingdom simply put everything into a general pool you select three from. Epcot and Hollywood Studios have tiers, one with the most popular that you can pick one of, and the rest in a second tier that you can pick two from. All this is subject to change at any time, but below is the list as is.

Magic Kingdom (choose 3):

  • it’s a small world
  • Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
  • Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin
  • Festival of Fantasy Parade – viewing location in Town Square by the flagpole
  • Dumbo
  • Enchanted Tales with Belle
  • Haunted Mansion
  • Jungle Cruise
  • Mad Tea Party
  • Main Street Electrical Parade – viewing location in Town Square by the flagpole
  • Meet Anna and Elsa and a Visiting Princess – Princess Fairytale Hall
  • Meet Ariel at her Grotto
  • Meet Cinderella and a Visiting Princess – Princess Fairytale Hall
  • Meet Mickey Mouse – Town Square Theater
  • Meet Rapunzel and a Visiting Princess – Princess Fairytale Hall
  • Mickey’s PhilharMagic
  • Monsters, Inc. Laugh Floor
  • Peter Pan’s Flight
  • Pirates of the Caribbean
  • 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
  • Wishes fireworks show – viewing areas located in Main Street Plaza Gardens, either in front of Casey’s Corner or in front of the Plaza restaurant.

Disney’s Animal Kingdom (choose 3):

  • DINOSAUR
  • Expedition Everest
  • Finding Nemo – The Musical
  • It’s Tough to be a Bug
  • Kali River Rapids
  • Kilimanjaro Safaris
  • Meet Favorite Disney Pals at Adventurers Outpost
  • Primeval Whirl

At Epcot and Disney’s Hollywood Studios, the attractions are separated into groups that you can choose from.

Epcot Group A (choose 1):

  • IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth
  • Living with the Land
  • Soarin’
  • Test Track

Epcot Group B (choose 2):

  • Captain EO
  • Character Spot
  • Journey Into Imagination
  • Mission: SPACE
  • Spaceship Earth
  • The Seas with Nemo & Friends
  • Turtle Talk with Crush

Disney’s Hollywood Studios Group A (choose 1):

  • Toy Story Mania!
  • Beauty and the Beast – Live on Stage
  • Fantasmic!
  • Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster
  • The Great Movie Ride

Disney’s Hollywood Studios Group B (choose 2):

  • For the First Time in Forever: A Frozen Sing-Along Celebration
  • Disney Junior – Live on Stage!
  • Voyage of the Little Mermaid
  • Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular!
  • Star Tours
  • Lights, Motors, Action! Extreme Stunt Show
  • Muppet*Vision 3D
  • The Twilight Zone Tower of Terrror

The whole point of setting it up like this is to attempt more evenly distribute the thousands of guests more evenly around the various attractions and to try to get guests on some of the less prominent attractions. Honestly though, some of the attractions are not worth setting a FastPass+ for, they are often walk on or near walk on so you’d be better off picking something else. If you’re not sure, check the wait times. Things like Toy Story Midway Mania, Peter Pan’s Flight, Soarin’, and Test Track tend to book up. Grab them as soon as you can or you’ll have to keep looking for people that rescheduled or take the stand-by/single rider (if applicable) line.

One handy thing with FastPass+ linked to MyMagic+ is that if a ride goes down, the system will attempt to message the person that scheduled it in My Disney Experience. So you can get a heads up if you need to rearrange or if its a must do, try back later in the day.

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One thing I’ve noticed from the selection wizards is it tries to give you four options, but often some of them are set at odd times that might not be convenient. You can go into those and see if there is a better time available, though you may have to shuffle a few things to get exactly what you want. I usually try to put mine all back to back, and try to arrange them so two are close engh to ride one near the end of it’s return and jump straight into the FastPAss+ line for the next. Then I’ll hunt a standby or two, grab a snack, till I can hit the third.

 

Patrick

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