Frequent visitors may already be aware, but Disney’s original FastPass concept was vanquished in January of 2014 when the new FastPass+ system went into effect. The FastPass+ is based on the same principle as the old system: reduce wait times for attractions through reservations. That’s a concept everyone can agree on, and the best part is that FastPass+ is 100% FREE to any guest with a Magic Band or Magic Your Way Pass. As a DVC member, you’ll receive your Magic Band at check-in or have it mailed to you in advance, so all you need is the park ticket of your choice.
How it Works
FastPass+ allows you to basically reserve a spot at 3 attractions for each member of your party. Children under 3 do not need FastPass+. Using My Disney Experience or the FastPass+ kiosks, you can choose from suggested reservation times, or you can pick your own from a list of what is available. Your reservation is a 1-hour window during which you can board the ride/attraction with a minimal wait time. No other FastPass+ reservations can fall within that window. So, if you’re scheduled for Space Mountain between 3pm and 4pm, you can’t get a FastPass+ for the Haunted Mansion from 3:30-4:30. Also keep in mind that with FastPass+ you should still expect a 5-10 minute wait, but this will vary. Sometimes you will walk right on.
Plan to Plan Ahead
With the old Fastpass system, visitors would get to the park, sprint on over to the FastPass-eligible attraction of their choice, grab the reservation ticket, and then enjoy the rest of the park until the designated ride time. The problem with this was that by mid-day the most popular Fastpass attractions would be all booked up. FastPass+ addresses this problem in a few different ways, but the main one to keep in mind is that it rewards those who plan ahead.
As a DVC member staying on-site at a Disney resort, you can log into your My Disney Experience account online (or using the mobile app) and make your FastPass+ selections up to 60 days in advance of your visit. Your park tickets must already be purchased and linked to your My Disney Experience Account in order for this to work.
If you’d like, you could skip the planning stage and just make your FastPass+ selections at a kiosk in the park when you arrive. Keep in mind that the reservation slots of your choice may not be available. The kiosks can also get crowded, particularly in the morning. To us, that all amounts to wasted time at the park. That’s why we recommend planning ahead in order to optimize your time in the park.
You’ll be able to make up to 3 FastPass+ selections for each day of you visit the park, but they must all be within the same park. Yes, unfortunately, this is a major impediment to park hoppers, but it doesn’t completely count you out (more on this later). You won’t be able to use the FastPass+ more than once on the same attraction, and not all attractions are eligible. There are even some restrictions on eligible attractions. Epcot and Hollywood Studios have “Tier 1″ and “Tier 2″ FastPass+ attractions. You still get a total of 3 FastPass+ selections, but you can only pick 1 “Tier 1″ attraction per day. Your 2 remaining selections must be chosen from the “Tier 2″ list of attractions. All of this would be a lot to process as you enter the park. That’s where the planning comes in.
What You Need to Plan
So, you know which parks you’re doing on which days of your vacation. You want to see as many attractions as possible and spend a minimal amount of time waiting in line. You’re armed with a Magic Band, logged into your My Disney Experience account, and ready to make some FastPass+ selections. First thing you need to know is which attractions are FastPass+ eligible, so here they are:
It’s a small world
Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin
Disney Festival of Fantasy Parade
Dumbo the Flying Elephant
Enchanted Tales with Belle
Mad Tea Party
Main Street Electrical Parade
Meet Anna and Elsa at Princess Fairytale Hall
Meet Ariel at Her Grotto
Meet Cinderella and Rapunzel at Princess Fairytale Hall
Meet Mickey Mouse at Town Square Theater
Meet Tinker Bell at Town Square Theater
Monsters, Inc. Laugh Floor
Peter Pan’s Flight
Pirates of the Caribbean
Deven Dwarfs Mine Train
The Magic Carpets of Aladdin
The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh
Under the Sea Journey of The Little Mermaid
Wishes nighttime spectacular
Living with the Land
Epcot Character Spot
Journey Into Imagination
The Seas with Nemo and Friends
Turtle Talk with Crush
Beauty and the Best
The Great Movie Ride
Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster
Toy Story Mania
Disney Jr. Live on Stage
Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular
Lights, Motors, Action!
The American Idol Experience
Twilight Zone Tower of Terror
Voyage of the Little Mermaid
In Animal Kingdom
Festival of the Lion King
Finding Nemo – The Musical
It’s Tough to be a Bug!
Kali River Rapids
Meet Favorite Disney Pals at Adventurers Outpost
The next thing you’re going to want are park maps. It just wouldn’t make any sense to schedule Fantasmic, followed by the Extreme Stunt Show, and then head over to Tower of Terror. Unless you REALLY love walking. Realistically you’ll want to make sure that you’re traveling the least amount of distance between attractions. Do as many nearby attractions as you can before taking advantage of your FastPass+ window. To help you with that, you’ll want these nifty customizable Disney parks maps. If you’re not sure which attractions should take priority, check out these tips and touring strategies. Another great resource is the computer-optimized touring plan tool available from touringplans.com. Naturally, the worth of any touring strategy is determined by personal preference, so make sure you develop one of your own.
FastPass+ Tips, Quirks, and Restrictions
You’re not actually limited to only 3 FastPass+ selections; that’s just the limit on how many your can book in advance. Once all 3 of your FastPass+ selection windows have closed, you can make additional FastPass+ selections by visiting a kiosk. At this point you will only be able to make one FastPass+ selection at a time. This also applies across different parks. So you could schedule 3 FastPass+ selections in Magic Kingdom and then head over to Hollywood Studios after lunch and visit a FastPass+ kiosk there to make a selection. It’s not very convenient, but that’s what is available.
Even though the reservation window is 1 hour, Disney gives a bit a leeway. You can usually get in line 5 minutes before your official reservation, or 15 minutes afterward. Personally, we’re rather cautious and prefer not to rely on this extra time. However, it’s nice to know that you may not be forced to forfeit your FastPass+ selection if you get stuck in a line a bit longer than expected.
Whether you love or hate the new system, FastPass+ seems here to stay. It has a lot of great benefits when used properly, and it can definitely help you do more with your time in parks. Do you have any tips or unique opinions about the FastPass+? Let us know in the comments sections below!