In our last guide, we reviewed how to get around Walt Disney World and the approximate geography of the area. This time, we’re going to look at the attractions and how to make FastPass+ reservations.
We’ve covered this briefly in previous posts, like Planning the Core of your Trip, but thought it could use a little more in-depth attention. The use of this system can be a huge benefit to maximizing your time on site. FastPass+ also tends to create numerous questions for people. In our experience, this is one area that has a steep learning curve. Although simple in premise it can prove to be anything but in practice.
What is FastPass+?
FastPass+ is a complimentary benefit extended to anyone with valid admission. Each Walt Disney World ticket holder receives three advanced FastPass+ selections for a single park (per day). When you may first start making your reservations depends on if you have an onsite resort reservation or not. This service allows you to reserve access to attractions of your choosing at a specific time, with a minimal wait. There are a limited number of FastPass+ allocations for each attraction each day. Although the system may show that all of the FP+ have been selected for a specific attraction, continue to check back. Changes happen and if someone cancels their reservation it will be released for someone else to claim.
When do I make the reservations?
We recommend you make your FastPass+ selections early in order to have a greater variety of options to choose from. Since all attractions and Character Greetings provide standby entrances, you’re also free to simply plan as you go. Keep in mind, the number of slots is limited. Depending on availability, additional FastPass+ selections may be available to guests once their three initial selections have been used each day. Advanced FastPass+ reservations may be made up to 60 days in advance for on-site guests, and 30 days for off-site guests.
If you want any of the High Popularity FastPass+, and some other popular attractions, having the full 60-day window might be the only way to get them. Many of these FastPass+ experiences “sell out” within hours or days of their 60-day window opening. This becomes significant during your trip because a wait time of 2+ hours is not unheard of for these attractions. Having a FP+ for select attractions could be the difference between an additional 4-6 hours in line per day and getting to experience other attractions as well or not.
An important part of the system that we haven’t previously covered is the tiers. To start the day everyone is allotted 3 advanced selections, with more allowed after those are used. One (1) selection from Tier 1 and two (2) selections from Tier 2, or three (3) selections from Tier 2; all within the same park. The only exception being the Magic Kingdom as there are no attraction Tiers in that park. After you’ve checked into your 3rd selection you’re free to make additional selections from any tier in that same park or in another park. In a later guide, we’ll cover tips and tricks to maximize the FP+ system. You’re permitted to do that through the end of your day. In essence, this gives you the opportunity for unlimited FastPass+ reservations, providing there is availability. You also don’t have to make all 3 selections and once you’ve completed those that you’ve already reserved you may make others for a different park.
It is probably clear why questions come up now. With the tiers outlined below, we’ll provide some examples to hopefully clarify any remaining questions you may have (but we are here to help if you have more!). As you’d likely suspected, most of the high demand rides are in Tier 1 making it nearly impossible to have multiple high demand attractions in your FP+ plans in a single day.
Disney’s Magic Kingdom
This park is unique in that it does not have any tiers. Here is a list of all attractions with details and our recommendations for FP+ below. If you browse any Disney forums discussing the FP+ system, you’ll see there is significant debate around the best way to use this system. We’re happy to have a more in-depth conversation with anyone about this. Ultimately, just like everything else, we don’t believe there is a “one right way” to use it. Everyone will have different priorities, preferences, and desires. We always suggest approaching anything at Disney with you and your party in mind.
Our recommendation is to use them on attractions that you’re prioritizing. Everyone will always have their own “best use” or whatever qualifier you’d like to attach to the attraction. For example, my family likes to prioritize Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, Big Thunder Mountain, and Jungle Cruise. Those are our “must-do” attractions. The other consideration is to target those that typically have long “standby” waits, that is the line you use if you don’t have a FastPass.
- Peter Pan’s Flight
- Seven Dwarfs Mine Train
- All of the “Mountains”: Big Thunder, Space, and Splash
- Character Meet and Greet
Here is a list of all Epcot attractions with details and the Tiers listed below.
- Epcot Forever
- Frozen Ever After
- Test Track
- Epcot Character Spot
- Disney/Pixar Short Film Festival
- Journey Into Imagination with Figment
- Living with the Land
- Mission: Space (Green or Orange)
- Spaceship Earth
- The Seas with Nemo & Friends
- Turtle Talk with Crush
Epcot is the first park where we encounter the Tiers. Most people will want to experience at least one Tier 1 attraction, but typically they really want to experience multiple. Our suggestion is to target Frozen. It is almost always in demand and the opening of the World Showcase was even altered to allow earlier access. There are times you can find Soarin’ and even Test Track with reduced waits; either just after opening (called rope dropping) or just before closing are good times to try. Test Track also has a single rider line that if your party is OK being separated can greatly reduce your time in line. Epcot Forever is the nighttime show and, in our opinion, the fireworks and shows aren’t typically worth the FP+.
Disney’s Animal Kingdom
Here is the list of all Animal Kingdom attractions with details and the Tiers listed below.
- Flight of Passage
- Navi River Journey
- 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 Adventurers Outpost
- Primeval Whirl
- Rivers of Light
Ever since opening, the attractions in Pandora have maintained a high demand. It is not unheard to see 3+ hour-long waits for those attractions. The Safaris is another attraction that has stood the test of time and consistently has extended wait times. Our standing suggestion for FP+ here would be Flight of Passage, Safaris, and Everest. In our opinion, they are the 3 best attractions in the park and their unwavering demand just supports that. However, Everest can be a bit of a wildcard in that is has a single rider line. Again, if you’re ok with your party being separated you can enjoy this attraction with minimal wait and target something else with that FP+ reservation.
Disney’s Hollywood Studios
Here is a list of all Hollywood Studios attractions and the Tiers below.
- Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway (Opening March 4th)
- Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run
- Slinky Dog Dash
- Alien Swirling Saucers
- Beauty and the Beast
- Disney Junior Dance Party!
- Frozen Sing-Along Celebration
- Indiana Jones Stunt Spectacular
- Muppet Vision 3D
- Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster
- Star Tours
- Tower of Terror
- Toy Story Mania
- Voyage of the Little Mermaid
At this time there is no indication when Rise of the Resistance will be added to the FastPass+ list. You can also look forward to another ride, Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway coming to the park in May 2020. The expectation is that it will open with FastPass+ just like Smugglers Run and Rise of the Resistance have.
So that was loads of information to cover! Please don’t hesitate to reach out with questions as you may have them. Before writing this, we had really forgotten how complicated it can feel. We’ve been using the system so long now that most of it just comes second nature.
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