As many of you know quite well, Disney’s fastpass+ offering has changed drastically over the years and while many theme parks have tried to replicate it, no one but Disney has really pulled it off on such a grand scale. However, in order to make the most out of the free service, there’s a few things you’ll want to take into consideration. So, here’s our Top 5 Simple Fastpass+ Tips.
5. Manage Your Park Hopping
When Disney debuted this new system many years ago, this was (and still is) one of the biggest issues with the system in my personal opinion. While each guest receives 3 fastpass selections, it is not very conducive to park hopping. If you’re going to park hop, be sure to book your fastpass selections as early in the day as you can for your first park in hopes of securing a fourth “revolving” fastpass when you get the next park. You could also skip them at your first park altogether. If you decide to avoid them for the first part of your day, you’ll likely only get your 3 fastpass selections. By the time you get to your second park, and use your fastpass+ selections, chances are that the faspass+ distribution for the day will have already ended.
Of course, this does not differ drastically from the early days of the paper system, but it has drastically affected the availability of subsequent passes after your scheduled 3 have been utilized.
For those of you who may not know about the “revolving” 4th fastpass, be sure to check out number 2 on this list.
4. Keep Checking Back
When you’re booking your fastpass+ selections in advance, if you cannot secure an attraction that you are looking for, don’t give up hope. We’ve faced this same situation many times and the key to overcoming it is checking back time after time, day after day, leading up to your vacation. Some guests will cancel their vacations or alter their fastpass selections as the dates of their trips approach and that one pass you’ve been looking for may very well coincide with the one they drop. Sometimes its quite surprising what pops up for availability as your travel dates approach.
Also worth mentioning is to watch the cancellation timeframe. Some guests will choose to book a vacation only to wait until the very last minute to cancel and still receive a full refund. Why they do it, I’m not entirely sure, but it often opens up at least a few fastpass selections right before cancellation starts to cost guests money.
While it may not officially be the case, we’ve found that around the 30 day mark and the last few days before a scheduled park day new offerings tend to pop up. There’s no real science to it, but determination and a little persistence can save you quite a bit of time waiting in line on vacation.
3. Book Early
For returning guests, who have used the fastpass+ system before, this seems like common knowledge. However, many guests wait until the very last minute to book their selections. If you book your passes as early on in the reservation window as possible you can almost always find the exact time and attraction you’re looking for. Also, as an added bonus to this particular tip, you can always search for a new fastpass timeframe without losing your original selection. Many times we’ve had a pass run into a dining reservation or other predetermined experience, and by simply going to your fastpass and searching for an alternate time, you can preserve your original selection and simply alter the timeframe.
In a similar way, if you have a dining reservation scheduled and the system informs you that you have a time overlap on your schedule, you don’t have to reschedule the pass timeframe. If you you think you can still make it to your reservation, keep your fastpass selection.
2. Utilize The “Revolving” Fourth Fastpass
While I mentioned this briefly earlier, this is one of those underused elements of the system that gets vastly overlooked. We’re definitely not experts at it yet, but we’ve made the most out of it quite a few times. The “revolving fastpass” (as we like to call it) is the fourth pass you can get after you have used (or dumped/missed) your first 3 selections for the day. The fourth pass is different from all the rest in that as it is utilized, you can continue to book another fastpass selection as long as they are available. It is essentially a “revolving pass” for different attractions.
The process works particularly well at Magic Kingdom. Use your three passes for the most popular attractions you would like to experience or even simply the attractions you want a guaranteed ride on. After those passes are used, you can feasibly use upwards of 5-8 additional selections if you’re careful about your booking timeframes which dictate when you can get the fourth and consecutive passes.
Essentially, after you use your fourth selection, the fifth selection can be booked after the fourth is used and the sixth can be booked after the fifth is used and so on. You can continue the process until all fastpasses has been distributed for the day. If you’re fairly flexible and just want to ride attractions time and time again, you can really make aggressive use of this option if you utilize it correctly.
1. Schedule Early Fastpass Selections
Building off of number 2, the earlier you schedule your original, preplanned, three fastpass+ selection, the earlier you can start utilizing the “revolving pass.” As a result, the options you have for the additional attraction selections are far greater that if you book your original three for late in the day. Of course, this doesn’t always work out well for park hopping, but is one of the most effective, if not the most effective way to avoid lines and take advantage of the system as much as you possibly can. The importance of timing your selections under this new(ish) system is something that is quite hard to grasp before trying it once first hand.
The whole fastpass+ concept and system is really just a big puzzle, but by utilizing a few of these simple tips, we hope you can make the most of the time you have in the parks. Fastpasses aren’t for everybody, and many go without them just for the freedom of not having anything scheduled, but for those of us who tend to plan out every little detail, it can be both a benefit and a concern as your vacation experience draws closer.