Skip the lines with Disney’s FastPass+ Service
Disney’s FastPass+ Service is designed to take away some of the pain of waiting in theme park lines
Disney’s FastPass+ service allows you to book advance reservations for experiences and attractions in the theme parks at the Walt Disney World® Resort. FastPass+ fully launched in 2014, and the service replaced the original FASTPASS system that used paper reservation tickets.
The way the original system worked was as follows: You and your group arrive at a ride or attraction and see a sign saying the wait time in line will be 50 minutes long. Rather than wait in line, you could take your park tickets to the FASTPASS kiosk near the entrance to the attraction, put the tickets one at a time into the machines at the kiosk, and they would spit out for you a paper ticket called a FASTPASS. The FASTPASS had a time window for you to return later in the day, and use the FASTPASS line (instead of the regular line) which hopefully was moving fast enough to essentially allow you to walk right into the ride or attraction without a wait. Think of it as a reservation that allowed you to skip the regular line. You could hold a maximum of three FASTPASSes at any one time. If you had three, you couldn’t get another until you used one, or the time window it was for had expired.
FastPass+ is the new version of this system, and adds some pretty neat features. If you are staying with us, you can make FastPass+ reservations up to 30 days in advance of each day of your theme park visit. And once you have used those FastPass+ reservations at the park, you’re able to make more reservations after that. Before we get into the details of FastPass+, it will likely be helpful to first understand another Disney Theme Park system called MagicBands. Read up about MagicBands here, and then come back to this post to finish up.
How to Make FastPass+ Reservations Before the Trip
HOW DO I ACTUALLY MAKE FASTPASS+ RESERVATIONS BEFORE MY TRIP?
1) PURCHASE TICKETS.
We recommend purchasing tickets early enough that they arrive long before the 30-day booking window opens.
2) CREATE AN ACCOUNT ON DISNEY WORLD’S MY DISNEY EXPERIENCE WEBSITE ONCE YOU RECEIVE YOUR TICKETS TO MAKE FASTPASS+ RESERVATIONS.
You’ll need to add the names of your whole party. You can add names for accounts you will manage directly, such as your children. You can also send an email invitation to connect with other friends and family with a Disney account in order to make reservations for them.
3) ONCE YOU AND YOUR PARTY MEMBERS’ ACCOUNTS ARE LINKED, LINK YOUR TICKETS.
We find it easier to use the My Disney Experience app since you can actually scan your ticket number rather than having to key it in manually. All party members must have valid tickets linked to their account — even the kids!
4) YOU’LL THEN BE WALKED THROUGH THE PROCESS OF MAKING FASTPASS+ RESERVATIONS.
A selection of one- hour windows for available attractions and entertainment will be presented for your selected date and park. You can make three FastPass+ selections per day from one park. (If you’re park hopping, we recommend you make reservations in your second park.) Once you’ve made your selections, you can further modify times for those attractions. You can also swap or cancel those selections.
How to Use FastPass+ and the Kiosks At Disney World
OK, I’VE MADE MY RESERVATIONS DURING MY BOOKING WINDOW, NOW WHAT?
Once you’re at the park, head to the attraction you have the first reservation for and go to the FastPass+ queue. Tap your ticket (or MagicBand if you have them) to the Mickey RFID reader to enter the line. (Your ticket will be scanned a second time, as you get closer to the attraction.)
MAKING MORE FASTPASS+ RESERVATIONS
You can use the FastPass+ kiosks in the park to help manage your reservations. The kiosks are also there for you to create new selections or change existing reservations. You only need one party member to get in line to make or change the reservation, but he or she will need all of the tickets or MagicBands for your group. Once you’ve used your first three reservations, you can use the in-park kiosks to make an additional fourth reservation, a fifth reservation once you’ve used the fourth one or the return window has passed, and so on. These additional reservations have to be made from a kiosk, but you can then modify them via the My Disney Experience app. If you’re park hopping, you can only book FastPass+ reservations at the kiosk for the park you’re currently in. So if you want to reserve a FastPass+ for Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, then you must be in Magic Kingdom® Park to reserve it.
STEP-BY-STEP GUIDE TO MAKING FASTPASS+ RESERVATIONS IN THE PARK
- Head to a FastPass+ kiosk once you’re in the park.
- Touch your ticket to the Mickey RFID reader.
- The system will identify you by name if you have set up a profile on My Disney Experience and linked your ticket. It will identify you as a guest if you haven’t. Select “Add another guest to your travel party” and link your tickets to make reservations for your whole party.
- Select an experience from the list of available attractions and entertainment options by park.
- A “Best Match” will be presented based on your selections. Additional times are shown under options B, C and D. It’s also possible to go back in after your selections are confirmed and change your selections individually.
- Hit the rides! Don’t worry — If you decide you’d like to book another time for one of your already booked attractions or you want to replace one of them, you have the option to make changes later at a kiosk or via the My Disney Experience app.
STEP-BY-STEP GUIDE TO MAKING CHANGES TO YOUR RESERVATIONS AT THE KIOSKS
- Select which attraction you’d like to make changes for. (You can either change the experience or the time.)
- If you choose to change the time, you’ll be given a list of available time slots for the attraction. You’ll only be shown times that don’t overlap with your other selections.
- If you choose to change the experience, you’ll be given a list of available experiences.
- Confirm your changes and go merrily on your way!
Are there any downsides to FastPass+ ?
While booking attractions weeks in advance sounds like a great idea, it can be a little tricky to be making theme park reservations so long before your arrival. Typically I have never wanted to choose which days I would be doing what in advance of my arrival in Orlando. Why? In one word; weather.
I always want to see what the weather will be like before I plan my week or two in Orlando. If there is a particularly hot day in the forecast, I will want to use that day to go to a waterpark, or perhaps the beach. If there is a rainy day forecast, that becomes my shopping day, unless I’m planning on going to an outdoor market like the Farmer’s Market in Celebration.
So if I book my theme park days weeks in advance, I just may find that the weather isn’t co-operating with my choices, and that can be really disappointing when one has limited time to enjoy the theme parks.
This feature causes another problem. With the old FastPass system, I practically was never unable to get a FastPass for an attraction that I wanted (except if it was late in the day and they simply had run out of slots before the park would be closing – but that was usually because I was trying to get into an attraction for the second time that day). Now, with people booking days or even weeks in advance, all of the slots can be consumed long before you arrive in the park.
The first few times we have tried to get FastPasses with the + system, NONE of the rides we wanted were available! I don’t really understand how a FastPass for watching a parade provides much benefit, so a lot of the choices still available were of no interest to us. I couldn’t help but wonder how many FastPass+ slots had been booked by guests weeks in advance who wouldn’t even be actually showing up in the park that day. Certainly, some of them would have had a change in plans, wouldn’t they? I couldn’t help but wonder how many FastPass+ slots were being taken by people who would never actually use them.
At the same time, Disney is pretty smart. Hopefully with some time and experience under their belt, they have tweaked the system to account for slots booked that won’t be used. Aside from this, I have never tried the new system with booking rides the night before, or even a few days before. Certainly this would be workable with my habit of waiting until arrival to plan my week. Perhaps just a day or two makes a huge difference in attraction availability. Time will tell, and I’ll update this blog as I gather more experience with the new system.
FastPass+ Kiosk Locations and Priorities