If you are planning a vacation to Walt Disney World, you have likely heard of big changes to the fastpass system. The old paper fastpass kiosks have been removed, and the new Fastpass Plus system has been implemented at the Magic Kingdom, as well as the other three theme parks. Based on reviews that we have seen, most people hate this change! But is this fair? This article will explain what has changed, and how you can use the changes to your advantage.
Current Rules for Fastpass Plus
Currently, there are a few rules for this new system.
- Fastpass Plus can be used at multiple parks per day
- You initially receive three “Fastpasses” per day
- There are kiosks in the parks for those that don’t have smartphones
- You may book your fastpass times up to 60 days in advance.
- Currently there is a tiering system at Epcot and Hollywood Studios, which will be explained later on.
Booking rides 60 days in advance? This option scares those that procrastinate, annual pass holders, and local Florida residents. After all, not everyone plans their Disney vacation that far in advance. But no matter who you are, you can now book fastpasses ahead of time. The only people at a serious disadvantage are those that make last minute decisions to go to the parks, and then only during the busiest times of the year.
If you are planning a trip, and the 60 day booking scares you, stop and read our article on Creating a Disney Schedule. It’s important to know which park you will be attending on each day. Likely you will already know this, if you have booked dinner reservations. If you know what park you are in, then choosing fastpasses will be easy. If you aren’t sure where you’ll be, just create fastpasses for each day, and you can easily change them later.
At this time, you will be able to initially book up to 3 FP’s per guest, and all 3 must be on different rides. Also, all 3 must be used in the same theme park. Now that we’ve gone over a few of the ground rules, lets see what benefits this new system might bring us. However to begin, two big changes have recently been announced that can bring you major benefits!
Change 1: More than 3 Fastpasses Per Day!
First, you can now get more than 3 fastpasses! After you have used your first three fastpasses, you can go to a kiosk and get another one! When you have used that one, you proceed back to the kiosk and get another, and so on. Theoretically, there is nothing to stop you from getting 7-10 fastpasses! However, if you are using a fastpass for a nighttime event, such as a parade or Fantasmic!, then you will be unable to get more than 3 fastpasses, unless there are still some available when the parade is over.
What does this mean for our readers? Well, if you have read Mousehints much, you know that we always advise you to get to the parks early! In line with that, get your fastpasses early! It’s possible to get fastpasses for 9AM-10AM, 10AM-11AM and 11AM-12PM. If you choose those times, you can be getting additional fastpasses as early as 11:15! Plus, the parks will usually be so empty from 9-11 that you will be able to ride 2-4 other rides as well.
When you think about it, this change allows you to tour the parks in the same way as the old system. Recently on a trip, we accumulated 7 fastpasses in one day, at three different parks! Which brings us to our second change that Disney has made:
Change 2: Park Hopping is Back!
When fastpass plus was first implemented, many proclaimed that the park hopper pass was dead. Whether it was in response to these thoughts, or whether actual sales of the park hopper diminished, Disney now allows you to get fastpasses in multiple parks per day.
Before you hop, though, you have to use your first three fastpasses. At this time, those three still need to be in one park. But if you follow the guidelines we provided earlier, you should be done using those by lunch.
To use fastpasses at different parks, you just need to leave, go to that park, and use your Magic Band or badge to sign in at the park. Then when you go to a kiosk in that park, you can book an additional fastpass.
Potential Benefits of Fastpass Plus
We see many potential benefits for Disney planners. As an example of how this can help, let’s focus on how this new system might affect our Hollywood Studios Plan.
At Hollywood Studios, we are going to use the new system to pre-book Toy Story Mania or Aerosmith, Tower of Terror, and Star Tours. (If we are at the Magic Kingdom, you’d likely want to use them on Space Mountain, Splash Mountain and Thunder Mountain). early in the morning. Why? Because want to enjoy these attractions and still have the ability to get more fastpasses for later in the day!
This represents a big change from how we previously recommended that you approach the fastpass plus system. But we tested it out ourselves, and are confident that this is the best way! Use those fastpasses early and often, and then you can keep getting more.
Questions regarding Fastpass Plus
There are a number of questions about this new system. We’ll try to answer them to the best of our current knowledge.
- Can Fastpass Plus users get more than 3 FP’s per day? Yes. This system has been updated, and you can now get more than 3.
- Do You Have to Use the Kiosk to get additional fastpasses? Yes. At this time, the My Disney Experience app does not allow you to book additional fastpasses. You will need to go up to a kiosk to do this.
- Why are Fastpass Plus lines so long? FP+ lines don’t seem to be bad at the Magic Kingdom. But at times, we have seen them get out of hand at the other three theme parks. It’s likely due to the fact that there aren’t as many attractions at these parks. Tower of Terror in particular has generated some long lines, especially early in the morning. As the system gets more age, Disney will likely address these problems, probably by reducing the overall number of fastpasses for each attraction.
What is the Future of Fastpass Plus?
I’m very excited about the long-term possibilities of this system. One of the biggest problems with the old FP system is the need to have someone run across the entire park to grab FP’s for different rides. Now this can be done with your cellphone. That has the potential to save you a lot of time in the park. The tiering system will likely continue to be enhanced, which will be a source of frustration to many users.
The key to using the new system is proper planning. If you have made a daily schedule, you likely will be able to use this system to your advantage. But why are so many people frustrated with this system? (as evidenced in the comments on this page and those all over the web)
Likely it is a result of improper planning. To get the most out of the new system, you need to set things up correctly. It requires more work ahead of time, but the results are a much smoother vacation.
How To Make Fastpass Plus Selections
Now that you’ve learned what this system entails, let’s go over the nuts and bolts of how you make fastpass plus selections.
First of all, Disney has instituted a tiering plan for Hollywood Studios and Epcot. This means that you can’t book all the top rides at those two parks. For instance, Epcot doesn’t allow you to get fastpasses at Test Track AND at Soarin. You have to choose one or the other. The way to overcome this is to get there early and head to whichever attraction you don’t have a fastpass for. If you do this, you’ll have no need to get a fastpass for that attraction.
For details of exactly how to make the selections, as well as how you make changes and deletions, head to our page on How To Make Fastpass Plus Reservations.
But first, I recommend learning about the backbone of the Fastpass plus system. You will see how to set your online account up correctly, using the My Disney Experience website.
By: Ryan Shade