I hate to wait in long lines when I’m at Disney World. I’ll do anything I can to stay out of lines, and this is a big part of why I built this website. One of the best ways that you can stay out of long lines is by properly utlizing the fastpass system. What follows are a bunch of suggestions and fastpass tips that will help you the next time you are planning a vacation to Disney World.
A few questions we will answer in this article:
• How Does the Fastpass System work?
• What Are the Best times to Book Fastpasses?
• What are the Must Have Fastpass Attractions?
How does Fastpass Plus Work?
Each day, every guest receives 3 Fastpasses that they can use in ONE park. Once you have used these 3 fastpasses, you can continue to get additional fastpasses, either in the same park, or in a different park (if you have the park hopper pass).
Disney World Resort guests can book these fastpasses up to 60 days ahead of time using the Disney world website, or using the Disney World app. If you’re looking for technical details of how to book fastpasses and use the app, please see our article on How to Make Fastpass Plus Reservations.
Is there a limit to the number of fastpasses you can have in one day? No. Once you have used your 3 fastpasses, you can then book a 4th. Then once you’ve used that 4th fastpass, you can book a 5th, and so on. We’ll show you how to take advantage of this system later on.
When are the Best Fastpass Times?
When you are choosing your Fastpass times, you’ll need to think about your plan for that day. If you plan to be at a park all day long, your plan might be different than if you are going to park hop or leave a park early. Because everyone’s touring plan is different, there’s not one simple answer to this question. So let’s take a look at the reasons why you might choose fastpasses in the morning, in the afternoon, and in the evening.
FastPasses in the Morning:
As we previously noted, once you use all three of your fastpasses, you can continue to get additional fastpasses throughout the day. Because of this, we highly recommend booking fastpasses as early in the day as possible. The earlier you get through your first 3, the earlier you can begin book additional fp’s.
The downside to this strategy is that same-day fastpasses are hit and miss. Especially during busy times of the year, some of the most popular attractions may not be available later in the day. Also, this strategy may not work as well for parks with fewer attractions, as it will be extremely unlikely that any of the best fastpasses will be available.
But this is also dependent on group size. If you’re with a large group, it may be hard to get a bunch of extra fastpasses to the same ride. But if your group is small, you can often get great results (especially if you keep refreshing the app).
Example scenario for Morning Fastpasses -
First Fastpass at 9-10 - Mine Train
Second Fastpass 10-11 - Space Mountain
Third Fastpass 11-12 - Splash Mountain
Fourth Fastpass - As soon as you have scanned your badge for your third and final fastpass, you’ll be able to begin booking that 4th fastpass. So in this scenario, you could get a 4th fastpass as early as 11AM!
Fastpasses in the Early Afternoon
Beginning around lunchtime, midday and early afternoon are traditionally among the busiest time periods at most parks. It’s hot, crowded and there are long lines. This is a great time to use fastpasses. If you like to sleep in, I’d recommend choosing fastpasses for the early afternoon time period.
That allows you to sleep in, get to the park on your own schedule, use your three fastpasses, and then fit in the smaller attractions as needed. This might not be the most efficient way to tour the parks, but some people enjoy relaxing on vacation. If you know you like to sleep in, don’t stress yourself out trying to get there early. Sleep in, get there later on and enjoy your fastpasses.
Fastpasses at Night
Under most scenarios, it doesn’t make a lot of sense to pre-book fastpasses at night. Why? Because you are basically locking yourself into only having 3 fastpasses all day. One reason that many people choose nighttime fastpasses is to watch fireworks shows. But in our experience, this is a total waste.
The only scenario where this makes sense is if you are going to a fun park at night, and your daytime won’t include a lot of rides. Here’s a common scenario where nighttime fastpasses would make perfect sense:
Example for Evening Fastpasses
Best Fastpass Rides
I think it’s relatively obvious that your goal should be to use your fastpasses in a way that saves as much time as possible. There’s no sense using a fastpass on Small World if the wait is going to be 10 minutes all day long. Next, we’ll break down the best fastpasses in each park.
Best Magic Kingdom Fastpasses
Currently, the Magic Kingdom does not have a tiering system. This means you can choose any ride at anytime. Fastpasses can also save you a lot of time on meet and greets, which are often extremely busy. So you’ll need to know what activities are important to you. If you have 3 small kids under 38 inches, you don’t need to waste your fastpasses on the top thrill rides.
Mine Train has the longest wait time of any ride in the Magic Kingdom. You’ll definitely want to get that. Space, Splash and Thunder Mountain are all great fastpasses, if your kids are tall enough.
Peter Pan is a great ride to fastpass, as the standby times are always very long, due to the slow loading time on that ride. If you have small kids that love to meet characters, Mickey/Minnie Mouse and the Princess Fairytale Hall usually have the longest waits.
Best Epcot Fastpasses
In our opinion, Epcot’s fastpass system is pretty bad. It’s a tiered system. You get to choose one fastpass from Tier 1, and 2 from Tier 2. This means you’ll get a fastpass for Soarin’, Test Track or Frozen, as all three of these are in the first tier. Once you have used your first-tier fastpass, there are not a lot of good rides left.
You’ll then be forced to use a fastpass for Nemo or Spaceship Earth, which is not a productive way to use Fastpasses. Personally, we usually take half days at Epcot and use our Fastpasses at other parks. But if you aren’t a park hopper, you won’t have that option.
If you are planning a full day at Epcot, try to get there early and schedule all of your fastpasses as early in the day as possible. This will give you a slight chance of getting another Tier 1 fastpass for the rest of the day. But even if you can’t get another tier 1 fastpass, you’ll be able to continue booking fastpasses for all of the small attractions and keep yourself out of any lines, no matter how small.
Best Hollywood Studios Fastpasses
Like Epcot, Hollywood Studios has a tiering system. Fortunately there are some great choices in the 2nd tier. In the first tier, you currently can choose from Toy Story Mania, Slinky Dog Dash and Alien Swirling Saucers. When Mickey & Minnie’s Railroad opens, that will also be a first tier fastpass. I recommend choosing Slinky Dog Dash for now, as it has the longest lines. Once the new Mickey ride opens, that will be the one to go for, as the wait times will be high.
The second tier has a bunch of great fastpasses. I’d personally choose Rock N Roller Coaster or Tower of Terror. Both have long wait times and would make great choices. But if you have small kids, you’d be wasting their fastpasses. In this scenario, take the earliest available fastpasses that you can get, so that you can get that 4th fastpass and have a chance at another Tier 1 fastpass.
Best Animal Kingdom Fastpasses
Animal Kingdom currently has no tiering system. Everybody and their brother will be going for Flight of Passage. To get this fastpass, you’ll definitely need to book as early as possible. If you’ve procrastinated, you’re just going to have to keep refreshing and hope you get lucky! The Na’vi River Journey isn’t an exciting ride (definitely for kids), but it has very long wait times. If you get a chance to use a fastpass, do it. For the third fastpass, I’d definitely use it for Safari or Everest. Everest does have a single-rider line that you can take advantage of, but you won’t get to sit next to your group.
Dinosaur and the Festival of the Lion King are both great choices if you have kids. Dinosaur lines can get quite high during peak season, and the Lion King fastpass can get you a great viewing location, and possibly allow for your kids to get involved in the show.