Tips for Using Walt Disney World’s FastPass+

| February 3, 2014 | 20 Replies

Walt Disney World has a new way for guests to customize their vacations: FastPass+. The system, which has been undergoing extensive testing and implementation since the fall of 2012, works with MagicBands, vinyl bracelets equipped with RFID chips that sync with guests’ accounts on MyMagic+ via Disney’s website or smartphone app. There, guests can schedule FastPasses for attractions at the four theme parks; they can also use the bracelets as room keys and for charging privileges. While opinions are divided as to whether or not FastPass+ is a step in the right direction, it’s clear that it is here to stay. To help those vacationing, I’ve compiled a list of tips that might be useful for those looking visiting the parks in the near future.

 

MyMagic+ Takes the Guest Experience to a New Level with MagicBands

MagicBands allow guests to use a vinyl bracelet as a room key and park ticket as well as for charging privileges. It also is the key component of FastPass+ which allows you to reserve wait times for attractions in the theme parks.

 

1. Plan Ahead: Decide what you want out of this trip, accomplish it, and consider anything else a bonus. This is a strategy that I have used for years – well before FastPass+ (FP+) came about. For example, if you are going during the Christmas season, keep that purpose in mind; see the unique attractions and entertainment options only available then. If you experience something else along the way, great! If not, you still saw and did what you set out for.

 

Christmas at Walt Disney World includes special experiences in dining, shopping, and entertainment.

Christmas at Walt Disney World includes special experiences in dining, shopping, and entertainment.

 

2. Pick Your Headliners: Walt Disney world has a variety of attractions with some being more popular than others. Before leaving home, think about which you want to experience in the parks. Select your FP+s for those attractions and use standby queues for the others you are interested in. You can also spread your selections across a few days, something you will have to do in parks that tier FP+ availability. I have even heard that it is helpful to determine your headliners based on which have single rider queues or not with the logic being that single rider lines are shorter, so FP+s should be selected for those not offering them.

 

3. Book as Many FP+s as Possible: Utilize FP+. It allows you to significantly decrease your wait time at the parks. Make your selections before leaving if you can. For those who are less into planning, you can make FP+s the day before or even the day of your park visit. You can also move your selections to another day or time depending on availability during your trip.

 

4. Rope Drop/Extra Magic Hours: If you are a morning person, consider being at the parks when they first open. You can ride your favorites with less of a wait time in standby lines, and then go back to re-ride them using the FP+ system. Similarly, if you miss rope drop, but still see low wait times that morning, avoid using FP+ until later in the afternoon or evening when it’s more crowded. This strategy also holds true for days offering Extra Magic Hours in the morning or at night.

 

5. Stay Connected: If you have a smartphone, make sure to bring it with you when visiting the parks. You can use the My Disney Experience app/website to change your FP+ reservations on the fly, make dining reservations, and see current wait times. I also like to take a screenshot of the FP+ page showing my selections; it uses less battery life to look at a saved photo than to open up the app numerous times.

 

The My Disney Experience app allows guests to use their smartphones when selecting activities for the day.

The My Disney Experience app allows guests to use their smartphones when selecting activities for the day.

 

6. You Can’t Do It All: Face it, Walt Disney World is huge (about the size of San Francisco, mind you), and it’s impossible to do it all. Try not to overbook yourself while on vacation. Personally, knowing that I have pre-reserved wait times for what I want to see is a huge plus. I’ve been able to work in more pool and shopping time and even try something new. If you go in with this mindset, you will have a much more enjoyable experience.

 

Guests tap their MagicBands to a Mickey head pole when using FastPass+.

Guests tap their MagicBands to a Mickey head pole when using FastPass+.

 

I hope these tips help you during an upcoming visit to the World. If you have other strategies that have been beneficial, please share them below! Everyone vacations differently, so you just might help someone!

 

Image Credits:

Disney Media

wdwinfo.com

N. Mancini

 


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Category: Disney World

About the Author ()

Born and raised in New Jersey, Nicole is an avid Disney fan and frequents both Walt Disney World and Disneyland several times each year. Interests include Walt Disney Imagineering, merchandise, dining, backstage tours, and more. You can also find her on The DIS Unplugged forum on DISBoards.com. Be sure to check out Nicole's other articles here on the DIS Blog and follow her on Twitter @DISNikkiBell for regular updates about all things Disney!
  • beka

    WDW info & the podcast have covered FP+ for those staying on property, how about you cover the system for those of us who also stay off property & at the Swan & Dolphin?

    • Nicole L. Mancini

      beka, I’ll be there in a few days and will see what I can do.

  • Rachel

    I saw a tip that if you approach the FastPass+ ride at your designated time and see that the stand-by queue is short, change your FastPass to another ride and time and then enter the stand-by queue.

  • WildeKatza

    I stayed at the WDW Dolphin in November and they were , at that time, not planning on picking up the wrist bands, but we were still able to use the FastPass+ at the theme parks. The hotel said they would eventually put some sort of system in at the hotel which would allow you to book at the hotel and not have to wait til you got to the parks. We were only able to book THAT DAY’S worth of FastPass stuff, too.

  • Cherri

    I spoke with someone at WDW information this week. She said that guests at the Swan/ Dolphin resorts will not be eligible to make advanced FP+ reservations, since these are not technically Disney owned resorts. This also applies to Shades of Green. I asked if this was likely to change once we get past a few more months of testing, and got a confident “no”. I also found out that even if you stay in an official Disney resort you may not use the advanced reservation feature of FP+ if you are also using park admission tickets purchased with a military discount! As far as I can tell, there is no benefit in the new FP+ for my family, especially since with the old system we used to be able to get 6 or more fast passes in a day.

    My question is: can anyone tell me where in the parks the FP+ kiosks are located?

    • Nicole L. Mancini

      There are several spots around the parks. You will find one just after entering and others throughout. I suggest not stopping at the one in the beginning of the park though because it gets very crowded.

      Magic Kingdom FastPass+ Kiosks

      At Guest Relations at City Hall on Main Street

      In the Town Square Theater on Main Street

      Near The Diamond Horseshoe Saloon in Liberty Square-reported to be in the breezeway to Adventureland.

      A poster reports: the one in Liberty Square is next to Hall of Presidents. It took over Heritage House.

      Outside Mickeys PhilharMagic in Fantasyland

      At the Storybook Circus FASTPASS machines, across from The Barnstormer in Fantasyland

      At Splash Mountain’s FASTPASS machines, in Frontierland

      In Tomorrowland by Stitch’s Great Escape

      Epcot FastPass+ Kiosks

      At the Mission: SPACE FASTPASS kiosks

      At the Soarin’ FASTPASS kiosks, downstairs at The Land pavilion

      At Guest Relations in Future World

      At the digital “tip board” in the middle of Future World Plaza (behind Spaceship Earth and the Future World fountain)

      At the International Gateway entrance to the park

      In the Future World West walkway, on the way to The Land pavilion

      Disney’s Hollywood Studios Fastpass+ Kiosks

      At the FastPass+ service center, immediately to the left once you get past the entrance turnstiles

      At the “wait times” board on the corner of Hollywood and Sunset boulevards

      Outside Voyage of The Little Mermaid, in Animation Courtyard

      Outside the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, near its FastPass machines

      Reported by a poster-near Muppet Vision 3D

      At Guest Relations outside the park

      Disney’s Animal Kingdom FastPass+ Kiosks

      Expedition Everest

      Kali River Rapids

      Primeval Whirl

      In front of the Disney Outfitters store on Discovery Island

      In front of the FastPass+ Service Center near Creature Comforts on Discovery Island

      Dinosaur

      Kilimanjaro Safari

      • Cherri

        Hey, thanks a lot!

    • Kelly

      I am not sure why they told you, you could not link your military ticket to your resort reservation and book fast passes. I was able to do it with my family in January and had no issue.

  • john

    The new system should be called fastpass-!Thats what it is, i have been their at christmas n been able to get more that 3 fastpass.The new system is crap i don’t spend 4000-6000 dollars on vacation, to spend time at the pool.I can do that a home for free.I would rather them charge for the fastpass like universal then give us this fastpass- system.Iam going in April if this stinks i will spend my vacation money else where.Every year i go to disney world for 8-11 days sometimes twice in a year.I don’t live close spend lots of money just to get there.Last year alone went to disney world twice for a total of 21 days n took 2 disney cruises. Just wont go back every year maybe every 4or5 years, if iam going to be waiting in line all day.

    • StokesWeb

      I couldn’t agree more. This new system stinks. I was our official “fastpass runner”. In exchange for lots of work, we easily were able to get 7 or even more fastpasses per park per day. 3 is just not enough and we most likely will be spending less days at Disney and more days elsewhere and perhaps may not go as often.

  • Pat

    I’m really anxious to try out this Fastpasss+ this June. I’m more into planning than the rest of my party, so it should be interesting.

  • Mike C

    I am worried about the fast pass when we arrive, due to the reports of how people are having a badtime using it. Lets hope Disney sorts it out soon.

  • rinny

    I loved fastpass+ . We used it during MLK week in January. We did way more than we could have with out it. The day we arrived in Orlando we entered Epcot at 3:30pm an was able to do sorin, mission space and spaceship earth all before dinner with no wait. We did ALOT of preplanning. Tip: when in tiered park, do one headliner at rope drop and another with your fastpass. (thought I would hate new system, but loved it.

    • John

      I don’t like it because you can not park hop and to limit to three per day is crazy. i have been coming to Disney since 1972 and this is the biggest mistake ever.

  • Sonia Hammers

    The new Fastpass
    system is pretty terrible. Not only are you limited to 3 per day, you’re
    limited to the actual attractions you get to choose. For example you cannot get
    an FP for Soarin’ and Maelstrom because they are part of the same ‘grouping’.

    Also, we waited 20mins in the Fastpass line only to find our selections were no longer available – total waste of time…

  • Emmaguiot

    I have paper park tickets which I have linked to my room reservation using the My Disney Experience app. I have been able to make my fastpass + selections in advance using the same app. What I don’t understand though is this – when I get to the parks in April, and it is the times lot for my ride, how I do I prove I have a fastpass+ ?! I don’t have a magic band (or will I be given one when I get to my hotel? If so will my tickets automatically link?) Or do I show the receipt on my phone? Thanks!

    • Nicole L. Mancini

      Hi There,

      Are you staying at a Disney resort? If so, you will be given a gray MagicBand upon check-in that automatically syncs to your MDE account. If you are staying off-site, you can go to guest services at any Disney theme park to trade an old paper ticket for a plastic one that allows you to access FP+.

      • Emmaguiot

        Hi Nicole – thanks for your reply! Yes we are staying at a Disney hotel. Mystery solved then! Thanks. Emma

        • dianne0828

          Also i believe that if you are more than 10 days out of your vacation arrival date you can go to the my disney experience online and request the magic bands to be sent to you already. Those you can pick the color and they will have your names engraved on them too. The box will also have the individual named too. They will have your reservation info linked to them already!

  • djc9699

    We usually go to DW every year for 8-14 days. We would go to Epcot and ride Soarin and Test Track 2 or 3 times in a day. Now you can’t even ride them both on the same day without waiting in the standby line for an hour or more. We could get 6 to 7 fast passes a day in MK and my sons could ride all the coasters at least once. I am going to go to Disneyland this fall since we’ve never been and then I am done with Disney for a while. I LOVE Disney but it costs too much to put up with that much aggravation.