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Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Disney For Beginners- What Is Fastpass+

Most Disney blogs that I read assume that the reader understands the basics of planning a Disney World vacation but that isn’t the case for many people. In this series of posts “Disney for Beginners” I will seek to give some basic information about Disney World trip planning concepts. Today’s post is about the Fastpass+.

What is the Fastpass+?
Fastpass+ (FP) is a service provided for theme park guests to skip the line on certain attractions. A lot of the attractions have two lines, the Stand-by Line and the FP Line. Park guests are allowed to reserve FP in advance to their trip in order to not have to wait in long lines. This is a major convenience seeing that, depending on the attraction, you can save an hour or more of time using a FP as opposed to waiting in Standby.

How Much Does Fastpass+ cost?
This is a common question and misunderstanding. In fact, I love correcting people about this when they are misinformed about this. FP (as of the time of this writing) is FREE. That’s right, you are not charged extra for using this service. That means that you have no reason to not use this!

How Do I Get Fastpasses?
There are two ways to get a FP, one is through the My Disney Experience App and the other is through the website. Both are incredibly user friendly, I am practically computer illiterate but I figured it out really well. A few things to know:
  • Each FP is in an hour time slot- That means that if I want a FP for Seven Dwarves Mine Train in the Magic Kingdom first thing in the morning, it will last from 9:05 am to 10:05 am. If you try to get in the FP line before that time slot you will not be allowed in, if you try after the time expires you will not be allowed in.
  • You cannot overlap FP  That means this, if I still have that FP for Seven Dwarves from 9:05 to 10:05, I cannot also have a Fastpass for Space Mountain from 9:30 to 10:30, those two times overlap some. My second FP is going to have to be no earlier than 10:10-11:10. That is different from the old paper FP  for those of you who remember those days. It is impossible to overlap times.
  • You can only get 3 FP a day to start off with- After you have used your first 3, you can get more 1 at a time, but you cannot pre-reserve more than three (btw, another good reason to have the My Disney Experience App on your phone when you go to the parks!). This is the same for every park although Hollywood Studios and Epcot work a little different in that some attractions are on different tiers than others, meaning that out of your three original FP  only one of them is allowed to be on tier one. More on FP planning in a moment.
  • Important to Know- There is a special perk for resort guests when it comes to reserving FP  if you are staying at a Disney World resort you can reserve FP 60 days before check-in, whereas if you are staying off-site you can start reserving FP at 30 days before your trip.

Fastpass Planning
Here is my personal strategy for planning out my FP  I am going to use Magic Kingdom as the park scenario and show you how I do my planning-

  • Plan FP back to back, first thing in the morning. That means this, if you are at Magic Kingdom and the park opens at 9, you need to have your three FP scheduled for 9:05-10:05, 10:10-11:10, and 11:15-12:15. Get them all done first thing in the day
  • When you have made it into the line for your 3rd fast pass, immediately schedule your next one for as early as possible- So if I just walked into the FP line for Voyage of the Little Mermaid, even while I am in line I am going to get onto the My Disney Experience App and schedule my next FP, maybe there is one for Jungle Cruise at 12:30, I’ll take it. Since I can only do one FP at a time after my initial 3, I will keep repeating this process every time I enter into the fast pass line for the remainder of the day. This allows me to get the most FPs possible, and the least amount of lines possible.
  • Don’t worry about working the park in a certain order. I personally believe that the FP service has done away with the “work your way counter-clockwise around the park” mindset. Let’s go back to my original example: If I have my first fast pass for Seven Dwarves, but my second FP does not start for another half hour and it is Space Mountain, the best thing to do is to experience the smaller, less “on demand attractions” surrounding your immediate area. So, in this example, I would head to the Prince Charming Regal Carousel, It’s a Small World, and maybe even Mickey’s Philharmagic before making my way to my next FP.  What I am basically saying is this: Fill the times in between FP with the smaller lined attractions. Along those lines (pun intended), I would not rush to my first fast pass as soon as you get into the park (assuming that you made it for rope drop), instead I would head to a nearby, high demand attraction before getting on my first FP ride.  For example, again, my first FP is Seven Dwarves from 9:05 to 10:05, since I have an hour before my pass expires, I can head over to Peter Pan’s Flight or Small World before hitting my FP in order to take advantage of the short lines at the beginning of the day. 
  • Here are some of the top attractions that you ought to get FP for- Magic Kingdom- Seven Dwarves Mine Train, Space, Splash, and Great Big Thunder Mountain, Peter Pan’s Flight, Voyage of the Little Mermaid, Haunted Mansion, Jungle Cruise, and Pirates of the Carribbean. Epcot- Frozen, Soarin, Mission Space, and Spaceship Earth. Hollywood Studios- Tower of Terror, Toy Story Mania, Rock n Roller Coaster, and Star Tours. Animal Kingdom- Kilimanjaro Safari, the new Pandora Rides, Dinosaur, Everest, and Kali River Rapids
  • I personally do not think it is necessary to waste a FP on a show or parade unless you absolutely must have the best seats in the house, but even then, most every seat at the shows and parades give you a good view.
That is most of the basic details about Fastpass+, let me know if you have any additional questions or comments in the comment section! For more information, check out Disney's official website.
Also, don't forget to get my new book, Level Up.

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