First off, I want to make a public announcement. I am no Disney expert. We have taken our kids to Disney four times in the past eight years, ranging from just one day in the park to this past trip when we were on the property for nine days. There are loads of people who have been to Disney a hundred times more than I have, and who know a lot more than I do. I’m just here to pass on what I have learned and what has worked for us. We just returned from our Disney trip a week ago, and while there I posted a lot of images on my instagram and facebook feeds–I had so many people send me private messages asking me questions that I decided there are a ton of people who want to know more about Disney and how to make their trip better, coming from someone they actually know. Let’s face it. . . Disney is no joke. It’s incredibly expensive. It’s exhausting. It causes even the best behaved children to melt down at times. It’s crowded. It’s overwhelming. And most people don’t even know where to begin while planning their trip.
So I thought I’d create a few blog posts of the most asked questions from my friends and pass along what I’ve learned. And today? Fast Pass Strategy!
We spent six days in the parks during our trip. We rode just about every ride in every single park–we skipped Rock n’ Roller Coaster because it was a little too intense, and Journey into Your Imagination because no one wanted to ride it. Overall, we didn’t wait anymore than about 20 minutes for a ride and this only happened a handful of times. We rode favorites two or three times (multiple fast passes for Haunted Mansion, Pirates of the Caribbean, etc). We rode Flight of Passage twice and N’avi River Journey twice. I utilized the heck out of the fast pass system and I’d love to tell you how I did it so you can do the same!
First of all, here are some basics about Fast Passes if you aren’t even sure how they work:
-If you are staying at a Disney Resort, you can start booking your fast passes at 7 am, 60 days before the first day of your trip (and it’s EXTREMELY important to do so right at 7 am).
-If you are staying off Disney grounds, you can only start booking your fast passes 30 days before your trip.
-You are allowed three initial fast passes per day, and those need to be booked at the SAME park
-After your three initial fast passes are used (on the day of), you can book fast passes one at a time through the rest of the day and there is no limit, and you can change parks at that point if you have park hopper.
-Fast pass time slots are an hour, and you can not overlap your initial fast pass times.
-You have to show up during your hour, but you can show up about 4 minutes early, and up to 15 minutes late.
And if you’re already confused, here is some basic information about Fast Passes from Disney: What is FastPass+
My Disney Fast Pass Strategy
Before we went to Disney, I read a lot of people’s strategies. A LOT of them said to arrive to the parks early, ride on as many rides as you can while lines are a little lower for morning crowds, and then book your fast passes for the afternoon when the parks are crowded and lines are longer. Guess what? We tried this AND we tried my actual tried and true way, and I can tell you that they are SO different in their outcomes. So here’s our strategy:
Book all 3 of your FastPasses as early as possible, and right in a row. Typically we would book something for as early as possible–the reason I didn’t mind grabbing early fast passes is because you have a whole hour to use them. So you don’t need to use it right at 9:15. Get them as close as possible as well. Sometimes you can manage exactly an hour apart. Also, the hour time frame only came into play for us for the first three fast passes…the ones after were typically used right away (more on that in a bit).
Assuming we followed this strategy, here’s what our day would look like:
9:00 am – Park opens. Rope drop any “popular” ride that you could not get a fast pass for, or that you did have a fast pass for, but you knew you wanted to ride twice– For our park days (6 of them), we rope dropped Peter Pan (less than ten minute wait), Flight of Passage (25 minute wait), Slinky Dog (less than ten minute wait), Test Track (less than ten minute wait), Toy Story Mania (less than ten minute wait) and the last morning we didn’t arrive early on purpose. Try to snag a couple of shorter line rides before your first fast pass if you have time.
Around 10 – Go on first FastPass
10:15 – Go on the next FastPass
10:15-11:15 – Snack, “site see” Wait for last fast pass.
Here’s where the fun begins! The SECOND you scan your magic bands on that third ride, you need to open up your MyDisney App and start booking your next fast pass. Check for a ride that is close to where you are. You can only choose one at a time at this point. Here’s what I learned. . . If we booked the fast passes for the most popular rides early in the morning, there are typically fast passes for all the other smaller rides throughout the whole rest of the day. Those popular rides “SELL OUT” of their fast passes well before your vacation started, but those minor rides? You can get fast passes for those seriously through the whole day. No need to wait in 30-40 minute lines for Winnie the Pooh, Pirates of the Caribbean, Haunted Mansion and the 45 second Barnstormer. Fast pass those ALL!
Here are a few more SPECIAL tips that are top secret-
-If at first you don’t see what you like in MyDisney App in regards to fast pass times, DON’T believe what you see! Refresh and refresh and refresh again. I will tell you that literally sometimes I refreshed ten times, and it kept giving me different options.
-If you REALLY want to do a ride, but the fast pass isn’t for five hours from your current time and you don’t see any other times, book that specific time. Then, in the app, click “modify” and start refreshing from there. I found that sometimes I would only be given one time option for a ride, and it wouldn’t give me any other options. But if I “booked” the fast pass for that one option and then attempted to changed the time of the booked one, it would give me more options, and earlier ones!
-Make sure you are booking your next fast pass as close to your current time as possible. Though you will have an hour time frame (let’s say, 2:15-3:15), if you walk on that ride at 2:15, you can get your next fast pass right away (maybe at like 2:25!), and therefore you are getting more than just one ride per hour.
I want to pass these tips along, because I know how frustrating waiting for a long time in lines can be. Kids hate it, parents hate it, and it makes for a long, miserable day. Hopefully you’re able to utilize this strategy as much as possible for your next trip. The magic is waiting. <3