The FastPass system at all the Disney Parks gives people the opportunity to enjoy shorter lines for an even better Disney experience.
As of 2021, Disney World is not using FastPasses and has not given any information on if or when they might return. So, if you’re taking a trip during the pandemic, this won’t apply, but if you’re planning for the future… you’ll love these FastPass Secrets and Tips.
Before I dish on all the Disney FastPass secrets and tips, let me first explain what a FastPass is.
What are FastPass Tickets?
Once you’ve registered online and linked your park admission, you can select from a list of experiences and times. At the park, check-in at FastPass entrances during the indicated time, with little or no wait. FastPass+ selections may also be made same-day at a FastPass+ kiosk in the theme park or using the My Disney Experience mobile app. (More on that below!)
The Best Disney World FastPass Secrets and Tips
Len Testa wrote his Master’s thesis in computer science on how to minimize waits in line at theme parks like Walt Disney World.
He even has computer software that provides computer-optimized touring plans for the Disney parks. Since 2011, Testa and his team have created almost 29 million plans.
Disney World FastPass Tips to Avoid Long Wait Times on Popular Rides
Keri Baugh is a family travel blogger with Bon Voyage With Kids. She is also a former Disney Cast Member who suggests planning your trip months in advance using all the tools Disney makes available to you.
1. When to Make FastPass Reservations
Book your FastPass experiences as soon as you purchase your park ticket. If you are a Disney resort guest, you can book 60 days in advance, but if you are a day guest that window shortens to 30 days in advance.
Baugh’s strategy is to book FastPass experiences in the morning if possible because once you have used your allotted three FastPasses, you can book additional FastPasses one at a time thereafter. This means you may be able to get to many more attractions during your day at the park if any additional FastPass experiences are available!
Pro tip: Keep checking on the My Disney Experience app. (More on this below.) Even if the Fast Pass experiences are all booked on the day you arrive, availability changes all the time, even during the day you are at the park. So, you should definitely book some to have, even if it isn’t your favorite ride so that you have some rides you know for sure you can enjoy using the FastPass lane. People often release their FastPass time slot if a ride has no line, for example.
Sometimes, even though it is rare, a FastPass line can appear longer than a regular line. Keep in mind, because Disney does a great job making their lines part of the experience or ride, you don’t always see the entire line.
2. Use the My Disney Experience App
You also want to download the My Disney Experience app so you can book your FastPass rides and experiences and access your FastPass schedule anytime, anywhere. You can also book from the My Disney Experience web page, but it is easier to do it through the app because that’s what you will have handy on your vacation.
3. Use your Disney Magic Band for Everything
All of your FastPass will also be on your Disney Magic Band, which is connected to your account and is essentially your “key to the world” during your stay. It also acts as a room key, park entrance ticket, and charge card if you connect your payment method to it. (I strongly recommend this!)
For more on the Disney Magic Band, click here.
Magic Kingdom FastPass Tips
According to that software, these are the most valuable FastPass options to get in the Magic Kingdom, in this order of priority:
- Peter Pan’s Flight
- Seven Dwarfs Mine Train (38″ height requirement)
- Big Thunder Mountain Railroad (40″ height requirement)
- Splash Mountain (My favorite!)
- Space Mountain (44″ height requirement)
- Enchanted Tales with Belle
- Pirates of the Caribbean (There’s a secret hack for this. Keep reading.)
Peter Pan is the #1 choice because it’s one of the most popular attractions, but it’s not anyone’s top priority in the park. Because it’s not the highest priority thing, you’re not going to visit it first, but it’s popular enough that long lines will still form quickly, so that’s what makes FastPass+ so valuable.
As someone who has waited a long time in this line, I will say the line is entertaining and a good part of it is indoors.
Another popular ride that has a line that fills up fast is the Haunted Mansion. Like the Peter Pan line, this line is entertaining and the Disney Cast Members are in character… haunted character.
Testa is also the co-author of The Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World, and owner of the Disney trip planning site TouringPlans.com, says there are attractions that are almost never good uses of FastPass+. These rides have lines that move fast or are experiences that let in a large number of people at a time.
- Ariel’s Grotto
- The Barnstormer
- Mad Tea Party
- Magic Carpets of Aladdin
- Mickey’s PhilharMagic
- Monsters, Inc. Laugh Floor
For example, a show like Monsters, Inc. Laugh Floor can handle many hundreds of guests at a time and it’s rare not to be admitted into the next show.
Now that you have an idea of how the FastPass system works at the Magic Kingdom, the busiest of the four Disney Parks in Orlando, these are some rides you should consider FastPassing at the other Disney World Parks.
Disney Tier List
At all of the parks beside the Magic Kingdom, there are FastPass Tiers. This basically means you can’t select a FastPass for the three most popular rides at one time. Instead, you’ll need to pick one popular ride and two less popular rides. After you use all three FastPasses, you can add a tier-one ride again… but it’s rare times are available for the same person to select a tier-one ride twice on the same day.
Hollywood Studios FastPass Tips
- Rockin’ Roller Coaster (48″ height requirement)
- Tower of Terror (40″ height requirement)
- Slinky Dog Dash Ride (38″ height requirement & a tier-one ride)
- Toy Story Mania! (This one is a favorite of my kids & a tier-one ride)
- Minnie and Mickey’s Runaway Railway
- Millennium Falcon Smugglers Run
- Star Tours (40″ height requirement)
- Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance (40″ height requirement)
Epcot FastPass Tips
- Test Track (This is a tier-one ride.)
- Soarin’ Around The World – This one is so cool! (40″ heigh requirement & a tier-one ride)
- Mission Space
- Frozen Ever After (This is a tier-one ride.)
Animal Kingdom FastPass Tips
- Expedition Everest: Legend Of The Forbidden Mountain
- Avatar Flight of Passage (44″ height requirement & a tier-one ride)
- Dinosaur (40″ height requirement)
- Kali River Rapids
- Na’vi River Journey (This is a tier-one ride.)
Disney World FastPass Secrets
1. Pirates of the Caribbean
The hack for Pirates of the Caribbean is that you can get instant FastPasses for it for your group (up to 6 people) if you play two games of A Pirate’s Adventure – Treasure of the Seven Seas.
2. Timing your FastPasses
Don’t schedule your FastPasses for early in the morning when the park opens. Because the park just opened, the lines are almost guaranteed to short. Make it to the most popular ride first, then schedule your FastPasses with the actual line will be longer in the afternoon.
3. Get More than 3 FastPasses
In case you missed it, after you use your FastPasses, you can get more! You don’t get three FastPasses for the day. You get three FastPasses at a time.