FAST PASS: What is it and how do I maximize its benefit?
Fast Pass at Walt Disney World is a complimentary opportunity to reserve a spot in an express line for your favorite ride. While other theme park companies charge a fee for their express lanes, Disney allows each guest to reserve up to 3 selections in advance either online or using your smartphone app while logged in to your MyDisneyExperience account. Don’t have a MyDisneyExperience account? Don’t fret! It’s easy to sign up and it’s free, just visit www.StartYourDisneyExperience.com
TIP: Schedule your Fast Passes all in the earlier part of the day and after you use all your selected Fast Passes (or their time expires) you may visit a Fast Pass Kiosk, or use the mobile app, and select another available Fast Pass! You may continue to do this until no more Fast Passes are available for that day. Quantity is limited in order to keep the Fast Pass lines, well… you know… FAST.
TIP: Reserving your Fast Passes earlier in the day is also a good idea for “Park Hopping”. When you reserve your Fast Passes, you must select all 3 in the same theme park. If you schedule them in the first half of the day and enjoy one park in the morning and lunchtime, and then “Park Hop” to another park, you may then visit a Fast Pass Kiosk at the second park to select an available Fast Pass (or use the mobile app). This allows you to utilize the Fast Pass system in two parks on the same day!
TIP: Don’t schedule your Fast Pass in the early part of the day! WHAT?!? Didn’t I just tell you to schedule early? When my family and I visit Walt Disney World we have a pattern that we enjoy:
- 8am: Extra Magic Hour in the morning (For Disney Resort Guests Only). For this example we’ll use the Magic Kingdom. Arrive at 8am and enjoy the park one hour prior to opening for the general public; Smaller crowd equals very quick lines. In that first hour we visit Tomorrowland and enjoy Space Mountain and Buzz Lightyears Space Ranger Spin first, each with only a 5-10 minute wait compared to the 90+ later in the day. We usually ride them each twice. Then we move on to Fantasyland for Seven Dwarves Mine Train or Peter Pan’s Flight. In the first hour we enjoy multiple rides that later in the day will take more than an hour each.
- 9am: The park opens to all. The lines are still short for popular rides. Walk past all the other rides and go enjoy Haunted Mansion, Splash Mountain, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad quickly between 9 and 10. (Park hours may vary and schedule is subject to change. Confirm with your Travel Agent or a Cast Member at your resort for accurate times during your stay)
- 10am: go to Pirates of the Caribbean and Jungle Cruise. You have now completed your circle of Must-Do attractions.
- 11am: you skipped breakfast and you’re hungry for an early lunch. Go eat now before everyone else who showed up later become hungry and fill up the restaurants between 12 and 1. At peak time it can be challenging to find an empty table to eat at. I’ve seen people standing and holding their food. Don’t be that person!
- 12 noon: The park is full of people and the lines are getting long and ugly… good thing I scheduled my Fast Passes for my favorite rides at 12, 1 and 2. I begin my second circle of the Magic Kingdom. This time I enjoy the less popular rides with manageable wait times while also taking advantage of my Fast Passes to enjoy my favorite rides another time; after all, can we really get enough of the rollercoasters?
- 3pm: Parade!
- 4pm-6pm: Normally we take a break after the parade and go back to our resort. The midday is hot and crowded. We already had a great time and we’re ready for a nap or a swim.
- 6pm-10pm: Return to the park for Dinner, evening parade, nighttime show (fireworks).
- 10pm-12midnight: Stay Late! Because we are rested from our midday nap and swim we have the energy to enjoy the park late at night while other families are retiring for the evening. You know what that means? Shorter lines again!
Classifying rides and attractions as Fast Pass worthy, Must Do, Classic Cult Following and Other opportunities:
Once upon a time I had a friend ask me for my opinion on the attractions at Walt Disney World. While this list will change in the future as they continue to build more attractions (like the World of Pandora 2017, Star Wars Land and Toy Story Land 2019), this is my priority list sorted into Fast Pass, Must Do, Classic Cult Following and Other attractions. While I’m certain my priorities will differ from other opinions, I hope you find my advice helpful for your vacation.
|Walt Disney World Fast Pass and “Must-Do” Attractions!|
|While I could easily say “see and do it all” because each of Walt Disney World’s attractions are unique and could each be considered a “must-do” opportunity, there are certainly attractions that are more popular than others. If you were to talk to Disney fans, each person would have their personal favorites and you’d be surprised to discover the cult following for some of the older less popular attractions.
My personal strategy for Walt Disney World:
Here are my suggestions for approaching the attractions based on popularity:
|Main Street USA:
Magic Kingdom also has a themed Parade at 3pm, another Parade in the evening and a spectacular fireworks show. The themes and times of these events change periodically throughout the year. Check your Guide Map, phone App, or speak to a Cast Member for current offering during your visit.
|Future World East:
Future World West:
Each country has either a presentation, music, or other festivity to enjoy. The only two with rides are Mexico’s Gran Fiesta Tour starring the Three Caballeros and Norway has the Frozen Ever After attraction (Fast Pass recommended).
|Disney’s Hollywood Studios
|Hollywood Studios Fast Pass system has “Tiers”. Due to the tiered system I recommend getting a Rock n Roller Coaster Fast Pass allowing you to acquire Toy Story Midway Mania as well. If you go to Tower of Terror during the first hour of the day the line will be much shorter. Schedule your Rock N Roller Coaster Fast Pass in the morning. Ride Tower and watch Beauty and the Beast while you’re in the area.
Use your third Fast Pass for your personal favorite of the remaining attractions.
Streets of America:
Disney’s Hollywood Studios has a lot of opportunities for Character Meet n Greets. Get your picture taken with Sorcerer Mickey, Lightning McQueen and Tow Mater, Star Wars and Toy Story characters.
On select nights they feature Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular Fireworks Show.
|Disney’s Animal Kingdom
|Pandora ~ World of Avatar:
*I will update this article at a later date to include Star Wars Land and Toy Story Land when I have accurate information.
If you enjoyed this article you might also enjoy reading: Top 10 Reasons for Staying at a Disney Resort with a Large Family
Need assistance with your Walt Disney World vacation? Contact Zac Wilson!