One of the most potentially confusing parts of planning a Disney World vacation is using the FASTPASS+ system and the My Disney Experience app. So let’s talk about what they are and how to use them and all the ways they can improve your vacation experience.
My Disney Experience
My Disney Experience is the Disney World phone app and corresponding website. Once your vacation has been booked My Disney Experience is the one stop shop for all your vacation plans. You can make dining reservations, order food, view maps and park hours, see line wait times, review your schedule for the day, see where characters are meeting, and even call a Minnie Van (through you will be directed back out to the LYFT app). You can also book and manage your FASTPASS+ reservations. You can even view your Photopass photos.
Before Your Trip:
- Go online to My Disney Experience and set up your account. Make sure you create a log in for all the adults.
- Make sure everyone has My Disney Experience downloaded on their phone.
- Download and create an account on the Lyft app if you would like the option to use Minnie Vans (Disney’s ride hailing service)
- Download the Play Disney Parks app to kill time while in lines.
- Confirm all your reservations and FASTPASSES are showing on you’re My Plans section.
- Familiarize yourself with the app. Click around and see all the options this will ensure you are not standing around during your vacation time trying to figure out how the app works.
- Look at the park maps. Get the lay of the land. This is also a great activity to kill time while traveling on park transportation.
- Order your MagicBands!
Make The Most Of My Disney Experience While On Vacation:
- Keep track of your daily schedule.
- Keep an eye on wait times throughout the day. Plus make those 4th and more day-of FASTPASSES. (discussed below)
- Use the map feature to see what is around you, you might just discover a character or restaurant that you didn’t realize was there
- Check out your photos! Your on-ride photos and any you take with Photopass photographers.
- Find yourself in a long line? You can use the Play Disney Parks App to play some games.
- Don’t waste time waiting on food, you can mobile order at many counter service / quick service locations around the park.
- Keep track of your dining plan credits.
- Check on the bus wait times to and from your resort.
- It can even help you shop!
A FASTPASS+ is essentially a reservation for a ride, show, or character meet and greet. When you have a FASTPASS+ instead of waiting in the regular line you scan your MagicBand and are allowed to hop right into the FASTPASS+ line which is much shorter. Sometimes this means you will walk right onto the ride and sometimes it means a 15 minute wait. But your wait time will be shorter than the regular lines, in most cases drastically shorter.
To make a FASTPASS+ reservation you go onto My Disney Experience to select a day and a park then you are shown your options. You make your FASTPASS+ selections and you are good to go! Then when you arrive at the park you can use your MagicBand or your ticket card to use your FASTPASSES. To keep track of them you can refer to your My Disney Experience App for a timeline of your day.
When To Make FASSPASS+ Reservations:
- FASTPASSES can be booked 60 days from the start of your vacation if you are staying on-site.
- Off-site guests can make them on a rolling 30 days prior to each park day.
- FASTPASS bookings open at 7:00am
** I HIGHLY RECOMMEND BOOKING YOUR FASTPASSES AT 7:00AM ON THE FIRST DAY THEY ARE AVAILABLE TO YOU. THE POPULAR ONES CAN AND DO “SELL OUT”**
- In advance you can make 3 FASTPASSES in the SAME PARK for each day of your ticket.
- Day of once you use these three you can make more one at a time. These can be in a different park from the originals.
- Not all rides, shows and characters offer a FASTPASS option.
- FASTPASSES are good for an hour long window.
- You cannot book overlapping FASTPASSES
- You also cannot book a dining reservation that overlaps with a FASTPASS.
- Running a little late? You have a grace period of 15 minutes at the end of your hour window. But don’t count on this as it can be discretionary by Cast Members based on crowds that day.
- You can also arrive 5 minutes early
- Your entire group does not have to have the same FASTPASSES. If Mom and daughter want to go on Splash Mountain but Dad and son want to meet Mickey you can make different passes for different family members.
Epcot, Hollywood Studios, and Animal Kingdom have a two-tiered system governing which rides you can have FASTPASSES for at the same time. Tier 1 are the more popular attractions while Tier 2 includes shows, characters and rides with medium demand or that can accommodate more guests.
- You can book ONE Tier 1 FASTPASS and TWO Tier 2 FASTPASSES
- Once you use these three and you get into booking additional FASTPASSES one at a time the tier no longer matters.
Make A Plan Before Booking:
- Make sure your My Disney Experience is set up.
- Decide what park or parks you will be in on what date.
- Familiarize yourself with the FASTPASS options.
- Just because something is the hottest new ride doesn’t mean it is right for your travel party. Make sure you know what you are signing up for.
- Make a list of what FASTPASSES you want for which day and your time preferences.
- Include back up choices.
- Decide if you or your travel agent to make the FASTPASS reservations.
Tips For Booking The Best FASTPASSES
Again just because something is the hottest new ride doesn’t mean it is right for your travel party. Make the FASTPASSES that make the most sense for the vacation you and your fellow vacationers want to have.
Consider location when making your choices. You don’t want to make a plan that means walking back and forth all over the park. Look at the map on My Disney Experience and try to plan the order you want to do things in based on location if possible.
Consider times, the earlier all your FASTPASSES are done the sooner you can start booking more. If your party is not going to make it to the park at 9:00am or you plan on a mid-day break at the hotel then don’t book FASTPASSES during those times.
Look at your whole day. Think twice before booking that Tower of Terror FASTPASS right after your breakfast buffet reservation.
If you plan to arrive at the park first thing in the morning, then you want to use those first few hours taking advantage of the smaller crowds and shorter lines. A little later in the morning you can start you FASTPASSES.
FASTPASS and trip strategies is a whole world.
If you want to get really into the most efficient use of your time and when how to ride as many rides as possible there are several great resources for the ultra-planners out there. Also for insight on what is the most popular FASTPASS right now. I recommend the sites below.
Touring Plans – https://touringplans.com/
WDW Prep School – https://wdwprepschool.com/
Mouse Hacking – https://www.mousehacking.com/
These are also great resources for the most up to date FASTPASS options as well as how to utilize virtual ques for Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance and future attractions.
Tips For Booking Day:
- Book immediately upon availability.
- Login or refresh your browser right at 6:00.
- Didn’t get what you wanted? Keep checking! People cancel and things become available so it is worth continuing to check availability as your trip approaches. Especially around that 30 day final payment window when a lot of people may decide to cancel a trip.
Prefer Some Spontaneity
To be honest in general I don’t suggest choosing to be spontaneous on a Disney trip. Unless you are a frequent visitor. A little planning up front can mean a world of difference for your vacation.
If planning is just not your thing, or you are not sure where to start, that’s what your travel agent is for!
Still Want To Work In Some Spontaneity?
- Pick one day of you trip to be the No Plans Day and see where that takes you. You can make your three FASTPASSES day-of based on availability.
- BUT be aware that this will mean you are more than likely not going to get FASTPASSES to the most popular rides or even any of the rides you are interested in.
- Another option for some spontaneity is to make all your plans in just the morning and then have plan free afternoons.
That my friends is the wide world of FASTPASSES! Remember I am always here as your travel agent or prospective travel agent to answer questions.
Contact me at: firstname.lastname@example.org