By now, you’ve likely heard all the pros and cons of the FastPass+ system at Walt Disney World. In order to maintain tighter control of the number of FastPasses that Disney guests enjoy, the Walt Disney Company added a new computer system that encourages early planning. Theme park tourists who know they’ll visit Orlando, Florida, in 30 days have the opportunity to select three Walt Disney World attractions they can enjoy without the aggravation of waiting in the regular line.
You can learn the entire story here, but what’s important is that the new system is much tougher to manipulate than the one employed at Disneyland. Since there’s no way to cheat it, the next best thing is to understand how FastPass+ works and figure out how to bend it to your will. Here are six tips that will help you make FastPass+ work for you instead of against you.
1. Start early
Even under the new FastPass+ system, rope drop tactics still work. In fact, you can augment them. You should always schedule your FastPasses for the start of the day. Assuming that the park opens at 9 a.m., you’ll want your passes set for 9 a.m., 10 a.m., and 11 a.m. If you’re not a morning person on vacation, I understand why you’re groaning. Consider this a necessary evil.
Here’s the explanation. Initially, Walt Disney World limited park visitors to three FastPass+ selections. They’ve since softened on that stance. You can get a fourth and even fifth and sixth pass if you plan well. Eight is the most I’ve ever managed in a day, but that was at Magic Kingdom when it was open until 2 a.m. In most scenarios, guests can get at least five FastPass+ reservations pretty easily.
By getting to the park early, you’ll open up your options later in the day. Let’s say you schedule a FastPass+ for 9:05 a.m. You’ll have until 10:05 a.m. to ride this attraction. That means you don’t have to head straight to your FastPass line. Take advantage of standard rope drop strategy in this scenario.
2. Tripling down on your favorites
If you have a favorite ride and it’s popular, you can’t get two FastPasses for it in advance. Disney’s rules allow only one FastPass per attraction, at least during the planning phase. You can, however, ride it as many as three times during the day of your visit through clever planning. All you must do is set up an early FastPass for your favorite attraction then employ rope drop tactics.
Let’s use Seven Dwarfs Mine Train as an example. The moment the park opens, head all the way to the back of the park at Fantasyland. You should be able to get on the ride with no more than a 15 minute wait if you time it well. You HAVE to walk with purpose and without getting sidetracked, though. A few moments of delay can double your wait time. Ride it once in the regular line then turn around and ride it again using your FastPass. You’ll notice at this point, that the standard line is probably much longer now. Rather than ride it again, use some strategy. Later in the day after you’ve used your third FastPass, try to get another one for this ride. Voilà! That’s three times on the ride with little time spent waiting in line. This plan works for almost every ride but Toy Story Midway Mania.
However you handle your options, be flexible with your additional passes. When you’re about to enjoy your third attraction, you should start planning for your next one. Look at the wait times for the other rides you’d like to experience. Try to determine the ones that have the longest wait times but the earliest FastPass options when you’re at the kiosk.
3. Wishes is great, but…
There’s a flip side to the park opening thought process above. You can’t get additional selections until you complete the current set. You also can’t get a fifth FastPass until you use the fourth one. If you’re thinking like a FastPass+ expert, you’ve probably already reached the end of the page on this one. By locking up a selection that doesn’t take place until after dark, you prevent yourself from adding others.
The instant you spend a FastPass selection on premium seating for Illuminations, Fantasmic, and the Electric Parade, you’ve decided to wait in lines the rest of the day after you’ve used your first two FastPasses. While I advise against this strategy, I understand that you may disagree. If that’s the case and you do spend a FastPass in this manner, here’s something else to consider.