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6 Crucial FastPass+ Strategies You MUST Use on Your Next Walt Disney World Visit

4. Afternoon delight

Image © Disney

You no longer need to arrive at the park’s opening, because you won’t get extra FastPasses before lunch anyway. Yes, you can still get in several rides before park traffic picks up, but if you’re more interested in sleeping in and enjoying the day at a leisurely pace, go with it. Pick your FastPasses for the afternoon when congestion would prevent you from skipping lines at most attractions. There’s a certain amount of satisfaction in walking past people facing an hour-long wait. Plus, you can slot your park time between lunch and dinner for maximum convenience. This suggestion works better for people who travel to Walt Disney World frequently and don’t have the pressing need to enjoy as many attractions as possible in a single day. You can calmly hit your favorites between meals then take in a fireworks show from an optimal location where you can get some unforgettable pictures and videos.

If you want to combine the two plans, you can usually get FastPasses for fireworks shows early in the afternoon. Unless it’s peak season or a holiday, they don’t sell out quickly for the reasons above. So, get three morning FastPasses and maybe even aim for a fourth one if you can get it prior to say 3 p.m. After you’ve enjoyed your final attraction, try to get a FastPass for the evening show. If everything works out, you can ride a lot of your favorites before lunch while guaranteeing a relaxing end to your day.

If you’re struggling to make the FastPass+ schedule work well, you can use meet and greet character experiences as a way to pass time effectively during hour-long FP windows. They tend to take longer than other attractions since nobody can control the amount of time a child hugs someone in a costume.

5. Save your feet some sorrow

Image © Disney

One of the worst mistakes you can make with the new FastPass+ system is crisscrossing the park needlessly, especially at Animal Kingdom, the largest of the four Walt Disney World theme parks. It’s important that you plan your day, even if you are annoyed that you can no longer just show up at Walt Disney World and wing it.

You HAVE to set up your FastPass selections in an order that doesn’t force you to traverse the park too much. Try to create a path with your FPs such as east to west or south to north rather than east west east. This tactic is also tricky if you’ve never visited before. You’ll need to look at maps to plot your course if that’s the case. 

6. Four parks, four plans

Image © Disney

One of the most important planning tips for Walt Disney World is that each of the four parks has its own behavior. For example, late afternoon FastPasses are pointless for Animal Kingdom since it’s starting to clear out by that point anyway. If you can take the afternoon heat, crowds won’t be a concern. Every park has its quirks. Disney set up the FastPass+ tier system to reflect the differing attraction traffic patterns. Three of the parks have priorities for FastPasses. Magic Kingdom does not. The park you plan to visit for the day determines your behavior to a certain extent.

No matter the park, you should only get FastPasses for rides that have constantly long waits. These rides at Magic Kingdom merit a FastPass:  Splash Mountain, Peter Pan’s Flight, Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, and the Anna and Elsa Meet and Greet. If you love the rides and don’t want to wait, Thunder Mountain Railroad, The Haunted Mansion, Space Mountain, and Jungle Cruise are also options. Everything else has tolerable lines during all but the busiest points on the schedule.  

For other parks, the options are simpler. At Hollywood Studios and Epcot, you’re looking at an either/or with the best rides. Consider a rope drop for Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith at Hollywood Studios or Test Track at Epcot in combination with a FastPass for Toy Story Midway Mania and Soarin’. That way, you’re likely to enjoy the best rides without having to wait in line a long time. Beyond these selections, most FastPass+ selections are pointless since the waits are rarely long. Since you’re forced to pick, go with Twilight Zone Tower of Terror since it’s the best ride at Hollywood Studios in my opinion. At Epcot, the character spot is probably your best bet until the Frozen ride debuts at Norway Pavilion.

At Animal Kingdom, there’s nothing that truly requires a FastPass other than Kilimanjaro Safaris, and the dirty secret about it is that the FP line is sometimes longer than the regular one. You should also get Kali River Rapids during hotter times on the calendar, but it’s frankly a ride that needs updating anyway. Its primary value is a bit of splashing water that will cool you down. Even Expedition Everest has acceptable wait-times at most points. You may find a FP for Festival of the Lion King is your best option from now until the debut of Avatarland.

Finally, when you do pick rides for your FP selections, remember to factor in your kid. Many FP rides have height requirements. You don’t want to waste one on something only to discover they won’t be able to join you.

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There are 6 comments.

Plan plan plan -- there is no longer the word "spontaneity" in the Disney lexicon.

You can also use your kids fast pass if they decide not to ride. I got to ride Tower of Terror twice in a row because my son didn't wanna ride it when he seen how tall it was lol.

As long as your willing to ride seperate, you never need a fastpass for Test Track. We just jump in the single rider lane and are riding in 5 minutes or less even there's 60+ minutes for standby. We use the fastpass for Soarin'.

Fastpass+ is just ridiculous. The worst part about it is that only those staying at the resort can reserve them 180 days in advance while AP holders are stuck. That's why I've never been able to get a fastpass for Anna and Elsa or dwarf mine car, or toy story. And while it's nice to say that it's essential to get a FP within your area that is no longer the case. You are up to the whim of the system as to which FP you can get. So it is nearly impossible to not criss cross the park which is especially annoying in some of the parks where the bigger attractions are spread out (Animal Kingdom I'm looking at you!). But this may be just a sign of the parks just being a whole lot busier than they were 5-10 years ago.

Nobody can reserve fp+ 180 days out. That's dining reservations. Fp+ is only 60 days out for resort guests with tickets.

In reference to points 3 & 4, if you spend any of your days at the water parks (where there are no FP), those are great nights to use a FP+ for Wishes, Electric Parade, Illuminations, Fantasmic. You can just make a quick evening Hop to see one of the shows and do two other major attractions with your 3 FPs.

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