As you may already know, in spring 2016 Disney rolled out a huge My Disney Experience update that included a complete overhaul of FastPass+. With the update, guests gained the ability to book additional FastPass+ reservations right from their smartphones, make same-day FastPass+ reservations at other parks, and search for available FastPass+ selections by time as well as attraction name and more. We've got an in-depth look at all the changes here in case you need a quick refresher.
Even though all these changes sound great in theory, you might be wondering how they work in practice, and if they truly improve the FastPass+ experience at Walt Disney World. Fortunately, after spending some time with the new and improved My Disney Experience, we can confirm that these changes do indeed make the latest version of FastPass+ more efficient and easier to use overall. However, there's one caveat: you need to be very familiar with some of the ins and outs of this new version to really reap the benefits of all the recent improvements. Here are three easy "hacks" we were able to identify that will make this new system work harder for you.
1. Make your initial FastPass+ selection as early as possible
Even under the old FastPass+ system, many guests knew that it was a good idea to make their FastPass+ reservations as early as possible so they could maximize their time with "rolling" additional FastPass+ reservations made via kiosk. However, with this new update guests may find themselves with additional motivation to make their first FastPass+ reservation as early as possible.Since the “extra step” of having to go to a FastPass+ kiosk has been removed, more guests are now making additional FastPass+ reservations, which means availability is dwindling, especially in the afternoon.
Fortunately, guests can combat this issue by making just one FastPass+ reservation initially for as early in the morning as possible, and then "rolling" through the rest of their day. Now while, you might not see the benefit to making a single reservation versus the three at a time you might be used to, this practice can actually make a huge difference for the following reason:
2. Rapid-fire “rolling” like a pro
One of the best things about making additional “rolling” FastPass+ reservations is that guests can stack them right on top of each other without having to space them out with an hour-long return window (like they did in the past when making reservations three-at-a-time). So, if for instance, you redeem that first FastPass+ reservation at Peter Pan’s Flight at 9:00AM, the moment your MagicBand touches the Mickey icon, you can make an immediate reservation on your smartphone for 9:15AM at It’s a Small World before you even board your flying boat. And then while you are in the FastPass+ queue for It's a Small World, you can pull out your phone again and make another FastPass+ reservation for 9:45AM at Enchanted Tales with Belle. Thanks to this new system you've just made three FastPass+ reservations in an hour, which was simply not possible under the old FastPass+.
While successful use of rapid-fire rolling FastPass+ will of course depend on availability, crowd levels and whether tiers are in effect at your current park (more on that in a moment), if you can remember to pull your smartphone out the moment you enter a FastPass+ queue and are in a location where you can easily walk to what is available next, you can rack up an impressive number of back to back FastPass+ reservations, especially at the Magic Kingdom.
While old school FastPass+ experts might not think that the move away from kiosks can make a big difference, consider the following: Under the old, kiosk-based system we were able to redeem about 10 FastPass+ reservations during a 12 hour day at the Magic Kingdom with a great deal of effort. However, with the new update, it's possible (and actually quite easy!) to get the same amount of FastPass+ reservations in only about 6 hours. Though not every trip to a Disney park has to be an endurance test, if you want to experience as much as possible without waiting, it is entirely possible to do so under the new FastPass+ system, which is pretty exciting for those of us who like to push the capabilities of FastPass+ to its limits.