One of the most stressful parts of a Disney vacation can be the planning that goes in beforehand. If you've ever been to Disney you probably know how crazy it can be pouring over your guidebooks and maps, all so that you can have this one perfect, magical week.
Now, Disney offers Fastpass+, a service that lets you schedule your fastpasses 60 days before your Disney vacation, rather than rushing to get them while in the park.
That's right! Gone are the days of having to run to Test Track the moment the park opens and hoping to snag afternoon fastpasses for your group! You simply schedule your three favorite attractions on the MyDisneyExperience website, and you're good to go! Easy right?
Wrong! Like most planning that goes into a Disney vacation, it's way more complicated. But, it doesn't need to be!
If used well, Fastpass+ can save you loads of time while you're in the parks, but it does mean more planning ahead of time. So, I've come up with my five tips for making your selection process smoother.
Just remember to consider these five things:
1. Wait times
Do your research well before your sign up time as to which rides typically have the longest wait times. Please don't just pick your favorite rides! I know that your little princess might love the teacups, but did you know that they typically have under a 15 minute wait time? As a rule of thumb, I try to save my fastpasses for the rides that have at least a 30 minute wait.
And while doing research, it actually might surprise you which rides have the longest wait times! I know I was surprised when I saw that Peter Pan's Flight showed up as one of the top suggestions for rides to fastpass in the Magic Kingdom, but I was so thankful that I chose it as one of our fastpasses when our group got to bypass the 90 minute line!
2. Your other reservations and obligations
By this I mean take into account your dining reservations and any parades or shows you might want to see. This also includes any characters that only appear for meet and greets at specific times. I try to get all of these on my radar first, and then schedule my fastpasses around them. Also be sure to provide yourself time to travel from one to the next.
For example, during my last trip to Disney, we were planning on spending our first morning in Animal Kingdom, but then had a dinner reservation in Epcot, so when picking fastpasses for that day, I made sure to get them as early as possible, so that we wouldn't have to rush to the other park.
3. Proximity of Rides
This one should be a no brainer for any seasoned Disney traveler, but you should always plan your fastpasses while looking at a park map. You don't want to schedule two back to back time slots, only to find out that the rides are on opposite sides of the park.
You can use this to your advantage, though, and schedule back to back slots for rides that are right next to each other. You're already going to be doing way more walking than you're used to on this trip, so your feet will thank you if you give them a bit of a break through planning ahead.
Some of my favorite rides to fast pass back to back are Splash Mountain and Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. I always try to do Splash Mountain first, though, so that if we get soaked (which is more than likely) we'll dry off on Big Thunder Mountain. I also like to fastpass Living with the Land in Epcot right before eating at The Harvest Feast at the Garden Grill, since the ride teaches you about how your food was prepared.
4. Line type
This one also requires a bit of research, but you might also like to fastpass the rides that have an outdoor queue, and choose to wait for the rides with an interactive, indoor queue. Most lines are now inside but a few stand out that aren't, and in the Florida heat (especially if you go in the summer) these lines can get unbearable. Plus, it rains almost every afternoon there, and you probably don't want to be caught in an outdoor line in the rain, with no where to go.
After my last trip, I found myself wishing that I'd fast passed The Great Movie ride, because the majority of its queue is outside the replica Chinese Theater. Maybe we just hit it on a really hot day, though.
This mainly applies to the "top tier" rides at Epcot, Animal Kingdom, and Hollywood Studios where you only get to choose one ride out of the best rides in the park, but obviously there will be rides that you won’t get fastpasses for.
How could you possibly choose between Test Track and Soarin'? Or Rockin' Rollercoaster and Toy Story Mania? These are going to be tough decisions, but inevitably you'll have to choose.
What you need to remember, though, is that this is Disney World, so you will have to wait in some lines. So just be patient and have fun!
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So what are your favorite rides to fast pass? Do you have any other suggestions or things that you consider when making your Fastpass+ reservations? Let me know in the comments below!