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Disney Planning – Understanding the WDW FastPass+ System

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WDW FastPass

All summer long my Facebook feed was full of friends, acquaintances and family posting pictures of visits to Walt Disney World. I belong to many Disney Facebook groups and was also entertained by pictures and stories from other group members about their mostly magical vacations.

There was also one common theme of some complaints I read – FastPass+ system. People seemed to think that even though their FastPasses were for specific times, they could go to an attraction at any time and access the ride through the FastPass+ line and were angry when they couldn’t. Others complained of “paying” for the FastPass+ system and many others questioned how to select FastPasses.

First and foremost – the Walt Disney World FastPass+ is free. There is no charge related to selecting your FastPasses for each day of your trip. If you have not purchased Disney theme park tickets you will not be able to make FastPass+ reservations. The system is really very easy to use once you get going!

When scheduling, take into consideration the location of attractions and be sure to factor in walking time between attractions. Always allow enough time between FastPasses. Try not to book your FastPass+ times one right after another since you may want to do a bit of roaming around in between too. Be sure to factor in your dining reservations too!

To take advantage of the system to it’s fullest, pre-trip planning is encouraged. Be sure to have your My Disney Experience account all set-up on line or through the available app. This will be your central place for information and reservations. This is also where you will make your FastPass+ selections, order your Magic Bands and see your resort and dining reservations.

Also be sure that everyone traveling with you is listed in the Friends and Family section of your account so that FastPasses can be made for your entire group at the same time. Everyone in your party must have a valid park pass that is linked to their name in My Disney Experience to make FastPass selections. The only way to make Fastpass+ reservations before your trip is to use the MDE website or MDE app. You can not call WDW to have someone do it for you.

Each FastPass+ reservation is for one hour. You may arrive at the attraction at any time during that hour. Some Cast Members will allow you to arrive a few minutes early and up to 15 minutes after your hour ends depending on how busy the attraction is at the time. It isn’t a good idea to rely on that so try to arrive during your one hour time slot.

You are initially allowed to choose 3 FastPasses per day. Once those 3 are used you may go onto the app or to a kiosk in a park to select additional. For the best use of the system, when making your selections, schedule the first 3 early in the day since once you use those, you may go to a kiosk or into the app to schedule additional.

Disney’s computer system does not allow FastPass+ times to overlap. If you have a FastPass+ reservation for 10 a.m. to 11 a.m., you cannot make another FastPass+ reservation later than 9 a.m. or earlier than 11 a.m. You also cannot obtain certain combinations of FastPass+ reservations. You may not schedule more than 1 pre-planned FastPass+ per attraction. If you want to ride Test Track two times in a row, one of those rides will have to be via the standby line. However, after you use your initial, pre-planned FastPass+, you can use the My Disney Experience app or go to a kiosk and book another Test Track FastPass+, if one is available.

Disney also has a tiered system in effect at Epcot, Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom where you can choose one from Tier 1 and two from Tier 2. This is to prevent the headliner attractions from being over-whelmed with guests. 

If your ticket includes a Park Hopper Option, after you use your initial FastPass+ selections at the first park, you’ll be able to make additional FastPass+ selections (one at a time) at a kiosk or using the mobile app at the second park you visit that day, up to park closing.

RECAP

Disney FastPass+ service allows you to reserve access to select Walt Disney World theme park attractions, entertainment and Character Greetings in advance. There is no additional cost to use FastPass+ service―it is included with your theme park admission.

To access FastPass+ service before you arrive, you must have:

  • Valid Ticket or annual pass – make selections up to 30 days in advance
  • Reservation at a select Walt Disney World Resort hotel plus theme park tickets – start making selections as early as 60 days―plus the number of days of your stay―prior to your check-in date
  • A My Disney Experience on-line account

Once you’ve registered online and linked your park admission, you can select from a list of experiences and times for your designated party. At the park, check in at FastPass+ entrances during the indicated time, with little or no wait. FastPass+ selections may also be made same-day at a FastPass+ kiosk in the theme park or using the mobile app, depending on availability.

For a single theme park per day, you can make up to 3 FastPass+ selections in advance either online or using the mobile app and you may change or cancel your selections any time. You can also get assistance from the Lobby Concierge at your Walt Disney World Resort hotel or at a FastPass+ kiosk in any of the parks.

Note that kiosks allow FastPass+ selections only for the park where the kiosk is located, but you can view and cancel any of your FastPass+ selections, regardless of location.

Once you redeem your initial set of FastPass+ selections (or the last arrival window has passed), you can make another FastPass+ selection for the same day at an in-park kiosk or on your mobile device, up to park closing. After you redeem the additional FastPass+ pick, you can return to a kiosk to make more selections (one at a time), subject to availability.