Disney World attractions are fun! Standing in line while waiting to enjoy those attractions is not.
Fortunately, Disney World offers a FREE service called FastPass+ that gives you access to shorter lines. Yay!
If there is one piece of advice I would give to a first-timer at Disney World, it’s to learn how to use FastPass!
When I’m at Disney World, I’m always amazed by the number of people who assume there is a FastPass+ cost (it’s free) or simply don’t know how it works. If you’re going to research ANYTHING for your Disney World vacation, FastPass+ should be it! It is definitely worth investing a small amount of time NOW to understand FastPass+ than to waste hours in line while at the parks during your vacation.
Fortunately, you’ve come to the right place for FastPass tips. I’m going to make this as quick and comprehensive as possible so you’ll be ready to use FastPass+ in just a few minutes!
A note for those of you who have used Disney World’s paper FastPasses in the past or are familiar with FastPass systems at Disneyland: Forget everything you know! Disney World’s current FastPass+ is completely different. It is all digital and uses a different strategy.
What is FastPass+?
FastPass+ is a FREE service that allows you to make reservations for certain Disney World attractions in advance. If you have a Disney World park ticket, you have FastPass+ and can make reservations.
When you arrive at an attraction within your one-hour FastPass redemption window, you bypass the main stand-by line and use the shorter FastPass redemption line, which can save you anywhere from just a few minutes to more than an hour depending on the attraction.
Example: You have a 10:15-11:15 AM FastPass for Space Mountain. You arrive within the redemption window at 11:00 AM. There’s a 45-minute posted wait for the main stand-by line, but you tap your MagicBand at the FastPass+ line and you could be sitting in your spaceship, ready to blast off, just 10 minutes later!
Not all Disney World attractions offer FastPass+. It is typically available for attractions that are more popular and grow longer lines. FastPass+ is designed to help you skip those long lines.
How To Get FastPass+
FastPass+ reservations can be made from your Disney account on the Disney World website and the My Disney Experience mobile app. Inside the parks, there are also FastPass+ kiosks available. You are able to reserve FastPasses for all members of your party who have valid tickets as long as those tickets are linked to your Disney account.
Anyone with a park admission ticket linked to their Disney account can begin making FastPass+ reservations 30 days in advance beginning at 7:00 AM Eastern Time.
Guests of Disney World hotels can make reservations 60 days in advance of the first night of the trip, also at 7:00 AM Eastern Time.
Up to 3 advance FastPasses can be made for each day of your trip. Each day, all three FastPasses must be for the same park.
You cannot make multiple FastPass+ reservations for the same attraction. Your three reserved FastPasses each day must be three different attractions.
Additionally, the FastPass+ reservation windows cannot overlap. Note in this example, that reservations may be made back to back with one window ending at the same time the next window begins, but the times do overlap.
Day 1 of your trip will be spent at Magic Kingdom, you make FastPass+ reservations for Haunted Mansion from 10:45 to 11:45 AM, Splash Mountain from 12:05 to 1:05 PM, and Pirates of the Caribbean from 1:05 to 2:05 PM.
You plan day 2 of your trip at Epcot and make FastPass+ reservations for Test Track from 10:00 to 11:00AM, Spaceship Earth from 11:00 AM to 12:00 PM, and The Seas from 12:20 to 1:20 PM.
Only a limited number of FastPass+ reservations are available for each attraction each day. An attraction may show no FastPass availability if all reservations have been taken for that day. However, since FastPass+ reservations can be edited and deleted, reservation times for attractions that previously showed no availability may appear when guests modify their plans.
This is why you may log into your Disney account to make FastPass+ reservations 30 days before your trip and some attractions may be showing no FastPass availability. All of the hotel guests who had reservation access 60 days prior to their trips already made their reservations for the same trip dates a month ago.
As I mentioned, hotel guests can make FastPass+ reservations for EVERY DAY of their trip when the first day of their trip is 60 days away. That means a guest with a 7-day park ticket can make FastPass+ reservations for the 7th day of their trip when that day is actually 67 days away. Therefore, the later days of your trip will have greater FastPass availability because you aren’t competing with as many guests for those reservations yet.
Because of the perk Disney hotel guests have to book FastPasses for every day of their trip 60 days prior to their first day, it’s possible to log into your Disney account 60 days prior to your trip at 7:00 AM only to find that popular rides like Flight of Passage and Slinky Dog Dash may already be showing no FastPass availability. No, hundreds of guests didn’t slip in before you in that single minute. The start of your FastPass+ reservation period might be the seventh day of a trip for another guest, who would have made their full trip of FastPass+ reservations 67 days prior to your initial reservation day.
If early days in your trip show no FastPass availability for certain attractions, just look at later days of your trip and you may find availability. Those new, popular rides may not have any availability until 60+3 or 60+4.
Three of the parks at Disney World have tiered FastPasses. You may only select one attraction from the tier 1 list with your three advance FastPasses for that park day. The other two cannot be tier 1 attractions.
Magic Kingdom does not have tiers. You may choose any three attractions at Magic Kingdom.
Epcot tier 1
- Character Spot
- Frozen Ever After
- Illuminations: Reflections of Earth
- Test Track
Hollywood Studios tier 1
- Alien Swirling Saucers
- Slinky Dog Dash
- Toy Story Mania
Animal Kingdom tier 1
- Flight of Passage
- Na’vi River Journey
FastPass Time Strategy
In general, it’s a good idea to arrive at the parks for “rope drop.” Lines for most attractions will remain very short through the two hours of the day so you can use the stand-by lines. Then, make your three advance FastPass reservations around 11:00-2:00. Afterward, you will be able to continue making same-day FastPass reservations as explained below.
There are other strategies and more specific tips for each park that I’ll soon share, but this is a solid, simple strategy so you can move on to the next step in trip planning.
Redeeming FastPass Reservations
Now that you have your FastPasses reserved and you’re on vacation at the Most Magical Place on Earth, how do you redeem them?
Your FastPasses are saved in your Disney account, which is linked to your ticket card and/or MagicBand, the bracelet you will receive for free if you are a hotel guest or you may purchase one.
Simply arrive at the attraction during your reservation window. The FastPass+ entrance will be marked beside the main stand-by entrance. Tap your MagicBand or ticket card at the tapstyles and enter your short queue!
FastPass+ reservations have unofficial grace periods that allow you to tap in 5 minutes before and after your official one-hour window. Any additional time outside of your window is at the discretion of the attending cast member.
Getting More FastPasses and The Refresh Technique
Once you have redeemed your three reserved FastPasses, you may continue making additional FastPass+ reservations one at a time for any park (if you have a ticket that allows park hopping) for the remainder of that day.
Additional FastPasses may be reserved using the MyDisneyExperience mobile app or at FastPass kiosks in the parks. Check for kiosk locations on the park map, but it will be much more convenient to use the app on your phone.
You must use each additional FastPass before reserving another.
Remember that FastPass+ reservations can be modified and deleted. If you make a reservation for a time that is not ideal, keep refreshing the app by tapping other time choices and different FastPass+ reservation times will typically be listed.
Tiering rules do not apply to these additional FastPasses. You can pick ANY available FastPass.
The attraction repeat rule does not apply, either. Your additional FastPasses can be for attractions that were in your set of three reserved FastPasses.
One of your three reserved FastPasses was for Tower of Terror at Hollywood Studios. You spend the morning using your three reserved FastPasses then manage to pick a fourth FastPass for Tower of Terror.
After riding, you manage to get yet another FastPass for Tower of Terror … and another … and another. OK, this has just turned into my dream Hollywood Studios day.
OK, so that’s the information you NEED to know about FastPass+ at Disney World. If you stop here, you can be confident in knowing you have all the basic information for getting FastPasses and redeeming them.
However, if you want to take your FastPass+ knowledge one step further, continue reading these tips…
Don’t delete your FastPass if the attraction is closed due to rain or malfunction. If the attraction is closed during your FastPass window, it will automatically turn into a Multiple Experiences FastPass. You will be able to return to the same attraction later that same the day if it reopens or use the FastPass for a different attraction in the same park any time before the end of the day. There are a few exceptions to this such as Seven Dwarfs Mine Train not being an option at Magic Kingdom and Frozen Ever After excluded from the list at Epcot.
You have a FastPass for 3:30 PM at Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, which has closed yet again due to a typical summer afternoon thunderstorm.
At 3:30, your Big Thunder FastPass will automatically convert to a Multiple Experiences FastPass.
You can wait for the storm to pass and use the modified FastPass whenever Big Thunder reopens, or head on over to ride Space Mountain instead using the Multiple Experiences FastPass!
As soon as you tap to redeem your third reserved or additional FastPass, you may search for and reserve another, even before boarding the ride.
Example: Your third reserved FastPass is for Epcot’s Test Track. You redeem by tapping your MagicBand and then get in the short line. While waiting to ride Test Track, you search for a fourth FastPass, find one for Spaceship Earth, and book it … before you even sit down in your Test Track car!
You may modify your three reserved FastPass times once you’re in the parks to use them faster.
You have a FastPass for Space Mountain for 10:00 AM and one for the Tomorrowland Speedway right next door at 11:00 AM since the one-hour windows could not overlap when you reserved the FastPasses.
However, as soon as you tap to redeem your Space Mountain FastPass at 10:00, it is marked as redeemed and you can modify the time for the Tomorrowland Speedway FastPass.
You refresh the app several times and manage to move up the Tomorrowland Speedway FastPass to 10:25. This allows you to walk right over and ride as soon as you’re done at Space Mountain instead of waiting or filling time until the Speedway FastPass’s original 11:00 time.
FastPasses will expire if you don’t use them and an expired FastPass will behave the same as a redeemed FastPass. You may want to simply let a Fastpass expire if you do not have plans to ride and want to be able to make a 4th FastPass for an additional tier 1 attraction.
You make reserved FastPasses at Epcot for Test Track (tier 1) from 10:00-11:00, Spaceship Earth (tier 2) from 11:00-12:00, and Journey Into Imagination (tier 2) from 12:00-1:00.
You redeem your FastPasses for Test Track and Spaceship Earth, but decide to eat lunch and let the Journey Into Imagination FastPass expire.
When that FastPass’s window ends at 1:00, you are able to make a 4th FastPass for any ride and find a Soarin’ (tier 1) FastPass for later in the day. My family has implemented this precise example several times!
When you log into your Disney account to reserve your trip’s worth of FastPasses at 7:00 AM either at the 60- or 30-day mark, do not reserve them in day order. Reserve them by attraction popularity. Search for the difficult-to-get FastPasses for the popular rides FIRST.
You plan on visiting Hollywood Studios on day 4 of your Disney World trip. When you log into your Disney account to make all of your FastPass+ reservations, you might assume to start with day 1, followed by day 2 and day 3 and so on.
Instead, considering that Slinky Dog Dash is one of the most difficult FastPasses to find, go to day 4 and try to reserve a Slinky Dog Dash FastPass first.
Then, go to your Animal Kingdom day to search for a Flight of Passage FastPass.
After that, finish finding FastPasses for your remaining days and fill up your Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom days.
You should always try to get your Slinky Dog Dash (Hollywood Studios) and Flight of Passage (Animal Kingdom) FastPasses first. Seven Dwarfs Mine Train (Magic Kingdom) and Frozen Ever After (Epcot) should be next.
Don’t use your three reserved FastPasses for nighttime shows or at times later in the day. Since you must use your three reserved FastPasses before attempting to get a 4th FastPass and more, you will be stuck and won’t have the flexibility of making additional FastPass+ reservations during the day because you haven’t used your three reserved FastPasses yet. This rule does not apply, of course, if one of the nighttime shows is your highest priority, you don’t want to risk NOT getting a FastPass for it, and you do not care to make more than three FastPass reservations that day.
Congratulations! You are now a Disney World FastPass+ Master! Happy trip planning!