This is the third post in my series about Travel Hacking Disney. This post will focus on how to make the most of the FastPass+ system. While you can’t really “travel hack” the FP+ system, I will give some tips as well as my experience with the system.
FastPass+ vs. Regular FastPass
Being a Disneyland expert, I loved utilizing FastPass system to wait in less lines and ride more rides. The older system at Disneyland, regular FastPass, allowed you to insert your ticket and they would give you a specific return time. As soon as that return time started, you could go to another ride and get another FastPass. You also had to physically go to the specific ride you wanted to FastPass. With that being said, the FastPass+ system at Disney World makes this experience even easier, but it takes some planning.
If you are staying at a hotel that is on-property, you can book your FP+ selections up to 60 days before you check-in. The selection process is pretty easy. You choose which rides you want and then they provide you with some options. If you’re booking 60 days in advance, you shouldn’t have a problem getting the exact rides you want at the exact times you want. You can book up to 3 FP+ in advance. They must all be in the same park.
My FP+ Pro Tips:
Here are my tips for saving time and making the best use of your FP+:
- If you are planning on being at the same park all day, book your FP+ for early to late afternoon. This is when the standby lines are typically longest.
- Download the Disney World app. Don’t ask questions. Just do it.
- Once you complete your 3 FP+ selections, you can pick additional one. If you have park hopper tickets they can be in a completely different park. Once you use that FP+, you can make another selection. Making additional FP+ selections from the app is convenient and efficient. Utilize this.
- Do not book FP+ selections for the night shows, unless you have no other plans. Booking these evening FP+ means you won’t be able to make additional selections.
- Do not book FP+ for rides that typically have short standby lines (i.e. thrill rides = long wait times, theater rides = short wait times). Not sure what wait times typically are? I suggest using the Disney World app to check what the wait times are today and that should give you a general idea of what they might be when you’re visiting. I made the mistake of booking a FP+ for Mission: Space (avg wait time: 20 mins) instead of Test Track (avg wait time: 50 mins).
- FP+ has grace periods before and after your scheduled times. You can arrive 5 mins early as well as 15 mins late.
- It is always worth checking the app every now and then for new FP+ options. We found that sometimes people cancel their plans and FP+ availability opens up. If it is a popular ride, jump on it right away. You can always cancel it if you decide to do something else or find something better.
- Ride short standby lines while you wait for your FP+ scheduled time.
FP+ Magic Kingdom Example
The screenshot above is an example of our FP+ for our first day at Magic Kingdom. The first three on the list were advance FP+ selections. You’ll notice there are three other FP+ selections. These were made after our advance FP+ selections were completed. It is also worth noting that there are actually two more FP+ selections that are not displayed on here because my screen isn’t big enough to fit it. We arrived at rope drop and were able to get on 3-4 rides (including Space Mt and Big Thunder Mt) within the first hour and a half.
We were able to ride our favorite ride, Expedition Everest, 3 times within 20 minutes. Basically, as soon as we used the FP+ selection, I would log into my Disney World app and select the next available FP+, which was about 10 minutes later. Since we could arrive 5 minutes early, by the time we got off the ride we were able to get back in line again. This was probably one of the highlights of our trip.
It takes some planning, but use the FP+ to your advantage. During our 5-day trip to Disney World, we were able to ride pretty much every ride we wanted at least 2-3 times. We hardly waited for any ride longer than 20 minutes (my wife hates lines). If you wait to book your FPs+ until you’re at the park, many of the top selections will not be available. All this to say, advance planning definitely pays off.