Thursday, February 19, 2015

Walt Disney World FastPass+ Tips


This year Walt Disney World rolled out the new FastPass+ system.  They also rolled out the MagicBand system, which replaces the paper and plastic tickets for families staying on Disney properties.  It's alot to absorb and truthfully I was a fan of the old system, which gave families more freedom in the parks and required less pre-park planning.

This post is going to focus on the FastPass+ system.  Along with setting reservations months in advance for restaurants, you now can set FastPasses as well.  You can change your FastPass+ selections as much as you like, even the day you are in the park.  But if you travel during a Peak season (Christmas vacation, Spring Break) you need to get on the ball. Popular attractions fill up and Fast Passes for certain days may become unavailable.

The days of running to an attraction when the park opens to grab a FastPass for later in the day are long gone.  Disney has required us to think and plan really hard.  It's not terrible, but it takes some getting used to.

Once you've planned a trip to Disney, you need to set up a "My Disney Experience" account.  This site is actually one of my favorites, and I recommended having one even before FastPass+ was born.  It's a great resource for your trip and links all your confirmation and reservations numbers.

Now it also sets your FastPass+ selections.

Once you are set up and linked up with all your confirmation numbers you can make an Itinerary.  You can go through each day and set your FastPasses.  This gets tricky because you'll need to think about what park you will be in every day.  Remember to consider all restaurant reservations and other plans.  

If you are eating dinner in Epcot, and you are without a Park Hopper pass that allows you more than one park a day, you need to be in Epcot that day.  

When you add a FP+ for a park, the screen will prompt you to pick three attractions.  Each person in your party gets three FastPasses/day.  THESE CAN BE FOR  DIFFERENT ATTRACTIONS!  I have kids that don't ride coasters, and I set FastPasses for me to take them on Winnie the Pooh while their dad takes the "big kids" on the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train.

When you choose your three attractions, Disney will set up a few suggested itineraries.  Select whichever you like best.  YOU CAN MODIFY THESE IMMEDIATELY.

I don't like to be in the parks in the afternoons.  We like to swim at the hotel.  I like my FastPasses to be for either when we go back at night or late morning.  I modify all my selections to fit my schedule.  

Things to remember:

1.  You need to make an itinerary.  Look at park schedules (when they open, what events are in each park) and get an idea of where you want to be each day.  Flying by the seat of your vacation pants will cause a headache unless you are so laid back you really don't care about lines and itineraries.

God bless you if you can handle that.

2.  You can modify FastPass times as much as you like; you can cancel FastPasses and change parks.  By downloading the "My Disney Experience" app on your phone you can manage your vacation easily.

I recommend making your FastPass+ selections as far in advance as possible to ensure you have a FP for the rides you are interested in the most.  FastPasses for some attractions "sell out" for an entire day.  They also may have minimal times available which will limit you if you have specific plans and reservations.

3.  Avoid setting FastPasses within the first hour of park opening.  Lines are minimal and this is just wasting a FP.  Save those beauties for midday and evening, when the parks are filled up and the wait times are lengthy.

4.  Do some research as to where rides are in the parks.  If you aren't familiar with the parks, you can view maps on Disney's website.

5.  Don't be afraid of splitting up.  If you have a few people who want to ride a coaster, and a few who can't or don't want to, look for rides nearby and set different FastPasses for the same window of time.

There is much to know and learn when I comes to Disney.  I learn something new every time I go because the parks are always changing.  Share any tips below - I'd love to hear them!

Happy Trails!



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