Fastpass+ has become a pivotal part of getting more rides in during your Disney World vacation and best of all it’s FREE! Fastpass+ is a scheduling system created by Disney so you can book your ride times in advance. With the increased crowds and the wild popularity of the newest rides, you must use Fastpass+ to avoid crazy long wait times. When you have reached your riding window you simply arrive at the Fastpass entrance for the ride and skip to the front of the line! So let’s take a deep dive into the best strategies to avoid the Fastpass+ mistakes you don’t want to make at Disney World.
Note: that even with Fastpass+ there is sometimes still a short wait time associated with using it.
Not Booking in Advance
This is the biggest mistake on the list, I cannot stress enough. It’s important to book your Fastpass+ as soon as possible so you can ensure you get on the rides you want to go on while on your vacation. Disney World resort guests may book their fastpass+ selections 60 days in advance and all others may book their fastpass+ selections 30 days in advance. Since I am an annual pass holder I can book my Fastpasses 30 days in advance, and there are many times that I can not get the most popular attractions, such as Flights of Passage and Seven Dwarf Mine Train.
In order to help plan your trip, I recommend downloading our FREE Printable Disney Daily Vacation Planner. This planner lets you map out your entire trip! Picking which park you plan on going to each day can help you plan out your food and Fastpasses in advance.
I want to point out that you must have your hotel reservation and tickets purchased to use the 60-day advance reservation. Also, you must purchase your tickets in advance even if you are not staying on Disney property to book your Fastpasses 30 days in advance. Advance ticket purchase is also important because you don’t want to waste your valuable vacation time standing in line at the vacation planning window. I am always amazed at how long those lines can be when I am walking by them to enter the park, you could easily spend over a half-hour in those lines, instead of heading to your favorite ride. For our picks on the best Disney attractions to use your Fastpasses see our article.
Not Checking the Night Before or the Morning Of
Unless you were able to book your top three choices of Fastpasses, you should recheck for availability the night before and at 7 am the day of your visit. Guests are continually changing their selections and Disney releases additional Fastpasses each morning.
Virtual Queue Does Not Count as a Fastpass+
The Rise of the Resistance in Star Wars Galaxy Edge is the hottest ride at Walt Disney World. Currently, Hollywood Studios is using a Virtual Queue, that you must be in the park to sign up for on the My Disney Experience app. The good news is that the virtual queue does not count as one of your three Fasspasses to book in advance.
Not Booking more Fastpass + After You use Your First 3
Did you know that after you use up your first three Fastpasses slotted for the day you can go back and book more? Yup! That’s right, just like the old paper system you can get more than three Fastpasses over the course of the day don’t make the mistake of stopping at three. When you have used all three just find a Fastpass kiosk or use the My Disney Experience app to book another one. If you have a park hopper you can even make Fastpasses at a different park once you have used the first three! Even if it is later in the day, look up what is available, you may be surprised what is still available, or you may just try a ride that you don’t usually do.
Picking the Wrong Attractions
If you have never been to Disney World before it can be hard to judge which attractions you should get a Fastpass for. Fear not though we put together a list of Disney Rides you Should Never Make a Fastpass For. Utilizing this list will help you avoid making any rookie mistakes and determine which rides will work the best for your family because remember what’s best is unique to each family : ) Also, many rides have short wait times throughout the day, so you don’t need a Fastpass in order to enjoy them.
Failing to Document Fastpass +
I hate to say but even in the land of Disney sometimes things go wrong. There have been times that their computer system will go down or it will lose your Fastpasses. This is RARE but it’s good to be prepared. Additionally, you could lose the internet and not have a way to double-check when you scheduled your ride times. Although Disney allows you a ten minute grace period in case you are late arriving at the attraction, it would be very disappointing to miss the Fastpass time and not be able to ride your favorite attraction. It is easy to get confused with all the excitement of the park. To help I always take a screenshot after I book my Fastpasses and leave it saved. If you are more of a paper person, I recommend using our free planning guide mentioned above!
Not Connecting your Group in your My Disney Experience Account
Similar to Facebook you can add friends to your My Disney Experience account. If you plan on meeting up with other family members or your family members have individual accounts then be sure to add them as your friend. This allows you to book Fastpasses on behalf of your friends and you can see their currently scheduled plans as well. That’s if they choose to share them with you.
Remember if you are trying to coordinate plans with other family and friends, even doing so together, you might not get the same time windows showing up. My favorite problem is for someone to let me know after they have made their Fastpass and think that I can go online later that day or the next day and be able to get the same time period!
Save yourself the hassle and let one person make the Fastpasses for the group, you can always change your own Fastpasses if you want to. Another benefit to adding people as friends is for Photopass, it gives you the ability to share photos. This is particularly helpful for Annual Passholders with free downloads or those who purchase the Memory Maker photo package.
Booking a Reservation between 9:00 AM – 10:00 AM
This is when the parks first open and the lines are short! Usually, these will be the shortest wait times of the day. It is a mistake to schedule a Fastpass during this time. A better strategy is to book the Fastpass for when the wait times would be over an hour.
Personally I try to not book any Fastpasses before 11:00 am. I consistently see that once 11:00 am hits the parks have gotten crowded and you see most of the lines start to fill up for the day. The lines will typically start dying down again around 9:00 pm when people with small children have left for the day.
I must add a caveat to this rule – if you get the opportunity to ride the MOST popular ride in the park, take it. This might be the only opportunity to get a Fastpass for those attractions, you would be amazed at how fast they go, sometimes in a matter of minutes.
Not realizing Everyone in your Party can Do Different Things
You don’t have to have everyone in your party Fastpass the same ride. So for example, if you have a giant chicken in your family like myself, while everyone else opts for Rock “n” Roll Coaster I could book Toy Story Midway Mania for the same time instead. Also great if you have really young ones in your party that does not meet the height requirements.
Every time you book a Fastpass, the app will ask you who is in the group, so you can repeatedly form different groups on the same day. Keep in mind that when different members of your group are doing different attractions, you have to be careful of overlapping times.
For instance, part of your group might be riding Thunder Mountain at 11:15 am and others might be going to Small World at 11:30 am. This means that if you all want to do something as one group after that, the first time that you would all be available to make the Fastpass would be 12:30 pm since you have at least an hour before you qualify for the next Fastpass.
Not Understanding the Tier System
Several parks have a tier system of the Fastpasses. This means that you will be limited in selecting certain attractions. For more information on the tiers at EPCOT, read our article. For more information on the tiers at Animal Kingdom, read our article.
Not using the My Disney Experience App
If you are heading on a trip to Walt Disney World you need this app on your phone! You can view your Fastpasses, make new Fastpasses, cancel a Fastpass, or even modify one. I feel that the feature I most use the app for other than making Fastpasses is checking wait times. You want to avoid crisscrossing the park to get to an attraction and finding out that the wait time is longer than you are willing to stand in line.
Personally, my limit is one hour and many of the popular attractions regularly get over two hours! You are going to do plenty of walking on a day in the park without doing extra.
The Disney app also is packed with plenty of other helpful features like park openings, entertainment times, and your Photopass pictures. Also, you can use the app to make dining reservations and mobile food ordering. The app also allows you to purchase theme park tickets and special event tickets, like After Hours events.
I recommend that you check the wait times on the app before you plan your vacation so you can see the wait times that you might encounter on your trip on the rides that you want to experience. This will also help set your expectations of what you will be able to accomplish on your vacation.
The bottom line when it comes to avoiding Fastpass mistakes, is you want to make sure you are planning in advance. Otherwise, you may miss out on getting on the big popular rides at Disney World or spending your whole day in long lines. If you have experienced any other Fastpass mistakes during your vacation share them in the comments below.
I have been visiting the parks annually since my parents first brought me at just a year old. Recently I was able to fulfill my life long dream of being a Florida local and moved from the wintery Northeast to the sunshine and fun of central Florida. Now I am hoping to share my Disney knowledge with you so you can have the best vacation possible!
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Wednesday 24th of January 2018
Hi. I'm Natalie and I'm 11. So far I've been to Disney 8 times and I'm practically an expert. When you said you shouldn't book fast passes early you had a good point but if you do book them early and use them early you can immediately get another and so on
Wednesday 24th of January 2018
You do have a point! But you have to use all three before you can get any more this can be great for park hoppers! However, if it's a busy time odds are it's going to be harder to find another FastPass until much later in the day or for a ride that you really want to go on. The best strategy really just boils down to what you are trying to accomplish : )