How To Get More FastPass Opportunities At Disney World

by Ed Pizza

Disney World FastPass

When Disney World launched the digital FastPass system a few years ago, I was both happy and sad.  As an avid Disney World traveler, I had gotten used to paper FastPasses and timing the system to the minute so I could milk out every last cut the line pass we could get.  That usually involved me running around the park like a chicken without a head while my family rode the occasional ride without me, which is where the good part of digital FastPass comes in.

Pro Tip: If you’re headed to Disney for the first time, you absolutely want to download the My Disney Experience app and get used to it.  Tons of good things you can do around the parks, not just FastPass selections.

With digital FastPass, folks planning a Disney vacation could pick the rides they wanted to ride most and “reserve” them ahead of time.  Depending on whether you were staying at a Disney resort or not, you could book FastPass rides as far out as 90 days prior to your arrival.  But, there were shortcomings.

During the beta stage of digital FastPass, there was this really cool period where you could get digital Fastpasses and traditional FastPasses as well.  After they got past the beta stage, you could only get 3 FastPasses a day.  Boo!  But now, they’re making some changes that are very good for folks, especially those with Park Hopper passes where you can visit multiple parks in one day.  According to this Theme Park Tourist article, the following changes are coming:

  1. Get a 4th FastPass through the app!  The opportunity will now exist to grab a 4th FastPass after you claim your first 3.  The verbiage leaves me wondering a bit, “as soon as you’ve claimed whatever you had, you can boot up the app and make another reservation with no waiting“.  Not sure if that means you can book 4 FastPass experiences as far out as 90 days or not.  Based on another article I read, you don’t get the 4th FastPass until you use your 3rd one.  But, that makes things much easier than finding one of the few remaining kiosks to request a FastPass.
  2. Park Hoppers Rejoice!  Under the original FastPass system, you could only request FastPasses for the park you were in.  If you had Park Hopper passes, you couldn’t request one ride in the Magic Kingdom and two in Hollywood Studios (or vice versa).  Now, once you’ve redeemed your last FastPass, you can see what’s available at another park.
  3. You Can Request Less Than 3 FastPasses.  Uh, Ed, why is this a benefit?  This is a niche case, but you could, in theory, grab a very early FP at something like 7 Dwarves Mine Train, then be free to book Fastpass rides in another park.  In the old system, you were forced to make 3 choices, which I’m guessing virtually everyone did.  In theory, this also marginally opens up availability for everyone. There are a handful of times where we’ve thrown away a FastPass that we didn’t need just to get the one we were looking for, though this was somewhat rare.
  4. More Flexibility Around Times And Individuals.  Less important for most folks, but you can now search by time slot for specific FastPass availability.  In the past, the system would regurgitate the best schedule to you based on what rides you picked.  Being able to see availability by time slot makes it easier to bounce around.  Disney veterans could work out the permutations through the My Disney Experience App, but this should make it easier for the every day Disney traveler.  There’s also more flexibility for individuals who are part of a larger group to make choices on their own.

Disney World FastPass

Bottom Line

This changes some of the conventional wisdom the FastPass experts use.  One of the common themes was to hit rides early when lines were short, then mix in your FastPass selections later in the day in between other activities.  Now, with the ability to select additional FastPass opportunities from the app and the ability to hop amongst multiple parks, it opens up lots of other options.  It also allows you to get out of a busy park and head to a quieter one knowing that you’ll be able to squeeze in at least one FastPass ride before you decide to change parks.  Given that it takes a while to change parks, this is definitely a good thing.

When they made the decision to allow FastPass opportunities to Park Hoppers, I wish they had gone as far as to allow you the opportunity to book multiple parks on the same day ahead of time.  Again, a niche thing, but given the age of our kids, we can’t really spend a full day in Animal Kingdom unless we fold in some things that are “B level” Disney experiences.  We take our kids there to be wowed, so I’m not sure I would ever commit a full day to Animal Kingdom given their current interests.

I understand there’s some tech involved in building time constraints that don’t let someone book two FastPass experiences 20 minutes apart in 2 different parks.  But, those are largely built into the system now.

At any rate, I’m still very pleased with the changes.  As a family that knows our way around the park, I’m happy there’s now an opportunity to grab more FastPasses along the way!

What do you think of the Disney World FastPass system?

The post How To Get More FastPass Opportunities At Disney World was published first on Pizza in Motion.


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John L April 11, 2016 - 17:29

I spent all last week at WDW so this is pretty fresh for me. The old fastpass system was amazing if you knew how to work it. You could accumulate a stack of fastpass tickets to use all day. Since then they have tightened it down year by year, making it much less useful. You could still get more than 3 a day, but it took more time and effort. As of last week you could change an existing fastpass choice using the MDE app but you could not book an additional one; you had to go to a kiosk. These new changes will make fastpass slightly better. I still don’t think you will be able to book a 4th fastpass ahead of time, you will still need to use up your first three (or have them expire) first.

The general problem now with fastpass is that many more people know about it. The fastpass lines are much longer than they used to be and the lines at the kiosks are longer as well. By the time you have used up your first 3, there are fewer good choices left for your subsequent choices. We got 7 fastpasses per person in one long day this week but the last 4 were definitely not the E-ticket rides. Using fastpass is still better than waiting in the standby line, but I definitely long for the old fastpass days.

Edward Pizzarello April 12, 2016 - 10:42

John, I agree that the old system had huge benefits if you knew how to exploit them (just like pockets of the miles and points world). I have confirmed that you don’t get the 4th FP until you use up the first 3. That’s not great, but it’s better than finding a kiosk. I’m hopeful some small percentage of folks won’t book 3 FPs, freeing up marginal capacity for everyone else.

Get More Disney Fast Passes and How to Fuel Dump to Save Money on Airfare - View from the Wing April 13, 2016 - 12:35

[…] How To Get More FastPass Opportunities At Disney World […]

Dave P. April 13, 2016 - 13:25

I am a Florida resident and annual pass holder. My family and I go to Disney World 3-4 times a year, usually for long weekends. Since the electronic Fast Passes came out, I don’t think we’ve used more than a couple. People that plan their vacation months or more in advance can book their Fast Passes 90 days out, but we seldom plan that far ahead and by time we do the Fast Passes are often sold out. For us it has been a very poor change.

MG April 13, 2016 - 13:50

The real FP trick is getting two unique sets of Magic Bands per person…. the details are out there for those that want to jump through a few hoops on the front end to save quite a bit of time on the back end while at WDW.

losingtrader April 13, 2016 - 14:47

wait…someone actually wants to go to Disney World? i hope you have kids, otherwise it’s Tokyo Massage for me, and no fast pass is desired.

Mary Ann April 13, 2016 - 18:24

I haven’t been there since I was a kid but reading about these long lines (and then wait list lines!!) and having to get fast passes (more extortion) or wait all day makes me think I am going to spend a lot of money to just stand around waiting in line. Paying lots of money to do a lot of standing in line doesn’t sound like fun.

channon April 27, 2016 - 17:01

The whole thing sounds awful. All for $125/person per day. No thanks.

Boraxo April 13, 2016 - 20:33

3 fastpasses won’t get me to spend $100 per person per day (or more??) because I am loathe to spend hours or even minutes waiting in lines for rides that I’ve already paid to use. To be fair I don’t really care for abusement parks (nothing against Disney specifically). But if you are going to have a “fast pass” the better more economically efficient system is to copy Universal and just charge more for a fastpass that applies to all rides. Those with money can buy up (as is the case with airlines) and everybody else can wait. My time is too valuable to wait.

wlciii April 13, 2016 - 23:05

Boraxo – then you want a VIP tour guide. For $400-600 per hour you can go through the tunnels and enter back stage to rides so there’s no waiting. When time is precious, it’s the way to go.

Boraxo April 14, 2016 - 15:48

wiciii – Had not previously been aware of that option – many thanks!

John Lilly April 14, 2016 - 16:01

wlciii, From what I’ve read, that is not quite accurate. On the VIP tour you go in the FastPass lane unlimited times, but you go not go to the front of the line. This is better than the standby line but you can wait 10 minutes in the FastPass lines on Tier 1 rides.

Edward Pizzarello April 14, 2016 - 17:20

John & wlcii, I’ve been on the VIP tours in the past. They’re actually quite valuable, though they’ve priced me out at this point. They do have some new tours that I’ll be writing about in the near future. The VIP tour does use the FP lanes, but it’s really not that bad. They’ve done a better job controlling the length of the FP lanes.


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