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De nouvelle images du Toy story Land au Disney Hollywood Studios a DisneyWorld? pic.twitter.com/hJPntpjXoK— Disney Secret Movie (@dsm_IG) May 8, 2018
How does Disney's Fast Pass work?FastPass is the system Disney came up with in 1999 as a way for guests of its parks to reserve a spot on the rides with the longest lines. Traditionally you would insert your park pass into a little kiosk near the ride and it would spit out a paper FastPass ticket. It would display a 1-hour window of time during which you could return and skip the big line often saving hours of time. The beauty of the FastPass system is that you can return to the ride anytime during your 1-hour window and go right to the FastPass line which would typically be SIGNIFICANTLY shorter than the regular line. Timed correctly you could literally strategize your park visit knowing which rides traditionally had lines, which offered a FastPass and where they all were in proximity to one another.
What happens if you miss a FastPass?
Can you cancel or change a FastPass reservation?Yes, Disney has us covered here too. In fact, it's quite easy to cancel or change a FastPass+ reservation you've previously made. Just use the My Disney Experience (either Apple app, Android app or browser-based). You'll see the rides you currently have booked and you can click on any of them. You'll see options to cancel or modify and you can simply select the option you want.
How many Fast Passes does Disney give out per hour?No one really knows the answer to this question. Well, Disney knows, but they aren't telling. If you scour the forums, you'll see things mentioned like 100 FastPasses per hour per ride, or even things like 100 FastPasses allowed for every 1 person in line. But based on my experience, I don't think those are accurate. We do know, however, that some rides sell out days or weeks in advance, while others may not sell out at all or if they do, it's by late afternoon. The rides that sell out the most in advance are:
- Seven Dwarfs Mine Train
- Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
- Enchanted Tales with Belle
- Peter Pan's Flight
- Splash Mountain
- Frozen Ever After
- Alien Saucers
- Slink Dog Dash
- Toy Story Mania!
- Avatar Flight of Passage
- Na'vi River Journey
- Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin
- It's a Small World
- Monster's Inc Laugh Floor
- Mad Tea Party
- The Magic Carpets of Aladdin
- The Seas with Nemo & Friends
- Spaceship Earth
- Voyage of the Little Mermaid
- It's Tough to be a Bug
Can I book a FastPass for a different park on the same day?The short answer is yes, but only after the initial 3 FastPasses you booked in advance of arriving. Once you've used those first 3, feel free to book 3 more at a different park. Because all 4 parks at Walt Disney World, unlike Disneyland, can't be gotten to on foot, don't try and book multiple passes at different parks. It's just too time-consuming to go between parks. Also, make sure your tickets have the Park Hopper option. Otherwise, you can only visit 1 park per day.
Do you have to use a FastPass to enjoy a Disney park?No is the short answer. That being said, it can DEFINITELY make your visit more enjoyable. Last year over 20 million people went to Flordia's Walt Disney World's parks. While Hollywood Studios is a little less popular than The Magic Kingdom, Epcot, or Animal Kingdom, all of them still got MILLIONS of visitors. Honestly, it's crazy that Hollywood Studios gets fewer people than the other parks. So if you want to see some shorter lines, check out What to do at Hollywood Studios (click to see my article now), home of Toy Story Land and Star Wars Land (called Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge). Of course 2019 being the year Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge opened, it has been busier than normal. But this is still likely to remain one of the lesser-visited parks. But no matter which of the parks you visit, FastPasses, while certainly not mandatory, just make your visit a LOT better! With a little strategy and maybe some of the free apps available that show you wait times, why wouldn't you want to use the FastPass+ system? After all, it's free and can literally save you hours of waiting in line.
What's the Difference Between FastPass and FastPass+?
Currently, Disneyland in Anaheim, CA still uses the traditional FastPass system whereas Walt Disney World in Orlando switched to the FastPass+ system. FastPass+ allows guests to log in to their My Disney Experience (either Apple app, Android app or browser-based) and make reservations; no paper tickets needed! You can book reservations as much as 30 days in advance of your trip starting at 7 am that day. BUT if you are staying at a Disney resort you can book as much as 60 days ahead of time! That's certainly a great Disney FastPass+ secret! FastPass+ allows you to book a max of 3 rides at any given time, but once you've ridden or canceled them, book 3 more! I spoke with Chef Jeff Johnston who also happens to be a Disney expert on his best Disney FastPass+ secrets for navigating the parks and using FastPass+ to the max. Jeff noted For Walt Disney World, it is essential to plan ahead. While FastPass can be reserved online, having the Magic Bands (click to see the amazing selection on Amazon) can make it easier." He went on to say that "The old school system required walking to the attraction, entering your admission ticket, and a Pass would print. Planning ahead eliminates this, so you can plan your day going to the actual attractions (and getting into the line) vs walking to each one, to only get a pass for later in the day."
Did they say "Fast Pass for food'? Oh, we're in! - This #Disney Restaurant Has a Secret Menu and You Can Only Access It From Your Phone, via @foodandwine: | https://t.co/ljFoceEs0n #travel pic.twitter.com/4NlBFVEuAZ— Rob+Ann ✈☕ (@TravelLatte) May 13, 2018
What is a Disney Magic Band?
A Magic Band is an electronic wristband you wear with an embedded RFID chip. It seamlessly integrates with your MyDisneyExperience account allowing you to travel lighter. As Disney states: "Use it to enter the parks, unlock your Disney Resort hotel room and buy food and merchandise. Plus, your MagicBand gives you FastPass+ access to all the experiences you’ve selected online". Simply touch the wristband to a card reader and away you go! I was amazed at the awesome selection of these on Amazon, most of which you CANNOT get at the park. It also unlocks special surprises throughout the park which are customized for you. Those surprises get uploaded as pictures to your Disney PhotoPass account and can be pulled up later for saving or printing. They are waterproof as well in case you're going to one of the Walt Disney World Waterparks. Desperately wanting to go to a Disney park but aren't sure how you'll pay for it? Check out my article on crucial Vacation on a Budget tips (click to read on my site)!
Jazzed to receive our Disney magic bands and excited that our next adventure is around the corner! pic.twitter.com/aYvbgalNZc— Laura Segers (@laura_segers) June 16, 2017
Are Magic Bands free?They are free IF you are staying at a Disney resort property. If you are not staying at a Disney property (or if you want one of the fun customized ones), you will have to pay to get one. Basic bands cost under $15 at current prices or you can spend $30 or more at park stores for character-specific ones. Customize Magic Bands with custom colors too! Or get a fully custom MagicBands on Amazon and link it to your Disney Account! Just click that link to see the current options and prices on Amazon. Among others, they have Belle Magic Bands (my middle daughter's favorite), Ariel, Inside Out, Nightmare Before Christmas and many more.
Do you have to use a Magic Band?The short answer is no; you do not have to use a Magic Band (it simply makes things easier).
How do I use a magic band?Simply tap the Mickey icon (if using a basic Magic Band) on the face of the MagicBand when you see an electronic reader. All Walt Disney Resorts use these to access hotel rooms. But you'll also see them at most restaurants, stores, entrance gates, and at all FastPass+ rides and attractions. If you're staying at a Disney hotel, you can also use a Magic Band to charge merchandise or meals to your room by simply creating and using a pin number. You create your PIN at the time you check into your room.
What happens if I lose my MagicBand?If you lose your MagicBand, go to the front desk of any Disney hotel or to any of the park guest relations offices immediately after realizing it has been lost (or possibly stolen). Disney will deactivate the band to prevent others from using it to charge to your account, enter your room, or otherwise use it. For this reason, NEVER write your PIN on your Magic Band. Disney will next issue you a replacement Magic Band (a plain one). You can also deactivate the Magic Band yourself using the MyDisneyExperience website or app. Just go to the manage MagicBand section in the app, tap your band, and then deactivate. You can get a replacement anytime.
Are Disney Fast Passes free?
What Time Can You Make Fast Passes For?When staying at a Disney World Resort, you can start making FastPass+ reservations 60 days before you arrive, starting at 7:00 a.m. EST. When staying elsewhere, you can begin making your FastPass+ selections 30 days ahead, also starting at 7:00 a.m, EST. In terms of what time can you make your FastPass reservations for, that varies from ride to ride and park to park, but usually it's 9 or 10 am, so you cannot typically make a reservation for right when the park opens. Remember too that FastPass and FastPass+ are only available for select rides at Disneyland and Walt Disney World. Want to know which rides are available for FastPasses? Check the FastPass Rides at Disneyland (click to see on the Disney site) in Anaheim, CA or Check the FastPass+ Rides at Walt Disney World in Orlando by park on my site Steps to Plan a Vacation (click to read my article)!
What are the FastPass tiers?Disney FastPass tiers are something Disney just started doing to help spread out FastPass availability to all guests. Of course, all of us tend to try and get FastPasses for the above mentioned most popular rides. Thus, they came up with the FastPass tier system to limit guests from just picking the popular rides. While at Walt Disney World they have implemented this system at Epcot, Animal Kingdom, and Hollywood Studios, they have not (as of yet) introduced it to the Magic Kingdom. To implement the tier system, Disney has taken the most popular rides and put them into categories they call tiers. There are currently only 2 tiers. Tier 1 rides are the most popular rides, followed by Tier 2 rides. See my list below of the most popular FastPass+ rides which also list which tier they are in. When picking your 3 FastPass+ rides at Epcot, Animal Kingdom, or Hollywood Studios, you can pick one ride from the FastPass+ Tier 1 list and 2 FastPasses from the FastPass+ Tier 2 list. Devon commented below with another killer Fast Pass Tier tip saying: "You do NOT have to book a Tier 1 ride if you don’t want to. Say you’re bringing Grandma along with you and she doesn’t want to do Slinky Dog Dash or Alien Swirling Saucers or Toy Story Mania! but she does want to make sure she has seats for her favorite musicals/shows – it is totally acceptable to book her three Tier 2 fastpasses right off the bat!". If you're a Disney film lover, have you ever wondered why parents always seem to die in Disney films? I recently published this article about that phenomenon and uncovered the devastating truth behind what drove Walt's vision for his films. Just click that link to read my article on this site.
What rides should I FastPass at Disney World?
- Frozen Ever After - Tier 1 (with the release of Frozen 2, expect demand for this to stay strong)
- Mission: Space - Tier 2
- Test Track - Tier 1
- Soarin' - Tier 1
- Spaceship Earth - Tier 2
MAGIC KINGDOM (does not use tiers)
- Peter Pan's Flight
- Seven Dwarfs Mine Train
- Thunder Mountain
- Space Mountain
- Thunder Mountain
- Na'vi River Journey - Tier 1
- Avatar Flight of Passage - Tier 1
- Kilimanjaro Safaris - Tier 2
- Expedition Everest - Tier 2
- DINOSAUR - Tier 2
- Slinky Dog Dash - Tier 1
- Toy Story Midway Mania! - Tier 1
- Alien Swirling Saucers - Tier 1
- Star Tours - Tier 2
- Rock 'n' Roller Coaster® Starring Aerosmith - Tier 2
- The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror - Tier 2 (yes, they still have this! They only closed the one in Anaheim)
How many FastPasses a day?
Can you FastPass the same ride twice?Yes, but not as 2 of your 3 current FastPass+ reservations. In other words, at any given time, you can have up to 3 reservations booked. Those 3 have to each be different rides or attractions. Once you've used those 3, you can book 3 more. Those new 3 can, of course, be ones you've already ridden. But you're subject to what times are available which may or may not be anytime soon.
What is Disney Early Morning Magic?Early morning magic is an option you pay for when you buy your tickets. Currently, you'll pay $69 per adult and $59 per child for early morning magic, and the number of tickets is very limited. It allows you access to the parks 1 hour prior to the official opening times. But you also get all-you-can-eat breakfast. It does NOT, however, give you access to EVERY ride. Currently, this is available at Fantasyland in the Magic Kingdom, and Toy Story Land in Hollywood Studios.
How is Early Morning Magic Different from Extra Magic Hours?Essentially the difference is that Extra Magic Hours can be prior to park opening, or after park closing and they are only available to park guests staying at the following Disney resorts:
- Disney Resort hotels
- Walt Disney World Swan Hotel
- Walt Disney World Dolphin Hotel
- Shades of Green® Resort
- Disney Springs Resort Area Hotels
- Four Seasons Resort Orlando
- Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek
- Waldorf Astoria Orlando
What is rope drop at Disney world?The world of Disney can get complicated and confusing. You might think if the park opens at 9, it opens at 9, right? Well, that is except for Early Morning Magic and Extra Magic Hours. But even on top of that, the turnstiles at the parks open up to an hour prior to the official park opening. That doesn't mean you can ride anything yet, but it does get you one step closer. Then, some areas do what they call a rope drop, where they let people in early to certain rides like the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train or Toy Story Mania! sometimes up to 45 minutes prior to the official park opening. Want to know all there is to know about Rope Drop at Disney World? (click to read my article) Check out one of my latest articles that details everything you need to know about rope drop at all 4 parks in Walt Disney World.
What is a Park Hopper?A Park Hopper is an option you have when you buy your tickets. This option allows you to switch back and forth between all of the parks at Walt Disney World on the same day – Epcot, Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom, and Hollywood Studios. Or if you're in Anaheim's Disneyland, you can switch between Disneyland and California Adventure. Without a Park Hopper, you can only visit 1 park per day for however many days you purchased when you bought your tickets. BUT, with multi-day tickets, after you use your 1st-day ticket, you generally have 7 more days to use the remaining tickets, thus, you can take days off in between park visits. My family LOVES the Park Hopper option and we always get it even though it does raise the costs (but then no matter what you do, this isn't a cheap vacation). With current prices listed on the Disney website, a 4-day ticket for ages 10 and up is $340, or $85/day. If you add the Park Hopper option, however, it will cost anywhere from $113 to $121 per day (varies based on the day you choose). Thus a 4-day park hopper on the most expensive day would be $484. A family of 4 doing that will spend a total of $1,936 instead of $1,360 without the Park Hopper, or a total of $576 more. In my experience, that's totally worth doing! We find the kids sometimes need a nap midday (especially if you visit in summer when it's beastly hot). Thus, you can head back to the hotel and relax and then head back out later and go to any park you want. It's also true that some families prefer 1 park over the other and may not want to spend an entire day at one when they could be riding Star Tours. My family, for instance, gets a little bored in Animal Kingdom and usually find a few hours is just fine. Every Disney park is different in terms of the size and how long it takes to enjoy. Want to know Which Disney Park is the Biggest? (click to read my article) Or maybe which is the most crowded or how different parks compare to one another? Definitely take a moment and review one of my newest posts on that as some of the answers WILL surprise you! So let's review the . . .
19 Best Disney Fastpass+ Secrets, Hacks & Tiers 2020 Guide
1. Get the My Disney Experience free appFastPass+ allows guests to log in to their My Disney Experience (either Apple app, Android app or browser-based) and make reservations; no paper tickets needed! Traveling with kids, friends or family? Make sure to register everyone under your Family & Friends list for easy FastPass+ booking! That way you can book FastPasses for everyone. Not ready to go mobile? No problem! There's plenty of kiosks in Walt Disney World. Check the complete list of kiosks here.
2. Know the difference between park opening, turnstile opening & rope dropJust to make things interesting, Disney parks have a scheduled opening time, but in addition to that and Early Morning Magic Hours, there are turnstile opening times and rope drops. Disney often opens the turnstiles at Hollywood Studios up to an hour before the scheduled opening time. That doesn't mean you can ride anything, but it does allow you into the park which gets you one step closer to the rides. At that point, they still have the most popular rides, like Toy Story Mania! roped off. But they often drop the rope up to 30 minutes prior to the official park opening time. So get there early, and know exactly where you're going first.
3. Know the Best Times To Ride Without a FastPass at the Magic KingdomChef Jeff Johnston commented above on the importance of planning with your FastPass+. However, there are also plenty of times and instances where it's not needed (and thus a waste of your FastPass). Park Hours vary both by park and time of year, but generally speaking, 9 am to 9 or 10 pm is average for the summer months, but always check before you go. Also, remember that Early Morning Magic Hours can get you limited access an hour or more before the park opens. Here are the best rides to ride without a FastPass by time and park:
MAGIC KINGDOMArrive when the park opens (9 am) and go right to these rides and ride without a FastPass:
- Space Mountain
- Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
- Splash Mountain
- Seven Dwarfs Mine Train
4. Know the Best Times To Ride Without a FastPass at EpcotArrive when the park opens (9 am) and go right to these rides and ride without a FastPass:
- Frozen Ever After
- Test Track
5. Know the Best Times To Ride Without a FastPass at Hollywood StudiosArrive up to an hour before the park opens (9 am) to take advantage of turnstile opening and rope drops and go right to these rides and ride without a FastPass:
- Tower of Terror
- Rock n' Roll Rollercoaster Starring Aerosmith
- Toy Story Mania!
6. Know the Best Times To Ride Without a FastPass at Animal KingdomArrive an hour before the park opens (9 am), as, like Hollywood Studios, Animal Kingdom often opens lets people in up to 45 minutes early. Your first goal should be to go right to the Pandora – The World of Avatar area and ride Avatar Flight of Passage when the line will about as short as you're likely to see. Then and go right to these rides and ride without a FastPass:
- Expedition Everest - Legend of the Forbidden Mountain
- Kali River Rapids
- Kilimanjaro Safaris
7. Ride as a Single Rider and Skip the Lines!While FastPass is a great tool, I also encourage Single Rider attractions, when available. While FastPass+ is great for a family, you are only limited to a certain number of attractions in a day, and after different "classifications" of attractions. But if a Single Rider is available, you're cutting off even more time in the line. Single Rider attractions generally allow 1 person to go right to the front of the line and thus you don't even need Disney FastPass+ to get right on. Want to know which rides have Single Rider available? Check out the options for Disneyland (Anaheim) and Walt Disney World (Orlando). But Johnston elaborates that "No, you can't necessarily get the same Splash Mountain pic by your loved one, but you can re-enter as much as you like. If children are old enough, (single rider) is definitely a good option, if they want to go on the same ride more than once. WDW has it offered, but this option is more available at Disneyland in California. Either way, I find it more useful."
8. Know the Most Popular RidesWhile most people arrive super early, to catch the prime rides, I tend to arrive later in the morning, IF I have Magic Band Extra Magic Hours, or the park stays open later into the night. Since Walt Disney World allows all visitors to schedule 30 days in advance and resort guests 60 days out, definitely take advantage of this. Get those top rides booked and out of the way so the stress is off.
What are the most popular rides at Walt Disney World?Travel & Leisure ranked every single one from least to most popular, so check out their complete list and plan accordingly. But it's one of those articles that makes you tab through page by page to see them all (which I hate), so let me share the top 20 with you here:
- Expedition Everest - Legend of the Forbidden Mountain - Animal Kingdom
- Haunted Mansion - Magic Kingdom
- Twilight Zone Tower of Terror - Hollywood Studios
- Soarin' - Epcot
- Space Mountain - Magic Kingdom
- Toy Story Mania! - Hollywood Studios
- Splash Mountain - Magic Kingdom
- Big Thunder Mountain Railroad - Magic Kingdom
- Avatar Flight of Passage - Animal Kingdom
- Seven Dwarfs Mine Train - Magic Kingdom
- Kilimanjaro Safaris - Animal Kingdom
- Pirates of the Caribbean - Magic Kingdom
- Rock n' Roll Rollercoaster Starring Aerosmith - Hollywood Studios
- Slinky Dog Dash - Toy Story Land (part of Hollywood Studios)
- Star Tours - The Adventure Continues - Hollywood Studios
- It's a Small World - Magic Kingdom
- Monsters Inc, Laugh Floor - Magic Kingdom
- Peter Pan's Flight - Magic Kingdom
- Jungle Cruise - Magic Kingdom
- Mad Tea Party - Magic Kingdom