If you’ve been planning a Disney vacation, chances are you’ve heard of the Disney FastPass. The idea of being able to get on rides by waiting in a shorter line than the Standby line may sound enticing, but is it everything it promises to be? Let’s look at the pros and cons of the Disney FastPass.
The Ability to Skip Lines
Obviously, the biggest benefit of the Disney FastPass is being able to avoid the very long lines. If you’re staying at a Walt Disney World Resort Hotel, you can reserve rides up to 60 days in advance. This helps ensure that you get to ride most of the rides your family is interested in. Guests not staying at a Walt Disney World Resort Hotel (off-site) are only able to select their Fastpass up to 30 days prior to each planned park day. The most popular attractions may not be easily obtainable within the 30 day window.
How does Disney FastPass works
The FastPass+ service is free and included with all park passes to Walt Disney World. To access the feature you need to create a Disney account and log into the Disney World website or app. For a single theme park per day, you can make up to 3 FastPass+ selections in advance either online or using the mobile app and you may change or cancel your selections any time. A FastPass+ provides you with a single access to the Fastpass line within the selected time frame. The selected windows are 60 minutes for attractions or 15 minutes for some shows. Simply present yourself during your window and you can skip the standby line and enter the FastPass line which is typically significantly shorter.
Having to Schedule Your Day
Many people prefer being able to be spontaneous. They complain that using the FastPass+ service requires you to plan your day around the rides. With a 60 minute window for more than 80% of attractions, the FastPass+ service ends up being an outline rather than a detailed itinerary. Your selection can also be canceled or modified as long as the Disney attraction is available. If you truly want to be spontaneous you can always wait until the day of and book your FastPass+ as you go however the attractions and times available will be limited.
Ensuring You Get to Ride the Rides You’re Most Interested In
It’s not uncommon to stand in line for one to two hours to ride a popular ride and 3+ hours for the latest most popular rides. This means spending your day in long lines is definitely an option. This can be frustrating. In fact, it’s one of the biggest complaints tourists have when visiting theme parks. The FastPass+ service allows you to reserve the rides you most want to experience. While you’re waiting for the next FastPass ride, you can walk around, do other attractions, enjoy the shops and the unlimited amount of delicious Disney snacks.
What’s the Catch?
There are 2 big buts when it comes to the FastPass+ service.
- Your 3 first Fastpass of the day must be for different rides and in the same park. Once you have used your 3 FastPass you can then get additional FastPass, one at a time, until the park closes. These additional passes can be for the same attractions you initially reserved, if available.
- This one doesn’t apply to Magic Kingdom but it has a big impact on Epcot, Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom. The FastPass are tiered. For your first 3 FastPass you can only select up to 1 attraction from the Tier 1 category, which has the most popular rides. For example, both Pandora attractions at Animal Kingdom are in Tier 1 and all 3 Toy Story Land attractions are in Tier 1 at Hollywood Studios.
Getting More From Your Day
When you structure your day like this, you’re able to experience so much more than Disney has to offer. You can go to shows, enjoy the restaurants, hit the shops, and immerse yourself in the tiniest of details that make these parks so magical. You can even head back to your room for a nap or a swim in between rides. In other words, you’ll get so much more out of your day.There are many benefits to the Disney FastPass, but there are also drawbacks. If you don’t mind scheduling your day, this can be a great way to experience more of the park. However, you do need to realize that you can’t just ride your favourite rides over and over without standing in line. Book your FastPass as soon as you are able to so you can get the more popular attractions. Should your plans change you can always change them.
Getting More From Your Vacation
You can have someone take care of all this for you. Let an Authorized Disney Vacation Planner, like OMC Blogger, Jeremie from Pure Magic Vacations. They will work with you and offer FastPass suggestions for your family and even book them for you, if you want. It’s all free!
Photo Credit: Jeremie Laviolette at Pure Magic Vacations