Walt Disney World
Originally introduced in 1999, the FastPass system gave guests the opportunity to “reserve” a place in an attraction line for a given period of time. Guests were given a paper FastPass at special distribution kiosks with a time frame printed on them. You were to then to return to a separate FastPass line during the given time period. This line essentially allowed you to “skip” the standby line. The “special sauce” of the FastPass system was the fact that there were only a limited number of “reservations” per given time period which produced short waits for the holder of the paper ticket. You could only hold onto one FastPass reservation at a time and you had to be present with your hard ticket to physically receive the paper ticket. For a handful of attractions the demand for the FastPass (Disney’s Hollywood Studios Toy Story Mania for example) created a mad dash to get to the kiosk in the morning before they ran out. The original FastPass system did take some strategy and a plan to maximize the benefits but for those that did plan a little ahead reaped the rewards.
Let’s now fast forward to 2013 and the introduction of FastPass+. FastPass+ was a significant part of Disney’s revamping of their entire vacation experience including the introduction of the Magic Band and My Disney Experience. FastPass+ still holds the same basic properties of the original system which includes reserving a specific time period at certain attractions during your park days which will reduce the wait time for those reservations. Instead of the “old” paper FastPasses your reservations are booked online or at kiosks in the parks and are “stored” on your Magic Bands or park tickets. Your Magic Bands and theme park tickets are home to a small rfid chip that holds information, including your FastPass+ reservations. So instead of handing the paper FastPass to a cast member at the attraction entrance you will scan your Magic Band or theme park ticket and magically you can enter the attraction.
So how do you book your FastPass+ reservations? If you purchase your tickets or vacation packages in advance you will have access to an online account called My Disney Experience. Inside your My Disney Experience you will have access to book your FastPass+ reservations, but there are some things we need to know first.
• If you are a Walt Disney World Resort Guest you will have 60 days prior to your arrival date to book your FastPass+ reservations.
• If you DO NOT have a Walt Disney World Resort reservation you will have a 30 day window to book your FastPass+ reservations.
• If you are a Walt Disney World Season Pass Holder and DO NOT have a Walt Disney World Resort reservation you may hold up to 7 days of FastPass+ reservations at a time.
• If you purchase your tickets the day of your visit you can still take advantage of the FastPass+ system. There are FastPass+ kiosks located though out all of the Walt Disney World theme parks. These kiosks serve as a place to book AND change FastPass+ reservations.
• You can only hold 3 FastPass+ reservations at a time AND they must all be in the same park. After you have experienced your 3rd FastPass+ you can continue to book more one at a time. You can book the 4th and more through your smartphone or at the kiosks and they don’t have to be in the same park you are in.
Now that you have a basic understanding of FastPass+ here are a couple of tips that everyone needs to understand.
• To give yourself the best chance at getting the FastPass+ reservations you desire, make sure you are prepared to reserve as soon as your booking window opens.
• Focus on the headliners. The headliners are the most popular FastPass+ attractions and typically book up very fast.
• Even if you are not the typical planner you absolutely MUST plan on reserving FastPass+ unless you like standing in long lines.
• If you do not get all of your FastPass+ selections at first don’t give up. Keep checking My Disney Experience for the attractions, days and times you are searching for as they do open up from time to time. This is due to other guests canceling or changing their selections. This does take a bit of patience and perseverance but it just may pay off.
Simply utilizing Walt Disney World’s FastPass+ system can save you time and aggravation but think of this as another piece of the vacation planning process, if you don’t plan you won’t benefit. FastPass+ if used correctly can save you as much as 3-4 hours per day of your vacation.
If you have any questions, tips or comments about Walt Disney World’s FastPass+ please check out our discussion boards at www.WDWKingdomForum.com and join our community.