FastPass+ - Is It Time to Change Your Park Touring Strategy?
A Walt Disney World Planning Articleby Amy Wear, PassPorter Featured Columnist
Last modified 10-12-2016
I was recently stunned when my brother posted on social media that his family of four managed to get eight FastPasses at Magic Kingdom – on a Sunday in early August!
Hold the iPhone! How is this possible?
Seven Dwarfs Mine Train FastPass+ Sign
The following changes to Fastpass + in recent months have changed the playing field:
1) Ability to choose individual attractions and times, one at a time. This replaces the previous complicated system of needing to choose three attractions at once before you could see the range of times available.
2) Ability to choose fewer than three FastPasses per day. Now instead of tying up FastPasses in the system when you really only wanted one or two, you don’t have to choose three.
3) Ability to book additional FastPasses in the My Disney Experience app after you have used your pre-booked passes. Translation: You no longer need to find a kiosk in the park to make a new selection and it’s even possible to get FastPasses for the same attraction more than once!
4) Guests with Park Hopper can now make additional FastPasses at a different park. Once you’ve used your pre-booked passes (even if you only booked one!), My Disney Experience will give guests with park hopper the option to choose additional FastPasses from another park.
How to Get Additional FastPassesThe ability to choose additional FastPasses in the My Disney Experience app is a park touring game changer. Until recently, you needed to find the park kiosks and wait in line to check on additional fastpass options. Now, guests can add one fastpass at a time at their fingertips with their smart device. Kiosks are still available in case you’re trying to stay unplugged, but they aren’t the most efficient way to go.
Previously, you were required to book three FastPasses per day, even if you really only wanted one or two. Naturally, many of us randomly chose a random second or third option that we had no intention of using, which meant we never got additional FastPasses.
One ongoing challenge is the timing of your FastPasses. If you desperately want to ride Seven Dwarfs Mine Train and the only fastpass you can get is for 9pm, you can’t book additional FastPasses until after you ride.
So the question becomes: Do I want to ride Seven Dwarfs or Frozen Ever After at 9pm or do I want to have the possibility of getting additional FastPasses and potentially avoid long queues all day long?
FastPass+ Kiosk in Tomorrowland
FastPass+ Kiosk in Tomorrowland
When I informally surveyed some fellow Disney-loving friends, I learned that getting additional FastPasses is a new game in itself. To get the best chance at multiple FastPasses, try the following:
1) Pre-book 1-3 FastPasses for early in the day
2) Get to the parks early and use your booked FastPasses
3) While you are standing in the FastPass line for your last booked attraction, check My Disney Experience and book another FastPass right away.
4) Continue booking additional FastPasses, one at a time, while waiting in FastPass queues.
Ready. Set. Go!
There are some important distinctions to bear in mind. As you may have noticed when using the My Disney Experience app, Fastpass + options at Epcot and Hollywood Studios are in tiers. For example:
1) At Hollywood Studios, you can only pre-book one of: Beauty and the Beast, Fantasmic reserved viewing area, Rock ‘n Roller Coaster, The Great Movie Ride, or Toy Story Midway Mania.
2) At Epcot, you can only pre-book one of: Frozen Ever After, Illuminations, Living with the Land, Mission Space, Soarin’ Around the World, or Test Track.
In order to try for additional tier 1 FastPasses at these two parks, you must book two additional FastPasses (not on these lists) and use the passes. Then you can try your luck at getting another Tier 1 fastpass. Since Frozen Ever After and Soarin’ Around the World are the hot tickets right now at Epcot, your odds of getting those as additional FastPasses are still slim.
If this is your family’s first trip and you have young children, chances are you aren’t really up for park touring strategy games. You may be perfectly content knowing you have three attractions booked that are important to your family. If, for example, there is an attraction that you would be severely disappointed to miss due to an extremely long wait time, you probably shouldn’t take the gamble and hope to find it as a bonus FastPass.
If you are Disney regulars like our family, consider whether there are any absolute must-do attractions for you. For my family, booking FastPasses as we go and as available would be fun and bring back some spontaneity. We’d rather do several less popular attractions with short wait times than just three popular attractions in a whole day.
There are some risks involved in doing this. As mentioned, you may miss out on an attraction or two that you really wanted to ride. It may also be an especially busy day where FastPass availability is very limited. Or maybe you don’t want to be continually checking the app.
As for the Wear family, we will take on the Fastpass + challenge next winter. If you’ve recently done this, please be sure to share your experience in the comments section below!
Updated 10-12-2016 - Article #1335
by PassPorter Travel Press, an imprint of MediaMarx, Inc.
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