Disney World FastPass Guide & Tips

Slinky Dog Dash Toy Story Land

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Disney World FastPass selection is possibly one of the most confusing aspects of planning a Disney trip for many people. What is a FastPass? Do I really need one? How and when do I book them? These are just some of the questions that come up during the Disney vacation planning process.

This guide will give you all of the information you need to begin to understand the Disney World FastPass system, and how to use it to your benefit.

​What is a Disney FastPass?

In short, the FastPass system is Disney’s ride “reservation” system. Each ticket holder gets to choose up to 3 FastPasses per park day on their ticket before they even arrive at the parks. This FastPass reservation allows anyone on that reservation to enter a separate line for the ride and essentially pass by the standby line.

You will likely still have a wait of up to 20 minutes with your FastPass reservation, but at times you are able to get right on. This is especially important when you consider some of the most popular rides around the parks. For example, Flight of Passage at Animal Kingdom is known to have standby lines surpassing 2 hours. A 15 minute wait with a FastPass is golden in comparison.

Disney FastPass Cost

Another popular question is: how much does a Disney World FastPass cost? The really good news is that the FastPass is absolutely free! Unlike the MaxPass at Disneyland, there is no additional cost for a FastPass at Disney World. Disney World FastPasses are included in the price of your park ticket.

There is some speculation that this will change at some point in the future, with Disney World charging for FastPasses. However, for now, the FastPass remains free of charge.

Disney FastPass Bracelet

The Disney “FastPass bracelet” is actually called a MagicBand. All guests staying at a Disney Resort have the ability to get MagicBands as part of their reservation.

The complimentary MagicBands are available in 8 solid colors. However, Disney recently added the ability to upgrade your MagicBand for only $10 to a fun Disney design! That’s a savings of $14.99.

Do I Need a MagicBand to Use the Disney FastPass System?

This is a common question with an easy answer: you sure don’t! If you are staying off site or are taking a day trip locally, you will use your ticket to both get into the park and scan your FastPass.

Your Disney ticket is essentially the same size and shape as a credit card, making it easy to stash in a pocket or purse.

Disney World FastPass Rules

Now, let’s look at the basic FastPass rules. As discussed above, each person who has a ticket is entitled to book up to 3 FastPasses in advance, per day. However, this is Disney World, so it is more complicated than that.

Can I Book FastPasses for Two Parks in the Same Day?

Those initial 3 FastPasses must be booked in the same park. For example, if you are choosing to split your day between Magic Kingdom and Epcot, you can only pre-book FastPasses at one of those parks. You cannot book two FastPasses at Magic Kingdom and then one at Epcot.

However, once you have used all 3 of your FastPasses, you are entitled to a fourth FastPass. And then a fifth FastPass. And so on, and so on. At that point you can book your next FastPass at any of the parks.

In our above example of a split park day, you could pre-book your 3 FastPasses at Magic Kingdom. Once you use those passes that morning, your ability to open up the 4th pass is unlocked. Since you are going to Epcot after lunch, you decide to book your next FastPass for Frozen Ever After in Epcot using the My Disney Experience app. This is the point that many people will start to use the FastPass Refresh Strategy.​

FastPass Window

Each FastPass window lasts for an hour. So, if you book a FastPass for Seven Dwarfs Mine Train from 10:00a-11:00a, the earliest you can book your next FastPass is at 11:00a.

There is actually a pre- and post-grace period to your hour long FastPass window. Your FastPass window is actually open from 9:55am-11:10am. Your magic band or ticket will make Mickey light up green during that whole time frame, giving you an extra 15 minutes to use that FastPass.

This grace period can come in handy at times when you either want to use your FastPass as early as possible or when you end up running late, which is an easy thing to do in Disney World.

Disney World FastPass Tiers

Now, here is where things can become very overwhelming. The four parks at Disney World have a lot of different rides, some more than others. And most of the parks have tier systems for their FastPass selections.

So you need to know some of this basic information before you sit down to book them, or you are going to be very confused about why you can’t seem to book Test Track, Frozen Ever After, and Soarin’.​

Expedition Everest The Disney Journey
Expedition Everest at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

What the FastPass tier system means is that you are blocked from being able to choose all the top rides at once. Magic Kingdom is the only park that does not have a tier system in place, so if Magic Kingdom has a ride that’s listed as a Fast Pass option, you can pick any of them for your three. All of the other parks place the most popular rides in tiers and restrict the number you can pick from that tier.

Epcot Fast Passes

Tier 1 (choose 1):

  • Frozen Ever After
  • Test Track
  • Soarin’
  • Illuminations
  • Character Spot

Tier 2 (choose 2):

  • Mission Space
  • Spaceship Earth
  • The Seas with Nemo & Friends
  • Living with the Land
  • Pixar Short Film Festival
  • Journey into Imagination with Figment
  • Turtle Talk with Crush

​Hollywood Studios Fast Passes

Due to the upcoming opening of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, Disney recently announced some changes in the FastPass tiers at Hollywood Studios. At this point, these changes do not seem favorable. Time will tell how this will work out, and how it will change again once both Galaxy’s Edge rides open. Changes are in bold.

Hollywood Studios FastPass Through August 29, 2019

Tier 1 (choose 1):

  • Slinky Dog Dash
  • Toy Story Mania!
  • Alien Swirling Saucers

Tier 2 (choose 2):

  • Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster
  • Tower of Terror
  • Fantasmic
  • Star Tours
  • Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular
  • Frozen Sing-a-long Celebration
  • Disney Junior Live on Stage
  • Voyage of the Little Mermaid
  • MuppetVision 3D
  • Beauty and the Beast Live On Stage

Hollywood Studios FastPass After August 29, 2019

Tier 1 (choose 1)

  • Alien Swirling Saucers
  • Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster
  • Slinky Dog Dash
  • Tower of Terror
  • Toy Story Mania!

Tier 2 (choose 2):

  • Fantasmic
  • Star Tours
  • Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular
  • Frozen Sing-a-long Celebration
  • Disney Junior Live on Stage
  • Voyage of the Little Mermaid
  • MuppetVision 3D
  • Beauty and the Beast Live On Stage

Animal Kingdom Fast Passes

Tier 1 (choose 1):

  • Flight of Passage
  • Na’vi River Journey

Tier 2 (choose 2):

  • Kilimanjaro Safari
  • Expedition Everest
  • It’s Tough to be a Bug
  • Primeval Whirl
  • Kali River Rapids
  • Festival of the Lion King
  • Adventurers Outpost Character Greeting
  • Finding Nemo Musical
  • Rivers of Light

Magic Kingdom FastPasses

  • The Barnstormer
  • Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
  • Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin
  • Dumbo the Flying Elephant
  • Enchanted Tales with Belle
  • The Haunted Mansion
  • it’s a small world
  • Jungle Cruise
  • Mad Tea Party
  • The Magic Carpets of Aladdin
  • The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh
  • Meet Ariel at Her Grotto
  • Meet Cinderella & Elena at Princess Fairytale Hall
  • Character Meet & Greet with Mickey Mouse at Town Square Theater
  • Meet Rapunzel and Tiana at Princess Fairytale Hall
  • Meet Tinker Bell at Town Square Theater
  • Mickey’s PhilharMagic
  • Monsters, Inc. Laugh Floor
  • Peter Pan’s Flight
  • Pirates of the Caribbean
  • Seven Dwarfs Mine Train
  • Space Mountain
  • Splash Mountain
  • Tomorrowland Speedway
  • Under the Sea ~ Journey of the Little Mermaid
Dumbo Magic Kingdom The Disney Journey
Dumbo at Magic Kingdom

Which Disney World FastPasses Should I Pick?

Now that you understand the basics of how the Disney World FastPass system works, it’s time to select the best FastPasses for your family.

Research the Disney FastPass Rides

The first general recommendation is to just look at Disney’s website or the My Disney Experience app to learn about the rides they have at the parks. You know your family best, and you will be able to get an idea of what rides they would be interested in, tall enough for, etc.

YouTube is also a huge resource for seeing videos of the rides. I prefer not to watch videos as I like to be surprised, but many people do this to get an idea if a ride is too scary. Start making a list of promising rides and then you can whittle them down from there.​

In addition, not all rides require a FastPass. These things are like gold, so make sure you use them well. A good use of a FastPass is on a ride that typically has the longest standby lines.

Below is a selection of the best rides to FastPass in each park. You will notice they trend more towards the “thrill rides”. If no one in your group is interested in these, then your FastPass list will look very different.

Best FastPass for Magic Kingdom

  • Seven Dwarfs Mine Train
  • Space Mountain
  • Thunder Mountain
  • Peter Pan’s Flight
  • Splash Mountain

Best FastPass for Epcot

  • Frozen Ever After (Tier 1)
  • Soarin’ (Tier 1)
  • Test Track (Tier 1)
  • Spaceship Earth (Tier 2)
  • Mission Space (Tier 2)

Best FastPass for Hollywood Studios

*Tier information for Hollywood Studios depends on when your trip is scheduled. Refer to the FastPass tier list above. This list is based on the tier system beginning August 29, 2019.

  • Slinky Dog Dash (Tier 1)
  • Toy Story Mania! (Tier 1)
  • Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster (Tier 1)
  • Tower of Terror (Tier 1)
  • Star Tours (Tier 2)

Best FastPass for Animal Kingdom

  • Flight of Passage (Tier 1)
  • Expedition Everest (Tier 2)
  • Kilimanjaro Safari (Tier 2)
  • Dinosaur (Tier 2)

Need help organizing your FastPass plans? Sign up for The Disney Journey Newsletter and you’ll get a FREE FastPass Planning Printable! This FastPass printable lists all of the FastPass rides in each park, including height requirements. Is also includes a form to list out your final FastPass choices so you are ready for FastPass booking day!

Disney FastPass Strategy

Once you choose the rides you want to FastPass, it’s time to figure out what times you want to schedule them. ​​The main factor in deciding which times you want to choose is whether you want to try to maximize your additional FastPasses for the rest of the day. Remember, once you use your initial 3 FastPasses you have unlimited FastPasses the rest of the day

If you want to maximize the number of rides you get on with minimal wait, then you will want to choose the strategy of using up your initial 3 FastPasses as soon as possible. If you plan on utilizing rope drop to take advantage of the shorter lines, you might want to start your FastPasses around mid-morning when the lines start getting longer. 

Or perhaps you plan on using a more leisurely touring plan for the day, then you don’t need to be quite as concerned with the times that you select. So take some time to decide how you think your family will want to spend their day and go from there. Read up on examples of different FastPass touring strategies and determine which is the best fit for your family.

Disney FastPass Strategy Example

My family tends to take advantage of AM Extra Magic Hours and will use 8:00a-9:30a/10:00a to get on whatever rides we can with little to no wait. Because of this, I start booking FastPasses for 9:30a. With the hour and fifteen minute window for each pass, that allows me to use that FastPass at any point between 9:25a and 10:40a.

I gauge what the crowds are like and if things are getting busy fast, I’ll use the FastPass earlier, if lines are still short, I’ll use it towards the end of the FastPass window.

Whatever start time I choose for the first one, I try to get all 3 of them packed in as close to one another as possible, i.e. 9:30a, 10:30a, and 11:30a. I want to be able to get my additional FastPasses for the rest of the day.​

FastPass Booking Process

Now that you’ve narrowed down which rides you want to FastPass for your family, let’s take a look at the FastPass booking process. Remember, not all FastPasses are created equal, and this has a very important impact on how you should book those FastPasses.

When Can I Book my Disney FastPasses?

The answer to this is not the same for everyone and relies on whether you are staying at a Disney resort or staying off-site.

Disney Resort FastPass Booking Window

If your family is staying at a Disney resort (or a Disney Good Neighbor hotel), you are given an advantage when booking your FastPasses. Your FastPass booking window opens up 60 days prior to your resort check-in date. It is important to note it is 60 days prior to resort check-in, not your first park day.

In addition to that, Disney resort guests are permitted to book all of their FastPasses at once, for up to 10 days. This means you only have to sit down and do this once, not over the course of several days.

Off-Site Hotel FastPass Booking Window

Guests staying elsewhere in Orlando are not permitted to book their Disney World FastPasses until 30 days prior to their park day. Notice the distinction in that wording: prior to their park day. Not only do off-site guests have to wait 30 days longer to book their FastPasses, they can only book one park day at a time.

This means that off-site guests cannot book the FastPasses for all of their park days at once.

Tip: The most challenging FastPass rides will likely be fully booked when the 30 day FastPass window opens up. Make sure you have a Plan B for the hardest to get rides.

Prioritize Your Disney World FastPass Choices

The following advice will apply primarily to guests staying at a Disney resort because they can book all of their park days at once. However, what off-site guests should learn from this is: always try to book the hardest to get FastPasses first.

Disney resort guests are NOT required to book all the FastPasses for one whole day before moving on to the next. A very basic strategy that you want to follow when you get down to the business of booking the FastPasses is to book the hardest to get passes first, then move on down the list from there.​

For example, let’s say, among other rides, you want to FastPass Slinky Dog Dash, Flight of Passage, and Seven Dwarfs Mine Train. Regardless of what other rides you have on your list, you want to book these first, as soon as the FastPass window opens.

Especially when it comes to Slinky Dog Dash and Flight of Passage, you will need to choose which one is the top priority and make that Number 1 on your list. I would personally go for Flight of Passage first, simply because it is amazing and shouldn’t be missed. Slinky Dog Dash would be second on my list, followed by Mine Train.​

When it comes to the most difficult FastPasses, take whatever time you can get. This especially holds true for Flight of Passage. If the only FastPass you can get for Flight of Passage is for 7:30p, you need to take it and then try to modify it to earlier in the day at a later point in time. Trust me, that ride is worth not having your additional FPs for the rest of the day.​

Tip: If you are a Disney resort guest try to put your Animal Kingdom and Hollywood Studios days later in the trip. Since you get the 60+10 days booking window, the further into your trip those days are, the higher the odds of getting a FastPass for Flight of Passage and Slinky Dog Dash.

Be Organized!

Write down (or type out) a physical list of your ride priority rankings, what date you want to book it for, and your ideal times. This will be your cheat sheet for when you book the FPs themselves. You need to be organized in order to make the process as efficient as possible the morning of booking. This way all the information you need is right at your fingertips.

Better yet, sign up for The Disney Journey Newsletter and you can get your own Disney World FastPass cheat sheet and booking priority worksheet! This provides a list of all the FastPass rides, the FastPass tiers, and height requirements.

Be prepared to be flexible in what times you ultimately have to choose, as getting rides set up for 9a, 10a, and 11a exactly might not be an option. Remember, you can always go back and try to modify the times later!

How to book FastPasses

How to Book Disney FastPass

Below is the step by step process of how to book Disney FastPass. Following the steps you will find screenshots that go along with the process to help familiarize yourself with what it looks like.

  • Create a My Disney Experience Account (MDE)
  • Link your Disney Park tickets to My Disney Experience
    • This is so important! If your tickets aren’t linked properly to MDE, you will not be able to book any FastPasses
  • Disney FastPass booking window opens up at 7:00a EST
    • If you live on the West Coast or internationally, make sure you are aware of the time difference
  • Log into MDE 5-10 minutes prior to 7:00a EST
  • Before the Disney FastPass booking opens select your entire FastPass party
  • A few seconds after the clock strikes 7:00a EST, click next to go to the calendar
    • Sometimes if you click too soon the window isn’t officially open and the calendar will only go 29 days ahead. Better to wait the few seconds and not have to backtrack
    • Your calendar should now allow you to book the date(s) you are looking for. If it doesn’t, refresh.
  • On the calendar choose the date you want to book first as well as the park for that day, click next
  • The next page lists all of the FastPasses available at that park on that day
    • Choose the time you want to book your FastPass at
    • This refreshes the page and shows you all available FastPasses near that time
    • Rides with no available FastPasses are listed at the bottom
    • You can do this over and over again to try to get a better time. But be warned: as soon as you refresh the screen you release the times currently listed and they might not be open again
  • Click the time you want to schedule your FastPass
  • Final Step! You should now be on the confirmation page. Double check all of the information to make sure it is correct before you click confirm:
    • All the right people are on the FastPass
    • The day is correct
    • The time is correct
  • Wash, rinse, repeat!
Disney FastPass booking on My Disney Experience screenshot
FastPass Party Creation Screen

Disney FastPass booking screenshot from My Disney Experience
Calendar and Park Selection Screen

How to book Fastpasses
FastPass Time Selection Screen

Disney FastPass booking screenshot in My Disney Experience
FastPass Confirmation Screen

The process really is fairly easy to go through, it’s just a little anxiety producing the first time simply because you’ve never done it before. As long as you have tickets loaded to your MDE, you can do a dry run of the process just to see the basic mechanics of it all.

Remember, you can always go back and try to modify times if you don’t get something ideal the first time. I generally go back into MDE several times, starting right after I finish booking all of my FastPasses and start to modify the times to get them closer to what I would like. This will be relatively easy for the less popular rides, but may be impossible for the high demand rides.​​

Disney FastPass Secrets

Some of these tips will bring your FastPass game up to the next level. Others are designed to make the whole process easier to handle. I am ALWAYS looking for more FastPass secrets, so if you know any, please let me know in the comments! I’ll add it to the list and give you credit!

  • Want to know how to wait 30 minutes or less for every ride? Whether you call it FastPass Refresh or Tap, Grab, and Modify, this is a great trick to know. This is the #1 Disney FastPass secret.
  • You can pre-book just one FastPass for a park day. After you use that FastPass, you can book another one at any park you want, any tier – this isn’t without risks, though!
  • Make sure you have the My Disney Experience app on your phone – this is your gateway to more FastPasses while in the parks
  • Know the best times to ride the hard to get rides WITHOUT a FastPass. Because who doesn’t want to ride Flight of Passage more than once?
  • Use up your first 3 FastPasses as early as possible, like early afternoon
  • NEVER book a fireworks show FastPass as one of your first 3 FastPasses – this will prevent you from getting unlimited FastPass
  • While you are in the queue for your FastPass, try to modify your next FastPass to an earlier time. Because who wants to wait an hour for their next FastPass?
    • Now that your first FastPass is “used” it opens up that hour you have before the next FastPass
    • This allows you to finish your first 3 FastPasses in less than the original 3 hours, giving you access to unlimited FastPass
  • Take advantage of Rope Drop and/or park close to get on the most difficult to get rides to supplement your FastPass
  • If you can’t find a FastPass time for your entire party of 4, break into groups of 2 and look for overlapping FastPass windows. You can still all ride together during that overlap.

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Your Thoughts

​What do you think? Did that provide a good overview of the FP booking process and some very basic strategy? Do you have a tried and true strategy that you prefer? Please leave your ideas and questions in the comments section! Don’t forget to follow me on Facebook and Pinterest.

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