Disney World FastPass+: Tips For Getting The Most For Your Bang.
by Anura Guruge
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Given that everybody, i.e., AAA, Disney reps and other folks, told us that we MUST book the FastPass+ rides before we left, I did so, 3 weeks ahead of time after I had made the Dining reservations. As far as I can see they only let you make three (3) reservations (3) per park, per day — and since we didn’t have a Park-Hopper pass, we were limited to one park a day (which was fine with me).
I made and used nine reservations during the first 3 days (of our four day visit): Splash Mountain, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, Meet Cinderella & Rapunzel (during which Devanee and I did the ‘Carousel of Progress‘), Magic Carpet of Aladdin, Peter Pan’s Flight, It’s a Small World, Mission: Space, Spaceship Earth and Soaring.
FastPass+ works. That is without doubt or debate.
They give you a full hour window to make your reservation, e.g., from 10:15 to 11:15.
First TIP: From what I found there is still, as there should be, a possible 15 minute GRACE period tagged onto the end.
We were late for Soaring because our lunch, at the amazing dining within an aquarium ‘Coral Reef‘ (at Epcot), was leisurely. We didn’t make it till about 15 minutes past the end of our 1 hour time window. But, our bands still turned the sensor GREEN — and that is all that matters. If your bands denote GREEN — it is all GO. So we made it though we were late. So, I think there is, at least, a 15 minute grace period — as there should be. That is good. So keep this in mind — and don’t kill yourself.
Second TIP: Disney restaurants (and hotels) can give you a FastPass+ pass to use in lieu of your band. Remember that! We had a remarkably nice lady, originally from NY, as our waitress while we were having lunch at the ‘Coral Reef’. She had been there for 19 years. When she realized that we were in a hurry because of our FastPass+ reservation she INSISTED that we chill out and that she can take care of it. According to her ‘they’ have very little power but FastPass+ reservations was one thing that they could influence. Within minutes she had a manager at our table who filled out and handed to me a FastPass+ PASS. Basically entitled us, all 4, to a FastPass+ entrance. Me being who I am, I studied it carefully. It was not restricted to any ride, any specific times or dates. It was a FREE pass. I put it in my pocket. As I said above we were NOT that late for our ride — just 15 minutes. The bands still worked. In my old age I don’t volunteer ‘anything’ unless I have to. So I had kept my Free Pass safely inside my pants though Devanee kept on telling me to fish it out. Heck no. When the bands worked we did the ride.
I now had a Free Pass for another ride! All legit. Didn’t do anything wrong. We used that to do the ‘Test Track by Chevrolet‘. Worked like a charm — as it should. Was a fun experience. Glad we did it, but as I told teh girl I shared a car with the ride really isn’t that fast in that it does not exceed 80 mph. Well that is not really that fast for me! But, unlike others I am not going to shoot my mouth about exceeding the speed limit.
Third TIP: If there is rain scheduled during your trip exploit that. We had downpours on Tuesday and Wednesday — late in the day. We had seen that in the forecast. Once the rain ended there were hardly any lines for the outdoor rides! So we got to do the ‘Tomorrowland Speedway‘ without a wait even without FastPass+ That was Tuesday. Ditto the next day. We got to see ‘Mickey’s PhilharMagic‘, which was very good, without a wait.
Fourth TIP: Even with FastPass+ you, in the end, end up getting merged with those on ‘standby’ standing in line — though you get a good 20 to 50 headstart over them. But FastPass+ does NOT mean that there is no line. There is always a line at the end! With FastPass+ you miss 80% to 95% of the wait — but, in our experience, never all 100% of the wait. So if you know, by asking folks or checking on the Web, that a ride typically has a wait time of 20 minutes or less — do NOT WASTE one of your FastPass+ reservations on it. Just stand in line.
Fifth TIP: As with Dining reservations FastPass+ reservations can be changed once you are there.
Sixth TIP: They try to get you to ‘waste’ your FastPass+ reservations by using them to get preferred locations for parades and fireworks. I would NOT do that. IF you are halfway savvy enough you should be able to find plenty of good places to watch parades and fireworks WITHOUT sacrificing a FastPass+ reservation. We did.
Hope these tips help. Enjoy.