Hey folks! Thanks so much for sticking with me through this series. If you haven’t visited the blog before, you are entering part 8 of the Disney Vacation Planning Series. In this series I am taking you through each and every step of the Disney World vacation planning process and filling you in on everything you need to know to make the most of your trip! There is so much to see and do in Disney World that it can be overwhelming at first glance. When I started planning my family’s first trip I was shocked, and I know there are others out there with me on that. So, I decided to start not only this blog but also this step by step guide to walk you through it.
This week we are covering a biggie. All about Fastpass+!! I’m so excited to tell you guys about this program and give you some tips on how to make it work for you! Even if you’ve been to Disney World before, you may find some new information in this post; FastPass+ at Disney World.
A Little Bit of History
Disney is sort of popular. Well, I mean extremely popular. And Disney World can get really crowded. It’s not uncommon for wait times to exceed an hour, on a slow day. During peak season you could be in the standby line for twice that long! That’s just not my style. It’s hot, it’s boring – I just don’t want to. Luckily Disney knows this and they created a better way. Fastpass started in the park as a physical pass. The more popular attractions had kiosks set up near the entrance where you would scan your ticket and it would print out your Fastpass (FP). The FP would have a pre-set 1 hour window that you could come back during and skip the line. Unfortunately though, you had to go to the ride to then get a FP to get on the ride usually 2-6 hours later. You were only allowed to hold 1 FP at a time, or if it was for much later in the day you could receive an additional pass 2 hours after you pulled that one.
It was a HUGE upgrade to the experience and a great leap in the right direction. BUT you still had to backtrack all over the park to go get the FP and then you had to wait until you used it to get another.
Magic bands are your key to everything. It’s an RFID bracelet that Disney provides that unlocks your room, acts as your park ticket, allows you to charge meals and purchased back to your room, oh! And hold the credits for your dining plan. With this brilliant technology a new door for Fastpasses opened. Instead of having paper FP that you had to run and get, everything went digital!! Yay! Now you can book your Fastpasses right online and when your window time comes up, just scan your Magic Band. That is what we now call FastPass+ or FP+.
What makes this system even more phenomenal is that you can book your FP+ in advance of your trip AND you can book 3 per day. As a planning junkie I cannot tell you the kind of inner peace this brings to my soul FINALLY my spreadsheets can be fully utilized and everything perfectly planned!!! I get though that not everyone is as planning and organized obsessed as I am. But even still it’s good to have at least an idea of what your day is going to look like.
Boo!!! Down with the rules!! Lol, ya right. I love rules too. 🙂
FP+ can be booked 90 days in advance of your arrival date, if you are staying at a Disney World resort. (60 days if you are not) You can actually book for your entire trip at that point though, which is something to keep in mind when we talk about strategy in a second here.
You can pre-book up to 3 FP+ per day, unless you are staying at a Deluxe resort in which case Disney offers you a package to purchase for an extra 3 FP+ per day (I know, it’s kind of unfair but that’s how it is right now)
Your FP+ have to all be booked at 1 park (unless you have that glorious Deluxe package add on)
After you have used your 3 FP+ for the day you can book more, 1 at a time, at any park you’d like provided you have a park hopper ticket.
For some parks there are tiers from which you can only select a certain number of FP+’s. In the following weeks I’m going to go over each park individually and I’ll break that down for you there. Be sure to SUBSCRIBE to stay in the loop!!
Strategize, Strategize, Strategize
There are so many people that go to Disney and everyone want to go on the same rides. But everyone has a different way they like to vacation and that effects their schedule. Here are a few of my favorite strategies to avoid crowds and plan you FP+
I will beat this dead horse with a stick. Rope drop is the best time of the day to do rides at Disney. If you can get your group up and out of the room in time to make rope drop, you’re golden. Honestly, you could probably get away without Fastpass+ if you could do this your whole trip. Even for me though, that wasn’t going to happen. You get burnt out, your family gets burnt out. It’s hard to maintain. If you can pick a few days though that you can ensure you’ll be there for rope drop, use those days to visit the parks with FP+ tiers. Since you can usually only pick 1 of the biggest attractions, rope drop will let you fit in at least 1 more. Then schedule your FP+ for later in the day
Avoid EMH Hours
I actually love the extra magic hours, both AM and PM, it’s part of why I stay on property. But I do understand the people who don’t think it’s all that. The morning hours especially can get full pretty quick. 1 strategy many people use is to do the opposite of the EMH hours. If Magic Kingdom is open until 1am for on-site guests, go to Animal Kingdom and get back to your room early. Then you’ll be able to wake up early and hit the parks, while everyone who stayed out all night is catching z’s. Then find the park that is having morning EMH hours and don’t’ go there, because everyone else will.
Some people like to book all of their FP+ in the morning, because then you can book more throughout the day. The idea is to get as many FP+ as possible in 1 day. I can see how this is effective, but since FP+ reservations can be hard to find at your 90 day mark I don’t count on finding them day of.
I prefer to schedule our FP+ at the height of the day, when the lines are at their longest. I especially do it this way when I know that we will make rope drop. Often, we can do the bigger rides twice or more in 1 day.
Yes!! I’m giving you homework this time!! Grab this FREE PRINTABLE and fill it in for your vacation. Find out which parks are having EMH hours on which days. Try and decide which days you think your party can make it to rope drop. Lay out a basic idea of the schedule you can keep while on vacation.
I love talking about Disney, I could do it all day. Well, actually I do kind of do it all day. And you can too! Join me on Facebook at the #DisFanChat Planning group for more great advice and answers to all your questions.