What’s the Best Strategy for Using Your Walt Disney World FastPass+?

The best strategy for using Disney FastPass+

What’s the Best Strategy for Using Your Walt Disney World FastPass+?

How Should You Use the Three Free FastPasses that You Get Each Day?

Guests of Walt Disney World Parks are currently given daily access to three free FastPasses (technically called the FastPass+) that they can use in the Park of their choice (they must all be used in the same park). These are virtual/digital passes that allow you to enter a faster line at most of Disney’s most popular rides and attractions. The FastPass+ system is a great innovation and the current version works better than I thought it was going to work when they switched to it a few years ago (from the paper FastPass system that preceded it).

First-time visitors are sometimes confused about FastPasses and I am often asked what’s the best strategy for using your daily allotment of three FastPass+ digital passes. For the record, you can get additional passes after you have used up your first three (and some guests can buy extra passes), but that is another post altogether.

Other than making sure that you make your FastPass+ advance bookings as early as you are allowed (60 days in advance for guests staying onsite at a Disney Resort hotel and a few other select hotels), there really is no single FastPass+ strategy that’s ideal for everyone. As I often say when it comes to questions about Walt Disney World vacation planning, one size does not fit all.

So for Disney FastPasses, it really comes down to how you plan to visit the parks and then you can come up with a strategy from there.

Star Tours Fastpass+ Line

Even when FastPass+ lines appear to be long, they usually move pretty quickly.

How I Use Walt Disney World FastPasses

One of the best ways to illustrate this is to explain how we use FastPasses. We visit Walt Disney World frequently, so we tend not to spend more than half a day in a park at any given time. So here is the strategy that I use for FastPass+ reservations.

Assuming we are going to a Disney park in the morning, we’ll make it a point to get to the park before it opens — at least 15 minutes before the posted opening time, to be exact. Twenty to 30 minutes is even better if you want to be near the front of the line when the gates open. If there are Extra Magic Hours in the morning and you are staying onsite and can take advantage of that, then it’s 15 minutes before that time.

This strategy means that you can plan to get on one, two or sometimes up to three of your top picks (rides and attractions) without having to use any FastPasses at all. With the exception of the Christmas holiday period when crowds are exceptional (even by Disney standards), getting to a park before opening generally means that you’ll be able to take advantage of the limited lines in the first hour that the park is open. It may look super crowded at the gate, but trust me, the crowd will disperse in various directions and you’ll be far better off than anyone arriving an hour or two later.

After around 90 minutes or so, it can start to get busy, so we’ll typically book FastPasses for 10:00 a.m., 11:00 a.m. and Noon. After that, we’ll be done with the park for the day and head off on another Disney adventure.

However, if you are a Park Buster and want to make it a full day in the park, then you may want to save your FastPasses to use later in the day when it’s more crowded, or into the evening. Or you may want to save them to use in another park entirely later that day or evening.

It really all depends on your strategy for the day. That’s the whole point. Your approach may be different than mine.

Princess Fairytale Hall FastPass+ Line.

Princess Fairytale Hall FastPass+ Line.

No matter which approach you take, the two rules still apply

1. Be sure to make your FastPass reservations as early as you are allowed and
2. Get to the Park for opening so that you can get on at least a couple of popular rides/attractions with little to no wait time.

So give some thought to how you think you may want to spend your time in the Parks at Walt Disney World Resort and then make your advance FastPass+ reservations based on that. You can change or modify FastPass+ reservations, but the closer you get to your day, the less availability there will usually be. So plan ahead to avoid disappointment.

Are You Planning a Walt Disney World Vacation?

Be sure to read my Guide to Planning A Walt Disney World Vacation and my post on the Five Golden Rules of Walt Disney World Vacation Planning.

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Mike Belobradic: The Finer Side of Disney Travel
Luxury Travel Blogger – Deluxe Disney Travel Specialist
The Finer Side of Travel