#RWA17 is Coming and It’s Time to Make Your Free FastPass+ Reservations
If you are going to the Disney Parks during your stay at #RWA17, then this update to my unofficial guide is crucial! You will be visiting the Parks during the busy and hot summer season, and so any chance you can make to reduce your time standing in a long queue is worth preparing for.
This update piggybacks my last post where I discussed the importance of having a touring strategy. If you haven’t read it, please check it out. Your touring strategy will be significantly enhanced by having FastPass reservations, so let’s dig in so you’re all set to make them now or possibly within a few days!
What is FastPass+?
Disney’s FastPass+ service is a free benefit for guests to make advanced reservations at select Disney Park attractions and shows from a computer, mobile device, or in-Park kiosk. FastPass enables you to arrive at an attraction at a designated time and step into the “FastPass+ Return” line with little to no wait.
Guests may make up to three FastPass reservations in advance per day at one Disney Park. Each reservation window is open for one hour, so be sure to arrive at the attraction/show during this time allotment to avoid being turned away. Three of the four Disney Parks have tiers for which attractions may be picked and is outlined below.
After the three initial FastPass reservations have been used or the time has passed, guests may make a “bonus” fourth FastPass while in the Park or, if hopping, to a different Park. Use the My Disney Experience (MDE) app on your phones or visit an in-park kiosk (ask a Cast Member for kiosk locations) to make each additional FastPass. Once that FastPass is used, a fifth one (etc…) can be made one at a time. Additional FastPass reservations are subject to availability.
Tip: I highly suggest having the free MDE app on your mobile device. Not only will you be able to get real-time attraction wait times, it will make it even easier to secure “bonus” FastPasses while in the Park. If you don’t succeed at getting the desired time for an attraction you want, take whatever time is available, and then see if you can modify the time. From experience, this tends to work after trying a couple times. Same can be said about snagging a FastPass to a more desirable attraction. Try more than once. Remember, other guests are constantly changing/discarding their FastPass reservations, so you might be able to scoop up a popular attraction at any time! As you can guess, this will be easier to do from your own device as opposed to doing so at a kiosk (with a line of people behind you eagerly awaiting their turn).
There are some important rules to keep in mind when making your advanced FastPass reservations. You can only book one attraction once. For example, you cannot make your three initial FastPasses all for Space Mountain. However, if one of your initial FastPasses is for Space Mountain, you can later try and make your “bonus” FastPass for Space Mountain (if it’s available). Also, you may not have overlapping reservations. Therefore, if you have reserved Test Track from 10-11AM, you cannot go ahead and book another FastPass during that same 60 minute period.
Should an attraction have technical problems that results in it closing during your FastPass time, Disney will permit you to experience a different attraction or try again later. Simply ask a Cast Member.
How Do I Prepare so I’m Ready to Make My FastPass Reservations?
Here’s a look again at what is need to ensure you are all set for making FastPass reservations. Even if you followed these instructions in my last guide, please review as I’ve added some relevant information.
- Look at your arrival and departure dates. If you haven’t yet purchased your Disney Park tickets, determine what days are free to fit in Park time. This will help you decide how many days of Park admission you should buy. Keep in mind, the more days you add to your park admission, the cheaper each subsequent day becomes. For example, to go from a 4-day ticket to a 5-day ticket is $19 more. Even if you aren’t going to spend the entire day at a Park, it’s something to consider if you have an additional (or part of a) day free.
- Purchase your Disney Park admission now. If you haven’t read my guide on tickets, do so now so you are familiar with your options. You must have Park admission to make FastPass reservations in advance.
- Create your account at My Disney Experience (MDE). Download the app to your mobile device. If you have friends and family traveling with you, be sure to create profiles for them or link up with them in MDE. You’ll need to set up profiles for children as well.Important: You will need to do this to assign tickets to them as well as make FastPass+ reservations together. Be sure to use legal names (no pen names). Here’s some information to guide you in this easy process of connecting with others.
- Once everyone is set up in MDE, assign your Park tickets to you and those traveling with you. To assign tickets, use the ticket confirmation number that will come via email (if you’ve purchased your Disney tickets online). You must have valid admission linked to your account to make FastPass.
- For those staying at the conference resort, RWA sent out a “Central Reservations Confirmation Number” via email on 5/26/17. Be sure to add this hotel confirmation number at MDE by clicking where it says “Link My Resort Reservation.” This will ‘prove’ to Disney that you are staying at a resort that provides you with the benefit of making FastPass reservations 60 days in advance. If it doesn’t work under your name, try using your roommate’s name.
When Can I Make My FastPass Reservations?
For those of you staying at the conference resort or a Disney-operated Resort hotel, the 60-day window to make FastPass reservations may be open now or within the next day or two. This is why having your resort linked to MDE (step #5 above) is needed. If staying elsewhere, you may make reservations 30 days in advance.
Here’s a handy tool to determine exactly when your FastPass+ window opens based on your resort check-in date. Selections can be made on the Walt Disney World site or MDE app starting at 7 AM Eastern Time the date your window opens.
If staying at the conference resort or a Disney-operated Resort hotel, not only do you have the benefit of making your reservations 60 days in advance, you have a grace period of making up to ten days of FastPasses. For example, say you are checking in on July 25th. Come the morning of May 26th, you can make FastPasses for every day you are visiting Disney Parks during your stay all at once. (Those staying elsewhere, cannot make all their FastPasses in one day. They will need to make reservations 30 days prior to each day they visit a Park.)
Due to new attractions at the Parks and the busy summer season, I strongly suggest being ready when your window opens. Yes, do set your alarm for 7 AM Eastern Time!
How Do I Make FastPass Reservations?
Assuming you’ve done everything I’ve detailed above and it’s now at least 7 AM Eastern Time when your FastPass window has opened, then you’re all set. You can make your FastPass utilizing MDE on the Walt Disney World website or the free app on your mobile device. If one of these platforms gives you an issue, try the other. You might need to log out and sign yourself in again if you experience trouble.
To start, you will be able to select from the eligible dates you can make your FastPass. Upon picking a date, you’ll choose a Disney Park. You can then select who (in addition to you) you’re making FastPasses for before reviewing the available attractions and times.
Here’s the link to the website. It will walk you through picking the date and whoever else you might want to make FastPass for as well. You will be able to select your attractions and shows and can filter by time.
The mobile app is easy to use as well. Here’s a screenshot for your reference.
If you are eligible to make FastPass 60 days in advance, it will show you ten days of availability from your check-in date. You do not have to go in order of date. For example, say you are visiting Animal Kingdom on your last Park day. You might want to jump to this date first and make your FastPass reservations as the new Pandora attractions will book up first. In fact, you can jump around from day to day, ensuring you get the most popular attractions first before booking others.
Making changes to your FastPass is easy. From either the website or app, you can view your FastPass reservations and, pending availability, either modify the times or switch to a different attraction or show. As the old proverb goes, “If at first you don’t succeed…,” keep checking back as people dump and alter their FastPasses all the time.
What Attractions and Shows Offer FastPass?
Some attractions and shows are more “FastPass-worthy” than others. Highly themed experiences, especially those that are new, will have major queues, making securing a FastPass a higher priority. In order to help you determine priority levels, I’ve colored the highest priorities in red to the lowest priorities in green. If I didn’t color it red, yellow, or green, it’s not that much of a priority and perhaps something you should focus on as your “bonus” fourth FastPass (and so on) as there will be a higher probability those FastPasses will be available while visiting the Park.
As promised, I’ve also listed the FastPass tiers that are present at three of the four Disney Parks. When there are tiers, guests may only pick one attraction/show from Group A. When it comes time to making a “bonus” FastPass, you may book another experience from Group A, but chances are, it may not be available as they are the most popular attractions.
Fortunately, there are no tiers when making FastPass reservations at Magic Kingdom. In fact, most attractions, shows, and character meets offer FastPass. Instead of listing all of these options, I will provide a list of FastPass attractions you should consider and in order of highest priority.
Peter Pan’s Flight
Seven Dwarfs Mine Train
Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
Enchanted Tales with Belle
Pirates of the Caribbean
The Haunted Mansion
Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin
Note: As I outlined in my last guide, if you get to the Park before opening, you can take advantage of the lowest crowds of the day. Therefore, I’d suggest trying for a Seven Dwarfs Mine Train FastPass. Start your first FastPass after 10:30 AM and line up your other FastPasses in quick succession. Ride other major attractions in the first 90 minutes for which you do not possess a FastPass. If you have Seven Dwarfs as a FastPass, I’d suggest riding Peter Pan at opening and going for the thrills of Splash Mountain and Big Thunder Mountain right after. That way, you’ll have some major attractions (that will have major lines later!) under your belt. Aim to finish your third FastPass in the early afternoon so you can try for additional FastPass that day.
Group A (Pick 1)
IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth
Frozen Ever After
Group B (Pick 2)
Disney/Pixar Short Film Festival
Journey Into Imagination With Figment
Epcot Character Spot
Living with the Land
The Seas with Nemo & Friends
Turtle Talk with Crush
Mission: SPACE (closed for refurbishment)
Note: If you get to Epcot before opening, you can walk briskly to either Soarin’, Frozen Ever After, or Test Track to avoid lines for an attraction you do not have FastPass. Test Track offers a single rider line, so if you do not mind riding separately from others in your party, this is a quick way to avoid the long queue and enjoy this attraction. If you book a FastPass to IllumiNations (which is a nighttime show that runs right before Park closing), you will not be able to have more than three FastPasses that day. So if you want a chance at a bonus FastPass, do not reserve one for this show. (Plus, I don’t think it’s really necessary.)
Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park
Group A (Pick 1)
Avatar – Flight of Passage
Na’Vi River Journey
Group B (Pick 2)
Festival of the Lion King
Finding Nemo – The Musical
It’s Tough to Be A Bug
Kali River Rapids
Meet Favorite Disney Pals at Adventurers Outpost
Rivers of Light
Note: The attractions listed in Group A are brand new and part of Pandora – The World of AVATAR which opened May 27th. Avatar – Flight of Passage is the most difficult FastPass reservations to get at this Park. I suggest getting to the Park at opening and riding whatever new Pandora attraction you didn’t get a FastPass for due to the tier restriction. The thrilling Expedition Everest offers a single rider line, so if you do not mind separating from the rest of your party, you can significantly reduce your wait in line (and possibly ride this attraction multiple times). I’ve also just learned that the new Pandora attraction, Flight of Passage, also has a single ride line. It you don’t care about the “bonus” FastPass, opt to secure a FastPass for the nightly Rivers of Light show as this is new and very popular.
Disney’s Hollywood Studios
Group A (Pick 1)
Toy Story Midway Mania
Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster
Beauty and the Beast – Live on Stage
The Great Movie Ride
Group B (Pick 2)
Tower of Terror
For the First Time in Forever: A Frozen Sing-Along Celebration
Voyage of the Little Mermaid
Disney Junior – Live on Stage
Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular!
Note: If you don’t mind losing out on the opportunity to make a “bonus” FastPass, then perhaps consider making your Group A FastPass for Fantasmic! However, do know, that if you really want to see the fireworks show, Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular, you will probably not get a great viewing spot if you also attend Fantasmic! Perhaps consider which show is more important to you or if going another day, view the other show. If not going for a Fantasmic! FastPass, make your Group A for Toy Story Midway Mania. Get to the Park before opening and walk briskly to Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster. If choosing Fantasmic!, then get to Park before opening and make your way toward Toy Story. You can utilize the single rider line for Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster and avoid a long queue.
Tip: If you are touring the Parks with little ones who do not meet height requirements for some of the major attractions (or children who are afraid to ride), you might be happy to know that Disney offers Rider Switch. Check out this article for a great overview of this feature.
A Few More Things to Consider
Before I wrap up this guide, here are some final FastPass tips.
- When making your FastPass, consider any dining reservations you already have in place so you don’t have to rush through a meal.
- If planning to get to the Park before opening (as I strongly suggested in my last guide), try and make your first FastPass for no sooner than 90 minutes after opening. That way, you can focus on attractions that you do not have reservations for.
- Try and make your last FastPass (of your initial three) end by 2 PM so you can then attempt to get more while at the Park (or the one you might be hopping to).
- Speaking of hopping, if you have a Park Hopping ticket, go to the first park before it opens. Take advantage of low morning crowds. Make your initial three FastPasses for the second Park you plan to visit to avoid longer lines later in the day.
- If you are with a large party and you are unsuccessful finding a FastPass for everyone at the same exact time, try splitting your group apart in this fashion. Say you want to go on Soarin’ together and are a party of seven. You find you’re able to get a FastPass for four from 1-2PM. For the other three, see if you can secure something in the same timeframe. If you find 1:30-2:30 PM, the entire group can ride together from 1:30-2PM.
Best wishes in securing your FastPass reservations! Whenever I book my FastPass reservations, I know I am in the home stretch to my Disney vacation. I’ve been blogging about the Annual Conference since last August. Suddenly, everything feels so very real. I better pick out my workshops soon!
I’ll share final tips on the best Disney snacks, must-have souvenirs, not-so-well-known opportunities, and how to beat the summer heat!
Leave any comments or questions below, and I’ll get back to you right away.
Visit here if you’ve missed other topics in this planning guide. There, you’ll find a calendar to help you keep track of key dates. Be sure to also heck out my Pinterest Board which complements this planning guide.
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All photos, except for Magic Kingdom (taken by me), are courtesy of Disney Parks.