How to get difficult FastPass+ reservations
(Article last updated: May 19, 2016)
Sometimes even after you've done all of the research for your Disney World trip and you feel super well prepared, you come up empty on a couple of FastPass+ reservations that you had hoped to get.
Yes, that happens (and just happened to me recently). Here are some strategies to help.
Which FastPass+ reservations are hard to get?
Most FastPass+ reservations aren't that hard to get, but you will likely run into the most issues with Seven Dwarfs Mine Train at Magic Kingdom, and Toy Story Mania at Hollywood Studios.
Beyond that, you probably won't have any trouble getting any FastPass+ reservations, although you may not end up with your ideal times for a few other FastPass+ reservations. Those fairly-easy-to-get-but-not-always-great-times options include rides like Soarin'.
For more details on which FastPass+ reservations are available and which I recommend, check out my FastPass+ guides for all of the parks.
Strategy 1: book FastPass+ reservations 60 days beforehand at 7 a.m. eastern time
Since off-site guests book FastPass+ reservations 30 days beforehand, this strategy is just for on-site guests.
Here's what I'd suggest:
- Get online just before 7 a.m. eastern time, log out of your account and then log in fresh
- At 7 a.m. eastern time, the FastPass+ reservations for your whole trip will become available to book
- Do not make your FastPass+ reservations in chronological order; make them in order of difficulty (this is the same suggestion I have for people making dining reservations). That means you'll likely jump to your Magic Kingdom day first to make those reservations before all others.
- The end of your trip will have better chances of availability than the beginning
Strategy 2: book FastPass+ reservations for 1 person and copy it to others
Sometimes when you're searching for FastPass+ availability, the My Disney Experience system will tell you that it can't find something for your whole group but if you just search for 1 person, it will show up, and then you can try to use the copy feature to add the rest of your group.
You can do this on the phone app or computer. Here's how it works from a computer:
You will begin by going into the FastPass+ screens and make a FastPass+ reservation for 1 person in your group. Then, you need to go back in and try to copy it.
Do that by selecting the "add friends and family to existing FastPass+" option...
Then choose the day you're trying to copy...
And then choose who you want to copy FROM (the 1 person who currently holds the FastPass+ reservation)...
And then the person/people you want to copy TO...
Finally, you'll hopefully end up here with a successful copy of your FastPass+ reservations.
Strategy 3: check for FastPass+ reservations if/when park hours are extended OR 1-2 days beforehand
People cancel FastPass+ reservations all the time so it's good to check a day or two beforehand to see if anything has become available.
For instance, as I was writing this post, I found a Seven Dwarfs Mine Train FastPass+ reservation for the next day.
I would suggest making use of the My Disney Experience phone app during your trip to check for restaurant reservations or FastPass+ reservations that you weren't able to get beforehand.
Another thing to watch for is park hours being extended, therefore providing new FastPass+ openings. In the middle of every month on a Friday, Disney publishes updates to park hours. If those park hours are updated so that the parks (especially Magic Kingdom) are open for more hours, then more FastPass+ reservations will pop up for those dates a few days after the park hours updates are published.
Sign up for alerts on the monthly dashboard for when you'll be traveling and you'll get an email from me immediately after park hours are updated so you'll know when this happens.
People who are interested in using this strategy will follow these steps on the My Disney Experience site. DO NOT CANCEL YOUR OLD FASTPASS+ RESERVATIONS. Just follow these steps to try to search for new ones.
Select the middle option to update existing FastPass+ choices...
Then choose the date you want to modify...
Next, select "change experience" on the existing FastPass+ you're willing to give up if you need to...
And then see which experiences are available for you to change it to...
You can select any option in the "select a new experience" section and it'll show which times are available. If you don't see anything you'd like, just cancel.
What if you never get the FastPass+ reservations?
Sometimes - especially during peak travel times - you'll try all of the strategies above and STILL find yourself empty-handed on a couple of things. Here are some ideas for how to handle that:
- Show up to the park early (30-45 minutes before park opening) which will put you at the front of the line to go into the park and head straight there after the park opens
- Take advantage of a morning Extra Magic Hour and visit that attraction first
- Make an early dining reservation in the park, finish eating before the park opens and make your way there first
- Visit the attractions during a party. Most parties (like Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party or Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party) have much shorter lines during the party so you could visit attractions during that time. Notes: 1.) some parties are quite busy and 2.) popular attractions will still have longer lines than less popular attractions but usually shorter than during regular park hours.
- Remember that there's a single rider option available on Rock 'n' Roller Coaster, Expedition Everest and Test Track