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.
It often happens to even the best planners. Here are some strategies to help get the most difficult FastPass+ reservations at Disney World.
Disney Genie to replace FastPass & FastPass+
FastPass+ (at Walt Disney World) and FastPass (at Disneyland) have been discontinued. A new system, called Disney Genie (free) and Disney Genie+ (pay-to-use) will debut later this year at both parks.
- Disney Genie –> Complimentary in-app service that helps you plan your day.
- Disney Genie+ –> Basically, it is a paid FastPass that costs $15 per ticket, per day (Walt Disney World) & $20 per ticket, per day (Disneyland). This service replaces the old FastPass service and allows you to choose the next available time to arrive at a variety of attractions. It works very similar to MaxPass at Disneyland.
- Lightning Lane –> New name for FastPass line. You use this with Genie+.
- Lightning Lane Select Experiences –> The most high-demand attractions are not available in Genie+; however, you can select up to 2 of these high-demand attractions per day to ride via an individual Lightning Lane selection. These selections will cost you extra (they aren’t included with the price of Genie+), and the prices are dynamic, meaning they will vary based upon the time of the year and attraction.
- Read more about the new Disney Genie system.
Which FastPass+ reservations are hard to get?
Most FastPass+ reservations aren’t that hard to get, but there are a few in each park that you will likely run into the most issues with:
- Seven Dwarfs Mine Train
- Frozen Ever After
- Slinky Dog Dash
- Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run Note: Rise of the Resistance does not currently utilize FastPass+, instead it uses a virtual boarding group system that requires you to be in the park before you can join.
- Na’vi River Journey
- Flight of Passage
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.
For more details on which FastPass+ reservations are available and recommended, check out the touring plans and FastPass suggestions for all 4 parks.
Strategies you can try to get difficult FastPass+
Book FastPass+ reservations 60 days beforehand
Since off-site guests book FastPass+ reservations 30 days beforehand, this strategy is just for on-site guests.
Here’s what you can do:
- 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 for people making dining reservations). That means you’ll likely jump to your difficult FastPass+ reservations first to make those reservations before all others. You can make just 1 FastPass+ reservation at a park and then come back later to book the other 2, less difficult attractions.
- The end of your trip will have better chances of availability than the beginning.
Book FastPass+ reservation for 1 person and then add 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 add other people from 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 add more people to it.
Do that by selecting the “View Details” option on your FastPass+ reservation…
Then select “Add Guests”…
choose who you’d like to add to the reservation…
If the exact same time isn’t available, but another one is, it will suggest the new time…
If that new time works, you’ll be asked to confirm…
Note: no changes will take effect until you hit the “confirm” button. You can select the “Start Over” or “Back” button if you decide not to make the changes.
Try to get FastPass+ with overlapping times
Searching for a FastPass+ reservation for your whole group but coming up with no availability? Try searching for 1 person at a time instead.
If you’re able to get them 1 at a time with overlapping FastPass+ windows, that will allow you to all visit the attraction at the same time.
Check for FastPass+ reservations openings
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.
Make 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.
Disney publishes park hours updates all the time. If those park hours are updated so that the parks 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.
Some guests can pay to purchase FastPass+
Since January 12, 2018, guests staying at some Disney World resorts who have 3+ ticket days (or an Annual Pass) can pay $50 per person per day to book an extra 3 FastPass+ reservations up to 90 days (from their checkout date) ahead. These FastPass+ can be in any park.
Guests staying in these rooms are eligible:
- Copper Creek Villas & Cabins at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge Cabins
- Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge – Club Level
- Disney’s BoardWalk Inn – Club Level
- Disney’s Coronado Springs – Gran Destino Tower Club Level
- Disney’s Contemporary Resort – Club Level
- Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa – Club Level
- Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort – Club Level
- Disney’s Polynesian Village Villas & Bungalows – Bungalows
- Disney’s Wilderness Lodge – Club Level
- Disney’s Yacht Club Resort – Club Level
- Disney’s Beach Club Resort – Club Level
- Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Hotels – select suites and premium rooms
Find out more about how to purchase Club Level FastPasses.
What if you never get the difficult 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 (45 minutes before park opening) which will put you at the front of the line to go into the park and head straight to the attraction after the park opens
- Take advantage of a morning Extra Magic Hour and visit that attraction first
- Make an early breakfast dining reservation in the park, finish eating before the park opens, and make your way to the attraction
- 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, Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run, and Test Track
Any thoughts on booking difficult FastPass+ reservations? Feel free to share in the comments.
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