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Disney World FastPass+ Strategy for 2021 (FastPass+ currently unavailable)

HomeDisney World FastPass+ Strategy for 2021 (FastPass+ currently unavailable)
Disney World FastPass+ Strategy for 2021 (FastPass+ currently unavailable)

Big news, folks. FastPass+ is out and Disney Genie is in.

Here’s an update on what we know:

Important Update:
Disney Genie has replaced 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) are now available at all 4 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.

What is FastPass+?

FastPass+ (or FP+) is the name of the attraction reservation system Disney uses at the Walt Disney World Resort.

Your reservations (called “FastPasses”) allow you to reduce your wait times in lines at popular attractions.

And the best part? It’s a free perk that is part of your park admission.

Standby, FastPass+, and Single Rider Lines

Every attraction can have up to 3 different types of lines:

  • Standby – this is the “regular” line, the line with the longest waits, and what you use if you don’t have a FP+ or access to the Single Rider option
  • FastPass+ – only people with current FP+ reservations can use this line, it has the shortest waits, and while you don’t really “skip the line” when you use it, your waits are far less than when using the Standby Line.
  • Single Rider – A few attractions at Disney World have Single Rider lines which are exactly what they sound like: lines for people riding alone or for those that don’t mind sitting away from their party

If you want to save the most amount of time, your goal is to utilize as many of the FastPass+ lines as possible at the attractions that have the longest waits.

FastPass+ strategy for each park

We never, ever, ever recommend you select your FastPasses without first doing some advanced planning. 

You’ll want to check out the remainder of this post for more detailed info on how the entire Disney World FastPass system works (plus some answers to the most common FastPass reservation questions we get) but for park-by-park analysis and strategies, check out the links below:

FastPass tier

Who can make FastPass+ reservations at Walt Disney World?

All guests – whether they’re staying onsite or offsite – can make 3 FastPass+ (FP+) reservations per day in 1 of the Disney parks ahead of time beginning at 7 a.m. eastern time. All guests can also make use of the app or park kiosks to make or change FP+ reservations.

On-site guests (and some offsite)

People staying at a Disney World resort or one of a few offsite resorts can make FP+ reservations for their whole trip up to 60 days in advance of their trip’s start date, beginning at 7 a.m. eastern time.

The offsite guests who can book 60 days in advance are those staying at these resorts:

  • Swan and Dolphin
  • Four Seasons Resort Orlando
  • B Resort & Spa
  • Best Western Lake Buena Vista Resort
  • DoubleTree Guest Suites by Hilton Orlando
  • Hilton Orlando Buena Vista Palace
  • Hilton Orlando Resort Lake Buena Vista
  • Holiday Inn Orlando
  • Wyndham Lake Buena Vista
  • Wyndham Garden Lake Buena Vista
  • Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek
  • Waldorf Astoria Orlando

If you’re connected in My Disney Experience to somebody with an onsite reservation, you will also be able to book FastPass+ 60 days before their trip start date.

Off-site guests

Everybody else can make FastPass+ reservations up to 30 days in advance of the day they plan to be in the park (which means off-site guests will have to be online for multiple days in a row).

What time can I book my FastPass+?

The website opens up availability at 7 a.m. eastern time. If you’re onsite, that will be 60 days ahead of time. If you’re offsite, that will be 30 days ahead.

Can I make FastPass+ reservations for my whole trip?

If you’re staying onsite, you can book FP+ for as many days as you have tickets, beginning 60 days before your check-in date.

If you’re staying offsite, you can only make FP+ 30 days before the day you plan to be at a park, which means you’ll need to get online several days in a row to book for all of your trip days.

How to use FastPass at Disney World

When you have a FP+ reservation, it allows you to show up during the FastPass+ reservation time and board an attraction in a separate FastPass+ line.

For rides, this is a 1 hour window and you can show up anytime during that hour. Actually, you can usually even be 5 minutes early or 15 minutes late and use your FastPass+.

For shows, your window will be shorter than an hour because it’s for a specific showtime. You’ll need to show up during that time to attend that show.

What happens if a ride breaks down before you get the chance to use your FastPass+?

Disney World does a pretty good job with routine maintenance so while there are some rides that tend to break down more often than others, the vast majority of rides are pretty darn reliable.

Unfortunately, the ones that tend to wreak havoc when they break down are also the ones that are the most popular (I’m looking at you Frozen Ever After and Flight of Passage).

In addition, some rides won’t run if there is lightning or heavy rain in the area. That’s not because Disney is mean – it is for your safety and the safety of the Cast Members working that attraction.

But, when a ride goes down that you have a FP+ for Disney doesn’t leave you hanging.

If your FP+ window occurs during a period of time when an attraction is down, you’ll receive an email notification like this:

FastPass+ change notification

That email will tell you that your FastPass+ reservation has been modified and has been essentially turned into an “anytime” FastPass that will be good through the end of the day.

You’ll also get a notice in the My Disney Experience app.

At that time, you’ll have 2 choices:

  1. Wait it out. Your FP+ reservation will work on the original attraction it was for through the end of the day so whenever the ride comes back online, you’ll be able to ride it.
    -OR-
  2. Use your FP+ on a different attraction. Generally, you’ll be able to use it on any attraction in the same park EXCEPT for some of the Tier 1 attractions (things like Flight of Passage, Slinky Dog Dash, etc.). Your email will give you a list letting you know which attractions are eligible.

When a FP+ is modified by Disney like that, you don’t have to do anything. The system automatically knows that you have an “anytime” FastPass in your account so all you need to do is scan your MagicBand when you enter the FastPass+ line just like you would for any FastPass+.

In many (if not most) cases rides that go down almost always come back up before the end of the day. So, while it may mess with your touring plans it doesn’t necessarily mean you won’t get to ride something – you may just have to adjust your schedule a bit.

You can always check with the Cast Members at the attraction to see if there are any updates, although generally they won’t know much more than you. But, sometimes they can have some insight that might help you decide which option is best for you.

One last bit: When a ride has been down and comes back up, the FastPass+ line can get quite long for a little bit as all the people that had their FastPasses modified jump into line. If you aren’t able to be towards the front of that group and you have the time to wait, give it 30 minutes or so and you’ll find the FastPass+ line drops back down to a “regular” length for that attraction.

How many FastPass+ do I get per day?

Three is the short answer. Well, three that can be booked in advance.

And your first 3 FastPass+ reservations must be for all different rides.

However, you can get more FP+ reservations after you use the ones you booked in advance.

Once your initial 3 FastPass+ reservations are used, you can use the My Disney Experience app (in fact, as soon as you check in for your last FastPass, open the app and book another). You can also go to a kiosk and get another.

After that one is used, you can get another. And so on.

These additional FastPass+ reservations can be in the same park or a different park and can be for the same ride over and over, if you want.

Do FastPasses ever “expire”?

Sort of. Not really. Sometimes. 

They can only be used during the official window. In the past, FastPasses used to drop off of your account if they weren’t used, but that isn’t always the case anymore.

But, keeping in mind that your first 3 have to be “used” before you can get a 4th this is an important piece to the extra/bonus FastPass puzzle.

If you fail to scan your ticket or MagicBand for a FP+ reservation, you have a few options:

  1. Move it to something else that has a return time before your 3rd FastPass of the day and then be sure you scan there so that you can “clear” that FastPass out. You don’t even have to ride it, just scan and go.
  2. Try cancelling it in My Disney Experience. This doesn’t always work, but it is worth a try.
  3. Visit Guest Relations. They’ll be able to clear out old/past FastPasses to free you up to get your 4th. 

Can I book FastPasses for two different parks on the same day?

All FastPasses booked ahead of time (whether you book 1, 2, or 3) must be for the same park.

However, if you have only pre-booked 1 (or 2), after you have used at least 1 of your FPs you can then schedule your remaining FastPasses to finish out your original 3 in any park.

And, if you pre-book 3 FastPasses, as soon as you scan that 3rd you can then use the app to schedule your bonus 4th FastPass in a different park.

And, when we say “as soon as you scan” we mean it.

You can scan your MagicBand or ticket and then while waiting in line to board the attraction, jump in the app to book your FastPass(es):

  • Pre-book 1 FastPass: As soon as you scan that FP to use it, you can book 2 more in any park(s)
  • Pre-book 2 FastPasses: As soon as you scan your first FP of the day, you can then book 1 more in any park
  • Pre-book 3 FastPasses: As soon as you scan your 3rd FP of the day, you can book a bonus 4th FastPass in any park
FastPass+ Additional FastPass

Note: If you have chosen to use the FastPass+ kiosks in the park to book your FastPasses, you will only be able to book FastPasses at the park where the kiosk is located.

And, if you wanted to, after you use at least 1 FastPass you can either book your remaining ones for 2 different parks or, modify your remaining pre-booked FastPasses to be for attractions in 2 different parks.

What are FastPass+ tiers?

FastPass+ tiers are in effect at all of the parks except Magic Kingdom.

Disney has separated their attractions in these parks into different tiers and they will only allow you to book 1 FP+ in 1 tier, and the other 2 FastPass+ can be from the other tier.

This keeps people from just booking all of the headliner attractions. Details on the tiers in each park are in the touring plans posts (links below).

Which FastPass+ should I book?

Use FastPass+ for attractions that need it

Each of the park touring plan posts includes suggestions for which FastPass+ to get. Don’t waste a FP+ on something that won’t even have a line. Suggestions on which ones are recommended are in the touring plan links at the bottom of this post.

Don’t use FastPass+ if there’s no line

If you arrive at an attraction to use a FP+ reservation and the standby line is short (5 or 10 minutes), skip the FastPass+ line, get into the standby line and then change that FastPass+ to something else to use later. You can make the change on your phone or at a FastPass+ kiosk.

Does FastPass+ cost anything?

Well, it costs you the price of a park ticket since you must have park tickets linked in your My Disney Experience account to book FastPass+ reservations.

Outside of that, FP+ doesn’t cost anything extra unless you take advantage of the purchase program available to some guests (more on that below).

What if I buy tickets somewhere other than Disney?

If you buy from a reputable ticket vendor, you’ll be able to link them to your My Disney Experience account. Info on how to do that is below.

How to link your tickets

All guests should make FastPass+ reservations online ahead of time. In order to do that, you need to have tickets on your My Disney Experience account.

If you are staying on-site and bought a package for your trip (which includes a hotel and tickets), they’ll already be in your account.

If you are staying off-site and/or bought tickets separate from your on-site hotel room, you need to link them.

You can link your tickets by logging in to your My Disney Experience account, selecting “My Reservations and Tickets” from the menu, and then clicking the Link Tickets button.

From there, you’ll be able to enter your ticket info, and there’s helpful on-screen info about where to find the numbers you’ll use.

how to use fastpass at disney world

You can also link your tickets using the My Disney Experience app.

After opening the app, touch the home icon at the bottom left corner, select My Tickets, click the plus sign at the top, and then choose “Link Tickets & Passes.” From there, you can type the ticket number or scan the code.

how to use fastpass at disney world

After making FastPass+ reservations, you will be able to scan your MagicBands or RFID-enabled park ticket when you arrive to an attraction at your FastPass+ time.

Do I need a MagicBand to use FastPass+?

No, you don’t need a MagicBand. You can just use your RFID-enabled park ticket to get into the parks and to use your FP+. Without a MagicBand, you’ll miss out on some on-ride videos, but other than that, you should be fine.

How to buy FastPass+

Guests that stay in the Club Level rooms listed below and have 3+ day park tickets (or an Annual Pass) get the option to purchase FP+ ahead of time.

The cost for this perk is $50/person/day and you must purchase a minimum of 3 days.

But, not everybody on your reservation has to participate. If you only want to purchase additional FastPasses for a couple people you can do that, but keep in mind that everybody that wants to ride will need to have their own FastPass in order to do so.

Guests that purchase additional FastPasses receive:

  • Three additional FastPass+ selections per day. FastPass+ attractions and entertainment experiences, the number of selections you can make and available arrival windows are limited.
  • The opportunity to reserve these three additional FastPass+ selections in more than one theme park when a valid Park Hopper option is also purchased with the ticket.
  • A booking window of up to 90 days in advance for these three additional FastPass+ selections and the ability to book them at multiple top-tier attractions. Guests may not repeat the same FastPass+ attraction during a single day.
  • The ability to book your “regular” 3 FastPasses at the same time (90 days out) at the same time you book the 3 purchased FastPasses. You can only do this for the same days you have purchased FastPasses but it is a nice perk to book all 6 at once a full 90 days out.

Guests must be staying in one of these rooms to participate:

  • Copper Creek Villas at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge – Cabins
  • Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge – Club Level
  • Disney’s BoardWalk Inn – Club Level
  • Disney’s Contemporary Resort – Club Level
  • Disney’s Coronado Springs – Gran Destino Tower 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

How to book your Disney World FastPass+ reservations

When your booking window opens up, you can use the My Disney Experience app or website to book attractions.

Disney World Fastpass

If you’re staying onsite, you should book FastPass+ in order of difficulty, not chronological order.

This will allow you to get the harder ones first and then go back to snag the others later.

These are the difficult ones you should try to get first:

  • Flight of Passage at Animal Kingdom (definitely the hardest by far)
  • Frozen Ever After at Epcot
  • Seven Dwarfs Mine Train at Magic Kingdom
  • Slinky Dog Dash and Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run at Hollywood Studios

What if you don’t get the ones you want?

Though you should be able to get most FastPass+ reservations, you may come up empty on something you really wanted. Please check out our suggestions for booking difficult FastPass+ for help with that.

Does everybody in your group need a FastPass, even if they aren’t going to ride?

This is a very common question and one we see most often for people using their FastPass reservations for character greetings.

Just like the “regular” attraction lines, the FP+ lines for the characters all have the same touch points where you scan your MagicBand or ticket to redeem your FastPass+.

Anybody that enters a FastPass+ line will be asked to scan – and if you don’t have a FastPass+ reservation for that attraction, you won’t be allowed in. This includes when meeting characters.

So, while you may have no plans to take a photo with Cinderella or Mickey or Ariel, if your young traveling companions aren’t old enough to stand alone in line and you plan on using FastPass+, you’ll both need to make FastPass+ reservations.

Traveling with somebody not quite tall enough for the big rides? Check out our post on Rider Switch.

Want to practice booking FastPass+?

If your park tickets were not purchased as part of a Disney World package, you can practice booking FastPass+ before your date and time open up.

You’ll just be able to practice booking within the next 30 days to get a feel for the site and interface. If you book any FastPass+ as part of your practice, be sure to cancel them later.

If, however, you have purchased a package you won’t be able to do anything until exactly 60 days from your check in date.

Can you book FastPasses for more days than you need?

If you aren’t positive exactly what you’ll want to do each day you may wonder if you can make FastPasses for more days than you need and decide later which ones you want to keep.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t work like that.

In order to book FastPasses, you must have a valid ticket media tied to the MyDisneyExperience account or profile for which you are booking FastPasses.

The number of days that you are allowed to book FastPasses for is dependent on the number of days for which your ticket is valid.

If, for instance, you have a 4-day ticket, you will be able to book FastPasses for up to 4 days. If you have a 7-day ticket, you will be able to book FastPasses for up to 7 days, etc…

Can I use somebody else’s FastPass+?

Yes, you can do that, as long as they are in the park as well. In other words, you can’t make FastPass+ reservations for somebody who isn’t at Disney World and expect to be able to use those FP+ for yourself.

You’d just need to get their MagicBand or park ticket, and scan that as you enter the FastPass+ line.

FastPass+ Tapstile

If you are an Annual Passholder, you will be able to book up to 7 days’ worth of FastPasses for any 30-day period. However, if you are staying on Disney property you will be able to book FastPasses for the length of your stay.

FastPass+ suggestions and touring plans for each park

Each of the links below contains FastPass+ suggestions and multiple touring plans for each park that contain suggested FastPass+ return times.

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Shannon Albert

William T McGuinness Jr

Friday 22nd of November 2019

Perhaps a silly question: if we buy three day single park tickets, book FastPasses, and subsequently upgrade our tickets, are the FastPass reservations preserved... or would we lose them?

Shannon Albert

Friday 22nd of November 2019

You keep your FastPasses if you upgrade. No problem.

Lisa

Tuesday 12th of November 2019

If you’re staying at Shades of Green Resort you can also reserve FP 60 days in advance

Lisa Pierce

Friday 20th of September 2019

can you make fast passes during the early morning magic hours? Or is that a waste of a fast pass?

Rich Pena

Saturday 29th of February 2020

My question is, if I buy my Disney ticket let's say the day that I'm going,will we b able to book fast passes for any rides or is that only available for people staying at resorts?

Shannon Albert

Friday 20th of September 2019

No, there aren't any FastPasses allowed during Extra Magic Hours.

k

Saturday 1st of June 2019

Hyatt Place in Orlando is considered a good neighbor hotel, would that qualify for "off-site" approved list?

Amber

Tuesday 9th of April 2019

Can I book a tier 1 use it and no other fastpass and then book another tier 1? Or do I need to book 3 and use them before getting another tier 1? Example in AK can I only book Flight of passage and nothing else then use it and book Navi after I do flight?