The 8 FastPasses You Really Need
The FastPass+ system is a revolutionary way to address customer satisfaction. Disney employs FastPasses to give guests shorter waits at many theme park attractions. When you have a FastPass, you enter a different line, one that will get you on the ride much faster. It’s a wonderful system, but it’s also confusing to infrequent and first-time Walt Disney World guests. You just want to know which ones you need to have the best possible trip, right? Here are the eight FastPasses you need.
Avatar Flight of Passage
I’m listing these alphabetically rather than ranking them, but it’s still fitting to start with Avatar Flight of Passage. Until the summer of 2019, it will stand apart as the apex predator of Walt Disney World attractions, the one with the longest wait-times. It’s also the attraction that leaves guests feeling euphoric afterward.
In fact, a friend of mine who is a Florida resident visited for the first time yesterday. He’s not even a Disney fan, yet his comments about the attraction included the phrase “amazing” at several points. While all the attractions listed here are also “amazing” in their own ways, Avatar Flight of Passage reflects the current pinnacle of Disney Imagineering. Since the wait-time is generally 150 minutes or longer, you NEED a FastPass for this ride.
Frozen Ever After
A lot of what I just said about Avatar Flight of Passage applied to Frozen Ever After for more than a year. During that time before Pandora opened to the public, the Frozen attraction reigned as the best and most popular Walt Disney World attraction. It still has a 90-minute wait most of the day, meaning that if you want to hear Let It Go for the millionth time (and you should!), you need a FastPass.
Frozen Ever After is a masterful attraction that has some of the most realistic Audio-Animatronics ever built. More importantly, it really takes the story of the film to heart, resonating with emotional depth about the love between sisters. I’m a huge fan, and I say that as someone who loved Maelstrom, the ride it replaced.
This list skews toward newer attractions since those tend to have longer lines. You shouldn’t sleep on the classics, though. While Pirates of the Caribbean and The Haunted Mansion have short enough wait-times that you can get by without a FastPass, Jungle Cruise does not.
Oftentimes, the ride has 60+ minute waits, and I just don’t think anyone can justify that sort of time spent for a funny/corny attraction that’s somehow both timeless and dated. You’ll want to take a ride on Jungle Cruise during your trip for the nostalgia, the silliness, and the purity of it. Just make sure to get a FastPass.
As a pro tip, most of the attractions listed here will have their FastPasses sell out either prior to the date you visit or early in that day. You may get lucky and find a Jungle Cruise FastPass available while you’re at the park. Keep My Disney Experience loaded on your phone in case something opens.
Disney’s Animal Kingdom has a name that’s also a mission statement. It’s functionally the largest zoo on the planet while also qualifying as a theme park. This “ride” is basically you jumping into an SUV and then touring the semi-natural habitats of dozens of species. It’s the perfect attraction to celebrate the concept of Animal Kingdom. Separating Kilimanjaro Safaris the ride from Animal Kingdom the park is functionally impossible. For this reason, the jeep ride is constantly crowded.
You’ll want a FastPass for this attraction. I want to add a caveat, though. When you arrive at the line for Kilimanjaro Safaris, don’t freak out. It’s an ordinary occurrence for the FastPass line here to be longer than the regular line. Read nothing into that. You WILL get to ride much faster via the FastPass queue.
Seven Dwarfs Mine Train
Sometimes, I’m blown away by the speed with which Disney’s hot new thing changes. In May of 2014, Seven Dwarfs Mine Train was by far the biggest deal at Walt Disney World. My family was lucky enough to ride it the week before it opened to the public, which we viewed as serendipitous since we were leaving before the official debut. The next time we visited, Seven Dwarfs Mine Train had a three-hour wait.
Less than three years later, the standard wait for this adorable roller coaster is still 100 minutes as often as not. It’s just that in the interim, Disney’s added a Frozen attraction and two Avatar ones. They’re also prepping a couple of Toy Story rides that will satisfy children of all ages. In almost exactly three calendar years, Seven Dwarfs Mine Train will have aged from THE new Disney attraction into a ride that’s not one of the five newest attractions at Walt Disney World. That happened FAST.
Still, you don’t want to wait 100 minutes to ride Seven Dwarfs Mine Train. You DO want to ride it, though. We’re probably at least 25 journeys in, and I still smile from start to finish. This twisting coaster is pure delight.
Soarin’ Around the World
Choosing FastPasses at Epcot is tricky due to the tiered system. You must pick one of Frozen Ever After, Test Track, or Soarin’ Around the World each day you visit Epcot. You cannot choose the other two. If you only have one day at Epcot, PICK FROZEN EVER AFTER!!! It’s not even a debate. Presuming that you’re visiting on multiple days, you still don’t need a Test Track FastPass. That attraction has a Single Rider line, meaning you can board the ride in 20 minutes or less on most days.
Soarin’ Around the World falls in the middle between these extremes. It doesn’t have Single Rider, but the lines have shortened by 50 percent. In 2016, Disney added a third section to the attraction, thereby boosting throughput by half. Lines are nowhere near as outrageous as they once were, but they still reach an hour at busy periods. The new version of Soarin’ is a spectacular ride that takes all of the great ideas from Soarin’ Over California and expands them to some of the planet’s greatest marvels. You simply must ride it while you’re at Walt Disney World. Get a FastPass to save yourself the wait, though.
PS: This is another ride that may have FastPasses available throughout the day. I’ve gotten lucky a couple of times on days when I chose Frozen Ever After as my FastPass.
Choosing the most iconic attraction at Walt Disney World isn’t easy. Several worthy contenders qualify, but I always think of Space Mountain first and foremost. Any guest visiting Walt Disney World simply has to take a spin on this journey through the stars. For that reason, its lines have remained steady for more than 45 years.
Even today, Space Mountain frequently has wait-times in excess of 75 minutes. It reaches 60 minutes at some point on most days. And while I love Space Mountain more than any (reasonably) sane person should, I’m here to tell you that it is NOT worth that kind of wait. You’re better served grabbing a FastPass and heading to the front of the line. That’ll make you wait 15 minutes or less, a fair amount of time for one of the seminal theme park attractions of all-time.
Toy Story Midway Mania!
This situation is similar to Soarin’. Historically, the lines for the Toy Story attraction were brutal. In 2016, Disney added a third hosting facility, reducing wait-times by 50 percent. Even with that change, it still has frequent waits of an hour or longer. That’s unfortunate because I view it as the attraction with arguably the best repeat value at Walt Disney World. I would love to stay in my Toy Story cart and play the game for an hour straight. Alas, they kick me off and send me to the back of the line every time.
Let me blunt that you’re not going to be great at Toy Story Midway Mania! the first time that you try it. These are carnival-esque games of skill that require practice. You won’t care, though. You’re presumably traveling with other people who haven’t played much, either. Everyone will be on the same relative skill level, and you will all have a blast. It’s an impossibly fun game that demonstrates everything that’s wonderful about the Toy Story universe. And a FastPass assures that you only have to wait a few minutes to play!
So, these are the eight FastPasses that you need when you visit Walt Disney World. Get a FREE quote below! In a later piece, I’ll explain a few tips that will help you to utilize the FastPass system to your maximum benefit.