Which FastPass Should You Pick at Each Park?
Disney FastPasses are one of the greatest additions in theme park history. With FastPass in hand, a person can cut their waiting time by at least half and oftentimes much more. Alas, you’ll only receive three FastPasses each day when you stay at Walt Disney World. Once you’re in the park on the applicable day, you can add more, but that won’t help you with your planning. Today, we’re going to discuss which FastPasses you should pick at each park and why. Here are the best FastPasses for every theme park at Walt Disney World.
Disney’s Hollywood Studios
We’ll start our evaluation with the least trafficked park, acknowledging that this answer will change in a few months when Toy Story Land debuts. For now, the park has only a few viable options for FastPasses. Unfortunately, most of them are grouped into tiers, forcing you to choose between the best attractions.
In Tier A, the most important attractions are Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith, Toy Story: Midway Mania!, and the Fantasmic! show. Since you can receive guaranteed Fantasmic! seating in other ways, you may safely rule that one out. Similarly, Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster is one of the few attractions at Walt Disney World that offers Single Rider line. Since this version of the ride isn’t any different from the regular one, you should do this instead of burning a FastPass. That leaves Toy Story: Midway Mania! as the best FastPass selection in Tier A.
For Tier B, the selections are scarce since Hollywood Studios is in flux right now. As it transitions to Star Wars Land, the only true rides that are currently open are Star Tours and The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror. Unless you have a favorite show that you want to book with a FastPass, choose the two rides. If you do want to watch a show without waiting in line, skip the Star Tours FastPass. You should find moments during your visit when the line queue wait is 30 minutes or less, and in-day FastPasses are also easy to come by on all but the most crowded days.
Disney’s Animal Kingdom
This park switched to a tiered FastPass system when it unveiled the epic new themed land, Pandora: The World of Avatar. The tiers are straightforward, too. The two Pandora rides are in Tier A. Literally everything else at the park is in Tier B. This system makes the choices simple.
You WILL want to ride the attractions at Pandora. Only one of them has a wait-time in excess of two hours most of the time. You should book Avatar Flight of Passage for your FastPass. You’ll still want to ride Na’Vi River Journey at least once, but its wait-times, while significant, aren’t on a par with Flight of Passage.
The choice for the second FastPass is equally simple. You should book Kilimanjaro Safaris, the “ride” that best shows off the stunning achievement that is Disney’s Animal Kingdom. On this attraction, you’re thrust into the middle of dozens of animal habitats, watching the various species interact with one another. It’s the closest you’ll ever come to living in the jungle. Since it’s such a beloved attraction, a FastPass is the only way to guarantee that you won’t have to wait in line for 45-75 minutes. As I type this, Kilimanjaro Safaris has a 55-minute wait, and it’s not a peak time for park traffic.
The third FastPass depends on personal preference. DINOSAUR, Kali Rivers Rapids, and Expedition Everest all get crowded from time to time. Anyone who has visited Animal Kingdom likely has a favorite out of the three. Personally, I would rank them as 1) Expedition Everest 2) DINOSAUR and 3) Kali River Rapids, but my FastPass evaluation is a bit different. DINOSAUR rarely has the wait of the other two, and so you don’t need a FastPass for it.
Since I believe that Expedition Everest is the best attraction, I would suggest getting that as your FastPass. On hot days at the park, however, the line Kali River Rapids can get crazy-long. When visiting during the summer, it may make more sense for your needs. In that scenario, Expedition Everest is a fine candidate for Rope Drop.
This park presents the most challenging decision for FastPass users. It also uses a Tiered FastPass system. Picking the finest of these options is much harder than the first two parks, though. I’d go so far as to describe it as a brutal exercise.
The three rides in Tier A are Soarin’ Around the World, Frozen Ever After, and Test Track. Most Disney fans describe each of them as among the finest at Walt Disney World. They also tend to have long lines. The reality is that you’ll struggle to ride all three during the same park visit. Plus, a fourth attraction is also in Tier A. It’s a preferred viewing spot for IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth. Yeesh, that’s a tough call.
Here’s my analytical evaluation of the situation. Most Disney fans have seen IllumiNations at least once. While it’s always wonderful, with a bit of planning, you can find good seats for the show without burning a Tier A FastPass. Meanwhile, Test Track is like Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster in that it has a Single Rider line. Unlike the Aerosmith roller coaster, you will miss out on something fun. Designing your Test Track vehicle is glorious, and I wholeheartedly recommend it. Still, Single Rider line at least puts you on the ride in short order.
The true choice is Soarin’ Around the World versus Frozen Ever After, and that’s tough. After researching it a bit, the average wait-time at Soarin’ on the average park day is around 80 minutes. For Frozen Ever After, it’s 100 minutes. Based on that information and the mediocre throughput of Frozen Ever After, I would target it as a FastPass. Guests who love Soarin’ or who have yet to see the updated version of the attraction may feel differently, though. Rope Drop is easier for Soarin’, particularly for guests of Disney’s Beach Club Resort and Disney’s BoardWalk Resort. That may help you decide.
For Tier B FastPasses, well, the choice is largely yours. Realistically, you don’t NEED a FastPass for any of them. A single day’s admission to Epcot is more than enough to ride everything in Tier B. Most of the attractions like Journey Into Imagination With Figment, Mission: Space, and Living with the Land have short lines and plenty of in-day FastPass availability. The one wild card is Meet Disney Pals at the Epcot Character Spot, which can get crowded during the day. I’m not crazy about this particular character meeting, however, and feel like you’d do better finding other ones at World Showcase pavilions.
For these reasons, I’d suggest Spaceship Earth as one of the other two options. Most people enter Epcot through the front of the park i.e. Future World. Since the giant metal golf ball is the first thing that they see, they tend to walk into the Spaceship Earth line. With a FastPass, you can do the same, only you won’t have to wait in line. Then, I’d choose Living with the Land because I admire the ride a great deal. Plus, it’s a wonderful napping spot during an active park day. If you have small children, however, The Seas with Nemo & Friends is also viable. Finally, Mission: Space is a consideration for people who have never ridden the new version.
This park is the toughest for FastPass choices. Disney doesn’t use a Tiered system, giving you the freedom to select any of 25 potential FastPasses. Here’s the information that I think is pertinent here.
The attractions with the longest lines at Magic Kingdom are (usually) Peter Pan’s Flight, Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, Space Mountain, Jungle Cruise, Splash Mountain and Big Thunder Mountain. Other classics like Haunted Mansion and Pirates of the Caribbean can also grow crowded at times, and Enchanted Tales with Belle has the occasional rush, too.
Allowing for these factors, I would suggest that you choose your three FastPasses from the list of the six most crowded attractions. Presuming that you want to ride it, the one automatic should be Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, as it has the longest line at Magic Kingdom. While you can attack the problem with a Rope Drop strategy, you’ll otherwise have to wait at least an hour to board the short but charming roller coaster.
Peter Pan’s Flight is a more challenging evaluation. The ride possesses the best use of colors at Walt Disney world, but it’s only two minutes long. Oftentimes, the wait exceeds an hour. If you intend to take Peter Pan’s Flight, you should get a FastPass. Otherwise, you’ll waste a lot of park time for something that’s over in the blink of an eye.
The Splash Mountain/Big Thunder Mountain duo resides side by side at Frontierland. With a pair of FastPasses, you could check off an entire area of Magic Kingdom in about 30 minutes. I find that to be overkill, though. My suggestion is to get a FastPass for one of them and then wait in line for the other. I prefer having the FastPass for Splash Mountain so that I can dry off while standing in line for Big Thunder Mountain, but that’s a personal preference rather than any tip based in strategy.
To a larger point, my family uses books FastPass selections for Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, Peter Pan’s Flight and Splash Mountain or Haunted Mansion (my wife’s favorite Disney ride). For most people, I would suggest a combination of Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, one of the Frontierland rides or Jungle Cruise, and Space Mountain.
With this approach, you ride all the classics and have plenty of time to pick and choose other FastPasses during the day. In my experience, you can pick up FastPasses in-day for most of the other Magic Kingdom attractions. At a minimum, you will find enough to fill most of your day without waiting in line a lot. Since Magic Kingdom has such a deep roster of quality attractions, it’s the easiest place to maximize your park time. You can read my guide for the best tips to do so.
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