Important Tips for Booking Your Favorite FastPasses
Planning your Walt Disney World vacation involves several steps. One of the most critical ones is booking your FastPasses. Should you fail to remember this, you’ll get stuck waiting in line at the parks all day, reducing your happiness on your dream Disney vacation. Fortunately, I’ve been where you are and can help you avoid catastrophe. Here are a few tips to booking all your favorite FastPasses.
Look at Your Window
I’m speaking metaphorically so please don’t literally look at your window right now. You need to be reading this instead. What I’m referencing is your booking window. Depending on when you’re visiting Walt Disney World and where you’re staying, your FastPass window will vary.
Guests staying onsite at Walt Disney World receive an earlier booking phase for FastPasses. Generally, it’s 60 days, although high-paying guests can technically schedule at 90 days. That’s the extreme minority situation, though. For our purposes, we’ll assume that you’re able to book 60 days ahead of time.
The other option would be at 30 days, which would mean that you’re not staying onsite at Walt Disney World. That’s a mistake for several reasons, something I’ll enumerate in detail in a later article. For now, please trust me when I say that you’re better served staying at an official Disney hotel.
If you’re worried about pricing, speak to a Mickey Travels agent about your budget. Their services are free, and they’re the foremost experts on Walt Disney World vacations.
Book Your Favorite FastPasses Immediately
With a 60-day window, you’re likely to get almost all of your favorite FastPasses. There are only a handful of attractions that are difficult to book two months ahead of time. We’ll prioritize those in the discussion since they’re also the most popular rides at Walt Disney World.
Before we go any further, you must understand the timing of the 60-day window. Your first opportunity to book a FastPass for your trip is when you are 60 days out. Your My Disney Experience app and the official website will block you from scheduling Fastpasses when you don’t have valid park admission.
That window opens at 7 a.m. Eastern Standard Time 60 days prior to your trip. Yes, you’ll need to drop everything during your regular morning routine to schedule your favorite FastPasses. If you’re not a morning person, well, that’s why some genius invented coffee.
You should be ready to book two minutes prior to 7 a.m. You never know when your clock might not line up with Disney’s official count. And let me clear on this point. Every second matters on certain attractions. Remember that while your window just opened, other people are on day seven or ten or twelve of their vacations. They booked that desirable FastPass at their 60-day window, which leaves you playing catch-up. You need to be ready to act when the clock strikes 7 a.m.
Prioritize the Most Popular Attractions
You’ll want to ride all of Disney’s best attractions during your visit. Some have longer waits than others, though. Many of the rides that have steady waits of 45 minutes or longer are also the ones whose FastPasses book prior to your arrival date. That’s not a coincidence. This is how the system is intended to work. Disney wants to schedule the perfect amount of FastPasses for an attraction to manage the line queue efficiently.
For your purposes, their strategy creates an extra layer of difficulty. You NEED those FastPasses and must fight against other Disney fans across the world to get them. You’re going to need a plan, and part of that plan requires knowledge. You must know which rides are in heaviest demand in order to secure your favorite FastPasses.
How I Rank the Hardest FastPasses
At Walt Disney World, three attractions tower above the rest in terms of line size and FastPass popularity. Those rides are Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, Frozen Ever After, and Avatar Flight of Passage. And I’ve listed them in ascending order, meaning that the Avatar attraction is THE hardest FastPass to book right now.
In 2018, Disney another entry has become a hot commodity, too. I’m speaking of Slinky Dog Dash, the new roller coaster that headlines Toy Story Land, the Hollywood Studios expansion. It’s a bit more of an unknown right now, as nobody’s quite sure how long it will remain in heavy demand.
Hollywood Studios has three more attractions coming in 2019, and they’ll alter the calculus a bit. For now, however, Slinky Dog Dash is really the only game in town at the park, making it a tough FastPass to get.
A few other attractions are also difficult FastPasses to book. Peter Pan’s Flight, Jungle Cruise, Soarin’ around the World, Test Track, Space Mountain, and Na’Vi River Journey are also in demand. Everyone loves the classics, Epcot’s Group A FastPasses are beloved, and the other Avatar ride works as a fallback option when Flight of Passage is sold out. So, these are the rides you should target first when you book your FastPasses.
I’m going to take the analysis one step further by saying that here’s the current order as I see it:
- Avatar Flight of Passage
- Frozen Ever After
- Slinky Dog Dash
- Seven Dwarfs Mine Train
- Peter Pan’s Flight
- Test Track
- Soarin’ around the World
- Jungle Cruise
- Na’Vi River Journey
There’s an oddity to this list, though. Should you fail to get Avatar Flight of Passage, you should IMMEDIATELY skip to Na’Vi River Journey. You don’t want to get shut out of both Pandora FastPasses. From there, your choices are park-dependent for your given day. When you’re visiting Epcot, start with Frozen Ever After but then drop down to Soarin’ or Test Track if you can’t get it.
At Magic Kingdom, you’ll waste a lot of your day standing in line if you don’t get Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, which maintains an 80-minute wait a lot of the time. Slinky Dog Dash has even longer waits at the moment, but I expect that its popularity will decline quickly due to the competition from Star Wars Land and Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway.
Everything listed here is fluid depending on your preferences. Peter Pan’s Flight may not do anything for you. And you may hate the corny puns on Jungle Cruise (you monster!). Your goal should be to pick the FastPasses listed here and prioritize them the instant your booking window opens.
Tips for the Actual Booking Phase
You’ll want to prepare just a bit for the morning you can schedule FastPasses. The My Disney Experience system is cantankerous in a couple of crucial ways. You cannot book a FastPass 60 days out unless you have linked admission tickets for the park in question and an accompanying hotel reservation.
This applies to everyone in your party. Let’s say that you’re booking FastPasses for two adults and two children. You must link tickets and hotel reservations for all four of you. Otherwise, you’ll get an annoying pop-up message indicating that some members of your party are ineligible for FastPasses that day. To avoid this frustration, verify that you’ve linked all applicable admission tickets and hotel accommodations the day before your FastPass window opens.
Beyond that, the most important tactic is to plan for the worst. When your FastPass window opens, you may book EVERY night of your hotel stay. When you stay six nights, you can book FastPasses through 65 days from your booking window. In other words, it’s your first night plus five more nights. It’s a way for Disney to reward guests staying longer at the resorts. What you’ll quickly discover is that the dates at the end of your trip are when FastPasses are easier to book.
You should lean into this behavior by targeting the most difficult FastPasses on the last two or three days of your trip. Skip to the final day of your vacation and try to book Avatar Flight of Passage on that day. You’ll have a much better chance of getting a FastPass than you will on the first day of your trip. Similarly, you should plan for Slinky Dog Dash and Frozen Ever After the same way.
Anecdotally, I’ve noticed that Slinky Dog Dash is more difficult to get than Frozen Ever After right now. My suggestion is for you to pick it on the second-to-last day of your vacation. Then, choose Frozen Ever After on your third-to-last day.
This may seem like a lot of effort, but what I’ll say from experience is that I couldn’t get Avatar Flight of Passage for any of the first four days of my upcoming trip. The only times available for Slinky Dog Dash on day two of my trip were from 6 p.m. on, indicating that FastPasses were about to sell out. And I followed every tip listed in this article. Right now, the demand for Disney’s top attractions is so dramatic that you need to be the early bird; otherwise, you will not get the worm i.e. the FastPass you covet.
Assuming that you use the tips listed here, you’ll dramatically increase your chances of getting the FastPasses you want. It’ll help you avoid having to wait in the longest lines at Walt Disney World. Good luck!