The Ultimate Walt Disney World FastPass Cheat Sheet
Walt Disney World blankets four different theme parks under one umbrella. During a vacation here, you’ll face a series of hard choices involving FastPasses. You want to select the best ones at each theme park, but you may not feel informed enough to pick the right ones. We’ve got your back! Here’s a FastPass Cheat Sheet for Walt Disney World.
Disney’s Animal Kingdom FastPass Cheat Sheet
I’m listing these alphabetically rather than order of average daily attendance. If I did it that way, I’d list Animal Kingdom second behind Magic Kingdom but ahead of Epcot and then Hollywood Studios. I mention this because crowd size impacts the FastPass strategy for each park.
As the second-most trafficked park, Animal Kingdom becomes the most important when selecting FastPasses due to its Tiered system, something that Magic Kingdom doesn’t have. At Animal Kingdom, you may only pick one from the top tier. This group includes:
- Avatar Flight of Passage
- Na’Vi River Journey
That’s the list. Disney has decided that Pandora – The World of Avatar is on a different level from the rest of the park. They’re right. You want Avatar Flight of Passage if you can get it. This one’s a slam dunk. However, it’s not easy to get. Na’Vi River Journey is a fallback option when you strike out on Avatar Flight of Passage
All other attractions are in the next tier. The ones that justify a FastPass are:
- Expedition Everest
- Festival of The Lion King
- Kali River Rapids
- Kilimanjaro Safaris
You may pick up to two of the attractions listed here. The park operates several other phenomenal attractions, but the ones not listed here have manageable lines most of the time.
Fans of dark rides should lean toward DINOSAUR, one of the most underrated attractions at Walt Disney World. Meanwhile, roller coaster enthusiasts should consider Expedition Everest an imperative. Anyone who wants to sit down for half an hour between rides (and walking) should select Festival of The Lion King. Finally, anyone who loves wet rides on hot days will want Kali River Rapids.
I intentionally left Kilimanjaro Safaris out of the previous paragraph because it HAS to be one of your Animal Kingdom FastPasses. It’s the backbone of the entire theme park. So, pick it and one of the other four along with your Pandora attraction.
My family does Avatar Flight of Passage, Expedition Everest, and Kilimanjaro Safaris. Then, we try to pick up a DINOSAUR FastPass as soon as we’ve utilized our first three. Yes! You can add another FastPass once you use the ones that you have!
Disney’s Hollywood Studios FastPass Cheat Sheet
Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge doesn’t provide FastPasses yet, which makes this park somewhat challenging. Disney employs a tiered FastPass system at Hollywood Studios, only most of the popular rides are in the top tier. You must choose between:
- Alien Swirling Saucers
- Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith
- Slinky Dog Dash
- Toy Story Mania!
- Twilight Zone Tower of Terror
Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster provides a Single Rider line, and so you can safely rule that one out. While I’m one of the most ardent fans of Tower of Terror on this or any other planet, I would also not suggest it. You can usually pick up a FastPass for it during your park visit, as long as you try before noon.
Your choices really come down to the three Toy Story attractions, and Slinky Dog Dash is the one that you want. When you don’t get it, you’ll probably want Toy Story Mania! The average wait-time for Alien Swirling Saucers has become quite reasonable in recent months.
The other tier at Hollywood Studios comes down to Star Tours and a bunch of show attractions, musical recreations of classic Disney movies. So, get a Star Tours FastPass along with whichever musical appeals to you. For most people, it’s Beauty and the Beast – Live on Stage or For the First Time in Forever: A Frozen Sing-Along Celebration.
My family favors Toy Story Mania!, Star Tours, and Voyage of The Little Mermaid. For most people, I would suggest switching out The Little Mermaid for Frozen. What can I say? The Little Mermaid is my favorite Disney film of the modern era!
Epcot FastPass Cheat Sheet
Epcot also employs a tiered FastPass system. The top tier will frustrate you because it’s all of the rides that you’ve heard so much about. Frozen Ever After, Soarin’, and Test Track are all in this category. You’ll want to try each of them during your Disney trip.
I presume that you’ll visit Epcot on multiple days, and that will help. In such scenarios, pick Frozen Ever After on one day and then Soarin’ for the other. Test Track features Single Rider. While it doesn’t quite match the experience of the regular line, it does allow you to ride Test Track. You just don’t get to design a car first, which is a bummer.
The second tier of FastPasses is:
- Journey into Imagination with Figment
- Living with the Land
- Mission: SPACE
- The Seas with Nemo & Friends
- Spaceship Earth
- Turtle Talk with Crush
Frankly, none of these attractions has a wait of more than 20 minutes on average most of the time. So, you shouldn’t feel a lot of pressure for any of your choices. I’d suggest Spaceship Earth since it’s the most iconic part of the park. Then, I’d say that thrill-seeking adults should favor Mission: SPACE. However, parents with small children should pick Journey into Imagination, The Seas with Nemo & Friends, or Turtle Talk.
My family ALWAYS chooses Frozen Ever After, Living with the Land, and Mission: SPACE. Then, we try to catch a FastPass for Test Track or Soarin’ and wait in line for The Seas with Nemo & Friends and Mission: SPACE. Well, I wait in line for Mission: SPACE. It’s too violent for my wife, and I mention this because you should make sure that all members of your party are comfortable with high G-forces.
Magic Kingdom FastPass Cheat Sheet
Despite the voluminous number of options, I actually have the easiest time telling people how to plan Magic Kingdom FastPasses. Everything at the park falls into the same category, which actually simplifies the process. You’ll want to get a FastPass for anything that you want to ride that has an above-average wait-time.
At Magic Kingdom, the longest average waits in 2019 are (in order):
- Seven Dwarfs Mine Train
- Peter Pan’s Flight
- Space Mountain
- Jungle Cruise
- Splash Mountain
- Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
There is also a Mickey Mouse character meeting that you may want, as its lines can mirror anything but the top two. That decision is entirely dependent on your party’s composition.
The one absolute at Magic Kingdom is that you must get a FastPass for Seven Dwarfs Mine Train. Its lines are the longest by far. After that, the next choice comes down to whether you want to ride Peter Pan’s Flight, an immersive dark ride that’s quite short. You certainly don’t want to wait in line for it, as it’s regularly between 50 and 65 minutes.
Space Mountain is a must for coaster aficionados and theme park traditionalists. However, it’s quite bumpy, which may not work for some members of your party.
As for Jungle Cruise, I love the scripts for this ride. I return to it frequently. Some folks aren’t as enthusiastic. And that brings us to the Splash Mountain/Big Thunder Mountain Railroad combo, attractions that sit side-by-side.
You should pick whichever two of these you find appealing plus Seven Dwarfs Mine Train. Alternately, select one of them and the Mickey Mouse character meeting.
My family varies a great deal during each Magic Kingdom visit. We tend toward Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, Peter Pan’s Flight, and Jungle Cruise, though.
Okay, there’s your FastPass cheat sheet! You should have a good idea about what to pick the moment that your FastPass booking window opens!