Changes to Disney's FastPass+ you need to know for busy summer season
Just when you think you have selecting FastPasses for Walt Disney World attractions down to a science, the Big Cheese decides to tinker with the process. I’m not talking about anything as drastic as going from the paper passes to electronic ride reservations – we’ll save that for Disneyland! – but there are some recent changes that visitors trying to snag FastPasses for extremely popular attractions will want to be aware of this summer.
First, beginning this week, guests can begin booking FastPass+ selections at 7 a.m. ET (Orlando time) rather than the previous time of 12:01 a.m. ET. Visitors staying at Walt Disney World hotels can book FastPasses up to 60 days in advance, and others not staying on property but who have purchased park tickets in advance can schedule FastPass+ reservations up to 30 days before their arrival.
Those seven hours may not seem like a big deal to the inexperienced, but trust me when I say that you will want to be online at precisely 7 a.m. ET if you want to secure FastPasses for popular rides, such as Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, at Magic Kingdom, or the re-imagined Soarin’ Around the World at Epcot (that opens June 17) on certain days of your vacation or at specific times. Of course, not being able to obtain a FastPass+ reservation for an attraction doesn’t mean that you won’t be able to experience it. But it does enable you to more efficiently use your time in the parks because you won’t spend hours waiting for one popular experience. So, it’s to your advantage to do a little planning in advance to make the most of your vacation.
FastPass+ users are allowed to schedule up to three reservations per day in advance of their arrival. Initially, the guest had to book all three of FastPass+ reservations for the system to work. After choosing attractions, the guest was given three different choices of times for the group of rides. The guest had to select one and then change individual times if something didn’t fit his or her schedule.
As of last month, guests can book their FastPasses one at a time, choosing the specific times they want, rather than accepting the system’s suggestions. Plus, guests can select fewer than three FastPasses per day, if they prefer. All of the initial selections (up to three choices) still must be for attractions at the same Disney theme park, however.
After all the initial choices are used or expire, the guest can make another selection – from a mobile device rather than having to go to a kiosk AND it can be at another Disney theme park. Once that FastPass has been used, another can be booked, and so on. Keep in mind that availability of the most popular rides can fill up before you even arrive at the park, so booking ahead of time generally is your best bet. Still, the new flexibility in scheduling with My Disney Experience certainly is an improvement.