Maximizing Your Fast Pass (FP) + Use

If you want to make the most of your day at a park at Walt Disney World, here’s a little bit of strategy that can help you out.


What is a Fast Pass?


A Fast Pass is a super awesome invention by Disney which allows you to reserve your place in line for a ride or attraction.  Say you want to go on Space Mountain at the Magic Kingdom.  You get a Fast Pass for 12:00 noon.  You then arrive at 12:00, scan your magic band or pass, and you can go in the FP line.  There may still be a line, but it typically is only a few minutes wait time versus the 45+ minute typical wait time for that ride.  This means you spend more time in the park and less time waiting in line.  You can grab a bite to eat, go on another ride or catch a show while you wait.

How Much Does it Cost?


I’m always surprised when I get this question, which is often.  Disney’s Fast Pass Service is absolutely free! Unlike Universal Studios which charges for a fast pass type service, Disney includes this option with all tickets.  That’s why it’s important that you use this service which is already available to all park guests.

How Many Can I Get?


You can reserve 3 Fast Passes prior to your visit.  Once you’ve used all 3 FPs you can then reserve a 4th through My Disney Experience (MDE) or by using a kiosk found inside the park.  The kioks are marked on the park map and have cast members available for your assistance.  But please keep in mind, that the FP you reserve in the park will likely not be the most popular rides since those FPs are usually reserved ahead of time.  A good reason to choose you first 3 wisely. Once you’ve used the 4th you can then get a 5th and so on.

FP Return Times

You will have 1 hour to use your FP.  In the example above.  If you have a FP reserved for Space Mountain you can arrive anywhere between 12:00 and 1:00.  You cannot use a FP early. They will ask you to stand aside until your time is available.  There are clocks above each FP entrance showing the time they are currently accepting.  If you show up late you may have a nice cast member who will give you a 1-2 minute leeway, however, Disney’s policy does not allow use of an expired FP. 

Get There Early

Be at the park at least a half an hour prior to Rope Drop (park opening).  Countless times when I’ve been at a Rope Drop, the cast members have let the crowd in prior to the posted park hours.  Anywhere from 5 to 15 minutes early.  There will already be lines forming about an hour ahead of park opening, and often even earlier if there is a special event going on that day.  If you are trying to get into Jedi Training for your children at Hollywood Studios, then I highly recommend this. Jedi training fills up quickly!

At the Magic Kingdom, there is a welcome show at the train station which can be viewed outside the gates.  This is a fun treat and a great way to start the day.  If you want a chance at being picked as the family that gets to come in on the train with all the characters then you should show up about an hour prior to park opening.

In the first 1 – 2 hours of park opening is the best time to get on rides with little or no waiting at all.  This is also a great time to get on some attractions that may not have a Fast Pass available.  For our family, we may head for the Astro Orbiter in Tomorrowland at the Magic Kingdom.  This ride can get a long line and has no FP option.

For all of these reasons, I would not schedule your first Fast Pass until after the park has been open for 2 hours.

I’m Going to Be Late for my FP, What can I do?


Grab your phone, or head to a kiosk, and see if you can reschedule it until later.  You must do this before your return time expires. If there is a time available then you can schedule it for later or choose another experience so that you don’t waste that FP.

Take Photos of your FPs


Systems go down sometimes and Disney is not immune.  This is so especially on a particularly busy day.  I’ve been to a park when the system has gone down and be unable to read the FP through your magic band.  No information is stored on the magic band but it can retrieve it from your reservations.  So usually this happens when MDE is also down.  I had photos of my FP reservations and was still able to get on the ride.  If this happens, Disney will work with you and usually allow you on the ride once the system is back up and running if your FP overlapped with the down time.  But you may not be able to go back depending on your plans, so having the photos of the FPs is definitely a good backup plan.

What FPs Should I Choose?


Magic Kingdom

The Magic Kingdom has the largest selection of attraction that are available for Fast Passes.  Here is the complete list:

Ariel’s Grotto (Never/Rarely Needed)

Barnstormer (Good as a Second Choice)

Big Thunder Mountain Railroad (Recommended)

Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin (Can have a long wait during peak times)

Dumbo the Flying Elephant (Can have a long wait during peak times)

Enchanted Tales with Belle (Can have a long wait during peak times)

Haunted Mansion (Can have a long wait during peak times)

“it’s a small world” (Good as a Second Choice)

Jungle Cruise (Good as a Second Choice)

Mad Tea Party (Can have a long wait during peak times)

Magic Carpets of Aladdin (Can have a long wait during peak times)

Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh (Good as a Second Choice)

Meet Mickey Mouse at the Town Square Theater (Can have a long wait during peak times)

Mickey’s PhilharMagic (Never/Rarely Needed)

Monster, Inc. Laugh Floor (Never/Rarely Needed)

Peter Pan’s Flight (Recommended)

Pirates of the Caribbean  (Can have a long wait during peak times)

Princess Fairytale Hall: (Recommended)

Seven Dwarfs Mine train (Recommended)

Space Mountain (Recommended)

Splash Mountain (Recommended)

Tomorrowland Speedway (Can have a long wait during peak times)

Under the Sea ~ Journey of the Little Mermaid (Can have a long wait during peak times)


Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow.  A very fun park to enjoy.  Though there are less attractions here than the Magic Kingdom, there are a few key rides that are a must for FPs.

Disney & Pixar Short Film Festival (Never/Rarely Needed)

Frozen Ever After (Recommended)

Journey into Imagination with Figment (Never/Rarely Needed)

Living with the Land (Can have a long wait during peak times)

Mission Space (Can have a long wait during peak times)

The Seas with Nemo & Friends (Can have a long wait during peak times)

Soarin’ Around the World (Recommended)

Spaceship Earth (Can have a long wait during peak times)

Test Track  (Recommended)

Hollywood Studios

A great mix of thrills, movie magic and of course… Star Wars!  This park has two of the biggest thrill rides in Disney World and both require FPs for a quick entrance.

Muppet*Vision 3D (Never/Rarely Needed)

Rock’n Roller Coaster (Recommended)

Star tours – The Adventures Continue (Can have a long wait during peak times)

Twilight Zone – Tower of Terror (Recommended)

Toy Story Mania (Recommended)

Slinky Dog Dash (Recommended)

Alien Swirling Saucers (Recommended)

Disney Junior – Live on Stage (Can have a long wait during peak times)

Fantasmic (Never/Rarely Needed)

Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular (Never/Rarely Needed)

Voyage of the Little Mermaid (Never/Rarely Needed)


Animal Kingdom

This may be Disney’s 4th park but in no way is it the step-child of the family.  The days can get quite hot in this park, after all, it is a jungle in here.  Due to the heat, and popularity of many of the rides, FPs are highly recommended.  

Festival of the Lion King (Never/Rarely Needed)

Finding Nemo – Musical (Never/Rarely Needed)

Rivers of Light (Never/Rarely Needed)

UP! A Great Bird Aventure (Never/Rarely Needed)

Avatar Flight of Passage (Recommended)

Navi River Journey (Recommended)

Dinosaur (Can have a long wait during peak times)

Expedition Everest (Recommended)

It’s Tough to be a Bug (Good as a Second Choice)

Kali River Rapids (Can have a long wait during peak times)

Kilimanjaro Safaris (Can have a long wait during peak times)

Feeling Overwhelmed?

If all of this information is making your head spin like you’re on the tea cups then give us a call.  We will do all the planning, with expert care, taking into consideration all of the needs of each member of your group. 
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