If you’re planning a trip to Disney World, one of the biggest things you’re probably thinking about is riding rides! At least, I know that’s one of my favorite parts of a trip to the happiest place on earth.
Disney created one of its most magical inventions 18 years ago when they introduced the FastPass. It allowed guests to go to a ride they were interested in and get a pass to come back later in the day, within a window of 1 hour, and get on the ride without waiting in line. 4 years ago, Disney upped their game and created FastPass+. With this, you can reserve those times ahead of your trip. That means no more running over to a ride to get a FastPass. You can plan 3 per day in advance (all in the same park). Once you’ve used your three, you can then use the MyDisneyExperience app or kiosks found in the parks to reserve an additional FastPass for an attraction in any park.
60 days ahead of your scheduled arrival in The World, at 7 AM WDW time, you can make your FastPass+ selections. For us, that was just last week and, let me tell you, it was nuts. I usually leave for work shortly after 7 so I got ready for work early and had my phone and laptop by me, all ready to go at aboit 6:55 so the instant the clock hit 7, I could start.
I learned a valuable lesson. Apparently, if you’ve logged in ahead of 7:00, even when the clock actually reached 7, the system won’t recognize you’re at your 60-day mark. I struggled for 5 minutes, refreshing and trying to put my confirmation number in again, etc. I eventually logged out and logged back in and that did the trick. So, if you’re like me and like to be ready ahead of time, you’re going to have to go against that and wait until right on time to log into your account.
The whole experience ended up extra crazy for me because I only had 7 minutes after finally getting in before I absolutely had to leave for work. I got to the parking lot where I catch the bus, I pulled out my phone and started making selections from the app. I put my headphones in and called my mom and learned she’d had the same issues getting started. Being on the app made selections tough for me because I’m a very visual person and couldn’t have multiple screens in front of me to get a handle on what days we had what plans and what selections I’d already made.
The extra-complicating factor for us is that my husband and I are going to Disney World the same time as my parents, sister, and niece. We aren’t doing everything together but we are going to the same parks on the same days and do want to get on some rides with all 6 of us together.
Once I got to work, I opened up my Disney planning spreadsheet and logged into the MyDisneyExperience site (don’t tell my boss 😉 ). We have our MyDisneyExperience accounts linked so we can see each other’s plans. I began the task of rearranging some of the times so we could all get on certain rides together. Sometimes we didn’t plan to do the same things, and that’s good by us. Other times hubby and I knew we wanted to see our niece getting to experience certain attractions, so I shifted some of our FastPass+ times to at least have some time overlap with the rest of the family. For example, for one ride, their FastPass+ time is 2:15 – 3:15 and I shifted ours to be 2:10 – 3:10. Since you can arrive at any time during your 1-hour FastPass+ window, we can all arrange to meet at the same time, scan our Magic Bands at the FastPass+ entrance, and be a party of 6 getting on the ride.
The great thing about FastPass+ is it’s easy on the website to see what plans you already have, rearrange a time, or change the attraction. And the system is smart, so it knows if you have another overlapping FastPass+ or a dinner reservation so you can’t accidentally totally mess up your day’s plans. Once I actually got to sit down and take a look at everything, I felt much better. My brain thinks best in spreadsheets, so I put all our times in a sheet, along with our dining reservations, so we can easily see what each other has (even though we can also see it in the app).
What do you think of the FastPass+ system? Do you miss running around the park for FastPass+ and like having your trip less scheduled? Or do you prefer planning so much in advance?