The pre-arrival planning continues now that I’m 60 days out from my resort stay. The great thing about WDW vacations is how excited you can be about the plans you’re making in advance. It always help make you feel better about how close you are to your holiday. As someone who likes to plan their time, I love being able to get in and sort out dining reservations, tours and fastpasses for Disney while looking at what days I’ll also be spending outwith Disney and making sure I’m preparing with tickets for those, too.
When you’re staying at a WDW resort (or a Good Neighbour hotel) you can book fastpasses for your whole stay as long as it’s 60 days from your first night. All other ticket holders can only do this from 30 days out for each individual day and there will be a limit as to how many days worth of passes you can hold in advance (as a passholder we can have 7 days).
For those who are new to the fastpass+ system that they use at WDW, the official website has information here that includes some of the FAQs that will be most handy.
I kept track of my dates but the email that Disney sends about your stay has a countdown clock embedded in it so you can refer back to that when you’re feeling close. I also got an email from them telling me my window was open, however I received that around 7pm on the evening of my 60 day window – and you can begin booking from 8am EST that day (1pm UK time) so it came in a little bit later than I’d hoped and with demand for fastpasses currently, that could be enough of a window of time for you to miss out. So I’m glad I knew exactly which day I could get in and book.
In fact, you may miss out anyway, because the window opens based on your first night’s stay and allows you to book your whole trip (essentially you could be booking upwards of 70 or 80 days in advance). If, like me, you’re only taking a few days at the resort, that window probably already opened up for a lot of other people who have longer stays. Which is why I would recommend going to your last day first, and working your way backwards through the dates – the end will have the best availability.
I logged in just after 1pm to see my what I could get and as predicted, I was already struggling.
Slinky Dog Dash was already completely gone for my three days, and I could only get Flight of Passage for the last day.
Here’s what I do like about it – even though I’m only staying there for 2 nights, it opened up the entire 60 days for me in advance and not just for during my actual resort stay. So I was also able to book for the dates before my window and use up all my annual passholder allowance of fastpass days as well, getting in there for some Alien Swirling Saucers on three different days as well as a Seven Dwarves Mine Train at the Magic Kingdom.
Even better, whoever you have linked to your account by way of family or friends can also be booked in (by you) for those days. So I was able to go into a day at EPCOT that I’m having with my parents and book for all three of us to get on Frozen Ever After (as well as others). That was something I learned last year when one of my best friends was visiting and staying at a resort while I was staying at home. He was able to get me fastpasses alongside his for the 10 day stay.
So the only ride I’m worried about whether or not I’ll be able to experience (I will not wait in a long queue… I might do a two hour wait ONCE but I need to be in the right frame of mind and have enough juice for my phone!) is Slink Dog. We do have extra magic hours for Hollywood Studios every day between 8am and 9am during the summer so my plan is to get to the Studios early, ‘dash’ to Slinky and then hopefully not have the hugest wait in the world. And if it means sacrificing my 8.30am Star Tours fastpass then so be it.
So here’s my main tips for booking fastpasses:
- If you’re getting in to book in your 60 day window, start at the furthest away date as they will have the best availability.
- If you only have the 30 day window, ‘shop around’ over days you plan to be in the parks and see which days have the best fastpasses. You’ll see certain rides that you might only be able to book on certain days and it can be wise to get in there while you can.
- Book passes for EVERY DAY that you can. If your plans change or you know you’ll have days outwith Disney then you can cancel them, but it’s good to know you’ve got them in there.
- Be aware that in some parks, the rides and attractions are put into groups and once you’ve booked for one of the popular ones, you may not be allowed to book other popular rides within the same group. This happens at EPCOT and Studios. So in order to enjoy them all, you’ll need to think about which rides to book for each day – make sure to keep track of what you’ve already planned in.
- Pick early times where possible – you can add fastpasses where available once you’ve used up your 3 for each day. I’ve had days where I’ve taken 6 or 7 fastpasses, or skipped into other parks and been able to grab something.
And for newbies, here’s the rides you want to prioritise fastpasses for since they’re the longest wait times (some for popularity, some because of slow load times):
1. At Magic Kingdom – Seven Dwarves Mine Train, Space Mountain, Splash Mountain, Big Thunder Mountain, Peter Pan’s Flight, Jungle Cruise
2. At EPCOT – Frozen Ever After, Soarin’, Test Track
3. Disney’s Hollywood Studios – Slinky Dog Dash, Alien Swirling Saucers, Toy Story Midway Mania. (Rock n Roller Coaster, Tower of Terror and Star Tours can get busy and you’ll want fastpasses for them, but depending on the day and time of year, you can get on these rides with waits less than 30 mins)
4. Disney’s Animal Kingdom – Flight of Passage, Na’avi River Journey, Festival of the Lion King (you might still get into Lion King, but better to fastpass and get a pick of sections), Kilimanjaro Safaris (try to get a time that’s earlier in the day or after 4pm – the animals tend to get too hot in the blazing sun so might not be visible), Dinosaur.
You COULD fastpass Rivers of Light (at DAK) as that’s still new and can fill up fast but I don’t recommend fastpassing any of the nighttime events at WDW. It means that you’ve lost the option of booking in extra fastpasses earlier on in the day and for the vast majority, you’re going to get to see them without fastpasses and with maybe just a little bit of time put aside at the end of your day to wait for them. I’ll talk in later posts about the best ways to do this!
If you’ve got any other tips for booking fastpasses that I’ve missed, feel free to leave them in the comments!