One of the best ways to make sure you are making the most of your time at Disney World is to make sure you have wisely chosen your Fastpass+ reservations. The attractions and the times you choose are equally important.
Walt Disney World allows you to make three Fastpass+ reservations per day in a single park (bad news for us Park Hoppers) prior to your vacation. Once in the parks, and you have utilized all three, you are then allowed to make an additional 4th FP+ reservation either in your current park or in a difference park via the My Disney Experience app.
Before deciding on anything though, you have to put thought into what kind of touring style you have. Are you an early riser? Do you enjoy staying in the parks until the Kiss Goodnight? Are you going to break in the middle of the day for naps or pool breaks?
We are rope-drop people. I like to be in line at the parks before they open to make sure I am beating the bulk of the crowds. Typically, the main crowds arrive sometime between 10am and 11am, with peak crowds around noon. Why is this important? Because if you get to the parks early enough, you can usually head directly to a popular attraction and ride it with no to very short lines. With good strategy, you can usually ride two or three popular rides first thing in the morning without the need for fastpass+ reservations. For example:
Arrive at Magic Kingdom at 8:30. Enter the park and go left to Frontierland (as most crowds go straight to Fantasyland or right to Tomorrowland. Within the first hour it is completely feasible that you could ride Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, Splash Mountain and be headed to Jungle Cruise in Adventureland within the first hour.
With this strategy, you can then save your Fastpass+ reservations for times of the day when the lines will have inevitably gotten much longer. I usually start my Fastpass+ reservations times at around 10:00 or 11:00, a break for lunch, then another around 2:00 and 4:00, depending on how we’ve planned that day.
So what if you’re a late riser, but plan to stay late in the parks? I would suggest making the same Fastpass+ reservation times, but plan to do the other big attractions late in the evening, particularly during the fireworks and show. Most people will be lining up for a good view, and the lines will typically be much shorter. If the parks are open late into the night (say midnight, or even later during very busy times), you can almost guarantee shorter lines as most families won’t want to risk cranky children into the wee hours of the morning.
So now that you know when to plan your Fastpasses, let’s talk about which attractions are worth it. Not all fastpasses are created equal.
The next two parks are a little different in that they utilize the tier system, meaning that you can choose only ONE fastpass from Tier 1 and then two fastpass options from Tier 2. It makes things even more interesting when choosing your options!
Remember that you can make Fastpass+ reservations up to 60 days prior to checking for guests staying on site and 30 days prior to check in for guests staying off site starting at midnight! Disney has recently made several changes that have made Fastpass+ even more customizable, including choosing less than 3 FP+ per day, choosing the specific time you want your reservation and allowing you to choose new reservations and modify existing reservations via the My Disney Experience app while in the parks.