You may have heard about Disney’s Fastpass system that allows you to reserve ride times in advance but even if you try to book your Fastpass when your window opens there are some attractions that are gone as soon as you log in. By following the tactics below you can enjoy some of the most popular attractions without the dreaded lines.
Each of the four theme parks has an attraction that ALWAYS seems to have a multi-hour wait time. Not surprisingly, they are typically the newest attractions in each park. Here are some tricks to ride Slinky Dog Dash, Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, Flight of Passage, and Frozen Ever After without sweating in crowded queues.
Book Your Trip Early
Buy your tickets or book your Disney vacation package before the Fastpass window opens, so that you are able to take advantage of opening day availability. Fastpass is the FREE Disney ride reservation system. You are able to reserve time to ride your favorite attractions in advance. The Fastpass window opens 30 or 60 days before your check-in date depending on where you are staying, which brings me to my next point…
You have some added benefits when you stay at a Disney owned resort that gives you an advantage when experiencing attractions.
One is the ability to access Extra Magic Hours. Extra Magic Hours or EMH is an hour in the morning or a few in the evening when the park is only open to Disney resort guests. I LOVE utilizing the morning hours, but if you are not able to get there 20-30 minutes before they begin they are not helpful. Getting there before opening will put you toward the front of the line and allow you to ride several attractions with no lines before day guests begin to arrive.
An even bigger benefit of staying onsite is the ability to book your Fastpasses 60 days prior to check-in. That is a full 30 days before people staying elsewhere. As you can imagine availability is is much better that much further in advance.
Book FP the day your window opens
Whether or not you want to reserve the most popular attractions, if you are able to you should book your Fastpasses the day your booking window opens (again either 30 or 60 days in advance depending on where you are staying.) This will allow you the greatest availability of both attractions and ride times. The most coveted ride times do tend to book just as quickly as popular attractions. You can book FP on the My Disney Experience Web Portal or App at 7 am on the day your window opens. I highly recommend making sure you link all your tickets, and if you are traveling with someone else, connect as friends and family at least a few days in advance so you can resolve any tech issues that may arise. If you booked using Showcase the World we will take care of this for you, so sleep in Moms and Dads…you deserve it!
Plan Your Must-Do Attraction for Later in Your Trip
When you are planning the days you want to spend in each park, plan the park with your must do attraction later in your stay. There is more availability because there are less people already booked for that day. When you think about the first day of your trip think of all the people checking in before you who will be in the parks during that time…they have already reserved their Fastpasses…but they will most likely be checking out before you, so they will not have booked FP for the last few days of your trip. You will have a much better chance of snagging hard to get Fastpasses for popular attractions towards the end of your trip. The longer your vacation is the easier it will be to get the Fastpasses that you want.
Book FP In Order of Popularity NOT Chronologically
Most people book their Fastpasses in the order they will be enjoying the attractions. They will log in and book the first attraction they want to ride on the first day of their trip, then the second ride followed by the third. They then proceed to do the same thing for the second day. You will have a better chance of getting the hot ticket items because you know what attractions run out of Fastpasses quickly and book those FIRST. Be prepared with an organized list and book based on popularity and importance to you. Then fill in day by day.
If all of these strategies didn’t work and you didn’t get a Fastpass that you wanted, don’t despair, there is still a chance you can snag one. People change their plans, cancel their trips, move things around all the time…you may be able to snag a cancellation if you check back regularly.
Still no Fastpass? Still don’t worry. Take advantage of Extra Magic Hour if you are staying at a Disney resort or visit on a non-EMH day if you are not and arrive at the park BEFORE it opens. I will say this again….ARRIVE BEFORE THE PARK IS SUPPOSED TO OPEN. I would say about an hour before the posted opening time. If you are near the front of the line you will walk right on as soon as the attraction opens. Many times Disney will open the popular attractions BEFORE park opening so if you arrive when the park is posted to open the line is already long and growing.
I know it may seem silly to wait an hour BUT it moves quickly. Disney usually lets you through the turnstile 30 minutes before opening, they will walk you up to the hub a few minutes after that, then to another point further into the park a little after that, and in a lot of cases into the queue for the attraction and onto the ride 10-15 minutes before the park officially opens. That means if you are close enough to the front, that you will have ridden the attraction BEFORE the park opens and you can head to the next attraction and walk on the right as it is opening.
Morning Magic | VIP Tour
Not a morning person? Disney has some exclusive events and tours that include being walked on to the attraction. If you have a deep wallet you can book a private VIP tour and they will customize an itinerary for your group, walking you on to most attractions, getting you priority seating to your favorite shows, and shuttling you backstage from park to park. Not in the budget? Disney offers some really cool group tours like the Ultimate Day of Thrills, Ultimate Classics, and Nights of Adventures Tour. These are small group tours that get you into select attractions in either 4 or 7 hours, depending on the tour.
Another great alternative: Early Morning Magic or After Hours events, where select attractions are open before park opening or after park closing for those who purchased a special ticket. I did Early Morning Magic at the Magic Kingdom, and rode Seven Dwarf’s Mine Train AND Peter Pan’s Flight three times each in ONE HOUR!!!
If you want one less thing to worry about, I am happy to schedule your Fastpasses for you. This is a complimentary service offered to travelers booked with Showcase the World. If you have already booked a vacation and would still like help, schedule a complimentary vacation consultation and I can make recommendations or talk about what is included in my Fastpass booking package.
I understand how you’re feeling, I know all too well how easy it can be at the beginning to start researching online, just to find yourself 3 hours down the line more confused than when you started. But don’t panic! I can help you plan your dream Disney vacation without any of the stress of hassle – starting with the ‘A Disney Trip without Overwhelm, 5 Easy Steps’ Guide. These 5 steps will help keep you focused on organizing the best trip ever, while giving you peace of mind that everything will be done, and nothing will be left out.
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