Walt Disney World Fast Pass+
The relatively new Walt Disney World Fast Pass+ system has a lot of mixed reviews. But it doesn’t really matter what you think about it, it’s here to stay. So I’ll explain how we maximized our use of the Fast Pass+ system. I’ve already talked about the planning process, so this post will show how it worked out in the parks.
The good stuff:
1) The fast pass+ reservations that we booked 60 days in advance worked perfectly for the most part. We were allowed reserve 3 rides per day in one park. So, we’d arrive at opening (or a little before) and head straight to a ride for which we did NOT have a fast pass reservation. Sometimes we could even ride it twice before some people even made it into the park. For example, in the Magic Kingdom, our fast pass reservations were Big Thunder Mountain, Splash Mountain, and the Seven Dwarf Mine Train. So at park opening we headed straight to Space Mountain. We actually rode it twice that morning because the line was so short and quick.
2) The notification and fast pass allowance when rides were temporarily shut down was pretty good. For example, the Seven Dwarf Mine Train temporarily shut down about 30 minutes prior to our scheduled fast pass+ reserved time. I was notified via email that I just happened to be checking while we were standing in line at the nearby Small World ride. If you are checking your smart phone often, it can save you from walking across the park only to realize the ride is down. When that happens, your fast pass will work at any time during the day in case the ride goes back online. And if the ride never comes back on, you can use that fast pass on any ride at any time. The Seven Dwarf Mine train was operational again a few hours later, and our passes still worked in the fast pass line.
The not so good stuff:
1) The Disney app never worked to change or add fast passes to our group. This held true for everyone in the park I chatted with. After our 3 reserved fast passes for the day were used, we were allowed to reserve more. Although their marketing implies that it can be done from your smartphone, that isn’t the case. We had to find a fast pass+ kiosk every time. We took advantage of this only one time, in order to get good seats for Fantasmic at Hollywood Studios. Which leads me to my next point…
2) Even though our reserved rides ended around 2pm, there were never any fast passes left available the rest of the day for the thrill rides we wanted. For example, the only thing left in the Magic Kingdom after our allotted fast passes were used, was the Winnie the Pooh ride. However, if you visit during off peak times, that should not be as big of an issue. But if you’re like me, with middle school or high school aged kids, that’s not an option. So instead, when our reserved fast passes were gone, we’d use the Disney app to check wait times and plan the rest of our day from there. Half of our group took that as their sign to quit at the theme park and head to the water parks like Blizzard Beach.
3) If you were an old pro at the previous fast pass system, you will be a little disappointed. We would hold tons of fast passes throughout the day and get a lot of exercise zig zagging across the park in order to maximize our time. During peak time visits, that means you will spend more time waiting in line than you are used to.
Overall, the Walt Disney World fast pass+ system worked as it was designed. The biggest improvements that could happen would be with the app and it’s capabilities. For all I know, that could be coming. I felt lucky that I did not have little girls that wanted to wait in line for every princess character, ride, or show. My highest recommendation if you have little girls, is take them out of school and save yourself a lot of time, money and misery.
Over the years, we have been to Walt Disney World a lot. The memories and nostalgia hold a lot of weight for our family. Although, after this last visit, I think I might be changing my tune a little. With older kids, our time at Universal with the express pass seems like a better experience. I know that once all of the planned Star Wars items start showing up at Disney properties, I’ll change my mind again. But as a woman, that’s what I’m supposed to do, right? So until then, we might stick to Universal and Disneyland. Until Disneyland goes to the fast pass+ system too, of course. Changes, changes, changes…