6 FastPass+ Mistakes You Won’t Want to Make

If you’ve been to Walt Disney World recently, or even if you’ve just been planning to go, I’m sure you’ve heard about FastPass+. FastPass+ is essentially a virtual timed ticket, and it’s your way to get almost-instant ride access without having to wait in looooooong standby lines.

FastPass+ Entrance for Kilimanjaro Safari

When you have arranged a FastPass+ time for an attraction, you can go off and have fun, eat, shop — whatever, instead of waiting in line. You don’t have to go to the attraction or show until your FastPass+ “window” opens.  You can usually expect to wait 15 minutes or less for most attractions when you take advantage of this service.

The use of FP+ might have first-time park-goers (or those who haven’t visited in the last decade) a bit confused, but don’t worry. We have your back! Here are some common FP+ mistakes and how you can make sure they don’t happen to you!

Disney resort guests can start out by selecting three FastPass+ attractions and/or entertainment experiences per day (all in the same park) through the My Disney Experience website and mobile app.  Select from the majority of attractions (rides, shows, character meets) in each park to streamline your day.

You have an hour window to use your preselected FastPasses. Once that window opens, just step up to the front of the attraction FP+ queue and tap your MagicBand or RFID card on the Mickey head to verify your time.

Flight of Passage FastPass and Standby Queues

FP+ Mistake #1: Not Using FastPasses At All

Everyone with a park ticket has access to this VIP treatment — Disney’s FastPass+ service is included with theme park admission! You don’t have to pay extra for it, so why not use it?

Unless you enjoy wasting your precious in-park time on waiting around in line, you need to book FastPasses. Even if you wait until the last minute, you will still be able to find some FastPass+ times, even if it’s for less popular attractions. We still suggest you try to plan ahead to make the most of your day, but your day won’t be ruined if you forgot or decided to go last-minute. Having a FastPass+ can be the difference of waiting five minutes versus three hours for the newest, most popular rides (Slinky Dog Dash, Avatar Flight of Passage). If you’re still confused once you arrive at the park, head to one of the FastPass+ kiosk stations for help from a cast member.

FP+ Mistake #2: Not Planning Ahead

We know, we know — you don’t like the idea of planning out every single minute of your vacation. We don’t either! But if riding Seven Dwarfs Mine Train or Soarin’ Around the World is important to you, the reality is you have to do some planning.  While you can still get some same-day FastPasses, you will probably not be able to select them according to your schedule or preferences. You can probably kiss those popular rides goodbye — unless you’re OK with waiting more than an hour, even on slow days. As long as you have a ticket linked to your My Disney Experience account, you can select your FastPasses up to 30 days out. Those staying at resorts have 60 days to prepare their FastPass+ plans.

FP+ Mistake #3: Only Using Three FastPass+ Per Day

Did you know that you get unlimited FastPasses? That’s right! Every guest can start out by selecting three passes each. But once you use those initial three, you can add one more at a time until the park closes. In fact, the instant you have checked in for your third FP+ of the day, you can immediately try for another.  Simply visit your My Disney Experience app or one of the in-park kiosks. (Check your park map for these locations — they can change.)

FastPass+ Kiosk

FP+ Mistake #4: Spreading Times Out Too Far

When you make your FastPass+ selections, we recommend piling them up one after the other. The system won’t let you overlap FP+ times, but scheduling them close together will allow you to use them up and then add more to your schedule as you go. If you spread them out throughout the day, or have one lonely FastPass+ scheduled for 8 p.m., you can’t add any other FastPasses until that last one is used. Yes, you might be able to do more attractions in between the times of the initial passes. But wouldn’t you rather have the lowest wait times possible on almost everything you ride?

FP+ Mistake #5: Selecting Less Popular Attractions

Obviously, older or less popular attractions are going to have lower wait times than perennial favorites like Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster. I’d much rather wait 10 minutes for “it’s a small world” than 90 for Peter Pan’s Flight. It’s more important to get FastPasses for the rides on your must-do list that are sure to have the longest waits because they are harder passes to acquire on the same day. You can almost always snag one for the Mad Tea Party or Goofy’s Barnstormer and sometimes even attractions like Haunted Mansion or Pirates of the Caribbean.

Big Thunder Mountain Railroad: a 60-minute Standby wait time!

FP+ Mistake #6: Missing Your Time Slot

Are you stressed about having to follow such a rigorous schedule while on vacation? Don’t be! You have a one-hour window to take advantage of your FastPass+ bookings. If you schedule one at 10:30, you have up until 11:30 to use your benefit. What if you can’t make it? Do you lose your pass? As long as you modify your pass, you can still use it. You can even do this during your one-hour window. You can change the time of your pass or the experience altogether (as long as there are FastPasses available).

FastPass+Return Queue at Haunted Mansion

In our Rate and Review section, AllEars.Net reviewer mawdryn says, “I love having the ability to use FastPass. Once we have used our initial three there is always an opportunity to book more. We always stay on-site, so we can book our FastPasses 60 days before we arrive. It is quick and easy to use.”

“I never liked using FastPass when it was first introduced with the kiosks in the parks and the paper tickets. It was cumbersome at best. The new system makes it easy to plan up to three rides ahead of time that will be with little to no wait. The program is user-friendly — in fact, I just secured our FastPasses for an upcoming trip,” says reviewer anna856.

Do you have any other FastPass+ tips to share? Let other readers know on our FastPass+ review page. For even more tips visit our FastPass+ Tips Page.

And if your mind is still blown about how to book FastPasses, check out our FastPass+ Guide. It will explain everything you need to know!

Fastpass+ mistakes

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Sarah has built a career in communications and marketing that started when she was the editor of her high school newspaper. She has written for AllEars.net since 2018, and enjoys sharing Disney news and updates with the AllEars community. She's been a Disney fan ever since her first visit to Walt Disney World when she was 5, and has been known to arrange trips around visiting a Disney park!

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9 Replies to “6 FastPass+ Mistakes You Won’t Want to Make”

  1. If you are an early riser and plan on getting to the parks at rope drop it is best to schedule your first three fp+’s around mid morning to early afternoon. You can usually get a lot of attractions in before the late risers and crowds really drive the wait times up. That way when the park becomes more crowded late in the morning then you will have your fast passes waiting and once you use those you can then schedule more for later in the afternoon to evening. No need to schedule fast passes right after rope drop.

  2. I believe there is a built-in 5-minute grace period both at the beginning and the end of the 1-hour window. I know I have many times gotten “green” without CM intervention 0-5 minutes early. But I don’t recommend planning on this grace period, just use it if you’re unintentionally early or late. Regardless of the situation, be sure to *always* follow Cast Member instructions. If they say you’re too early (or too late!), just say sorry and walk away so others can use the scanner.

  3. A minor thing, but you can actually use your Fastpass up to 5 minutes before your actual window. If you get there 6 or 7 minutes early, usually the Cast Member will let you slide.

    Also, even though you technically only have an hour window, it is my experience that they will still honor your Fastpass if you show up late. This happened to me once when at Animal Kingdom when I decided to wait in line for Flight of Passage. I didn’t get to my next Fastpass attraction in time but It still worked just fine, not even requiring a Cast Member override.

    Another thing is that I’ve encountered a cut off time for booking additional Fastpasses. So around 7 PM or so, you can’t make additional selections for that day. I don’t know actual rules but I’ve run into this even though the park was still open for several hours.

  4. I am an annual pass holder for Disney World and in Orlando. You should modify number 6 – Missing your time slot. You have up to 15 minutes after your pass expires to make it so in your example they have until 11:45 not 11:30. 15 minutes is a world of difference at Disney. Rider swap can be stacked with fastpass+. E.g. Last year our 8 yr old daughter decided that she didn’t want to ride Expedition Everest so I sat out with her. My wife went ahead and used her fastpass and when scanning it she asked the cast member for a rider swap and they gave her a key fob for me to ride with. Once she got done, I went and rode it with my fastpass and when I got done our daughter decided she did want to ride it so we used the rider swap for for all 3 of us to use. We have done this at almost all attractions at the Disney World parks, including flight of passage.

    1. The cast member should have kindly directed your daughter to the single rider line and said, “enjoy your ride sweetie, mommy and daddy have used their Fast Passes and will meet at the end of the ride.”

  5. Fast passes are GREAT, but I’ve NEVER been able to modify one from the Disney app! Never found one I wanted to do and the ones I did want to do didn’t have any availability. It’s a nice thought, but not likely to happen…

    1. Not sure how you have never been able to get a fastpass+ from the app Paul. That is the only way I book mine. When were you trying to get fastpasses? If you stay at a Disney Resort then you get to book your fastpasses 60 days before the start of your visit. If you are not staying at a Disney Resort then you can book 30 days in advance. What rides were you trying to get? Most likely is you don’t reserve early then Slinky Dog Dash, seven dwarfs mine train, and flight of passage are scooped up within a day or two. I have noticed a little glitch in the app and the website when booking advance fastpasses. Say I find a 9, 10:05, and an 11:15 pass for my 3 rides. I had to grab the 10:05 and the 11:15 because the app and the site did not show 10 and 11. The glitch, which works 99% of the time, is that I go back into the 10:05 one, click modify, and click morning to check for morning availability. Most likely it will not show 10am as available but then I click 9am then 9:30am, then 10am and then magically 10am shows up. I then do the same with the 11:15 one. This way I am done with all 3 fastpasses by 11 and the second I scan in the 11am one at the ride entrance I open the app and can get a 4th one. Hope this helps.

      1. I’m pretty sure Paul is talking about modifying a FastPass on the day he’s visiting. I’ve noticed the same issue. Availability is always a gamble and extremely unlikely with the most popular attractions. I often have to settle for attractions I’m less enthused about, because “day of” pickings are slim.

  6. Just today the line for thunder mountain was 20 minutes and my fast pass time for the ride was 4 hours away. I decided to wait in line for 20 minutes and cancelled my fast pass so I could get one for another ride with longer wait times. Moral of this story is if you have a spare hour between fast passes, check ride wait times for the rest of you fast passes as you might not need them after all, and can free it up for another busier ride.