Our long national nightmare is over as all guests may now select their 4th (or second or third should you initially select only one or two experiences) and subsequent FastPass+ selections from the comfort of their mobile device wherever they might be. Before today, guests had to visit a physical kiosk location in the theme park that they wanted to book their 4th FastPass+ in. So if you were visiting Hollywood Studios and used your initial three FastPass+ selections there on Toy Story Mania, Star Tours, and Tower of Terror, but were planning on taking a break and heading over to Epcot for dinner and IllumiNations, the only way to book a FastPass+ at Epcot in the evening would be for someone in the group to head over there after the time at Studios or to wait for the group to arrive in the evening. Disney resort concierges could theoretically make the subsequent FastPass+ booking for you, but not all were privy to that fact and it still required interaction with another human, something of which most of us I’m sure would like to keep to a minimum. Now, you may select a 4th FastPass+ anywhere for any still-available attraction, whether you’re in another Park or laying poolside back at your resort.
Another benefit of booking the 4th FastPass+ from your phone is that you can book it immediately after you scan your ticket or MagicBand at the FastPass+ attraction entrance. So if your third FastPass+ is for the Frozen Sing-Along between 2pm and 2:20pm for the 2:30pm show and you scan your ticket at 2:05pm, you can then use your phone to try to book a 4th experience while you wait in the holding area for the show to start. You might be able to luck into a decent selection for around the time you plan to exit the show at 3pm.
Guests are now required to book only one FastPass+ in advance if they so choose. So if you only want to use FastPass+ at Test Track between 9:30am and 10:30am at Epcot and then see what you can get at Magic Kingdom, you are able to book a FastPass+ for Magic Kingdom immediately after scanning your ticket/MagicBand at Test Track. Guests can also cancel just one FastPass+ for themselves or another person in their group, rather than having to cancel all remaining FastPass+ experiences for that day.
The bad news is that 4th FastPass+ availability is terrible and gets worse every day as more and more people become privy to the fact that it’s “free” and available. Disney bombards guests staying on-site with email after email letting them know that it’s time to make their reservations. And the more people that make FastPass+ in advance, the worse additional availability is for everyone else. We’re to the point where there is either very little or literally zero day-of FastPass+ availability at Toy Story Mania, Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster, Tower of Terror, Star Tours, Frozen Sing-Along, and Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular at Hollywood Studios. That leaves just Muppet Vision 3D, Beauty and the Beast, Great Movie Ride, Voyage of the Little Mermaid, and Disney Jr. Live on Stage as potential day-of selections. And by noon, there might only be Muppet Vision left after the other selections go to those that didn’t book before arriving at the Park or to other FastPass+ vultures. Cancellations are returned to the pool of available experiences, so you can luck into Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster or Star Tours should someone change their mind, but these instances seem to happen less and less frequently as more and more people are going to be refreshing the app trying to score something good.
So in some respects, it doesn’t matter where or how you can book a 4th or 5th FastPass+ because chances are going to be good that you’ll be selecting from among several attractions that won’t save you much or any time. FastPass+ is virtually useless the majority of time at attractions like Muppet Vision, Pixar Short Film Festival, and most shows. Just about anything decent is going to have zero availability for that day even by 10:30am, particularly at Epcot and Hollywood Studios. Animal Kingdom typically has somewhat decent availability for a few things thanks to higher capacities at most attractions and with the sheer number of attractions at Magic Kingdom, something half decent is usually available around noon. But larger parties and those visiting during “busier” days will see fewer and fewer available selections.
Otherwise, the process to select FastPass+ experiences has changed, though it’s still relatively intuitive. You’ll need a My Disney Experience account and theme park tickets attached to the people that you want to book FastPass+ for to get started.
I’ll go over that process now with some tips on how to make it work for you. Off-site guests can still make FastPass+ reservations up to 30 days in advance while on-site guests can make FastPass+ reservations 60 days in advance of their arrival and for up to ten days of their trip at that point. Meaning some guests will be making FastPass+ selections up to 70 days in advance. I will mention that I don’t have a lot of experience booking FastPass+ 60+ days in advance myself and no experience booking as an international guest, so if I get a detail wrong by all means correct me. You know I love it and hopefully this also instills confidence in what I’m about to tell you. I prefer answering questions at www.easywdw.com/forums because answers there are searchable and easier to access, but I will make an exception and answer questions in the comments section of this post as well should you have any.
You’ll begin by selecting the guests that you want to make FastPass+ reservations for. Remember that smaller parties will see more availability. This doesn’t come into play at the majority of attractions for those booking 30 or 60+ days in advance, but you will generally find more availability if your group is three people instead of 17. If you’re trying to book Anna/Elsa at 30 days, your only shot is probably splitting up your group into parties of one and looking for overlapping times so you can all meet at once. If your group is four people and you’re trying to book Mine Train at 30 days out, then you’ll see more availability if you try to make two reservations for two instead of one reservation for four.
Next up is theme park selection. Whether you make one, two, or three FastPass+ initially, they will all have to be at the same theme park.
Tiers are still in effect at Epcot and Hollywood Studios.
Note that you now make just one FastPass+ reservation at a time regardless of whether you want to make one, two, or three initial selections.
Once you confirm an attraction and a time, you’ll be taken to this screen which allows you to go back into the same day and make another selection or move to a different day to begin making selections.
As I mentioned before, 4th FastPass+ availability is terrible these days. This is 8:30am, before the Park has even opened to regular guests, and there is no availability for Tower of Terror or Star Tours, in addition to Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster and Toy Story Mania.
So you might be thinking that you’ll get around tiers by making just one FastPass+ for Toy Story Mania early in the morning and then immediately jumping on the app to book Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster. You might luck into a cancellation or be able to book it for 7:45pm to 8:45pm, but most people will want to make three initial selections. Using FastPass+ at intelligent attractions will save you 30 to 100+ minutes in line even for Tier 2 attractions like Tower of Terror or Spaceship Earth.
Back to making your FastPass+ booking. Once you select an attraction, you’ll be brought to another screen that will ask you to confirm a starting time for your experience. Along the top, you’ll see “Morning,” “Afternoon,” and “Evening.”
If you swipe left at the times of day, you’ll next be taken to half hour intervals if you want to be a bit more precise with it.
If you click on an attraction, it will give you more available start times. Swiping left will load the rest of the day’s times.
Most FastPass+ return windows are one hour long beginning at the time you select. FastPass+ return windows for shows are typically 15 to 20 minutes long with the window beginning 30 minutes before the show’s start time and continuing until five or ten minutes before a show is scheduled to start. At rides, the actual FastPass+ window typically begins five minutes before the stated start time and continues for up to 15 minutes after the stated end time. So if you select Kali River Rapids for 12:10pm, your actual return window is from 12:05pm – 1:25pm. That’s the initial hour plus five minutes before and 15 minutes after. I do not typically recommend planning to visit an attraction during the 15-minute “grace period” as that’s where unexpected delays can actually cause you to miss your time.
At least at the moment, there is a bit of wonkiness in making specific selections. I’m also 90% sure “Already Choose This Experience” isn’t English. You can still only make one initial FastPass+ selection at each specific experience. So you can’t initially select FastPass+ at Expedition Everest for 1pm-2pm, 2pm-3pm, and 3pm-4pm. You have to choose three different things. Previously, the process required selecting three different experiences and because the computer chose the times, the windows would never overlap.
Here I have made a FastPass+ selection for Expedition Everest on April 13th from 10:35am – 11:35am. I cannot make another FastPass+ selection on that date for Expedition Everest in advance and I can’t have overlapping return windows at another attraction.
Yet when I go back into the system to select a second experience, it initially offers me another FastPass+ for Everest and FastPass+ for DINOSAUR at times that would overlap with my initial selection.
But if you try to make that selection, you’ll have to THINK AGAIN because you’ll receive one of the two circled errors depending on what grave mistake you made. So you’ll either want to remember your windows or have a Word document open to keep track. Or just get error message after error message if you want to keep clicking an overlapping window over and over and over.
That’s pretty much how you do it. If you have tickets and a My Disney Experience account, you can use the system to “practice” on a future available day just to see how it works. Just visit the website or open the app and select a day a few weeks in advance to go through it. Just try to remember to cancel them if you don’t plan on using those experiences so somebody else has an opportunity.
Otherwise, I visited Hollywood Studios today with just one FastPass+ for The Great Movie Ride. In practice, I was interested in whether I’d be able to select another Tier 1 FastPass+ at Hollywood Studios should one be available and how easy it would be to make a FP+ selection at another Park.
To make an additional FastPass+ selection, you’ll again select your party members and a date, followed by a Park.
I scanned my ticket at 3:22pm and was checking FastPass+ availability for a new attraction on my phone one minute later. Remember that most/all second Mickey readers inside the queue are covered and disabled, meaning that only the first touchpoint immediately inside the entrance to the attraction is in use. You won’t need to scan your ticket/MagicBand a second time, so your FastPass+ experience is redeemed immediately after scanning at the entrance.
I could have booked my subsequent FastPass+ for any Studios attraction with availability, even if it was Great Movie Ride again or any other Tier 1 or Tier 2 attraction. But literally the only available attraction was Muppet Vision 3D.
There was nothing else available for one person at any point later in the day.
It only takes a moment to go back and choose another Park. Again, note that there is literally zero availability for any attraction at Magic Kingdom at 3:23pm. That’s with a 12am close. It’s almost unbelievable.
At Epcot, Turtle Talk and The Seas with Nemo had availability from Tier 2.
In addition to Journey into Imagination and Pixar Short Film Festival. Imagination might save you ~10-15 minutes in line at this point in the afternoon, but nothing else would likely save more than a couple minutes.
I ended up with the only Tier 1 attraction still available with the earliest time slot available. This might save me 10 minutes in line at most.
At this point, I could keep trying to refresh for a cancellation, but it seems unlikely one would become available that I would be able to get before every single other person also checking.
So what have we learned:
- Day-of FastPass+ availability is terrible. Just about anything that would save you a significant amount of time will be booked solid save for the occasional cancellation.
- FastPass+ experiences are now booked one at a time and you may initially select one, two, or three experiences. Most guests will want to select three attractions. A lot of attractions that were typically “walk-on” or had posted waits under 15 minutes in the legacy paper FASTPASS days now routinely see 30+ minute peak waits in the afternoon.
- Subsequent FastPass+ experiences can be made via the My Disney Experience app immediately after you scan your ticket/MagicBand at your last initial selection. Once you’ve used your initial selection(s), you may choose any available experience at any Park.
- It only took me 2,285+ words and 22 pictures to explain that.