Planning Around Disney World’s FASTPASS Return Enforcement Policy

by josh on May 6, 2012

Edit: DINOSAUR is back on the FASTPASS system, meaning they work there just as they do at other attractions.  I’m not sure what was going on at the beginning of April – either a fluke or they were trying to send more people than usual to DINOSAUR.

It’s been about two months since Disney began enforcing FASTPASS return times and we now have a clearer understanding of what that means.  On March 7th, Disney began enforcing FASTPASS return times.  Before that, you could enter the FASTPASS return line with your FASTPASS at any time after the return window opened.  For example, if you were holding a Space Mountain FASTPASS with a return window of 1:15pm to 2:15pm, you could return any time after 1:15pm.  That means you could ride at 9pm with your 1:15pm FASTPASS.  That’s no longer true.  Currently, you must return within your FASTPASS window with a 15 minute grace period attached at the end.  In our example above, you would need to return to Space Mountain between 1:15pm and 2:30pm.

Let’s take a look at how to maximize your FASTPASS strategy so that you can still tour efficiently, eliminate walking/backtracking as much as possible, and return within the FASTPASS windows at each theme park.

Animal Kingdom

Animal Kingdom has three attractions where FASTPASS is usually necessary to avoid a long afternoon wait – Kilimanjaro Safaris, Expedition Everest, and Kali River Rapids.  Kali River Rapids isn’t a priority when temperatures are 75 degrees or lower because fewer people want to ride.  Looking to the summer, we can expect Kali to have 60+ minute waits after 11am and FASTPASSes that have return times further into the future than Expedition Everest or Kilimanjaro Safaris.  That’s a function of a lower capacity and increased demand with higher temperatures.   DINOSAUR also offers FASTPASSes, but FASTPASSes  almost always have return times 40 minutes in the future, which is the minimum amount of lead time.  Wait times at DINOSAUR are also ordinarily 20 minutes or less in the afternoon and the attraction is a virtual walk-on most days before 10:30am.  Primeval Whirl also offers FASTPASS, but return times are also just 40 minutes in the future in most scenarios.  It’s also easy to ride before 10:30am.  Because it loads slowly, wait times are usually higher than DINOSAUR, but far lower than the three FASTPASS priorities.

My ideal morning looks like this:

  • Arrive at 8:40am and head to the turnstiles furthest to the right.  Wait for Disney to convert the two turnstiles used for Tusker House Breakfast to regular turnstiles and get in line first.
  • Ride Kilimanjaro Safaris.  It usually takes about 30 minutes to wait for and ride Kilimanjaro Safaris.  That means it will be 9:30am by the time I disembark.
  • Collect FASTPASSes for Kilimanjaro Safaris with a return time of 10:10am to 11:10am.
  • Ride Expedition Everest in the standby line.  If waits are short, ride again.  And if possible, again.
  • Ride Primeval Whirl in the standby line.
  • Ride DINOSAUR in the standby line.
  • If interested, ride TriceraTop Spin in the standby line.  It’s about 10:30am.
  • Walk back to Kilimanjaro Safaris through Asia, pulling a FASTPASS for Expedition Everest on the way.  The return time at 10:30am should be about 11:30am – 12:30pm.
  • Ride Kilimanjaro Safaris with FASTPASS.  It’s about 11:15m.  Have lunch at Yak & Yeti Quick Service or Flame Tree BBQ.  Collect Kali River Rapids FASTPASSes as soon as possible for an afternoon return time.  The attraction is next to Yak & Yeti.  Ride Expedition Everest with FASTPASS.  See a show.  Collect another set of FASTPASSes if I’d like to ride something again.

If you collect FASTPASSes for Kilimanjaro Safaris before riding, you’re going to be hard pressed to get back there in time to ride it if you’re heading to Everest and DinoLand USA immediately after.  That’s why I collect the FASTPASSes after riding.  If you’re going to be heading to the Character Greeting Trails, then you may want to pull FASTPASSes first, where the return time will be 9:40am – 10:40am.   You can then ride after meeting several of the characters nearby.  If you want to ride twice in the morning, you’ll want to collect FASTPASSes first, then ride, then find something to do for about ten minutes while you wait for the window to open.  Just be aware that Kilimanjaro Safaris is a ways away from any attractions that aren’t in the Africa section.

FASTPASS Priority

  1. Expedition Everest – FASTPASSes run out first and generally have return times further in the future than the other attractions, possibly with the exception of Kali River Rapids.
  2. Kali River Rapids (When the high is 85+ degrees).
  3. Kilimanjaro Safaris – Return times are often 40 to 80 minutes out thanks to a healthy capacity and plentiful FASTPASSes offered.
  4. Primeval Whirl – Return times often 40 to 50 minutes out.
  5. DINOSAUR – FASTPASSes almost always 40 minutes out and standby waits often max out around 30 minutes, if that.

Collect Before Break For Evening Return?

With the short hours, most people aren’t going to be taking an afternoon break.  If Animal Kingdom is open until 7pm or 8pm and you are interested in touring from around 9am – 1pm and then returning from 5pm – 8pm, you could collect a set of FASTPASSes for Expedition Everest before your break with a return time that may be far enough out to use after a break.  During the summer, Kali River Rapids FASTPASSes should also have return times in the evening by 1pm.

Epcot

With Test Track closed over the summer, the only real FASTPASS priority is Soarin’.  Mission: SPACE and Maelstrom aren’t priorities.  Both because return times are almost always 40 minutes in the future and because standby waits are short during the first two hours that they operate.  Most people will want to head to Soarin’ first thing in the morning.  Because Soarin’ is so far away from attractions other than Living with the Land and Circle of Life, you’ll need to take that into consideration.  If you’re planning to ride Sum of All Thrills and Mission: SPACE in the morning, I recommend collecting FASTPASSes after first riding Soarin’.  Soarin’ takes at least 25 minutes to complete, even if you’re one of the first people to arrive at the Land Pavilion or you use a FASTPASS.  With Epcot opening at 8:45am, that means you should be at the Land Pavilion at about 9am.  If you pull FASTPASSes immediately upon arriving, the return time will be 9:40am – 10:40am.  That’s going to be cutting it tight if you’re headed to Sum of All Thrills and Mission: Space in the meantime.  If you pull a FASTPASS at 9:30am after riding Soarin’, the return time will be around 10:50am – 11:50am.  Because the Sunshine Seasons quick service is so good, I recommend returning for lunch anyway.  At that time, you’ll also have an easy opportunity to ride Soarin’ with FASTPASS.

If you’re not doing Sum of All Thrills or Mission: SPACE, you may want to collect FASTPASSes for Soarin’, then ride Soarin’, then ride Living with the Land, then collect another set of Soarin’ FASTPASSes, and then ride Soarin’ withthe first set of  FASTPASSes.  Head back for lunch at Sunshine Seasons and a ride on Soarin’ with FASTPASS.  Keep in mind that after you do that, the standby wait for Sum of All Thrills or Mission: Space will be longer.

Another potential wrinkle is Character Spot, where you can meet Mickey, Minnie, Goofy, Donald, and Pluto in their classic outfits.  Because of their popularity and the limited capacity, wait times are 20+ minutes at 9:20am and 40+ minutes by 10am virtually every day.  If Character Spot is a priority, you want to head there first thing in the morning and then proceed to Soarin’.  If the wait time for Soarin’ is already intolerable, collect FASTPASSes.

My ideal morning looks like this:

  • Arrive at Epcot by 8:30am.  Walk to the turnstiles down to the right.  Get in line furthest to the right where there aren’t a lot of people in line (other than the last set of two which are used as an exit).  The turnstiles open at 8:47am after a two minute opening message.
  • Ride Soarin’ in the standby line.
  • Collect Soarin’ FASTPASSes with a return time around 10:50am – 11:50am.
  • Ride Sum of All Thrills in Innoventions East.
  • Ride Mission: SPACE Orange.
  • Walk back to the Land Pavilion and ride Living with the Land.
  • Ride Soarin’ with FASTPASSes collected earlier in the day.
  • Have lunch at Sunshine Seasons.
  • Proceed to World Showcase or other Future World attractions.

The main problem is getting back to the Land Pavilion within the return window.  Because there really aren’t any other attractions that require an early FASTPASS pull, it isn’t a big deal to pull the Soarin’ FASTPASS after riding and the return time is more convenient in most situations.

FASTPASS Priority

  1. Soarin’ – With Test Track closed, FASTPASS return times rocket right after opening.  By 9:30am, return times can already be out to 11am and be gone by 1pm.
  2. Mission: Space – For the Green Team, FASTPASSes are often not needed at all.  For Orange, you may need a FASTPASS in the afternoon, but return times are usually just 40 minutes in the future and they very rarely run out.
  3. Maelstrom – Return times are almost always 40 minutes out.
  4. Living with the Land – Only available when Epcot is very crowded.  FASTPASS return time almost always 40 minutes out.

Collect Before Break For Evening Return?

With Test Track closed, Soarin’ FASTPASS return times are taking off.  Collect a FASTPASS by noon for an evening return.  None of the other attractions will have FASTPASSes with return times further than an hour out, if that.

Hollywood Studios

There isn’t nearly as much walking in between the major attractions at Hollywood Studios as compared to Animal Kingdom or Epcot.  While it’s a bit of a walk from Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster to Toy Story Midway Mania, it isn’t nearly as exhausting as the walk between DINOSAUR and Kilimanjaro Safaris or Soarin’ and Mission: SPACE.  Because Toy Story Mania FASTPASS return times take off so quickly, I recommend collecting a set first thing in the morning before riding.  With the Studios often opening its turnstiles 15 minutes before official open, it’s much easier to walk to Toy Story and pick up FASTPASSes than it was when Disney herded everyone together and let as many as a thousand people loose to head to a single queue.  If you arrive at Toy Story around 8:55am, FASTPASS return will be around 9:35am – 10:35am.  That’s enough time to ride Toy Story and then ride Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster and Tower of Terror before returning to ride Toy Story with FASTPASSes.  You may want to collect a second set of FASTPASSes for Toy Story Mania or, more conveniently, pick up a set of FASTPASSes for Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster as soon as your Toy Story FASTPASS window opens.

Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster is the other major FASTPASS priority, with FASTPASSes that often run out in the late afternoon.  However, they are far more plentiful than Toy Story Midway Mania and you’ll be able to pull them until at least 3pm most days.  Toy Story Midway Mania often runs out of FASTPASSes by noon with return times that are 5pm or later by 11am.

Tower of Terror and Star Tours usually have FASTPASS return times that are 40 to 60 minutes out.  If one is going to take off, it’s Tower of Terror, especially when it’s running at less than full capacity.  Problems with the elevators aren’t uncommon and it can be running at half capacity, which in turn doubles wait times.  Star Tours enjoys a healthy capacity and FASTPASSes are easy to collect all day.  They very rarely run out.

My ideal morning looks like this:

Arrive at 8:25am and head to the far right turnstile immediately to the left of the ones that say “Cast Member and Guest Entrance” overhead.

  1. There may or may not be a line at the Guest and Cast Member entrance.  The turnstile immediately to the right of the arrow almost always opens, but the other two may not be staffed first thing in the morning.  I like to hedge my bets and get in line at the arrowed turnstile.  If the others open, I can either move over quickly myself or watch the line in front of me dissipate as others move over.
  2. Collect FASTPASSes for Toy Story Mania with a return time of 9:40am – 10:40am.
  3. Ride Toy Story Mania in the standby line.
  4. Ride Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster.
  5. Ride Tower of Terror.
  6. Collect FASTPASSes for Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster with a return time around 11am – 12pm.
  7. Ride Toy Story Mania with FASTPASS.
  8. Ride Star Tours.
  9. Do whatever.
  10. Ride Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster with FASTPASS.
  11. Have lunch.

With a bunch of shows and attractions that easily take 30 to 40 minutes, it’s usually easy to find something to do while you wait for a Star Tours or Tower of Terror FASTPASS to become ready for use.

FASTPASS Priority

  1. Toy Story Midway Mania – Always the top priority.  FASTPASSes are often gone by noon with return times that launch forward virtually from Studios’ open.  Afternoon wait times always hit 60+ minutes and 100+ minute waits aren’t uncommon.
  2. Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster – FASTPASS return times are far behind Toy Story, but can still easily be two to three hours out by 2pm.  Standby waits are the second longest.
  3. Tower of Terror – Under normal circumstances, FASTPASS return times are just 40 to 60 minutes in the future.  However, they can take off if Tower of Terror goes down or isn’t running at full capacity.  Since that rarely happens by necessity at Star Tours, Tower of Terror remains your third priority.
  4. Star Tours – FASTPASSes are almost always just 40 minutes in the future and wait times often peak in the 30 minute range.  The actual wait time is often much lower.

Collect Before Break For Evening Return?

Toy Story Mania FASTPASS return times are easily into the late afternoon and evening by 10:30am, making them the easiest to collect for an evening return.  Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster FASTPASSes are more often two to three hours out.  Collect a set right before you leave for a convenient return time.  In most scenarios, neither Star Tours or Tower of Terror will have FASTPASS return times far enough out to use after a break.

Magic Kingdom

With abundant “filler” attractions, shows, and diversions, eating up time at Magic Kingdom is easy.  Unlike Animal Kingdom, where your choices around Kilimanjaro Safaris are basically Pangani Forest Exploration Trail or the Wildlife Express, it’s not uncommon to have six or eight attractions within a two minute walk at Magic Kingdom.   On the flip side, there can be a lot of walking if you’re backtracking between Tomorrowland and Frontierland, Adventureland and Fantasyland, or Liberty Square and Storybook Circus.

FASTPASS return times at Magic Kingdom really only take off at three attractions, and even then, Peter Pan’s Flight is really the only one where FASTPASS return times are always far out in the afternoon.  Thanks to healthy capacities, FASTPASS return times at Space Mountain, Splash Mountain, and Big Thunder Mountain are usually within two hours.  Big Thunder Mountain Railroad in particular usually has FASTPASS return times that are just 40 to 50 minutes in the future.  Splash Mountain’s FASTPASS return depends on the temperature, much like Kali River Rapids.  Luckily, its capacity is much higher, which translates to FASTPASSes that are still just an hour or two out in most scenarios.  Finally, Winnie the Pooh can also see FASTPASSes that have return times further out than one might expect.  Unless it’s very crowded, FASTPASS return times are usually still within 60 to 90 minutes of when they are collected.

Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin and Jungle Cruise usually have FASTPASS return times that are 40 minutes in the future.  Jungle Cruise is more likely to be slightly further out when it’s crowded.

My ideal morning looks like this:

  • Arrive by 8:30am.  The turnstile doesn’t matter because they’ll open early and let you into the area in front of the Main Street train station for the opening show.  If I want to see the show, I stand in the middle of this area.  If I’m in a hurry to meet Rapunzel or another major character, I move to the far left opening and get as close to the rope as possible.
  • Ride Dumbo.
  • Ride Barnstormer.
  • Collect FASTPASSes for Peter Pan’s Flight.  Return time around 9:20am will be 10am – 11am.
  • Ride Peter Pan’s Flight.
  • Ride Snow White’s Scary Adventures.
  • Ride The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh.
  • Ride Space Mountain.
  • Collect FASTPASS for Space Mountain if dining in Tomorrowland.  Return time should be around 10:45am – 11:45am.  Otherwise, collect FASTPASS for another attraction.
  • Ride Peter Pan’s Flight with FASTPASS.
  • Ride Big Thunder Mountain Railroad.
  • Ride Splash Mountain.  If the wait time is too long at either, collect FASTPASSes for later.
  • Collect FASTPASS for Splash Mountain, Big Thunder Mountain, Jungle Cruise, or another attraction.
  • Ride Haunted Mansion.
  • Have lunch at Columbia Harbour House.

There are a lot of different ways to go at Magic Kingdom depending on what you want to do.  Obviously this morning doesn’t include any of the major characters.  Adding Rapunzel, Merida, Tinker Bell, or Ariel would change the plan significantly and require us to collect FASTPASSes to ride Peter Pan’s Flight and possibly a couple of the other attractions because we wouldn’t arrive at them until later in the morning, when waits are longer.

FASTPASS Priority

  1. Peter Pan’s Flight – Virtually every day, Pan has FASTPASS return times further into the future and standby waits that build longer than any of the other attractions.  This is thanks to a modest capacity and overwhelming popularity with families.
  2. Space Mountain – Space Mountain usually has wait times longer than the other Mountains with FASTPASS return times further out.  The exception is when it’s hot out, in which case Splash Mountain will have similar waits/return times.  Collect whichever is more convenient.  FASTPASSes for both usually last most of the day.
  3. Splash Mountain – Wait times and FASTPASS return times have a lot to do with the temperature.  When it’s hot, waits will be much longer and FASTPASSes will be further out.
  4. The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh – Thanks to constant stops and a low capacity, Pooh may have longer wait times than the Mountain rides with FASTPASSes further out.  Still, it’s rare to see FASTPASSes with return times more than two hours out and standby waits rarely hit higher than 60 minutes.  At Space or Splash Mountain, you can see 100 minute waits when it’s busy.
  5. Jungle Cruise – Jungle Cruise FASTPASSes have been more likely to be more than 40 minutes recently.  Still, return times farther than an hour out are uncommon.
  6. Big Thunder Mountain Railroad – With a monster capacity and near limitless FASTPASS distribution, return times are almost always 40 to 50 minutes out.  This may change if the loading procedure has changed with the refurbishment.
  7. Town Square Princesses – The Princesses usually have return times just 40 minutes out and the standby wait is often shorter than the major attractions.
  8. Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin – Even when Magic Kingdom is completely slammed, FASTPASSes are just 40 minutes out.  Standby waits can hit 60+ minutes, but when that happens, the standby waits for other attractions will be even more ridiculous.
  9. Town Square Mickey Mouse – Because the Mickey Mouse FASTPASSes aren’t connected to the rest of the system, you can collect them at any time and then collect a set for another attraction immediately after.  Standby waits are often 15 minutes or less.

Collect Before Break For Evening Return?

Peter Pan’s Flight and Space Mountain are your best bets.  Splash Mountain may also be viable if it’s hot out.  The other attractions are unlikely to have FASTPASS returns far enough out that you’ll be able to use them after a three-hour-plus wait.  If it’s busy, you may be able to pull Peter Pan FASTPASSes around 1pm with a return time around 5pm.  For Space or Splash Mountains, you’ll most likely want to collect them right before leaving.

Questions

Feel free to post a question about a specific situation.  I probably glossed over important facts without explaining them fully, so please ask if something isn’t clear and I’ll do my best to expand the thought.  Recommendations on additional sections of the article are also welcomed.

{ 47 comments… read them below or add one }

patricia May 6, 2012 at 9:36 am

I humbly admit, I was a Fastpass Hoarder. I knew it was wrong and I just kept doing it. Next trip, now I am scared straight

patricia May 6, 2012 at 9:37 am

Actually, my husband made me do it, I never would have thought it up or tried it on my own

Jill R. May 6, 2012 at 10:07 am

I didn’t realize Dinosaur wasn’t connected to the FP system. In addition to Town Square Mickey are there any other attractions that are “disconnected?”

Brenda May 6, 2012 at 10:23 am

Wow, thank you for the detailed analysis. We will definitely be using your suggestions when we go out in the fall time. I just hope that the waits for Dumbo aren’t too long once we are done with Rapunzel and Tinkerbell first thing in the morning.

Craig May 6, 2012 at 10:40 am

Another good one, Josh.

KristenF May 6, 2012 at 10:48 am

Brenda (and Josh) – About 2 weeks ago we visited Magic Kingdom on an easyWDW “highly recommended day,” a day that was also rated a 3 or 4 park crowd level by touring plans. We arrived at 8:30 and then when the park opened, walked at a brisk pace to Dumbo, stopping only to strap the 2 year old in her stroller. By the time we walked off Dumbo, it was 9:42! I felt like we had wasted the most valuable hour in the park! Josh, other than skipping Dumbo, any suggestions???

Brenda May 6, 2012 at 10:53 am

Man, that sucks. I pray that they will have the other Dumbo up by the time we go.

LisaM May 6, 2012 at 11:01 am

So glad you posted this now, we are leaving in 10 days! Would you make any adjustments to the MK touring plan while Big Thunder is down? We are a family that always take breaks. What do you think the refurb will to the return times of the other Mountains, etc.? TIA

I also didn’t realize Dinosaur wasn’t connect to the system, has it always been this way?

LisaM May 6, 2012 at 11:06 am

Sorry, my post should say “What do you think the refurb will do to..”

Melissa May 6, 2012 at 11:52 am

What would the timing be like if you want to do the characters and attractions? Would this have to be done over a 2 day period? Can you give us a plan. Thanks

Wei May 6, 2012 at 11:56 am

I’m taking notes for our June trip, thanks!

Mike May 6, 2012 at 12:13 pm

Great post. Perhaps you could post at some point about how different rides handle “rider swap passes” and how to work these into a touring plan if its an option. We found these a godsend last time with two very little ones do to the no expiration. However rides were very inconsistent about how they handed them out.

Carol May 6, 2012 at 1:52 pm

I’m starring this post for future reference. Thanks for the great info!

MC May 6, 2012 at 2:06 pm

Great post, Josh! I am making myself nuts with my MK plan. I have a 13 year old who loves Space so am trying to devise a teen plan too..BElow is what I THINK is a good plan – but that Plaza ADR is mixing me up. But do you think the 2 Space Mountains would work like below?
8:05 Crystal Palace
9:00 FPV Space
Ride Buzz Standby
Ride Peter
Ride Pooh
9:40 BTM Standby/
FPV Big Thunder
10:00’ish DD/DH Ride Space with FP while I ride HM
FPV Space if return after 12:45 but see plaza schedule and see what works best.
10:30 Ride Alladin
10:50 Ride Pirates
11:15 Ride Big Thunder with FP
11:55 or 12:50 or 1:45 Plaza ADR…..what works better? Need to pull FP for Buzz to mesh with SM return
12:30 Ride Space with FP while I ride Peoplemover
1:00 Ride Buzz with FP
Philermagic!
6:45 Kona
8:40 FPV Jungle Cruise
Small World

Mike May 6, 2012 at 2:08 pm

Great post Josh, the only issues I have and this is more with the layout than your suggestions, is that Toy Story and Rockin’ Rollercoasters are considerably far apart in the park (or seemed so to me) requiring quite a lot of back tracking to go to TS then to RR, then back to TS, and possibly back to RR with the FP you collected. I do realize those two are the biggest headliners in the park and the strategy is sound, but still is a good amount of hoofin’ before the park really gets crowded.

That said, my best strategy is simply go during a time when there’s no real need for FPs, only a slight convenience factor (even on really slow days TS can be a rather long wait), I think on a 3(??) day we managed to get 3 sets of FPs for it, because after the first go through wait times were pushing 40 minutes (later it pushed to 70)

Martyn May 6, 2012 at 3:39 pm

Nice analysis that I will be using later this month. This will be just my second visit and the first under the new system. With the old system, we used the open ended nature of FPs to give flexibility in case our two young boys started to tire. Now, it feels like taking an unscheduled rest puts the plan in a tailspin, or am I overstating things. I guess one option is to build in bit of buffer say mid morning, just in case.

RebeccaMcK May 6, 2012 at 4:47 pm

Josh, another great planning article. I hope this will be easily findable along the right margin of the home page, for future reading. And the MK portion kind of gives a good condensed touring plan for that park. To everyone asking about touring itineraries/plans for what to do and when during your day(s) at Magic Kingdom, feel free to post your plans over in the forums and experts there can help you for sure. It would be under “Park Touring” or some similar heading.

Julia May 6, 2012 at 7:18 pm

This is great! we were there in March followed your plan, but DHS was a bear, JTA and FP times had us running back and forth a lot. Hope this is pinned so can use it for next time. Thanks Josh!

berwick May 6, 2012 at 7:18 pm

Thank you Josh for this information, it is exactly what I have been hoping you would publish and it really starts to make sense of the new FP changes. If I bump into you in the world on our next July trip I will buy you a large thank you drink.

RebeccaMcK May 6, 2012 at 7:41 pm

BTW is it true that there will be Free Dining available between 8/25 and 9/29? I saw something on allears.net (quick headline blurb at the top right of their page) that says it’s being offered and to book by May 18th to get it.

Jill Marie May 6, 2012 at 7:45 pm

I’d like to second RebeccaMcK’s suggestion…for more detailed itinerary type questions…the forum is a great resource! (Well, I wouldn’t know personally since I’m an anti-planner planner…haha!) But seriously, there are awesome people on the forum.

Amy May 6, 2012 at 7:50 pm

Would love to see your take on Hollywood Studios incorporating Jedi Training.

Tracey H May 7, 2012 at 6:30 am

Great article! Thanks for sharing it with us!

Evangeline May 7, 2012 at 7:02 am

Very helpful! Thanks.

Hector May 7, 2012 at 9:12 am

We were at WDW just 2 weeks ago and never had a problem with the return times on any of our FASTPASSes. We were at Animal Kingdom and pulled FPs in the morning for Expedition Everest. We were a little delayed getting back and it was getting close to the end of the 1 hour window. I was trying to see if our daughter wanted to ride – she really did but was little scared so I didn’t want to push her. In the end she decided not to. No problem except in talking it over with her we were now over the 1 hour return time (by only 5 min.). OK, we should be ok due to the 15min. grace period. Not so. The cast member at the FP return refused to let us on and when I indicated the printed grace period printed on the ticket she at first pretended not to know what I was talking about and then called over another CM who said they don’t use that on EE. No point in arguing further we just ended up pulling new FPs and going for lunch. Overall we loved the FPS and got to ride so much with minimal waits using them but just so people know not to count on the grace period as it seems to be up to the discretion of whoever is manning the gate.

Jeff May 7, 2012 at 9:17 am

@ RebeccaMcK – yes, the Free Dining is being offered for those dates. Personally, I wish they were offering it through Oct like they have in years past since the weather is nicer in October than Sept, but we’re making it work. I don’t know how firm they’ll be with the May 18th deadline, but I’d at least put down the $200 deposit to make sure you get it.

Jeff May 7, 2012 at 10:11 am

And thank you very much Josh for the return window estimates. This is obviously going to throw a wrinkle into how lots of vets tour who got used to the FP open return, but I don’t think it’ll be too bad – just need to tighten up the planning a bit to avoid the walking back and forth that you addressed. I’m already thinking about the nearby shows and smaller attractions that we’ve never done since we’ve been so FP-minded!

RebeccaMcK May 7, 2012 at 10:13 am

@Jeff
Yeah, I wish it would be in October too – but then I’m not going this year anyway (we had it last October when we were there). Since it’s offered through September I bet it won’t be offered again the rest of 2012? I’m going back in 2014 when the mine coaster is done. This October (fall break from school) we’re going to Disneyland – starting those plans this week. It’s weird I haven’t seen any other announcement of the Free Dining on other sites (I don’t go to the DISboards). I’m passing the news along to a coworker friend of Hubby’s who plans to take his girls in the fall and wants Free Dining if/when available.

RebeccaMcK May 7, 2012 at 10:17 am

@Hector
That is certainly not fair that they wouldn’t honor the grace period. If they’re going to make all the parks stick to this “new” FP system they should honor all grace periods printed on the FPs no matter what ride it is. That sounds like a good complaint to give Guest Relations, if you had the energy and time later (I know we often don’t, after being in the park a while with all that walking involved). Sorry that happened to you.

ajbidwell May 7, 2012 at 11:05 am

@Jeff
They didn’t extend Free Dining through October until August last year so there is still reason to hold out hope, I know I am.

mlm May 7, 2012 at 12:38 pm

Great article and read. Thanks for all the tips….will certainly be keeping tabs as we get closer to our departure date. Many thanks for having the necessary levels of OCD to take care of this and post it so nicely!

vinotinto May 7, 2012 at 5:19 pm

Wonderful article. The general info about how far out FP are will be extremely helpful to us, since we have table service lunches scheduled at all 4 parks starting between 11 am and 12 pm. It seems some of the them are not even worth going in their direction to grab, since they will be less than 1 hour out. Assuming only a 1 hour period, we would have to grab the FP, walk to the restaurant, eat and make it back to the attraction in about 1 hour and 45 minutes.

TriSeb May 7, 2012 at 7:13 pm

Great insight Josh. Thank you for posting this.

josh May 7, 2012 at 8:33 pm

KristenF – Did 150 people pass you on the way or something? If you arrived early and went straight there at a quick pace, you should have been on the first two or three spins, resulting in a wait of less than 10 minutes.

LisaM – Obviously you would be skipping Big Thunder Mountain if it isn’t operating. It would just put you ahead for the other steps, resulting in waits that are most likely a bit shorter. Big Thunder’s reopening should take a little pressure off Splash, but Splash is going to be plenty busy with the high summer temperatures.

Melissa – It’s best to focus on the characters one morning and the Fantasyland attractions (namely Dumbo, Peter Pan’s Flight, and Winnie the Pooh) on another. If that isn’t possible, you may need to rely more on FASTPASS at Pan and Pooh because wait times will already be long by 10:30am after you finish up with Rapunzel, Merida, Tinker Bell, Ariel, etc. But it also depends on which characters you want to meet.

MC – Try posting that in the forum: http://www.easywdw.com/forums/forumdisplay.php?8-Theme-Park-Touring-and-Strategy

Amy – Signing up for Jedi Training Academy only takes a minute in the morning. Have one adult and the kids head there first thing in the morning. Ask for a later morning show if you don’t want to do the first one so that you can do Toy Story Mania and other attractions first. If they give you trouble, step off to the side and let other kids go ahead of you and then get back in line when it’s time for a later show. The other adult can head to Toy Story Mania to collect FASTPASSes and then wait for the rest of the party to join.

vinotinto – That’s right. If it’s not convenient to return, it’s better to just not collect them. You may have another option on the way to the restaurant that ends up being better.

Dustball May 22, 2012 at 8:29 am

Josh,

Would you have a moment on how to collect fastpasses during Star Wars Weekend?
Specifically, should Star Tours be added to the mix?

Thank you so much for your help and advice!

Stephanie (Dustball)

CableKC June 6, 2012 at 5:30 pm

Thanks for the info….does the wait / standby times apply to late July and August as well?

or

Are these times adjusted to late May / early June ( prior to the end of school year )?

Lisa A. June 20, 2012 at 5:40 am

We are heading out on July 1st – YUP!!! The busiest time of the year. It’s great with all the extended hours, but now I am nervous that my family (14 and 10) are going to be exhausted. Afraid to take an afternoon break in case the parks fill up and we can’t get back in…. Any suggestions??

Tina July 6, 2012 at 8:11 pm

Dear Josh,

I think I love you! Nope, I know I do. This is exactly what I’ve been looking for.

Tina

Fred September 30, 2012 at 5:02 pm

Hi Josh, would love to see an update on the Magic Kingdom in particular, perhaps with an option for no kiddie rides (dumbo, barnstormer) and to update it? After all, there is no more “Snow White’s Scary Adventures” ;)

Anonymous October 7, 2012 at 6:03 pm

Would love to see an update on what is your best bet to ride first, now that so much of new fantasyland is open. Do we do PP / Pooh now instead of Dumbo first?

Silvana February 3, 2013 at 5:02 pm

We are going to WDW from March 10 to 18. We will be buying a 4 day pass, going to MK on the Wednesday and Friday (most recommended), HS on Tuesday and AK on Thursday.
On Friday, we have an appointment and the Barber Shop for hair styles and lunch at Cinderella’s table.
Could you make some recommendations on how we should effectively use Fast Passes for those two days at Magic Kingdom and getting the most out of our time there? We would like to meet as many characters as we can – in particular the princesses and Tinkerbell.

Rebecca March 28, 2013 at 3:05 pm

This is incredible! Do you have an updated plan for Epcot with Test Track back open?

carrie April 3, 2013 at 1:16 pm

does each member of your party need their own fast pass? And how do you actually get the fast pass, does everyone need to be present to get them or can one person go collect the fast passes while the other stays with the kids?

Brad April 9, 2013 at 7:08 am

Carrie – each member of the party old enough to require a park admission ticket (starting age 3?) would need a FASTPASS to do the attraction. One person can obtain FASTPASSes for everyone, but needs to have everyone’s park admission tickets with him/her to do so (each ticket needs to be individually fed in to the machine, which in turn prompts the machine to spit out one FASTPASS, followed by the park admission ticket). The person obtaining the FASTPASSes needs to be very careful not to forget to pick up ALL the park admission tickets (VERY easy to grab the last of a bunch of your party’s FASTPASSes and run off before it returns that last park admission ticket. You DON’T want to lost that park ticket. I speak from experience – though got lucky and was able to get it from the attendant a little while later… This is also a good opportunity to emphasize the importance of (a) signing the back of your ticket, clearly enough that you can recognize it, and (b) photographing all of the park tickets so they can be replaced if need be. It’s a lot easier to lose a park ticket when you’re repeatedly taking it out and sticking it into various machines all over the park!

Gretchen April 16, 2013 at 6:17 pm

Any thoughts on the new FastPass+?

Rebecca Grandy May 4, 2013 at 8:08 pm

Thanks for the info. Can you please advise on a recommended Magic Kingdom itinerary for a 4 year old girl to include fast passes. Also what is new in Fantasyland? Thanks!
We are headed to Magic Kingdom next week. Thanks!

Tasha March 26, 2014 at 3:39 pm

I would love more info on fastpass+

What FP should be chosen in advance for each park

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