Last weekend my family and I visited Magic Kingdom and Disney’s Animal Kingdom. I was very interested to learn how the new FastPass+ system was working for guests and Annual Passholders who do not stay at a Walt Disney World property. As you may have heard, Magic Kingdom and Disney’s Animal Kingdom have removed all legacy FastPass machines (the paper FastPasses), and Epcot and Disney’s Hollywood Studios will follow suit by the end of January.
As we entered the parking lot at Magic Kingdom, the parking attendant gave us an information sheet explaining the new FastPass+ system and a list of the attractions available for FastPass+.
Terminology important to understanding this new process:
Park ticket is the plastic card that contains an RFID (radio-frequency identification) chip used to gain admittance to the Walt Disney World theme parks. If you have a paper ticket (some annual passes and non-expiration tickets may still be paper), you will need to visit a park ticket purchase window and replace it with the plastic card prior to entering any Walt Disney World park.
MagicBands are the colored soft bands with an RFID chip (usually worn on the wrist) provided to guests staying on-site at a Disney resort. The bands are used as a room key, park ticket, and can be linked to a credit card to pay for merchandise and food on Disney property. At this time, MagicBands are unavailable to guests or Passholders not staying on Disney property.
Legacy FastPass (aka paper FastPass) is the old system of a slip of paper printed at each attraction with a window of time to return and experience the attraction.
FastPass+ (simply pronounced “fast pass plus”) is the new “online” attraction reservation system replacing the legacy FastPasses. Attractions have a separate entrance for those using FastPass+. You must have a plastic park ticket or MagicBand in order to use the FastPass+ reservation system.
My Disney Experience is the new Disney website and mobile app available for devices including phones and tablets that use iOS and Android apps. If you do not have these particular devices, use the MyDisneyExperience.com website. (I was told by several Cast Members that apps are still being developed for Blackberry and Windows phones.) The website and app provide a multitude of information about Walt Disney World, including, but not limited to, current attraction wait times, restaurants, and parade and show times. Those guests without a MagicBand cannot use the MyDisneyExperience website or app at this time to make or change a FastPass+ reservation. Instead, they must use an in-park kiosk to do so. However, after they have made their FastPass+ reservation at a park kiosk, they can view their reserved FastPass+ times on the website or app as long as their park ticket is linked to the MyDisneyExperience website/app.
End of an era. By January 23, 2014, Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Hollywood Studios, and Animal Kingdom will no longer offer legacy FastPasses for guests. If you would like to avoid the regular queues at popular attractions, you must use the FastPass+ system.
Getting our first FastPass+ reservation
For those guests without a MagicBand, the procedure to make FastPass+ reservations is not complicated. However, it may take some time initially to learn.
Once you arrive in the park, go to a FastPass+ kiosk. Follow the kiosk touch screen instructions and scan your park ticket. If you want all or some of your family members to have the same FastPass+ reservations, choose the “Add another guest to your travel party” option to link your park tickets. Select the three attractions for which you would like to make reservations (or the system can choose them for you), and then select one option of return time windows that best meets your needs.
At Magic Kingdom, we “linked” all three of our park tickets (mine, my husband’s, and my son’s) according to the instructions on the touch screen. Next, we chose, as a group, our attractions including Thunder Mountain Railroad, Haunted Mansion and Space Mountain. The program then gave us four options (A, B, C and D) of return time windows. Each option listed different return time windows for all three attractions, and we chose the best option closest to our needs.
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You can easily make changes to the return times either at the next step on the screen or later during the day. In order to keep a “copy” of your reservation times, you need to write them down, have them emailed to you, or if your park ticket is linked to MyDisneyExperience (you can view them through the website or app) in the My Plans section.
When it is time for you to return to your selected attractions, go to the FastPass+ line, scan your park ticket, then proceed through the line. Your park ticket will need to be scanned again prior to boarding the ride at most attractions, so keep it handy.
Using our FastPass+
Our experience at Animal Kingdom was similar. Once we arrived in the park, the first FastPass+ kiosk, located on the Oasis path to Discovery Island, had a line of approximately 75 people. The kiosk near Disney Outfitters was just as long. My husband and son proceeded to Dinosaur due to the short posted wait time of 10 minutes and I went to the FastPass+ kiosk near Primeval Whirl to make our reservations.
The line at this kiosk was much shorter. A Disney Cast Member assisted me with our FastPass+ choices using a tablet, and I was able to reserve return time windows for Primeval Whirl, Kilimanjaro Safaris, and Expedition Everest.
I didn’t like the return time for Expedition Everest because it was too late in the day. After we rode Primeval Whirl, I went to the FastPass+ kiosk near Expedition Everest. The Cast Member showed me an earlier return time window for Expedition Everest, so I changed our return time. Return time windows change because guests alter their reservations or decide to forgo an attraction.
Legacy FastPasses vs. FastPass+
Compared to the legacy FastPass lines prior to the new system, we experienced unusually long lines at most of the FastPass+ entrances at both parks. I’m not certain if the long FastPass+ return lines were due to the new system, the busy holiday weekend, or a combination of both factors. At one point, after a brief shut down of only 15 minutes, Expedition Everest’s FastPass+ return line had well over 100 people in it, and extended across the bridge toward the Finding Nemo show.
Top 10 tips for using FastPass+
- If you already have a park ticket or annual pass, set up an account on the MyDisneyExperience website and download the app prior to visiting the parks.
- Currently guests can only make FastPass+ reservations in one park per day. Keep this in mind before buying a park hopper ticket.
- Currently guests can only make FastPass+ reservations for three experiences each day.
- Know which three attractions are the priorities for you or your group (if you are linking your reservations) before you reach the kiosk. This saves time for everyone in line!
- You cannot pick the FastPass+ return time window for each attraction separately; you are provided three attraction’s return time windows as one option. However, pick the option that comes closest to your desired schedule, because you can then change the individual attraction return time window in the next step of the process – or later in the day.
- One perk of the new FastPass+ system is you make all three reservations at once. With the legacy FastPass system, you could not get multiple FastPasses with your park ticket at one time. For example, if you had a legacy FastPass for Space Mountain, you could not get your next legacy FastPass for Thunder Mountain Railroad until you reached the return time window of the Space Mountain legacy FastPass.
- Unlike the legacy FastPass system, with FastPass+ you can change your mind after you make your reservation. Just go to a FastPass+ kiosk and make your changes. A Cast Member will be on hand to assist you if needed. You cannot make FastPass+ changes using the MyDisneyExperience website or app unless you have a MagicBand.
- Guests usually are required to use their park ticket two times at each FastPass+ attraction: once at the beginning of the FastPass+ queue and again before boarding the ride.
- If you arrive at a park early in the day, you may want to check the MyDisneyExperience website or app for the posted wait times of a preferred attraction. If the wait time is relatively short, go ahead and experience that attraction immediately, thus saving that FastPass+ choice for another attraction with a longer standby wait time.
- MagicBand users are able to make their FastPass+ selections prior to their arrival at the park. Annual Passholders who have a MagicBand can use them until their annual pass expires. The advantage and convenience of these perks may be incentive for Annual Passholders to book at least one night at a Disney resort in order to receive a MagicBand, which they can then use until their annual pass expires.
Please keep in mind that Disney is still very much in the rollout/testing phase with FastPass+, therefore it is quite possible that some of the guidelines we based on tips on may change. You can check for the latest information on Disney’s official website.
In-park FastPass+ kiosk locations
For your convenience, below is a listing of FastPass+ kiosks for the two parks we visited (subject to change of course).
- Main Street: Guest Relations
- Adventureland: Just over the bridge, next to Aloha Isle
- Adventureland/Frontierland: In the restroom shortcut
- Frontierland: Near the entrance to Splash Mountain
- Liberty Square: At Heritage House next to Hall of Presidents
- Fantasyland: Next to Mickey’s PhiharMagic
- Storybook Circus: Next to Pete’s Silly Sideshow
- Tomorrowland: Next to Stitch’s Great Escape
Disney’s Animal Kingdom
- Oasis: Oasis path
- Discovery Island: Disney Outfitters store near Tree of Life.
- Discovery Island: My Magic+ Service center located in the Creature Comforts store near Pizzafari
- Dinoland U.S.A.: Next to Primeaval Whirl
- Asia: To the left of Expedition Everest
- Africa: Next to Kilimanjaro Safaris
Final thoughts on using FastPass+ for the first time
The FastPass+ reservation system seemed to go smoothly for us, but the FastPass+ queues were longer than previously experienced. For those guests who are used to the legacy FastPass system, the new FastPass+ system may take a period of adjustment, especially learning how to best use the MyDisneyExperience website and app, and the in-park FastPass+ kiosks. However, I learned that it is not too complicated, and as I noted in my top 10 tips above, there are some key benefits to the new system.
To continue reading about Walt Disney World, view our WDW archive on the OI Blog. Or you can catch up on all our trip reports (we now publish monthly trip reports for Universal Studios Florida, Islands of Adventure, SeaWorld, Busch Gardens, and one of the four Walt Disney World parks).
Walt Disney World trip report – photo gallery
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[sws_author_bio user=”MaureenDeal” size=”105″ authorposts=”More OI posts by Maureen” name_format=”About the author”] [/sws_author_bio]
Sounds like a bit of a nightmare to me
This just sounds horrible!!!! Of course most people are going to fast pass the top rides making the lines longer. Ugh
we used the FastPass+ this past Sunday & it worked GREAT!!!
Sounds great if you like having your face in your phone while you walk around the park sticking to a schedule of ride times, restaurant reservations, and parks all chosen 180 days ahead.
I’m concerned this is going to make Universal really packed
Excuse me mr negative. If you don’t want to use the system you don’t have to. Disney has enough people visiting that you going to universal will make no difference to them. I’m sure you are the kind of guest who goes to guest relations at the end of your day to complain about everything that went wrong instead of enjoying the time with your family. You obviously don’t have a Disney attitude so why don’t you just go to some other b grade park and keep your bitter comments to yourself.
Sara Rocke I am a DVC member, an AP holder for the past 4 years, stockholder in Disney, use the Disney Chase Visa card, have Disney dishes, silverware, cabinet knobs, hidden Mickeys in my wallpaper – I LOVE DISNEY – but this Fastpass + is a nightmare. We just got back from a week long vacation in Disney from January 18th thru the 24th. I am in COMPLETE agreement with Captain Action. Who wants to walk around with your phone in your face while you are on vacation? Because that is what happened! Plus you get 3 fast passes a day.… Read more »
The fast pass lines are the same. Actually most rides give out even less fastpasses then they did with the legacy ones. The lines just “look longer” because people have to scan their band before enter the que. If that makes since. So basically the line is outside of the que while people are waiting to scan
Worst decision ever. Don’t try to fix something if it isn’t broken.
Will this fast pass+ system be put into affect in the California Disney Parks does any one know?
Great information to know – Thanks
I am just scared that I will pick the wrong three choices for fast passes. Lol
as a cast member for disney I hate this new system. it does not work
What’s next? Charging for each ride like a shitty carnival? Ugh Disney. They can’t expand and update fast enough because they spend money and waste time on this crap.
Actually Disney when it first opened (so I’m told from my Gma) charged for rides individually. You would go and buy what you wanted to ride. Pretty wild huh?
Can u use fast pass+ if your staying off park? I’m confused its our first time in usa and disney this year
Toni Mcewan – yes, you can, although at the moment you cannot pre-book. You have to go to a kiosk in the park when you arrive. This may change in the future so keep your eyes on the OrlandoInformer posts for updates. I hope that helps you!
As a frequent visitor to Orlando this whole new system has put me off visiting Disney, full stop !!!!
The old system was easy, didn’t require organising or queuing for any length. I don’t know why on earth Disney has implemented this new system when the old one worked so well but it has just lost me and my whole family….. Looking forward many trips to Diagon Alley instead !!!!
We come from the UK every couple of years. It’s an expensive trip and we’re concerned that if people can book 3 rides a day, we’ll spend our holiday queuing. Colleague was over in October and there was a line of people complaining they couldn’t get on rides. Doubt we’ll get into any of the good restaurants either. More time in Universal I guess.
For all of you complaining, we just used fp+ this past weekend. Don’t gripe until you try. We found it to be a great upgrade to the current system and we are regular Disney goers as Florida residents. ALL fp lanes moved even quicker and once everyone gets used to scanning cards or wristbands it will get even better. Good job, Disney!
No Ruth, I have schedules, appointments, and have to check my phone and computer all day when I work. I don’t want to do this on vacation. 9 out of 10 people don’t want a vacation like this either.
Going to Universal.
I mean yea it may take time too get used but it not worth it heck even a worker on here said it
I am curious to find out how this works with rider swap. In the past we were able to get just enough fastpasses for the first riders to board the ride. Then when we checked in at the ride a cast member would give us the rider swap pass for the rider who was staying back to use. We did not get that rider a fastpass. Instead we would get fastpasses for another ride using the cards from that rider and our shorter family members who didn’t ride. With the new system it sounds like access to the ride is directly tied to… Read more »
ShelleyBaan it acts the same way as a paper fastpass. if you plan on using a rider switch, you do not need a fastpass for the person who will be using the rider switch.
Shame they don’t just get rid of evil fastpass altogether
I remember as a kid we did have ticket books. It was very cool because the queues felt much shorter
Graham Hall – I posted your question on Twitter and didn’t get a response, looks like its tough to find an answer to this one. Might be best just to contact Disney directly and ask: https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/contact/.
As a UK visitor i think i’ll be reluntant to use the Fasspass app as it’ll cost a fortune. Sorry for being negative but I feel I’ll be the one in the queues as all the slots will have gone – does anyone have any advice?
They charge for the Disney app in the UK? The app was free here in the States. But to answer your question, Disney is setting aside slots for day guests to select at in-park kiosks. If you are staying onsite, castmembers can assist you with getting them selected upon check in.
Heather the parks have free WiFi
I have just come back from WDW and I had the opportunity of using FP+, with excellent resulta, specially if you combine its use with the Disney Experience App. You are not able to schedule your rides much more in advance, but you can rearrange your choice through tour cell phone.
I wonder if this is just a WDW thing or if they will continue it over to DL as well.
I think it’s a good idea and Disney need to up their game. We go to Florida every year and stopped going to Disney 3 years ago as we didn’t enjoy it as much as Universal.
@Heather Mortimer, as a UK guest, we switched off data roaming on our phones and used the free park wifi to use the app. I never spent a single penny on phone costs when in the US and we got on great with the FP+ system. Very flexible and versatile.
Look what I found… Laura
So, if I’m reading this correctly, as an AP, my family could stay one night on property, get magic bands, then continue to use them the rest of the year? Hm, that is good news.
I hope this crap never makes its way over to the Disneyland Resort…
I just came from Disney World and while I had a MagicBand, it was not linked to my Park Ticket. I was still able to link my Park Ticket to the My Disney Experience app, and select FastPass+ options for the next day. I was also able to select FastPass+ options in multiple parks and I easily changed my FastPass+ selections through the app while in the parks. During my visit, I was participating in a training program for Travel Agents, and we were repeatedly told that they are “testing and adjusting” the process. Overall, I felt that it worked… Read more »
This system is terrible. We went to Disney last weekend, supposedly during “slow season”. We were off park and we used our card entry to get “unlimited” fast passes the first 3 days. Then started the “fast pass kiosks”. Longer lines, only 3 fast passes PER DAY-so park hoppers are useless unless you want to wait in line at another park. This only benefits Disney for staffing and crowd control. The positive is, yes, you can book all if your fast passes for the day, and for times that can work for you, IF, they are available. Also, if you… Read more »
Nothing on my vacation should be this complicated or have 10 steps just to visit. Current WDW execs are true morons.
My daughter and I went to Epcot Saturday not knowing about the new fastpass rules. When we got there, we went directly to Soarin to get a fastpass, enroute we discovered there were new rules and only 3 locations to get fastpasses in the whole park. STUPID!!! We waited in line for an hour. When we FINALLY had our turn, there were no more fastpasses available for the rides we wanted. (it was only noon!!) I have an annual pass which I used for the first time that day. Had I known about this crappy new “improved” fastpass system. I… Read more »
A lot of complaints. I don’t know if I should be worried or not. I too am a regular Disney girl and always stay off site – I’ve become a pro at the old Fast Pass system and am not looking forward to having to let it go. But I mainly wanted to post on here to say – thanks, Maureen! Out of all the articles that I have read on this new system, yours was the only one that made it all clear! I love the way that you post step by step instructions along with visual aides.… Read more »
@Melanie I have seen Magic Bands for sale on Ebay.com. I am sure you can purchase one (they are MUCH cheaper than one night stay in the resort) and have them update the info. I have to say, even though Disney is alleviating of paper (old FP system), these bands aren’t very “green”. Wanted to get this point out there after reading this post. Thanks Maureen, great job!
We are pretty regular visitors to Disney. As we live in the WPB area, it’s no biggie to hop on the Turnpike and head to the Mouse. Sometimes we stay on property, sometimes we don’t. In any case, we just came back from a brief 2 day visit and I have to say I HATE the new FP+ system. Often, we will start the day in MK or HS and then head to Epcot for dinner and Illuminations. We all like to ride Soarin, but aside from that our ride tastes vary wildly. To not be able to fastpass different… Read more »
It is a terrible system if you are anything but a first-time visitor, and even if you are a first-timer, trust me you could do such much more with the old system.
I think the only reason first-timers say it is good, is because they know nothing else.
I can do all parks in one day, and now, without the option to take my chances on regular fastpasses, there is no point in park hopping at all.
With paper fastpasses you could get way more than three a day as well.
This system is really awful.
very nice article a lot of info keep doing t good job, many blessings
Our family goes to Disney regularly, and knew how to work the Legacy FP system. We could easily get 6 or more FP’s in one day. Combined with rider swaps, we had no problem doing all the rides we wanted. We went back three weeks ago, and it was our first time to use the FP+ systems. I hated it. It was nice to be able to book the FP times in advance, and I liked being able to change them on the fly as I saw wait times, etc. But I would gladly give that up to stay on… Read more »
UPDATE – MARCH 31, 2013
There have been some changes to the FastPass+ system. Once you’ve read this article, we strongly recommend that you view our new blog post: https://orlandoinformer.com/wpold/2014/mymagic-fastplass-plus-guide-for-advance-ride-reservations/
This new system will crash and burn. It is horrible compared with the old system. If you try it, you will see why. Ultimately it has nothing to do with reducing line waiting times or making more efficient use of your Disney vacation experience time. It has to do with reducing costs to Disney corp and increasing the present profits made from visiting families. Walt is turning over in his grave.
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I am a Cast Member in Guest Relations and I wish to express my sincere hope that everyone who legitimately dislikes/hates this new system to stop in to one (or multiple) Guest Relations locations and express your displeasure. The ONLY way the FP+ will be fixed/improved/REPLACED is through numerous Guest complaints, the more the better. My own issues (maybe it is petty to some, sorry) include that as a Cast Member, when we get a family member into the park we are not able to get FP until we arrive that day whereas everyone else is able to book in… Read more »
We have come to dw many times and with this new fast pass this is some of the longest lines I have seen. And park hopper does us no good cause you can only get three in a day and they are in one park. Hope disney sees the mistake they have made . It could be a good system with some changes like no booking fast pass 2 month in advance that screws any one that gets their tickets just before they go .come on disney your better than this
My family went and had.fast passes. Long lines, rude workers. Never in my life will my family go therr again. People are rude. Igs supose ti be fun and enjoyable bjt with rude workers it tends to piss people off.