Photo courtesy of themeparkuniversity.com
For this particular trip to Disneyworld, we stayed in one of the resorts. Everyone who visits Disneyworld has access to the new Fastpass Plus system. The advantage to staying in one of the resorts is up to three months prior to your trip, you can select your Fastpass choices through MyDisneyExperience.com. Fastpass had changed to this new system from the last time we were at Disneyworld, and we didn’t quite know the best way to use it. So, here are some things we learned, some things we liked, and some things we didn’t like about the new fast pass plus.
Under the new system, you can make up to three Fastpass selections for each day of your Disneyworld trip. You can either use kiosks at the parks, or use MyDisneyExperience.com. Your Fastpass selections must all be in the same park for that particular day. Our Fastpass selections were spaced fairly close together, so we still had the option of going to a different park for the rest of the day if we wanted. Fastpass gives approximately an hour window for you to use it, or you lose it. You activate your Fastpass entrance by using either a magic band or park ticket. There are always two places on each ride you must scan your Fastpass, at the entrance to the Fastpass line and just prior to joining the stand-by line.
For new and extremely popular attractions, such as the new Seven Dwarves Mine Train ride, you have to book your fast pass as soon as possible. We were not aware of the ability to select Fastpasses so far in advance, so the Seven Dwarves Mine Train ride and Meet Elsa and Anna were no longer available by the time we made our selections. Fastpass was still available for popular thrill rides such as Space Mountain and Aerosmith’s Rockin’ Rollercoaster.
What I did like about the Fastpass was the guarantee that there were at least three must-do attractions on our list everyday that we didn’t have to spend a long time in line for. In our case, this was especially helpful since part of our party (children too small to ride the faster thrill rides or grandparents with health issues that prevented them from riding) couldn’t go on some of our fast pass selections. We could get the children a snack, like Mickey Mouse ice cream bars, go ride the ride, and get back by the time they were finished with their snack. This prevented several meltdowns because they needed some down time, and allowed my husband and I to ride several rides together without children in tow. It was like a mini-date! For us, that was a win-win situation.
The Fastpass Plus system also insured that at least three of our favorite attractions were easily accessible without a long wait. The longest line I think we stood in for anything during our trip was 35 minutes for the Winnie the Pooh, which we did not have Fastpass for. We felt like we were able to see and do a lot during each day of our trip.
Perusing the Fastpass selection also prompted us to do some things we might not have otherwise thought of doing. We met Mickey Mouse at Town Hall. I never would have thought of seeking out that opportunity, but it was our youngest daughter’s favorite experience from the trip. She still walks around saying, “Mickey Mouse hugged Aeryn!” What a magical moment it was for her! Even the grandparents had a great time meeting Mickey Mouse. He even sounded like Mickey.
Mickey Mouse Hugging Aeryn!
What I did not like about Fastpass was the spontaneity it removed from our trip. There always had to be some planning involved, especially with such a large group, but it seemed that our days were planned directly in response to our Fastpass selection. We also lost some of the flexibility often necessary with young children. When they need the bathroom, or food, or some time to sit and look at the flowers, they need it now. They really don’t care if you have a fast pass that expires in the next half an hour. We didn’t use several of our Fastpasses because of situations like this. We also lost using one or two because they were assigned early in the morning. My family does not do early in the morning. At least the majority doesn’t, and it is much harder to convince night owls to wake up early than it is to convince early risers to stay out a little later. That caused some frustration and bad feelings, and made it more difficult to spend time with one pair of grandparents who are more on the get up and go side of the scale.
Overall, I appreciate the opportunity to have some short wait times during the day. I am glad that Fastpass is an option when visiting Disneyworld. I think you have to be okay with not always using your Fastpass if the children would rather do something else during that time, and I am curious how well the Fastpass system works when the parks are really crowded. We had moderate crowds during our time there.
What are your experiences with Fastpass?