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Disney World FastPass Secrets & Tips

If you’re headed to Disney World, one of the most important things you need to do before you go is reserve your FastPasses.

If you’re not sure which ones to reserve, keep reading for my Disney World FastPass secrets and tips.

NOTE: The FastPass program was replaced by Genie+ in 2021. You can learn about the new program in our post about Disney Genie, Genie+ & Lightning Lanes at Disney World & Disneyland.

Disney World FastPass secrets and tips

Having a good strategy before you make your Disney World FastPass selections is important.

FastPasses for the good rides and shows always go fast, so be prepared to make your selections on the first day they become available.

But, I’m getting ahead of myself here, so let’s back it up and start with the basics.

What is a FastPass?

A FastPass is basically a pass for the “VIP line” at select attractions at Animal Kingdom, Epcot, Hollywood Studios, and Magic Kingdom. FastPass is not available for Blizzard Beach or Typhoon Lagoon water parks.

A FastPass is assigned to a timeframe, such as 2PM to 3PM, during which you can show up to get in the FastPass line.

Closeup photo of the flying Dumbo kiddie ride at Disney World's Magic Kingdom.
Photo courtesy of Disney Parks.

FastPasses  are meant to help park visitors avoid crazy wait times, but also to help Disney World manage wait times for attractions. For shows, there is usually a reserved seating section, too.

FastPasses link to your MagicBand, which is a wristband that also act as your park ticket, hotel room key, and payment card.

To use your FastPass, tap your MagicBand to the touch point at the FastPass line. The touch point looks like a tall post with a Mickey head silhouette that lights up when you tap it.

How much does the Disney FastPass cost?

Disney World FastPasses cost absolutely nothing. That’s right – they’re FREE! Anyone with admission to the parks can select FastPasses for their visit.

How do I reserve a FastPass?

You can select 3 FastPasses per day at a single park. Once you use those 3 Fastpasses, you can schedule 1 FastPass at a time through park closing time.

The FastPasses can be reserved via the My Disney Experience app or a FastPass kiosk in the park.

If you have a Parkhopper pass, your extra FastPasses can be reserved at a different park, but the original 3 FastPasses have to be at a single park.

Landscape photo of the Na'vi River Journey
Photo by Steven Diaz, courtesy of Disney Parks.

If you’re staying at a Disney World resort (or select “good neighbor” resort), you can select your FastPasses at 7 AM eastern 60 days ahead of the start of your trip.

The resorts the include the ability reserve your FastPasses 60 days in advance include:

  1. All Disney World resorts and campgrounds
  2. Walt Disney World Dolphin Hotel
  3. Walt Disney World Swan Hotel
  4. Four Seasons Resort Orlando
  5. Best Western Lake Buena Vista
  6. B-Hotel Disney
  7. Doubletree Suites Orlando Lake Buena Vista
  8. Hilton Buena Vista Palace Resort
  9. Hilton Orlando Resort Lake Buena Vista
  10. Holiday Inn Orlando Disney Springs Area
  11. Wyndham Garden Hotel Lake Buena Vista
  12. Wyndham Lake Buena Vista Resort
  13. Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek
  14. Waldorf Astoria Bonnet Creek

If you’re not staying in one of the hotels or resorts above, you have to wait until 30 days ahead of your trip to snag your FastPasses.

Animal Kingdom FastPass tips

Animal Kingdom uses a tiered selection system for FastPasses. You can select 1 pass from Tier 1 and 2 passes from Tier 2.

This is to prevent visitors from hogging FastPasses for the 2 new rides, Flights of Passage and Na’vi River Journey.

Both rides in the new Pandora – The World of Avatar land have proved wildly popular, so guests are only able to select ONE of these rides for their 3 selections.

Most of the remaining rides and shows at Animal Kingdom are available for FastPasses in the second tier.

If you’re into thrill rides, I highly recommend selecting Flights of Passage over Na’vi River Journey. It is, hands down, my favorite ride at any of the parks!

Don’t get me wrong, the Na’vi River Journey is nice, but if you’re only going to Animal Kingdom for 1 day, pick Flights of Passage. If you’re going more than once, you could always select Na’vi River Journey for the second visit.

For your remaining FastPass picks, I recommend the following:

  • Expedition Everest roller coaster
  • Kilimanjaro Safari
  • Kali River Rapids (FYI – you will get wet!!)
Photo of 2 lioness lounging on rocks at Animal Kingdom's Safari at Night experience.
Photo by Courtney Di Stasio, courtesy of Disney Parks.

Animal Kingdom FastPass tiers

Here is the complete list of rides and shows available for FastPass selection at Animal Kingdom.

Animal Kingdom Fastpass Tier 1

  1. Avatar Flight of Passage
  2. Na’vi River Journey

Animal Kingdom FastPass Tier 2

  1. DINOSAUR
  2. Expedition Everest
  3. Festival of the Lion King
  4. Finding Nemo – the Musical
  5. It’s Tough to Be a Bug
  6. Kali River Rapids
  7. Kilimanjaro Safaris
  8. Character Meet n Greet at Adventurers Outpost
  9. Primeval Whirl
  10. Rivers of Light

Epcot FastPass tips

Epcot works on a tiered system for its FastPass options, as well. You can pick 1 pass from tier 1 and 2 from tier 2.

It’s a total bummer because the only attractions worth snagging a FastPass for at Epcot are all in tier 1: IllumiNations, Frozen Ever After, Soarin’, and Test Track.

Tier 2 is filled mainly with rides that don’t usually have a long wait or just aren’t swoonworthy in my opinion.

Photo of guests riding Soarin' at Disney World's Epcot theme park.
Photo courtesy of Disney Parks.

Epcot FastPass+ Tiers

Here is the complete list of rides and shows available for FastPass selection at Epcot.

Epcot FastPass+ Tier 1

  1. Epcot Character Spot Meet n Greet
  2. Frozen Ever After
  3. Soarin’
  4. Test Track

Epcot FastPass+ Tier 2

  1. Disney & Pixar Short Film Festival
  2. Journey Into Imagination with Figment
  3. Living with the Land
  4. Mission: SPACE
  5. The Seas with Nemo & Friends
  6. Spaceship Earth
  7. Turtle Talk with Crush

Hollywood Studios FastPass tips

Hollywood Studios also operates on a tiered system for FastPasses.

For tier 1, I recommend Slinky Dog Dash as the top pick. It’s new-ish, it’s fun, and the lines are always ridiculous. Snag a FastPass if you can. If Toy Story isn’t your thing, then go for Millennium Falcon as your backup pick.

For tier 2, I recommend Toy Story Midway Mania and Rock n Roller Coaster. The line is always ridiculous for Toy Story Midway Mania.

So ridiculous that you might be tempted to skip it. Don’t! Toy Story Midway Mania is a ride and game all in one, which makes it hilarious fun.

Rock n Roller Coaster always has long lines during the day, but sometimes the wait during the evening is reasonable. If you’re willing to chance that you’ll be able to get on without a crazy wait at night, the go for Tower of Terror as your backup.

Lastly, if thrill rides aren’t your thing, I recommend Alien Swirling Saucers as another backup option.

Photo of the entrance to the Alien Swirling Saucers at Hollywood Studios Toy Story Land.
Photo by Steven Diaz, courtesy of Disney Parks.

Hollywood Studios FastPass+ Tiers

Here is the complete list of rides and shows available for FastPass selection at Hollywood Studios.

Hollywood Studios FastPass+ Tier 1

  1. Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway
  2. Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run
  3. Slinky Dog Dash

Hollywood Studios FastPass+ Tier 2

  1. Alien Swirling Saucers
  2. Beauty and the Beast – Live on Stage
  3. Disney Junior Dance Party
  4. Fantasmic
  5. For the First Time in Forever: A Frozen Sing-Along Celebration
  6. Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular
  7. MuppetVision 3D
  8. Rock n Roller Coaster
  9. Star Tours
  10. Tower of Terror
  11. Toy Story Mania
  12. Voyage of the Little Mermaid

Magic Kingdom FastPass tips

The Magic Kingdom is the only theme park at Walt Disney World that doesn’t have a tiered system for selecting FastPasses. And I love it!

It means I don’t have to overthink my strategy too much when selecting my FastPasses.

I recommend getting FastPasses for the 3 roller coasters at Magic Kingdom: Seven Dwarves Mine Train, Space Mountain, and Big Thunder Mountain.

Splash Mountain is another great pick, especially if it is hot out and you don’t mind getting wet. It is called Splash Mountain, after all.

If you’re not into thrill rides, or you have kiddos who aren’t tall enough yet, you could opt to do a few character meet n greets.

However, I think a character meal or 2 are worth the dining plan points (or cost if not using DDP) to meet a handful of characters while you eat instead.

Photo of guests riding the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train roller coaster at Magic Kingdom.
Photo by Matt Stroshane, courtesy of Disney Parks.

Magic Kingdom FastPass+ Attractions

The following attractions at Magic Kingdom are available for FastPass+.

  1. Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
  2. Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin
  3. Barnstormer
  4. Dumbo
  5. Enchanted Tales with Belle
  6. Haunted Mansion
  7. It’s a Small World
  8. Jungle Cruise
  9. Mad Tea Party
  10. Magic Carpets of Aladdin
  11. The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh
  12. Meet Ariel at Her Grotto
  13. Meet Cinderella and Elena at Princess Fairytale Hall
  14. Meet Mickey at Town Square Theater
  15. Meet Rapunzel and Tiana at Princess Fairytale Hall
  16. Meet Tinker Bell at Town Square Theater
  17. Monsters, Inc Laugh Floor
  18. Peter Pan’s Flight
  19. Mickey’s PhilharMagic
  20. Pirates of the Caribbean
  21. Seven Dwarfs Mine Train
  22. Space Mountain
  23. Splash Mountain
  24. Tomorrowland Speedway
  25. Under the Sea – Journey of the Little Mermaid

Final thoughts on Disney World FastPass secrets

At the end of the day, which rides or attractions you select for your FastPasses really boils down to personal preferences.

For example, the roller coasters and thrill rides tend to have the worst lines, which is why I often recommend those as top picks. But not all people like them, so it wouldn’t make sense to prioritize those as your picks if that’s the case for you.

Closeup of stormtroopers in Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance ride at Hollywood Studios.
Photo by Matt Stroshane, courtesy of Disney Parks.

As a general guideline, if you have kids and are hitting up the parks without them, pick the rides you usually have to skip because they aren’t tall enough or don’t like.

Or if kids aren’t in the picture, but you’re feeling nostalgic, do be afraid to pick “kiddie rides” or character meet-n-greets. You get the picture.

Last but not least, HAVE FUN!

What are your Disney World FastPass picks for your next trip?

Let me know in the comments below which FastPasses you reserved and why!

This post was originally published on Frost + Sun on October 13, 2017. It was last updated on May 4, 2020 when it moved to The Park Pixie.

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