Ahhh Fast Pass. Most of us thought we knew the best way to obtain what we wanted and when during our stay- and then My Magic Plus and Magic Bands were introduced and a whole new world was introduced to Walt Disney World Resort guests.
What is My Magic Plus? Your My Magic Plus is activated once you set up an account at startyourdisneyexperience.com after you once reserved your Walt Disney World Resort vacation. This will unlock all of your My Magic+ benefits for your upcoming Disney vacation. This includes consolidating all of your reservations in one place (dining, room, tickets, etc.) and you can customize your magic band colors with your personal preference and can be shipped directly to your home if you order them soon enough (otherwise they are delivered to you at your Walt Disney World Resort). The new magic bands (which are replacing resort room key cards) that are now being used at Walt Disney world Resort are designed in a way to make your experience more seamless and convenient. These bands allow you to touch your band to make purchases, open your resort room, and enter the theme parks.
One the of the best features of this new system is your ability to select up to 3 Fast Pass attractions per day ahead of your arrival to Walt Disney World. What this means is you can choose which attractions are the most important to you; then decide what day and time you would like to experience them. Some of the attractions include character meet and greets as well as parade and fireworks viewing areas. This then will give you more free time during your vacation to enjoy the rest of the theme parks or spend more time enjoying the amenities at your resort.
So the next dilemma? Picking which rides and attractions to use your Fast Pass+ with.
My best advice to anyone- no matter what age or gender you are? Pick rides and attractions in the afternoon or evening. If you can get to the parks early, odds are good- you might not need fast passes to enjoy most attractions (unless you are traveling during a high volume time- then this advice is worthless). Another rule of thumb is when you arrive at an attraction and the wait time is 20 minutes or less, ride the ride. If you grab a Fast Pass (and at this point most Fast Pass kiosks are being eliminated) for a later time- you will likely have just lost at least 20 minutes going to the attraction and grabbing the fast pass and finding another attraction with a lesser wait time.
There are also rides and attractions that always seem to move pretty quickly simply because they can hold more people than the average attraction- rides and attractions like Mickey’s Philharmagic, It’s A Small World, Tomorrowland Transit Authority, Barnstomer, Monster’s Inc Laugh Floor, and Stich’s Great Escape all in the Magic Kingdom; Journey into Imagination, The Seas with Nemo and Friends, and Spaceship Earth in Epcot; Festival of the Lion King, Finding Nemo The Musical, and It’s Tough to be a Bug in Animal Kingdom; and the Great Movie Ride, The Voyage of the Little Mermaid, and the Backlot Tour in Hollywood Studios always seem to move pretty fast and are an easy walk on attraction without ever needing fast passes.
But then there are those rides that you absolutely need a Fast Pass or you will need to be at the parks before the posted opening times so you are one of the first ones running to the attraction to ride it first thing in the morning. The most popular attraction in all of the Disney theme parks around the world is found in Disney’s Hollywood Studios- Toy Story Mania. This is a MUST Fast Pass+ option. This is a ride pretty much everyone can ride unless you are prone to motion sickness. There are no height restrictions and it isn’t a thrill ride- but it is high on millions of people’s all-time favorite Disney rides! Adults and children absolutely LOVE this ride and will stand on a line to ride this ride for hours, several times a day.
Another attraction I suggest a Fast Pass for is Soarin’ in Epcot. This is another ride everyone can ride (unless you are prone to motion sickness or afraid of heights- this is a simulator ride which takes you flying over California) from children through adults.
Must haves for thrill seekers visiting would have to be Expedition Everest and Kali River Rapids in Animal Kingdom; Mission Space in Epcot; Star Tours and Tower of Terror in Hollywood Studios; and Space Mountain in Magic Kingdom.
Another ride, if you have little ones or at young at heart, is Peter Pan’s Flight in the Magic Kingdom. This is a very slow moving ride and has a low capacity. But again, appeals to most visitors and has no height restrictions.
Another must Fast Pass if you have little ones and are visiting the Magic Kingdom is Enchanted Tales with Belle. This is a new attraction in New Fantasyland and is hugely popular with audience participation.
Something to consider when you are choosing your Fast Passes is that the Magic Kingdom has the most rides and attractions to choose from for Fast Pass+. But, the Magic Kingdom also has the most variety and you are not restricted in any way in what you choose. What I mean is, they don’t group rides together and have you choose 1 from 1 list and 2 from another. With these groupings in every other park you are given two groups. Within those groups you can choose 1 ride or attraction from 1 group and 2 from the second group. For instance, in Hollywood Studios- Toy Story Mania and Rockin’ Rollercoaster are in the same group that you and only choose 1 attraction from. Most will choose Toy Story Mania’s Fast Pass which means, I would suggest (if everyone meets the height requirement) heading to Rockin’ Rollercoaster early in your visit of the park when the lines are a bit more manageable as the day goes on.
Another piece of this puzzle is to keep your smart phone handy and accessible to the My Disney Experience app. As you are touring the parks you might change your mind as to what you want to ride/experience later in the day (another plus for getting later fast passes). With the app you can adjust your Fast Passes (subject to availability) to your needs on that day.
If you have any questions or concerns about this process, or would like suggestions as far as which attractions to choose for your trip- please feel free to contact Castle Dreams Travel. Travel agents’ services are free to the client (agents are paid directly by Disney after you travel) and have been essential in helping families plan their vacations especially with all of these new enhancements being released and updated throughout the year.