Nothing flies around the Internet faster than a Disney rumor! A few questions and concerns have been cropping up in Disney online neighborhoods surrounding use of Disney’s FastPass ride reservation system. Is it really necessary to jump through all these FastPass hoops two months before your trip? No – not if you are willing to go with the flow and enjoy whatever rides happen to have shorter lines. But maybe you or a member of your traveling group have their heart set on Frozen Ever After or Flight of Passage or the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train. If you want to avoid lines of two hours or more for the most high demand rides – then you have to book FastPass in advance. And you have to learn the ropes! It’s actually kind of fun, once you get into the swing of things. Give a Tarzan yell and jump right in!
1. I’ve heard that it’s impossible to get a FastPass for some attractions, such as Flight of Passage at the Animal Kingdom’s new Pandora – the World of Avatar. People are saying they can’t find availability for this FastPass even when they get up early in the morning to book their FastPass, exactly 60 days before their resort arrival.
Flight of Passage is the most popular ride at Disney World at the moment, since Pandora just opened in late May 2017. Wait times regularly build to three hours and even longer. That’s the “golden ticket FastPass” – everyone wants it – there are literally hours in line at stake! But how is it possible that the Flight of Passage FastPasses can all be gone the minute the 60 day window opens???
It’s easy to forget that some people can book their FASTPASS more than 60 days in advance. 60 is the number that sticks in all of our minds. But it’s not just 60. At 60 days before your arrival, your FastPass booking window opens up – for all of the days of your stay. So you do book the first day’s FastPass at 60 days. But you’re booking the second day’s FastPass at 61 days out, the third at 62 days out, etc.
So what to do? Don’t plan to visit the Animal Kingdom park until a little later in your trip! Then you’ll be booking for Flight of Passage at more than 60 days. Most people like to start with the Magic Kingdom in any case. And you’ll find every ride available there at 60 days out – no problems. That doesn’t mean you can wait a week or two before booking! You want to be at your computer, fingers poised over the keyboard, ready to log in to your MDE exactly 60 days before your resort arrival! For the Magic Kingdom, it doesn’t even need to be precisely at 7:00 a.m. – unless you’re very picky about the exact FastPass times!
Booking Animal Kingdom FastPass later in your trip means that you’ll be choosing Flight of Passage 65 days or even 70 days before you visit that park. Here’s an example. Let’s say you’ll be checking into your resort on October 10th for a ten night stay. (Lucky you! Since this is hypothetical, let’s make it the Presidential Suite at the Grand Floridian!) Your FastPass booking window opens at 7:00 a.m. on August 11. On August 11, you can book not only for October 10 (which will be 60 days away), but also for every day of your stay. On August 11, when you book your FastPass for the whole stay, the last day (October 20) will be 71 days into the future. No problem with Flight of Passage availability at that point!
Now you see (if you hadn’t already) that people are booking their FastPass well before the 60 day mark. Maybe their stay began a week before yours. So it is possible that all FastPass for a ride like Flight of Passage could be gone 60 days prior. Keep in mind that this is not a problem for the vast majority of attractions. You can book fantastic choices at 30 days prior or even the day before. Just not Flight of Passage. So if that’s a must-do, plan ahead!
2. Is it true that you can book FastPass at 60 days prior for everyone in your traveling group – even the members of the family who are not staying in Disney resorts? That can’t be true?
It’s true! Disney wants you to have the ability to make plans with your whole traveling group – both on-property guests and off-property! It would be pretty depressing if you had to give up some of the best rides in order to wait for the 30 day booking window to make plans with your friends who are staying off-property. Your friends are lucky! You can give them a Magical Pass to the 60 day booking window! The only thing required is that the family members and friends you’re touring with are linked to you on your My Disney Experience account. They can either have MDE accounts of their own or whether you create profiles for them in your own MDE. If they have their own MDE accounts, you just go to the My Family & Friends List on your MDE, scroll to the bottom of the page, and choose “Add a Guest” and follow the prompts. They have to accept your invitation, and their profile will then pop up on your Family & Friends List.
When it’s time to book your FastPass, you have to include at least one resort guest in the group you’re choosing FastPass for. If you do that, you’ll see that your 60 days window is intended to extend over your friends who are staying off property. Remember that if you attempt to book FastPass for only an off-property guest, the FastPass window will be 30 days. The intent is that they enjoy the 60 day window only if they’re going on rides with resort guests! Once their FastPass are booked, you can modify them just as you would any FatPass. It’s only the original booking that’s a little tricky.
3. I heard that it’s no longer possible for Grandma to give her MagicBand to the kids so they can use her FastPass, if she decides to stay at the resort for a nap – true?
Yes and no! The fact is, using someone else’s MagicBand for FastPass was always a no-no. It’s always been true that Disney asks each guest to use only the FastPass that were booked for their own profile. They’ll access these FastPass with their own MagicBand (or card – you don’t have to wear a MagicBand if you prefer a card – just ask for one at the front desk). So Grandma was never supposed to give her MagicBand to the kids for FastPass use. If she decides it’s just too hot at the Magic Kingdom, she shouldn’t give her MagicBand to anyone else!
So Grandma’s FastPass selections just go to waste? No – that’s not a good thing. You can sprinkle a little pixie dust over other anonymous guests if you simply cancel Grandma’s FastPass selections. Let someone else enjoy them! Another option that Disney provides is called Change Party. You’ll see Change Party at the bottom of the screen after choosing to “View Details” of a FastPass selection.
You can use Change Party at any time before your trip as you’re making plans and changing plans, to swap FastPass bookings from one profile to another. You can also use it on the day of your trip. You’re required to first use all three prebooked FastPass selections before booking a fourth. To book the fourth, you can have a look at what’s available via the MDE on your mobile device (remember Disney has free wifi throughout the parks and resorts!). Or you could transfer over one of Grandma’s FastPasses with Change Party. Remember it’s necessary to use all three of your own FastPass first! If your last FastPass is in the evening, then Change Party won’t work. But if it’s earlier in the day (which is the way to go – it’s the only way Disney allows you to book a 4th or 5th FastPass), then go ahead and Change Party. You can’t transfer all of Grandma’s FastPasses — only one at a time. And of course you can only transfer a FastPass whose window is still in the future. Some people might find it easier just to cancel out all Grandma’s FastPasses for other guests to enjoy – then book your own 4th FastPass from the general pool. Chances are you’ll find some great options.
While there has been no change in the FastPass policy – there has been some change to its implementation. Let’s say Grandma doesn’t realize that she shouldn’t give her MagicBand to the grandkids. (It might easily not occur to her. She’ll think, “I paid for the ticket, I’m entitled to give my FastPass to the grandkids.” She’s wrong, if she lends that MagicBand!) So let’s say Grandma doesn’t understand the rules, and she lends the MagicBand. Her grandson has no trouble using her band to enter the FastPass attractions. They’ll say to you, “What were you worrying about, Mom??”
But there was something to worry about! Yes, the band will work to enter the FastPass attraction. But, behind the scenes, Disney is tracking the use of bands that used FastPass that didn’t also enter the parks. If you do this, your MDE could be flagged. After a number of days of repeated FASTPASS borrowing, the MDE profile will be frozen and you won’t be able to book more FastPass. You’ll have to call guest services to explain that Grandma didn’t understand the rules. To avoid that embarrassment — keep an eye on Grandma – and everyone else in the group. Everyone uses only their own MagicBand for FastPass! There’s only one kind of Frozen that you want to be part of at Disney – and it’s a ride in Epcot!!