The Ultimate Disney FastPass Secrets!
So you’ve booked your tickets and are all ready to head to Disney! Now when you go to Disney, there is one thing you’ll be sure to face – crowds. There will always be crowds – they just get smaller or larger depending on the time of year that you visit. One awesome way to deal with those crowds is to use the FastPass+ system to skip the lines in certain rides.
This post will walk you through the Disney FastPass secrets you need to stay to beat the crowds to the rides you want to experience most. Keep reading for an overview of the FastPass+ system used in Disney World and stayed tuned for information on how that differs from FastPasses in Disneyland.
Disney World FastPass Secrets
Let’s get right into FastPass secrets for Walt Disney World – home to the most visited theme park in the world (Magic Kingdom).
Disney FastPass+ Overview
The FastPass+ system is honestly the best “skip-the-line” system of any theme park out there. Here are a few secrets about this system that you should know before you book:
- Secret #1: You must use the My Disney Experience website or app to initially book your FastPass+ options.
- Secret #2: You must purchase park tickets before you book your FastPass + options. This is a biggie – particularly if you are visiting the park during a busy time of year like Christmas.
- Secret #3: There is a limit to how early you can book your FastPasses. If you are staying (already have a reservation at) a Disney-owned resort, you can book them 2 months early. If you are not staying at a Disney-owned resort, you can book them 1 month early.
- Secret #4: For every park except the Magic Kingdom, there are FastPass tiers, which means you are limited to booking 1-2 options from each tier only. We’ll get into this in further detail as we talk park specifics.
- Secret #5: You FastPass+ and your ticket will be one and the same, whether you use a card or an armband. Hold them close – especially if you have small children.
- Secret #6: You can only book 3 FastPass+ options per person, per day for one theme park. If you use all of your FastPasses relatively early, there are FastPass kiosks where you can go to add additional passes to your ticket. Note: You can do this on the app as well.
- Secret #7: Passes are usually dispersed across a few hours. Meaning you’ll likely get a morning, afternoon, and late afternoon/evening pass when selecting your options.
- Secret #8: You’ll be given a starting and ending time that lasts for one hour for each of your passes.
- Secret #9: If your ride is impacted by poor weather or technical difficulties, you’ll be given the option to select an option a many of the other rides in the park. You should get a notification on the app when this happens, and can make changes from there.
- Secret #10: For detailed instructions on how to book your FastPass+ options, visit my Ultimate Guide to Disney Trip Planning.
RELATED: The Best US Cities for Vacation
Magic Kingdom FastPass Secrets
When people think of Disney World, they usually think of this park first. It is THE most popular theme park in the world, after all. For Secret #11, this is the only theme park in Disney World that does not have ride tiers. This means the only limitations you have on what you book is availability and the total number of allotted passes (3).
Secret #12: There are certain rides that are more popular than others, and my personal preference is to get a FastPass for some of the following rides when visiting the park, as the lines are typically quite long (over 40 minutes):
- Peter Pan’s Flight: I think this ride is uber popular because it appeals to all ages, involves flying, and is a nice break from the more speedy rides. No height requirement.
- Space Mountain: One of the park’s most well-known landscapes, this zippy coaster in the dark is a lot of fun! Height requirement = 44 inches.
- Seven Dwarf’s Mine Train: One of the newer amusements in the park, this open-air mid-speed roller coaster takes you on an adventure with the seven dwarfs of Snow White fame. Height requirement = 38 inches.
- Splash Mountain: The only true water ride in the park, this ride features a few high drops and you sail through the classic Disney movie “Song of the South”. I don’t recommend riding this one in the cooler months as you will get wet. Height requirement = 40 inches.
- Buzz Lightyear’s Space Range Spin: If you like video games, this is a great ride to work on your aim as you shoot your way through Buzz Lightyear’s space world. No height requirement.
- Jungle Cruise: Ride through the “jungle” to see some pretty realistic animals and escape poachers along the way. No height requirement.
Secret #13: There are other rides that are popular, which only have long lines during extremely busy seasons (i.e., major holidays)
- The Haunted Mountain: This somewhat spooky ride takes you through a large haunted house full of ghosts and ghouls. There is no height requirement, but this ride did freak me out a little bit as a kid.
- Pirates of the Caribbean: One of my favorite rides, and now the basis for the ever-popular movies, this dark ride takes you through a pirate’s adventure during colonial times. There is a small drop in the ride, but pretty much suitable for all ages. No height requirement.
- Enchanted Tales with Belle: This is a multi scene and interactive meet-and-greet experience with the characters from Beauty and the Beast. I’ve never done it myself, but hear that the kids love it!
Secret #14: If I didn’t mention a ride above, that means you don’t need a FastPass for it. The rest of the rides don’t typically have lines long enough for you to use one of your limited choices for.
Secret #15: As I mentioned, there are kiosks where you can “refill” your passes once they are used up. You can find them near the following locations:
- Stitch’s Great Escape (Tomorrowland)
- Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin (Tomorrrowland)
- Swiss Family Robinson Treehouse (Adventureland)
- Jungle Cruise (Adventureland)
- Mickey’s PhilharMagic (Fantasyland)
- Pete’s Silly Sideshow (Storybook Circus)
Epcot FastPass Secrets
Epcot is known Future World and the World Pavilion. It has a wonderful variety of restaurants and often features different types of festivals throughout the year.
Secret #16: FastPass Tiers are in use at Epcot, and the rides are broken up as shown below:
Tier 1 (Top Experiences)
- Soarin’ Around the World*: Fly over the world in this experience which mimics using a hang glider. It’s really quite cool, and often has lines of 100+ minutes long. Height requirement = 40 inches.
- Test Track*: Build your experimental car and test out its performance on a track that tops out at 65 miles per hour! Height requirement = 40 inches.
- Illuminations: Reflections of Earth: This is a really nice fireworks show that usually comes on every night at Epcot. The FastPass gives you the option to see the show up close, but you can honestly see it anywhere in the park. No height requirement.
- Epcot Character Spot: If getting character signature is your kids’ (or your) goal, this is the spot to do it! Note, I don’t think a FastPass is necessary with the park isn’t busy. No height requirement.
- Frozen Ever After*: Ride through Norway with Elsa and company. If you have a kid who still can’t stop singing “Let it Go”, you have to do it. No height requirement.
Tier 2 (Secondary Experiences)
- Mission: SPACE*: Ride on a test mission to Mars (or around Earth) depending on the intensity of the ride you choose. Note, the line is usually around 30 minutes, except for the busy season. Height requirement = 40 inches.
- The Seas with Nemo and Friends: Ride through the seas and experience characters from the movie. No height requirement.
- Spaceship Earth*: Ride inside the iconic Epcot ball for a lesson on history of innovation throughout the world. There is usually no real line, except during the bigger holidays. No height requirement.
- Journey Into Imagination with Figment: Ride through a science lab and test things with the Epcot mascot Figment. This ride is most suited to small kids, and there is no height requirement.
- Living with the Land*: Learn about farming achievements of the past and present on this boat ride. There is typically no line for this one. No height requirement.
- Disney and Pixar Short Film Festival: Catch up on short films from Disney/Pixar (usually found at the start of a movie).
- Turtle Talk with Crush: Chat with crush through hydrophone (like the Monster’s Inc. Laugh Floor). No height requirement.
Secret #17: You can only book one “Tier 1” experience, but up to two “Tier 2” experiences at Epcot.
Secret #18: My personal recommendation is that you use your FastPasses for those rides I’ve marked above with an asterisk. For rides not listed above, there is no FastPass available, and lines are pretty short.
Secret #19: There are new rides coming to Epcot, likely next year, which may change these categories. A Ratatouille ride is coming to “Paris” and there will be a new Guardian’s of the Galaxy Ride as well.
Secret #20: Epcot FastPass+ Kiosks can be found near the following locations:
- International Gateway (World Showcase)
- Mission: SPACE Breezeway (FutureWorld East)
- Epcot Character Spot Breezeway (FutureWorld West)
Animal Kingdom FastPass Secrets
Animal Kingdom allows you to travel to Asia, Africa, and the magical land of Pandora. You have the opportunity to see lots of live animals here, all situated in habitats that seem natural.
Secret #21: FastPass Tiers are in use at Animal Kingdom, and the rides are broken up as shown below:
Tier 1 (Top Experiences)
- Avatar Flight of Passage*: In all of DisneyWorld, this is probably the second coolest ride (find out more on the coolest at Hollywood Studios). Fly a banshee through the forests of Pandora, and I promise you’ll never look at rides the same way again! This ride is super popular, and it’s unlikely you’ll get a pass if you don’t book two months in advance. Height requirement = 44 inches.
- Na’Vi River Journey: Sail through Pandora in a slow-paced boat and learn more about the planet’s natives. No height requirement.
Tier 2 (Secondary Experiences)
- DINOSAUR*: This is still one of my favorite rides in the park! Help a rouge scientist catch a dinosaur before an asteroid hits the planet. If you visit during the off-season months, the line may be shorter, especially towards the beginning or end of the day. Height requirement = 40 inches.
- Expedition Everest*: Ride Mount Everest on this thrilling roller coaster and escape from the abominable snowman in the process. There is a single rider option for this ride, if you don’t mind being split from your party. Height requirement = 44 inches.
- Kali River Rapids*: Ride river rapids through the Indian jungle. This ride is a bit bumpy, and oh, you WILL get wet. Height requirement = 38 inches.
- Festival of the Lion King: This is a wonderful show where all the songs you love from the movie are performed by live entertainers. I don’t recommend using your FastPass here, unless you really prefer to sit right up front. No height requirement.
- Finding Nemo – The Musical: This is a live show featuring large puppets to retell the story we all know and love. No height requirement.
- Kilimanjaro Safaris*: Ride through the African Savannah and see some impressive animal sightings, such as giraffes, lions, zebras, and hippopotamuses. No height requirement.
- Primeval Whirl: Spin and drop in a something similar to a slow roller coaster. Probably best enjoyed by kids. Height requirement = 48 inches.
- Meet Favorite Disney Pals at Adventurers Outpost: A great opportunity to meet and greet with characters from your favorite Disney movies. No height requirements.
Secret #22: You can only book one “Tier 1” experience, but up to three “Tier 2” experiences (depending on if there is Tier 1 availability).
Secret #23: My personal recommendation is that you use your FastPasses for those rides I’ve marked above with an asterisk. For rides not listed above at all, there is no FastPass available, and lines are pretty short.
Secret #24: Hollywood Studios FastPass+ Kiosks can be found near the following locations:
- Island Mercantile Store (Discovery Island)
- Kali River Rapids (Asia)
- Tusker House Restaurant (Africa)
RELATED: Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge Tips & Tricks
Hollywood Studios FastPass Secrets
Hollywood Studios gives you the chance to ride some of your favorite movies, and has recently undergone some significant changes. Most noticeably, the changes include the addition of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge as well as Toy Story Land.
Secret #25: FastPass Tiers are in use at Hollywood Studios, and the rides are broken up as shown below:
Tier 1 (Top Experiences)
- The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror*: This is a spooky ride that features many straight up and down drops. Perfect for riding once it gets dark, if you want the best experience, in my opinion. Height requirement = 40 inches.
- Slinky Dog Dash*: A fun kiddie-ish roller coaster made to simulate a slinky – it’s a pretty fun ride. Height requirement = 38 inches.
- Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster*: Probably the most grown-up roller coaster in all of Disney, this one begins with a surprising blast off, plenty of upside down loops in the dark, and lots of rock music to listen to along the way. Height requirement = 48 inches.
- Toy Story Mania!: Similar to the Buzz Lightyear ride at the Magic Kingdom, this ride is like a ride-a-long arcade game. No height requirement.
- Alien Swirling Saucers: Move in saucers very similar to the Tea Cup ride in Magic Kingdom. Most enjoyable for the kiddies. Height requirement = 32 inches.
Tier 2 (Secondary Experiences)
- Fantasmic!*: An evening show meant to show you magic of Disney while taking you through some of the Disney movies you love most. This was hugely popular when it first came out, and if you’re interested in the first showing, it’s unlikely you’ll get a seat without a FastPass. No height requirement.
- Indiana Jones Stunt Spectacular: If you are a fan of the Indiana Jones movies (or just stunts in general), this experience will let you learn a bit about the magic behind the movies. There isn’t usually a line for this experience, so I don’t think you should use your FastPass here, if you have other options. No height requirement.
- Star Tours: The Adventure Continues*: This is still one of my favorite rides, especially since they’ve modernized it and no two rides are the same. If you’ve seen the new Star Wars, you may catch how they’ve incorporated the new movie into the ride! Height Requirement = 40 inches.
- Voyage of the Little Mermaid: Watch live action / puppet show of the movie that we all know and love. No height requirement. There is little possibility that you will need a FastPass for this ride as the wait is usually just as long as the show ahead of you.
- Muppet*Vision 3D: Get your 3D glasses ready and watch a Muppet show hand made for the theme park. No height requirement.
- Beauty and Beast Live on Stage: See a live action show of Beauty and the Beast. There is usually not much of a line for this experience either – no need to get a FastPass here. No height requirement.
- Disney Junior Dance Party!: Probably just what you think it is – a dance party for kids and Disney characters. I’d only FastPass this if one or more of those things are big hits with your smaller kids. No height requirement.
- For the First Time in Forever: A Frozen Sing-Along Celebration: Another live action feature, this one features a meet and greet with Anna and Elsa at the conclusion of the show. No height requirement.
Secret #26: My personal recommendation is that you use your FastPasses for those rides I’ve marked above with an asterisk. For rides not listed above at all, there is no FastPass available, and lines are pretty short.
Secret #27: You can only book one “Tier 1” experience, but up to two “Tier 2” experiences at Hollywood Studios.
Popular Rides Not Eligible for FastPass+ (Secret #28)
If you’ve been anywhere near the news in the past few months, you know that Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge has been hugely popular since it opened last fall. Given its newness and popularity, the two latest additions to the park cannot be FastPassed at this point in time:
- Millennium Falcon: Smuggler’s Run: You can finally have your chance to drive the Millennium Falcon yourself! Aid the Resistance by smuggling key supplies from the First Order. You have the option to single ride this one or simply wait in line. I have a feeling that the FastPass option will open for this one soon though. Height requirement = 40 inches.
- Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance: Definitely the best ride/experience in all of Disney at the moment! I won’t even spoil it for you, but you HAVE to ride. To get on, as of January 2020, it’s important that you get to the park right when it opens to get a boarding pass. This boarding pass will provide the time that you can experience the ride. This is similar to FastPass+, but differs in that you can only sign up if you are physically in the park. Height requirement = 40 inches.
Secret #28: Hollywood Studios FastPass+ Kiosks can be found near the following locations:
- Toy Story Mania (Toy Story Land)
- Corner of Hollywood and Sunset (Hollywood Boulevard)
- Tower of Terror (Hollywood Boulevard)
- Muppet*Vision 3D (Muppets Theater)
In Summary | Ultimate FastPass Secrets
There you have it – the 28 Disney FastPass Secrets that you need to have a successful trip to Disney World. I hope you’ve found these helpful! For those of you who have made frequent trips to Disney before, let me know if you have other tips you’d recommend below!
Thank you for summarizing the information and sharing it with your reading audience. I enjoyed perusing this exclusive piece of writing!
You are welcome!