Fast Pass Plus Strategery

Sunday, December 28, 2014 1:44 PM

Just picking your collective minds on some Fast Pass + advice. We'll be headed to Disney in March and this is my first time using this new system. For those of you who don't know, we get to choose 3 Fast Passes 60 days before our trip (as a resort guest), and that is coming up in a few days. After your initial 3 are gone, you can get another, and so on and so on.

Our day in the Magic Kingdom will be a Wednesday (3/4), and every crowd predictor on the planet says the crowds will be moderate at worst as it's not a peak time (although about a week away from that). The park opens at 9, and for this day we plan on getting there right when the park opens.

We have two little girls who positively must meet Elsa and Anna, so that's one for sure; the Mine Train is another, but here's my question:

We have dinner at Be Our Guest around 4:00 PM. Our daughters would also love to do Enchanted Tales with Belle which is right next door. My initial plan is to snag our 3rd early FP for Peter Pan, and then try to get a FP later in the day for Belle for a 3 - 4 PM window, but that means I'm counting on those FP's to be available.

For those of you somewhat familiar with this system, do the FP's generally run out? In other words, how safe of a gamble do you think it is to hope that a FP for Enchanted Tales with Belle would be available for around 3:00?

Last edited by OhioStater, Sunday, December 28, 2014 2:02 PM
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Monday, December 29, 2014 1:14 AM

Remember that it's three passes per day. FP for Mine Train and Peter Pan tend to disappear, but honestly, if you get to Mine Train at opening, you'll wait under 45 minutes. I haven't noticed Belle selling out, but I honestly never looked very hard.

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Monday, December 29, 2014 10:27 AM

Just so I don't start another thread, we're doing Disneyland the second week of March and I have similar questions about FP+. How do you get more passes after you book your first 3? And which rides/show/experiences should I book in advance, which should I try to get in park (if you can even do that) and which should I just go standby for? And what does the app do for you?

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Monday, December 29, 2014 10:50 AM

At WDW, I believe additional passes can only be had from the terminals on-site after your daily three. They may have changed that rule so you can use the app, but I don't know.

The biggest thing about using the system is keeping in mind that you don't have to keep what they give you. Once you get the three attractions that you want, you can generally change the times instead of taking what they give you.

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Monday, December 29, 2014 11:07 AM

Andy, what dates are you going? I'm gonna be there in March likely around the same time.

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Monday, December 29, 2014 11:19 AM

Thanks, Jeff (for above). What we're doing this time around is dedicating 1 day for each of the 4 parks. The more people I've asked, the more it seems like Belle will more than likely be available at a later time as well, especially the time of year we are going. I'm trying to set it up so that our girls get the Enchanted Belle experience right before dinner at Be our Guest...how cool would that be for them? :)

And Andy, Jeff is right. I spoke with Disney last night about our trip, and currently using a kiosk in the park is still the only way you can add your next FP+ after using your initial three.

What you choose to book in advance is totally up to you. It's forcing me to be a planner which goes against almost every "visiting a park" instinct that I have, but I now have a three-fastpass gameplan for each of the 4 parks at WDW.

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Monday, December 29, 2014 11:21 AM

The thing is to have your 3 reserved passes for early in the day. If your last pass is late, there is no point in trying to get a 4th later as the only thing left will be stuff you don't want or for attractions that don't need one.

Disneyland is still using the old fastpasses no fastpass+ yet.

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Monday, December 29, 2014 11:32 AM

Agreed, if you're making a day of it. Get early stuff. Things like Space Mountain, Big Thunder, etc., are easy to get day-of for later (otherwise we'd never go as locals).

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Monday, December 29, 2014 11:55 AM

In March we were able to get our additional FP reservations on the app. But the three we had originally either had to be used already or changed to what was newly available. After those were used we could ask for more.
That was an upgrade that was added the week we were there, much to our surprise.

The app was the best feature of the system, much better than trying to do anything at home on the pc. Be sure to use it. It updated ride times and things like that as well. It was pretty speedy most of the time.

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Monday, December 29, 2014 1:46 PM

I find the app and the web to be completely horrible, slow experiences.

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Monday, December 29, 2014 6:26 PM

We're going 3/10-14 and probably hitting Magic Mountain on the morning of the 14th as well. Word on the street is that Matterhorn, Soarin', and Splash Mountain will be down all week.

So how useful is park hopper at this point? I assume I'm going to get early times for FP+, just so I can grab a bunch more fast passes after I use my 3 up. It seems like if I'm going to be planning that far in advance, I might as well just plan to do one park. Hopper is really for flexibility which seems at odds with this much planning. Also, we're going with grandma and grandpa who don't really ride big rides. Is there anything preventing us from using their FP+'s for different rides so that we and the kids have more? Finally, does this mean that if I use a FP+ for one of the late shows (Fantasmic, World of Color) I'm pretty much locking myself out of other FP's for the day?

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Monday, December 29, 2014 7:01 PM

Andy,

From my understanding DisneyLand, for whatever reason, has not yet implemented the FastPass Plus system now used at WDW.

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Monday, December 29, 2014 8:41 PM

Wow. I could have sworn I saw that it had somewhere, but now I can't find any mention of it. Well, that saves me a lot of time before hand (and probably makes my wake up times an hour earlier during).

Anyone have any recommendations on "must get" fastpasses at either park? And how to maximize the use of fastpasses? (I still have no idea when it decides you are allowed to get a new one).

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Monday, December 29, 2014 10:08 PM

Oh you're going to Disneyland. I'll be at Disney World ;-).

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Tuesday, December 30, 2014 8:49 AM

Andy,

There is little need to park hop at Disneyland anymore as DCA is now a full day park, even with Soarin' down during your visit. As for a a FP strategy, here is what I would suggest:

General
1. Get to both parks ahead of rope drop to maximize your day. Take a break in the afternoon if you need to but don't skip out on the morning.

2. Disneyland offers early admission to one of the parks each day for its hotel guests and dozens of other hotels. Look up which park is offered and head to the other park that day (for example, if hotel guests get into DCA that day, head to DL and vice versa).

3. Snatch a Fastpass as soon as you're eligible for one (times are noted on the passes). Don't redeem and ride or get in a standby queue without grabbing another one first, effectively allowing you to do two things at once. If you do this right you can avoid waiting in major queues all day (with the exception of Toy Story Mania which is standby only).

Disneyland

Note: this accounts for both Splash Mountain and Matterhorn down for refurb. At this point the FP rides to prioritize are Indiana Jones and Space Mountain, which you will want to ride multiple times. Here goes:

1. Get to the park before rope drop.
2. Grab a FastPass for Indiana Jones
3. Ride Indiana Jones via standby.
4. If you can, grab a Fastpass for Big Thunder Mountain. If not, ride Big Thunder via standby.
5. Grab a ShowPass for Fantasmic, giving you an assigned viewing area for that night's show if you're interested. It doesn't impact other FastPasses you're holding.
6. Ride Pirates of the Carribbean via standby.
7. Should be time to cash in that Indy FastPass. Head that way to ride and grab another Indy pass.
8. Head to Tomorrowland. If Space Mountain's queue is 20 mins or less, get in line. Do that or ride Star Tours or Buzz until you're eligible for a Space FastPass. Grab that as soon as you can.

This should get you at least three rides on both Space and Indy before lunch. Even if you don't continue at this "pace" you'll have plenty of time to experience all the great stuff this park has to offer. Just remember, don't wait for anything without a FastPass for something else in hand.

DCA

Without Soarin, the only strategy needed here is for Carsland. Radiator Springs Racers (RSR) is on its own FP network, meaning holding a FP here doesn't restrict you from grabbing other ones, just like the ShowPasses.

1. Get to the park ahead of rope drop. Join the line for an RSR FastPass. It will look long but once it starts moving you'll get through quickly.
2. Pick up a FP for RSR.
3. Ride RSR via standby (if under 30 mins) or single rider (ditto).
4. Head out of Carsland to Paradise Pier. Grab a FastPass for Screamin'.
5. Ride Toy Story Mania via standby (if under 30 mins).
6. Ride Screamin via standby (if under 30 mins).
7. Grab another Screamin Fastpass.
8. Head to Grizzly River Rapids. Grab a ShowPass there for World of Color (also off the FP grid).
9. Ride or grab a FP for Grizzly River Rapids.
10. Head to Tower of Terror. Ride or grab a FP.

My strategy in both parks is the same: show up early to get some short standby waits and quick return FastPasses on the e-tickets so you can slow down and enjoy the parks the rest of the day. Even on crowded days this will give you your fix of the big stuff while affording you plenty of time to enjoy the little guys and atmosphere, which I enjoy just as much.

Have fun.

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Tuesday, December 30, 2014 9:21 AM

Awesome. Thanks.

Edit: Interesting. So even as a resort guest, it's not worth the extra crowding to have the extra magic hour?

Last edited by ApolloAndy, Tuesday, December 30, 2014 9:27 AM
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Tuesday, December 30, 2014 11:58 AM

^I would disagree and would highly recommend using the Early Hour if it's available to you. Especially if you're staying on-site.

To clarify: Only Disney Hotel Guests have access to DCA early entry. Disneyland early entry can be used by Disney Hotel Guest for their length of stay. Anyone staying off-site that has purchased at least a three-day ticket is entitled to one day of early entry at DL (which they call a "Magic Morning.")

You can get alot done in that extra hour, especially if it happens to be really early (like 7), especially if you're staying on site and can do it for DCA as well.
If you don't have Early Entry, I would recommend starting the day at the other park, but after the first hour or so it won't matter much which park you're in.

I would highly recommend getting a park hopper because it gives you more flexibility, you can get from one park to the other in less than five minutes, and sometimes wait times can be much shorter in one park than the other. I hopped constantly on my September trip and it gives you a lot more freedom to do what you want, when you want to do it.

One other thing to note: Radiator Springs Racers is no longer disconnected from the main FastPass network as of a few months ago.

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Wednesday, December 31, 2014 12:04 AM

Good to know about RSR now being on the grid, that changes things. Also good to know about early admission policies as well, thanks for clarifying. As long as the FP policies remains as-is, I wouldn't change much of my strategy recommendation. As far as park hopping, I guess it depends on your outlook. My last visit to DCA in early 2014 I felt totally content spending a full day there in terms of attractions, atmosphere and food. That wouldn't have been the case in the past; the makeover was transformational in my book. Hopping would have only impaired that, ditto for DL.

Again, you'll have fun either way. Cheers.

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Wednesday, December 31, 2014 12:38 AM

So it's well past Midnight on our 60-day-out deadline, and Disney's website is refusing to let me make any Fast Pass + reservations. It's saying that I am able to start making these resverations on March 1st, which is our check-in day.

To make it better, no one is available to help until 7 AM.

I'm out of ideas. Anyone?

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Wednesday, December 31, 2014 9:07 AM

Knowing how terrible their software situation is, perhaps it's running on Pacific time and looking at your reservation in Eastern time. :)

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