Editor's Note: We frogs love nothing more than helping you all have the very best theme park vacation, so we're very excited to introduce our brand-new, downloadable Guide to FastPass+. We've written extensively about this topic on this post and others, and we've taken all of that advice and boiled it down into one easy-to-read, take-it-with-you-anywhere format. The Frog Family Guide to FastPass+ covers all of the basics, including instructions for making reservations, FastPass+ priorities by park, kiosk locations and our very best tips!
For you first-timers or those of you who haven't been in awhile, one of the biggest mysteries surrounding the Disney World vacation is FastPass+. Fully launched in 2014, the FastPass+ service aims to provide guests with a more efficient and personalized Disney World vacation through the use of RFID technology.
We have put together this guide to provide an overview of the service, how it works and tips you can use to make the best decisions for your family. Those of you who are familiar with FastPass+ can skip the FAQs and head straight to the resources below.
What is FastPass+?
FastPass+ is Disney's reservation system that allows guests to book advance reservations for experiences and attractions in the park. Guests staying at a Walt Disney World Resort hotel can make FastPass+ reservations up to 60 days in advance of check-in for their entire length of stay, while guests staying offsite can make reservations up to 30 days in advance of each day of their theme park visit. FastPass+ replaced the original FASTPASS system in the parks, and physical FASTPASS tickets are no longer distributed. Your FastPass+ selections are stored with your My Disney Experience profile on your tickets or MagicBands.
What are MagicBands?
MagicBands are rubber bracelets that contain an embedded RFID (radio frequency identification) chip and function similarly to regular RFID park tickets. They both offer touch-and-go functionality at the park entrances and FastPass+ attraction queues. The bracelets are more practical since you don't have to fumble in your pocket or backpack for tickets every time you enter a park or use FastPass+. Just make sure the Mickey head on the bracelet, which contains the RFID chip, touches the Mickey head RFID reader! The MagicBands offer additional (optional) functionality if you are a resort guest. They serve as your room key. You also can associate a credit card with the band so that you can touch to pay for purchases at the resort after you have entered your pin.
Do I need a MagicBand?
No, physical tickets offer the same functionality as MagicBands. But you may find that MagicBands are more convenient for entering the parks and FastPass+ queues and having photos taken by PhotoPass photographers since you don't have to fumble in a backpack or pocket for tickets. Additionally, guests wearing MagicBands will find that their on-ride photos and videos at select attractions are automagically uploaded to their My Disney Experience accounts. (Guests without MagicBands would need to touch their ticket to the RFID readers at the ride photo area to associate their photos to their account.)
How do I get a MagicBand?
If you are staying at a Walt Disney World Resort, all members of your party will be given MagicBands free of charge. Depending on how far in advance you book your resort stay, you will have the option of choosing the colors of your bands and have them shipped to you (not available in all countries). Your MagicBand serves as your room key and can be used to make purchases at the resort during your hotel stay. Guests using Disney's Magical Express transportation will also use them at check-in, so you shouldn't put them in your checked baggage if you are flying to Orlando.
If you are not staying at a resort, you have the option of purchasing the bands in the park for $12.95 + tax or online. You no longer have to link your MagicBand in the park now, so you can purchase bands as gifts or to use later.
How do I make FastPass+ reservations?
First, you need to purchase tickets. We recommend purchasing early enough so that they arrive before your 60 day (resort guest) and 30 day (non-resort guest) booking window opens. When you have your tickets, you will need to create an account on Disney World's My Disney Experience website in order to make FastPass+ reservations. To make reservations for friends and family, you will need to add their name (such as for a child) or send an email invitation to connect through a Disney account. Everyone whom you wish to make FastPass+ reservations for must have valid tickets linked to their account. Once you and your party members' accounts are linked, you then need to link your tickets. While the process is fairly straightforward, we have found it is easier to use the app since you can actually scan your ticket number rather than having to key it in manually. (We recommend this process if you have older, non-RFID tickets.) For those of you who are close to your FastPass+ booking window, once your order has been processed, you can contact our customer service to obtain your ticket number to link your tickets in My Disney Experience.
Once your tickets are linked, you will be walked through the process of making FastPass+ reservations. You will then be presented with a selection of one-hour windows for available attractions and entertainment for your selected date and park. Once you've made your selections, you can then further modify times for those selected attractions. You can also swap or cancel those selections.
Can I still make advance FastPass+ reservations if I plan to purchase a MagicBand later?
Yes. If you decide to purchase a MagicBand later, you can still make FastPass+ reservations in advance and those selections will be stored with your My Disney Experience profile and linked with your ticket and MagicBand. Your tickets will continue to function even if you use a MagicBand.
How many reservations can I make?
Guests can make three advance reservations for rides and experiences per day via the My Disney Experience website, the app or the in-park kiosks. Those three reservations must be made for use in one park only. Note that at Epcot and Disney's Hollywood Studios a tiered structure is in place for the most in-demand attractions. Guests can make only one selection from the Tier 1 attractions and entertainment and two selections from the Tier 2 list at those parks.
How do I use FastPass+ in the park?
When you're ready to use your FastPass+ reservation in the park, head to the attraction or entertainment experience during your allotted time. You will look for the FastPass+ queue at the attraction, and touch your ticket or MagicBand to the Mickey RFID reader for entry.
Just three reservations per day?
You can obtain an additional FastPass+ entitlement via the park kiosks once you have used your first three (or the reservation time for all three selections has passed). This can be at any park, and it can be any attraction (even if you've already booked FastPasses for Tier 1 attractions at Disney's Hollywood Studios and Epcot). Once you have used that FastPass+ selection or the window has passed, you are free to make another selection via the in-park kiosk. And so on and so on.
Once you've made an additional FastPass+ reservation from the kiosk, you can modify that reservation, including changing the time or replacing the attraction with something else, via the app. Not everyone in the party must be present to add the FP+ selection, but the person making the reservation does need all of the tickets or MagicBands at the kiosk in order to load the selection onto the guests' media. If you are park hopping, you can only book Fastpass+ selections at the kiosk for the park you are currently in. So, if you are at Disney's Hollywood Studios and have used all three of your FP+ allotments, and are now hopping over to Magic Kingdom and want an additional selection, you must go to a kiosk at Magic Kingdom. Your reservation cannot be made at Disney's Hollywood Studios for a different park.
What if I am late/need to modify my reservations?
If you are late by a few minutes on your slotted time for an attraction, you should still be allowed to enter the attraction. If you are going to be more than a few minutes late, you should re-book the experience for a later time, although the cast member at the FastPass+ queue has the discretion to let you in. If you no-show for an attraction, it counts against your daily allotment of FastPasses. You can modify reservations using the website, app or in-park kiosks.
We've written extensively about FastPass+. Here are some of our most relevant posts.
Still have questions about Disney's FastPass+? We're here to help! Share your questions in comments below.
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