Tour Guide Tuesday – Break up FastPass times to get better choices for Walt Disney World attractions

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I have written several articles about the new FastPass+ system. However, today I am going to give you one of the most useful tips to securing the best attractions and times for your whole group. It is also one of the most overlooked.

When searching for FastPass reservations, it is common to see many of the popular attractions labeled with the dreaded “standby only.” However, before giving up on that attraction, it is important to understand how the reservation system works. Basically, it takes the number of guests you are requesting and looks for a one-hour “window” when their is availability for all of the guests. Often times, there is nothing available, especially for larger groups. This is when most guests get frustrated, and realize they will just have to wait in a long standby line for their desired attraction. Not so fast!

The next step is to reduce the number of guests from your original search. Whether you are using the My Disney Experience website, smartphone app, or in-park kiosk, you will go back a few screens and “uncheck” a few members of your group. For example, if there are four people in your family, reduce your search to two. There is now a much better chance of FastPass availability for the attraction you are looking for. If you still don’t see availability, you should now check for just one guest. Again, you are greatly increasing your odds by doing this.

At this point you may be thinking that this method sounds good, but what if all four members of my group want to ride the attraction? Once you find availability for one or two guests, there is a good chance you will find several open slots. So, it is possible for everyone in your group to ride, but it could be at different times of day. However, there is also a good chance that you could overlap different windows, allowing the whole party to still ride together. I’m going to give you a few examples of how this works.

Using the iPhone app, I searched for Seven Dwarfs Mine Train for 30 days from now. My original search for four guests turned up as “standby only.”

Standby Only – Four Guests

Next, I changed the search to two guests and was happy to see availability for between 9:20 and 10:20. After making the reservations for two, I then searched again for the second group of two in my party. I was able to get those FastPasses for between 9:40 and 10:40. So now my entire group of four guests can ride together between 9:40 and 10:20. Just a few minutes ago, there appeared to be no availability for my group. Using this method, all four guests will be enjoying the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train.

Overlapping Mine Train FastPass Windows

 

Sometimes you may find FastPass availability for an attraction you’d like, but it may be at a time of day that just won’t work for you. In this next example, I chose Toy Story Mania for my group of four guests. There was availability, but it wasn’t until 3:40.

Toy Story FastPass – Only Available Late in the Day for Four Guests

I wanted my guests to ride before lunch. When I went to alter the time, there were only two slots available, and they were both later than the original time. However, using the method I’ve described, I changed the time for each guest individually, and was able to get what I had hoped for. The first guest has a window of 11:10 to 12:10 and the last guest is from 11:55 to 12:55. So, instead of a full hour window for the whole group, it has been narrowed down to 15 minutes. However, as long as the group shows up between 11:55 and 12:10, they can all ride together!

As I mentioned above, this method also works while you are at an in-park kiosk. Now, most cast members know exactly how to do this, but they won’t necessarily go through the steps unless you ask. Here is an example from last week where my initial search for three guests turned up a “Meet Mickey” window that was much later in the evening. When I broke it down, I was able to grab three spots for right before dinner. This knowledge of how the system works can really make a difference while making an in-park FastPass decision.

In-Park FastPass Kiosk

Disney’s new FastPass+ system is certainly much different than the original paper version, and it has taken most of us a while to get used to. However, understanding how it works can make a huge difference in your Walt Disney World experience. My tour guests appreciate the fact that I take care of all of their FastPass planning, but I hope these tips help those of you who brave the parks on your own!

I hope you enjoy “Tour Guide Tuesday.” If you want additional tips while you’re in the parks, WDW Guided Tours is happy to help!

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