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Walt Disney World's Fastpass+ system is more complicated than other Fastpass systems. This post covers the basic rules of Fastpass+ that any Disney World visitor needs to know. Once you finish, or if you think you've got the rules down already, check out our Walt Disney World Fastpass+ strategy post, which covers the details of getting every magical minute out of Fastpass+.
1. It's Free, and it's up to you to get the leg up on everyone
Unlike some other Disney resorts, where you can pay for Fastpass privileges, Fastpass+ is available to everyone equally (well, see #2) for free. This means that it is up to you how much you prepare in order to get a leg up on the competition (other guests). You can't buy your way into this one, but neither can they.
2. If you're staying at Certain Hotels, you can make reservations 60 days in advance of your trip.
Guests at Disney resorts and other certain hotels have access to Fastpass+ reservations 60 days in advance (rather than the standard 30 days). At 7AM Eastern Time, 60 days before the first day of your trip, you can start to make Fastpass+ reservations. Once the 60 days are triggered, you're able to make reservations for the entire duration of your stay, including if you have stays at multiple hotels (as long as those stays are back-to-back). Naturally, this means the longer your trip, the more options you have.
You can make reservations online or via the My Disney Experience app.
Everyone else can make reservations 30 up to days into the future if they have a park ticket.
3. You can make three advance reservations per day at a single park.
Each Fastpass+ reservation is a one-hour slot, and your reservations cannot overlap. As we discuss in our Fastpass+ strategy post, we recommend making these across the late-morning, early-afternoon times. Note that none of this means you can't book a specific park on two days. How you schedule your park and Fastpass+ days is up to you.
4. Three Parks Have "Tiered" Selections
At Animal Kingdom, Epcot, and Hollywood Studios, the rides are split into tiers. You can only make an advance reservation for one Tier 1 ride each day. Your remaining two slots must be filled with Tier 2 rides.
5. You can modify your reservations once they're made, as long as you stay within the rules.
This is important because it means you're not stuck with what you book on the 60th day out. Fastpass+ availability comes and goes and people make and change their reservations, so if you're at all unhappy with the reservations you got, you'll want to keep trying to get times that work for you.
6. You can modify your second and third reservations once you use your first one.
It's sixth on this list, but we consider this to be the biggest rule that even Disney experts forget when talking about Fastpass+. Every Fastpass+ reservation, including your first one of the day, blocks off an entire hour during which you can't get a reservation. But once you use a reservation, you're free to book during that hour, meaning you can move up your second or third reservation. Again, we discuss this in more detail here.
7. Once you use OR ABANDON your first three reservations, you can made a fourth, and when you use that you can make a fifth, and so on.
Too many people think Fastpass+ is all about your first three reservations. With bigger groups, this is more the case, but with smaller groups, the fun really starts once you get past those three reservations. You can often find reservations within 5 to 20 minutes for rides that have hour+ standby waits if you spend a little time searching.
When we want to get rides in, we are on our phones checking out our Fastpass apps as soon as we've used a Fastpass, looking for the next one. Importantly, you don't even have to use your first three Fastpass reservations to do this. You can abandon them! Don't let two reservations hours into the future hold you back if they don't have to.