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We've previously written about the Fastpass+ strategy that we swear by, but we didn't load that post with examples. It's been a while since we did a trip on July 4, one of the busiest days according to the Walt Disney World crowd calendars, where we were focused 100% on getting rides in, but at a recent trip we did have a few moments where we applied our strategy to avoid some big waits. Here are some examples of our Fastpass strategy at work.
This trip took place over July 4 and July 5, so crowds were a bit heavier than usual due to the holiday, though it was still the middle of the week. The wait times we give are the observed wait times from Touring Plans.
Moving our Fastpass Reservations to save 100 Minutes by Noon
This day was a bit weird. We actually had a Fastpass for Na'vi River Journer in Animal Kingdom, but it wasn't working when our window hit, so we wound up with a "Multiple Experiences" Fastpass for Animal Kingdom. Because we didn't use our three Fastpass slots, we were able to pull out our My Disney Experience app and grab three for Hollywood Studios. I'm not 100% sure how that detail works, but what matters is we wound up with Fastpass reservations for
Toy Story Mania! at 10:25
Tower of Terror at 11:45
Star Tours at 1PM.
At 10:27, we used our first Fastpass of the day, the 10:25 for Toy Story Mania! As soon as we were past the Fastpass checkpoint for Toy Story Mania!, we looked into moving our 11:45 Tower of Terror Fastpass up. We were able to move it all the way up to 10:50, nearly an hour early. Keep in mind that we could not have booked our Fastpass+ this way originally—we needed to use our 10:25 Toy Story Fastpass before we could move the Tower of Terror Fastpass up.
With Tower of Terror moved up, we were also able to move up our Star Tours to 12:25 and then to 11:55. Just by changing Fastpass in the morning, we moved our third ride all the way up to when our second one was originally set for—that's an hour saved! So our morning actually wound up looking like:
Toy Story Mania! at 10:25 (originally 10:25)
Tower of Terror at 10:50 (originally 11:45)
Star Tours at 11:55 (originally 1PM)
Once in line for Star Tours at 12:01, we were able to grab our fourth Fastpass of the day, a 12:15 for Toy Story Mania! while the wait for that ride was a 45 minutes. Since we wouldn't get in line for Toy Story until probably 12:15 anyways (we still had to ride Star Tours and then walk over there), we had taken a 45 minute wait down to 0.
That was all for that morning, so let's recap the results:
We saved 65 minutes by moving our Fastpasses once in line for Toy Story because we were able to get our third Fastpass for Star Tours from 1PM up to 11:55.
We saved another 45 minutes by skipping the Toy Story queue with our fourth Fastpass of the day.
That's 1 hour and 40 minutes saved, and that was all by 12:30. We had ridden Toy Story Mania! twice, Star Tours, and Tower of Terror. To top it off, this was after rope dropping a different park!
We took the bus back to Animal Kingdom (we still had our Multiple Experiences pass that we eventually used for Na'vi River Journey) and on the way at 12:20 grabbed a 1:15 Fastpass for Expedition Everest.
Our Fastpass+ Strategy at Work in Magic Kingdom on July 5
The next day was our Flights of Passage Fastpass, so we used that and then decided to head to Magic Kingdom. Note that we had three Fastpasses scheduled for Animal Kingdom, but due to how our previous day went, we made the decision to abandon two of them and start getting new ones. You don't have to use your original three to get a fourth Fastpass, you can cancel them instead if that makes sense.
A search on the My Disney Experience app at 11:17AM for a noon fastpass to Space Mountain said we'd have to wait until 5PM. We kept trying, though, and by 11:23 had booked an 11:35 slot for Space Mountain when the wait was already at 65 minutes!
Think about that a second. Any two people getting in the Space Mountain at 11:23 could have done the same (subject to the Fastpass restrictions) and saved themselves 53 minutes.
We took a break for lunch during which we focused on trying to find a Snow White Fastpass (no luck). Then at 12:14 we grabbed a 12:25 slot for Buzz, when the wait was 45 minutes—34 minutes saved. Then at 12:32, we grabbed a 12:45 for Haunted Mansion, when the wait was 40 minutes (27 minutes saved).
We kept it up, and at 12:58 we grabbed a 1:10 for Pirates of the Caribbean (45 minutes wait, 33 minutes saved), and then at 1:27 we grabbed a 1:45 for Winnie the Pooh (35 minute wait, 17 minutes saved).
So, by 1:45 on July 5, even though we rope dropped a different park and didn't get to Magic Kingdom until about 11;30, we had ridden Space Mountain, Buzz Lightyear, Haunted Mansion, Pirates of the Caribbean, and Winnie the Pooh. That's an average wait + ride time of 15 minutes for rides that had waits from 35 to 65 minutes. Adding it up, we saved about 3 hours by 1:45.
Remember, Disney's Fastpass+ doesn't cost a cent. By mastering it, you're saving on the amount of time you need to experience the parks, and that can be a great way to wind up saving money if you can shave a day or two off your trip.
All Your Other Disney World Planning Questions Answered
Don't be overwhelmed by Disney World planning! Take a second to check out our most important content and you'll not only be an expert, but you'll save big $$$ along the way.
Just starting out? Check out our Walt Disney World planning guide! If you're still picking dates, we've got everything you need to know about Disney crowd calendars. For picking your hotel, check out our Walt Disney World hotels guide.
When it comes time to book we’ll help you find discount Disney World tickets. Decide whether you need a dining plan in our Complete Guide to Disney World Dining Plans! And at 180 days out it's time to book those Disney World Advance Dining Reservations!
Don't forget to master your Disney World FastPass+ strategy a few months in advance. We'll keep you out of long lines so you can maximize the magical time in the parks! We've got park-specific guides as well: Magic Kingdom FastPass, Epcot FastPass, Animal Kingdom FastPass, and Hollywood Studios FastPass.
Know what to ride with our guides to: Magic Kingdom rides, Hollywood Studios rides, Epcot rides, and Animal Kingdom rides! Plus learn about the water parks with our guide to Blizzard Beach and our guide to Typhoon Lagoon! And for some some fun prep, check out our Ranking of Every Ride at Walt Disney World.
Finally, before you head out, be sure to check out our to-the-point packing list, 10 essentials you forget to pack for every Disney trip. And if you're interested in saving, there's no better list than our 53 Ways to Save on your Disney trip from start to finish.