Skipping (Or Never Booking) Initial FastPass+ Reservations

We get asked a lot about skipping FastPass+ bookings at Walt Disney World. In particular, people often want to know how skipping (or not even booking) one of your first three FastPass+ reservations impacts your ability to get a fourth (and fifth, and sixth, etc.) FastPass+. If you’re unsure why anyone might want to do that, we’ll get to that very soon…but first, some introduction.

Recommended Reading

This post assumes you have a working understanding of FastPass+. You understand how the system works, and you just have to answer this “what if.” If you don’t have a working understanding of FastPass+, we have the following five posts (links open in new tabs):

About This Post

First, while I get asked this a lot, I was also partly inspired to tackle this issue by the folks over at Touring Plans discussing a version of it. So, hat tip to them. The comments on that post also cover a lot of hypotheticals, too.

Second, this is a really complicated issue, but only if you let it be. There are clear, quick solutions. They might not always be “best,” but I give them, and I advise if you’re just here for an answer you just take those solutions.

I also know some of you are going to followup with “yea but what if…” So I ramble on beyond the initial answer to get into some details, too.

Disney does not have an official answer to this. If you ask them, they’re likely to tell you just to use your first three FastPass+ reservations before trying to grab a fourth.

And honestly—that’s basically our answer too. In most cases, you can avoid this issue by simply doing the “normal” thing. That said, there are legitimate reasons this might not work, so we’re happy to share our experiences and understanding.

Finally, I have tested a lot of these situations, but not every one of them. Even if I had tested them, I have no confidence they would have the same results every day at every park on every device, so this is all with a grain of salt.

Quick Questions and Quick Answers

Before we get into the weeds, I’m going to give you the common questions and my quick (i.e. straightforward but incomplete) answers to them. The rest of this posts adds a lot of technical discussion to these answers, as well as some alternative options for addressing these situations.

Can I book Only a Tier 1 and then search for Another tier 1 after I use it?

No. If you just book a Tier 1 at a park and use it, you won’t be able to grab a new Tier 1 at the same park without first using two Tier 2 reservations. You can grab a Tier 1 at a different park, though.

Does A Skipped FastPass Reservation Work The Same as a Used Reservation?

Mostly yes. If you skip a reservation, it will count as “used” for the purposes of using your initial three reservations.

What if Only Part of My group skips a FastPass+?

You have three options.

  1. Tap them into the ride without them actually riding.

  2. Modify their FastPass to something they can go do while you do this ride.

  3. Wait until the hour window ends and their FastPass+ counts as skipped.

What if I just don’t book anything before arriving?

To my knowledge, the system doesn’t care when you book your initial three. I think you could book one in the park, use it, and then book two more. I don’t see much point in testing this or ever discussing it again—it always makes sense to book something in advance

Now, into the weeds.

Why You Might Skip (or Not Book) a FastPass+

There are a few reasons why you might skip (or want to just not book) a FastPass+ reservation. We’ll give two reasons why this comes up a lot.

First, you just don’t want/need a FastPass+ for a Tier 2, but you want a second FastPass+ for a Tier 1. At three parks, you can only book one Tier 1 FastPass+ in advance. So to get a second Tier 1, you’d have to use that Tier 1 FastPass+ and your two Tier 2 FastPasses, then search for a fourth.

But what if you don’t want anything in Tier 2. With the new tiers at Hollywood Studios, this is a common problem. Tier 1 has almost all the desirable rides, with Tier 2 having Star Tours and a bunch of shows.

So let’s say you luck into a Slinky Dog Dash at 12PM. To round out your day, you book a 1:15PM Beauty and the Beast and a 2:30PM Voyage of the Little Mermaid.

If you stuck with this lineup, you wouldn’t be able to search for a fourth FastPass+ for a Tier 1 ride until you tap into your 2:30PM FastPass+. That’s sort of a drag, as you used your Tier 1 at 12PM, and obviously there’s a lot of Tier 1s you want to ride at Hollywood Studios. It would be great if you could just start searching for a Tier 1 FastPass+ at 12PM after you ride Slinky Dog Dash.

The second reason this comes up is when some of your group doesn’t want to use a FastPass+ you’ve booked for them. This comes up a lot because people booking FastPass+ reservations for the family might not check height requirements (an understandable oversight in the moment), or a family member might decide once in the park that they don’t want to go on a specific ride.

We’re going to talk about the group issue in specific detail below, because it’s an interesting case that many people will have to deal with.

What We’ve Found in Testing This Question

Again, your experience may vary, but we’re happy to share our results experimenting with this.

First, you cannot book only a Tier 1 (without any Tier 2s), use it, and then search for another Tier 1 in the same park. If you only book Slinky Dog Dash for 12PM, then use it, and then try to add a FastPass+ for Toy Story Mania, you’ll get an error.

Second, you can book only a Tier 1, use it, and then search for a Tier 1 in a different park. If you’re park hopping, the system doesn’t want you locked into the park you start at. It would be a real problem if I rode one ride at Hollywood Studios, decided to go to Animal Kingdom, and then couldn’t book anything at Animal Kingdom.

Third, skipping a FastPass+ works mostly like using it. Sticking with our example, let’s say you book a 12PM Slinky Dog Dash, but before that you book a 9AM Voyage of the Little Mermaid and a 10AM Star Tours. You skip those first two because you’re busy doing other things. Then you use your Slinky Dog Dash FastPass+ at 12PM.

After you tap into Slinky Dog Dash, you’ll be able to search for a Toy Story Mania with no problem, and the system will count your first two skipped reservations as used.

The biggest problem with skipping a reservation is that a reservation won’t count as skipped until the end of the one-hour window. So if you’re looking to add a fourth quickly after skipping a third, you’ll need to wait until the end of the hour.

Dealing With This “PRoblem”

Nothing discussed so far is a “problem” per se, but you obviously want to know the simple way to start searching for a second Tier 1 FastPass+ as quickly as possible. These aren’t the best solutions, necessarily, but they’re the cleanest and simplest for everyone to understand.

First, tap into rides or shows without actually entering them. This is the easiest way to avoid any potential issues. This might seem like a silly thing to do, but if you want to quickly use your advance FastPass+ reservations…then just use them, even if you don’t ride a ride. Here’s an example.

You advance book 9AM Slinky Dog Dash, 11AM Star Tours, 1PM Voyage of the Little Mermaid. You tap into Slinky Dog Dash at 9AM, and you quickly modify your 11AM Star Tours to 9:15AM Muppet Vision 3D, which is pretty much always available.

You walk over to Muppet Vision 3D, tap your FastPass+, and then just walk away. You modify your 1PM Voyage of the Little Mermaid to whatever the next available FastPass+ is and do the same thing (you won’t be able to do Muppet Vision 3D twice). Tap into that, walk away, and there—you’ve used three advance FastPass+ and can start searching for a new Tier 1.

Second, schedule two early “skips” to start the day. This makes most sense at Hollywood Studios, where the Tiers really encourage this kind of behavior. Just schedule your FastPass+ reservations so that you’ll skip two early Tier 2 reservations. Then use your Tier 1. Then you’ll be able to search for a fourth with no limitations.

What If Only Part of Your Family Skips?

The first thing to remember about booking FastPass+ reservations for a group is that every FastPass+ reservation is tied to a specific person or people. Everyone has their own set of reservations. Modifying mom’s will not modify daughter’s.

Yes—when you book you will probably select everyone and find a time that has space for all of you, but that’s really just a faster way than booking one at a time at that time.

So if you book for everyone and then Timmy decides not to ride Everest, his FastPass+ will just sit unused even if everyone else in the group taps in. This includes the rider swap situation where two adults ride a ride with FastPass+, but use rider switch because a child can’t ride.

So, what to do in these situations to avoid problems?

The simplest way to deal with a family member skipping is to just tap them into the ride without them actually riding. Or, if possible, modify their FastPass+ to something else they can ride during that time (obviously doesn’t work in the rider switch situation). That’s the short, simple answer. So stop reading if that’s what you needed.

Are you going to keep going?

You sure? Okay.

Generally, though, a skipping family member shouldn’t be much of a problem. Above we said a skipped FastPass+ acts mostly as a used FastPass+. The “mostly” is that you can usually still modify or replace that FastPass+ as if they had never booked it.

If they skipped a Tier 1, then that skip will be a fully open slot that can be filled with any ride in the park. If they skipped a Tier 2, then they can still replace it with any Tier 2. A ride you book for your party might be your fourth FastPass+ but just someone else’s first, second, or third. Here’s an example of this:

Andy, Bonnie, and Charlie book 9AM Slinky Dog Dash, 10AM Voyage of the Little Mermaid, and 11AM Star Tours. Andy skips Slinky Dog Dash, but does the other two.

At 11:15AM, Andy is sitting on a (skipped) FastPass+ for 9AM Slinky Dog Dash, and Bonnie and Charlie have used their first three.

If the group finds a 12PM FastPass+ for Toy Story Mania, they shouldn’t have a problem grabbing it. Andy hasn’t used a Tier 1 yet today, so this will count has his initial Tier 1. Bonnie and Charlie have used their initial three selections and are free to grab whatever they please.

Truthfully, I’m not 100% sure what the process will look like for this. I think the way to do this would just be to cancel Andy’s FastPass+ for Slinky Dog Dash before doing the search for Toy Story Mania.

The situation where this does cause a problem is when everyone wants to book a second Tier 1, but Andy is sitting on an unused Tier 2 and the hour hasn’t passed (so he hasn’t skipped it yet). Here’s what this looks like:

Sticking with our above example, let’s say everyone rides Slinky Dog Dash and Voyage of the Little Mermaid, but Andy skips Star Tours. At 11:15AM, the group won’t be able to get a FastPass+ for Toy Story Mania because Andy hasn’t used his initial three, and Star Tours can’t be modified to Toy Story Mania.

Once 12PM rolls around (there might be a buffer until 12:15PM), his Star Tours will be “used” (skipped), and they should be fine. Or he could have tapped into Star Tours, or modified to something he did want to visit, at 11AM.

An hour isn’t an awesome amount of time to wait—but it’s also not so bad in most cases.

Conclusions

While I really wish the answers to this question were simpler, Disney has designed a system that is supposed to be accommodating without allowing people to game it too much. And I don’t really have an objection to that.

Part of the reason so few experts even know the correct answer to this is because these tricks aren’t really necessary. The situation where one family member gets left behind is a common one I think Disney could better account for, but for the most point your FastPass+ strategy rarely has to address these issues.

This is a situation where we advise K.I.S.S.—”keep it simple, stup—er, silly.” Don’t try to do too much wonky stuff, or you’ll just be stuck at guests services for 30 minutes trying to sort everything out.

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