So you’re at your 30 day window and the clock strikes 12pm, you log into My Disney Experience and hunt for the rare yet must-have FastPasses for Flight of Passage at Animal Kingdom, Slinky Dog Dash at Hollywood Studios and Seven Dwarfs Mine Train at Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World. You might be extremely lucky and find one, or even all three, but the disappointing fact is that at 30 days out they are very rare to get your mitts on.
If you’re lucky enough to be staying on site at a Disney World hotel then you can book your FastPasses at 60 days out. I was very fortunate to be able to do this last year and I got all the FastPasses I wanted during our 2 week holiday. But what if you can’t stay on site? Here are my tips to still get you on those most wanted rides, but be warned, they do require a bit of work!!
#1 Rope Drop at Park Opening
Get to the park for opening!! But if you’re not staying on site this is a bit of a no-no on days where there are Extra Magic Hours an hour before the park opens or an Early Morning Magic event, as this means that thousands of Disney or event-paying guests will have already been in the park for at least an hour. If you’re off-site then rope drop on a non-Extra Magic Hours morning or when there is no special Early Morning event. Some people argue that getting to the park an hour before opening and waiting in a queue outside is just the same as queuing for the ride itself, so you need to decide on where you’d rather queue. I can only say that in my experience they quite often let you in to the park early, not necessarily on the ride, but at least if you get there early you are still moving and still looking at Disney stuff!! We have roped dropped all of these rides and in each case were on the ride before the park officially opened. We queued outside the park for approximately 20 minutes, then passed through security, waited another 10 minutes to be let into the park, then waited another 10 minutes at the entrance to the ride area and were able to go through and get on – yes!!
And don’t worry about it being a free for all when the park opens, especially if you are with your family or little ones. A Disney Cast Member walks in front of the pack and you must stay behind them at all times. This stops the more excitable people running ahead and things getting silly. We saw this about 2 years ago when we rope dropped Flight of Passage in Animal Kingdom. With potential wait times at 4 hours for this ride I can understand why people want to get on first thing in the morning, but Disney do not want people racing through the park and potentially injuring themselves or others.
We use Kenny The Pirate’s site to check park hours, crowd calendars and transportation options, so check him out to help with your planning.
#2 Early Breakfast Reservations
Again, on non-Extra Magic Hours or Early Morning Magic events, then at 180 days out you can book yourself in for breakfast up to an hour before the park opens. We have done this recently with Be Our Guest restaurant at Magic Kingdom. We managed to get a breakfast reservation for 8.10 a.m. and the park opened at 9 a.m. Disney allow guests to enter the park early but at the entry to New FantasyLand you have to scan either your Magic Band or show proof of your reservation. We ate breakfast, which was quick as we we were one of the first guests to arrive, took photos of the Beast’s castle and then headed down to Seven Dwarfs Mine Train. We arrived at 8.45 a.m. and walked straight on, even though officially the park did not open till 9:00 a.m. We actually rode it twice before any queues began to form at 9:05 a.m., so headed off to Peter Pans flights straight after. We made sure any Fastpasses for this day did not start till 10:00 a.m. As most people power walk to Seven Dwarfs at park opening , after riding Peter Pans flight we headed straight to Haunted Mansion and then Big Thunder mountain which were both walk on – and we were there mid August!! Next was only a 10 minute wait at Pirates of the Caribbean and then it was time for our first FastPass for Jungle Cruise. By 10:15 a.m. we had done 6 rides, some of them twice and still had 2 Fastpasses due to start.
This option for early breakfast before park opening does require you to be up and out very early and we left our Disney hotel an hour before the reservation, but – pro-tip here – do this early into your holiday as you’re still on UK time and will be awake from 5:00 a.m. anyhow!! Make the most of your out-of-sync body clock for the first few days and rope drop and early breakfast like a pro! Breakfast reservations later than 8:30 a.m. will offer the early entry benefit, but not the ability to queue at a ride before the park opens.Check me out on Amazon!!
#3 FastPass Kiosks
If you have the My Disney Experience app on your phone you probably don’t bother to queue at these little kiosks which you can find throughout the parks – however don’t walk past them if you still have some must-do rides. I have found that the FastPasses available on the app are quite often different to the ones presented on screen at the kiosk and there have been times we’ve seen the much coveted Flight of Passage FastPass available to book via the kiosk. So don’t give up, even on the day it’s possible.
#4 Get into line 5 minutes before Park Closing
So park closes at 9:00 p.m. and it’s currently 8:55 p.m. You’re standing in Pandora and due to go home tomorrow, you’ve never manged to get a FastPass for Flight of Passage and wait times are still at 90 minutes. Your feet are tired. Do you go back to your hotel and pack? NO!! You get in line. Even though the wait time states 90 minutes, there are no more FastPass people queuing now so I guarantee you will not wait that length of time. Again, speaking from experience, we did this and had queued and done the ride in under 30 minutes. It’s a very good option and can be done later on in the holiday when those early morning starts are no longer happening as you now have a Floridian body clock.
All of these options usually involve Disney Cast Members getting as many people on as possible in a short space of time. Due to this, early mornings and late evenings quite often mean that they will push you through the FastPass queue anyhow. While this sounds good, (yippee you’re feeling so good you’ve managed to get on the ride), there are some great things to see in the standby queues for Seven Dwarfs Mine Train and in particular Flight of Passage. If you rope drop at park opening, be prepared to miss out on the interactive theme of Seven Dwarfs and the beautiful and detailed queue design of Flight of Passage, as it’s likely you won’t pass through standby where the most interesting features of both are situated. Doesn’t happen with Slinky Dog Dash though, it’s just all fun. I have rope dropped Flight of Passage and Seven Dwarfs at park opening and gone through FastPass queue each time, but i have gone through standby queue when we headed onto the rides just before closing. Doesn’t mean it will always be this way, so just something to bear in mind.
You can always BE one of those people at the special Early Morning Magic event of course, but it does cost. On certain Sundays and Tuesdays, you can book to attend Disney Early Morning Magic at either New FantasyLand in Magic Kingdom, or ToyStory Land in Hollywood Studios. It runs between 7:45 a.m.and 10:00 a.m. It costs $79 per adult and $69 per child (tax not included). So is the price worth it? I can’t say, I haven’t done this event yet. The price seems steep but does include buffet breakfast at Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Cafe (MK) or ABC Commissary (HS). But if you take into account the amount of times you can go on the rides, plus the fact that it includes a whopping breakfast of scrambled eggs, pancakes, fried potatoes, bacon, sausage, avocado toast with poached egg, fried chicken, donuts, fruit, yogurt and pastries, it’s maybe a good deal for those people interested in riding Seven Dwarfs Mine Train or slinky Dog Dash multiple times, or if your time is limited in the parks. If you do decide to book this let me know if you think the cost is worth it. My first thoughts on the order of what to do when would be this:
7:45 a.m.Do the rides, especially Seven Dwarfs or Slinky Dog, as many times as you like (depending on which park you are in).
9:00 a.m. Head over to the next set of rides/attractions before others guests start arriving at the park and get in line. Think about the ones that have long queues later in the day like Space Mountain or Buzz Lightyear at Magic Kingdom, or Rock n Roller Coaster or Tower of Terror at Hollywood Studios.
9:30 a.m. Go for breakfast
10:00 a.m. Have your 3 daily FastPasses booked from this time on wards, back to back if possible, then you can get on the other rides you haven’t managed to do yet, maybe Jungle Cruise or Big Thunder Mountain (MK) or Star Tours (HS) as they always have long wait times.
Running on select Mondays and Thursdays, Disney After Hours promises a little-to-no-wait for popular attractions and Character Greetings and is available at Magic Kingdom, Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom. Depending on the time of year the event begins at either 8:00, 9:00 or 10:00 p.m. and lasts for 3 hours, during which you can also indulge in ice cream, popcorn and select beverages which is all included with the cost of admission at $125 per person. Ticket holders can enter the park from 7:00 p.m. onwards. There will be no FastPasses available to book during the event, as i guess in theory, you shouldn’t need them.
If you’ve attended this or the Early Morning Magic let me know in the comments. It would be good to know if anyone thinks these events are a must-do or if they are just way too expensive.
So that’s my top tips (so far) for obtaining those elusive FastPasses or getting on the most sought after rides. If you have any more stick ’em in the comments below and I’ll try them out and review them. Good luck everyone!!