Disney World is such a magical place. There are nostalgic characters, fun rides, great restaurants, entertaining shows, friendly cast members and so much more. You know what’s not so magical, though? The seemingly endless lines that you’re forced to wait in just to ride an attraction for two minutes.
Thankfully, there’s an amazing service available called FastPass+ that lets you skip the miserable and inevitable Disney World wait times and save so much precious time. At Disney’s Hollywood Studios, plan your FastPass+ options wisely to make the most out of your trip.
- Editor’s Note: Disney has begun phasing out their popular FastPass system. You can learn more about how to use the replacement for FastPass, which is Disney Genie+ and Lightning Lanes.
All About FastPass+
FastPass+ is a perk that every Disney World visitor can benefit from. If you are staying on Disney property, you’ll be able to schedule your FastPasses 60 days in advance. Those visitors not staying in a Disney World resort can schedule FastPasses 30 days in advance. To reserve your choices as quickly as possible, go online or use the My Disney Experience app on your smart phone. There are also FastPass+ kiosks in the parks, but these aren’t as efficient for reserving the best choices.
Any guest can choose up to three FastPasses for a single park. If you’re going to multiple parks in one day, you’ll only be able to schedule three FastPasses for one park. However, there is a loophole to this. If you go to all three of your FastPasses in one park, you’ll have the option to reserve one at a time for other parks.
For example, if you go to Hollywood Studios in the morning and Animal Kingdom in the evening, try to plan your first three FastPasses for Hollywood Studios. After you use those, you can add one more at a time for either Hollywood Studios or Animal Kingdom. As you keep using your selections, you can keep adding one more at a time. It can seem kind of complicated, but the basic idea is you are allowed three choices for the same park.
Using your FastPass+ selections is simple and very beneficial. When you plan what you want to use your FastPass on, you’ll be given choices for specific times. You’ll usually have about an hour to get to your selected attraction or show. There is a 5-minute window before and 15-minute window after your selection, but this rule is subject to change. When you reach the location, there will be a metal scanner in the shape of a Mickey. To use your FastPass, simply touch your ticket or magic band to the scanner until it lights up green. Continue to the special FastPass+ line which will be much quicker than the regular queue.
Understanding the Tiering System
FastPasses are organized in a tiering system. This means some attractions or shows are grouped into sections which limit guests’ options to reserve more than one popular FastPass. At Hollywood Studios, the first tier includes Alien Swirling Saucers, Slinky Dog Dash and Toy Story Mania.
Guests are limited to selecting only one of the mentioned attractions at a time. These attractions are in the top tier because Toy Story Land just opened in June of 2018. Slinky Dog Dash and Alien Swirling Saucers are the newest Disney World attractions. The lines at these rides are especially long, so choose your FastPass for this tier carefully.
The rest of the shows and attractions in Hollywood Studios are in the second tier. You can either choose two attractions from the second tier and one from the first tier OR all three FastPasses can be made in the second tier. Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster and Twilight Zone Tower of Terror tend to have extremely long lines, so these would make a great choice for FastPasses.
Once you complete your first three FastPasses, you can add another attraction from the first tier. Theoretically, you could reserve a FastPass for all three attractions in the top tier. However, this would be too difficult to attempt because of the high popularity of the attractions. Nearly every guest will be hoping for at least one FastPass for Toy Story Land. This will make the availability very limited for any additional FastPasses after your first three.
Timing is Everything
Reserving FastPasses is like a competitive sport. There are a handful of attractions that are extremely popular and almost impossible to reserve. To avoid missing out on the best choices, make your reservations as soon as you can! If you’re staying on property, figure out the exact day that is 60 days prior to your visit. Begin searching for FastPasses that morning to guarantee your spot on the ride without the long wait that usually accompanies it. If you aren’t staying on property, you’ll have 30 days in advance to schedule your FastPasses. Take advantage of this and schedule as soon as possible.
Planning your FastPasses for each park should be strategic. It’s best to schedule all three FastPasses as early as possible. This helps because you’ll do three attractions or shows almost back-to-back, so you’ll have the chance to add more, one at a time, after. For example, you could make a FastPass for Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, Star Tours and Slinky Dog Dash all before noon.
After that, you could add Rock ‘n’ Roller at 1:15 p.m. When you ride that, you can make another FastPass for Beauty and the Beast – Live on Stage at 2:30 p.m. You get the picture. Of course, these are only examples of what your day could look like. Your FastPass schedule really depends on what you’re interested in, crowd levels, availability, how soon you make reservations and other factors.
If you’re lucky, you can plan out all three of your FastPasses in the morning, but this is rarely the case. It really depends on what rides are on your “must-do” list. The most popular attractions in Hollywood Studios are Slinky Dog Dash, Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster, Alien Swirling Saucers and Toy Story Mania. If any of these attractions are on your “must-do” list, it would be in your best interest to get a FastPass.
The lines for these attractions are usually very long. Since the rides are so popular, it’s possible you won’t be able to find any selections in the morning. If you really want to ride something but the only available time is right before the park closes, you’ll be limited to three FastPasses that day. Rather than making additional FastPasses on at a time throughout the day, you’ll be stuck waiting for your final selection.
Don’t Give Up
It can be disappointing when you can’t reserve a FastPass for something on your “must-do” list. Of course, you can always just wait in the regular queue, but that can take hours. It will make you wonder if waiting for one attraction is worth losing the time to ride several others. To avoid this, keep track of the FastPass+ selections.
People often add, swap out, or cancel FastPass choices. Keep refreshing the My Disney Experience app on your smart phone to see if a FastPass opens for the ride you want. You can do this either before your trip or while you’re already in the parks as a last resort.
Anyone can change and swap out FastPass+ selections. For example, if you decide to watch the parade instead of riding an attraction, swap out the time of your FastPass or use that FastPass for a different ride. Visitors are always swapping, cancelling and adding FastPasses, so try to keep an eye on the list of available times.
You can delete one of your choices to add another one but be aware that the entire process of getting what you want isn’t always guaranteed. It can be tricky to choose the attractions during times that work with your other plans. For example, if you already have a FastPass beginning at noon for Star Tours, but you see a rare opening of a Toy Story Mania FastPass that also begins at noon, you’ll have to delete your Star Tours reservation. If for any reason you wanted to change it back to Star Tours at noon, the opening wouldn’t be guaranteed for you anymore.
Deciding what you want your FastPass+ selections to be can be very difficult. It really comes down to what everyone in the group wants to see or do. Try to organize an order of your “must-dos” to get an idea of what FastPasses to keep an eye on. This way, you’ll know whether to switch one choice for another.
If your choices are limited for available FastPasses, your best bet is probably to make three FastPasses for attractions you don’t really care for but still keep an eye on the rides you want. Then, you can quickly ride several attractions during the morning. This will give you time to either wait in the long, regular queue for the ride you want or make an additional FastPass if an availability shows up for the evening.
Know Where to Go
Before you make your FastPasses, know which attractions and shows are even worth getting a FastPass for. Some attractions have notoriously short lines; some shows have more than enough seating. Don’t waste one of your three choices on something unnecessary. Research the attractions and shows in Hollywood Studios and decide what you and your party want to do. Then, decide which of those would probably be the most beneficial to reserve a FastPass for.
Hollywood Studios has several shows available for FastPass selection. Most of the shows have special seating for those with a reservation. This doesn’t always mean that the seating is better, but it will be guaranteed. Most of the shows in Hollywood Studios don’t completely fill up. The exception to this is when the parks are busy during peak seasons.
If you really don’t want to miss a show or are worried that it will reach capacity, make a FastPass. Otherwise, just get to the show early and you should be fine. If you’re still skeptical, look up more information about each show in Hollywood Studios to find out if it’s worth it to make a FastPass.
Hollywood Studios shows available for FastPass+ selection:
- Voyage of the Little Mermaid
- Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular
- Muppet*Vision 3D
- Disney Junior – Live on Stage
- For the First Time in Forever: A “Frozen” Sing-Along Celebration
- Beauty and the Beast – Live on Stage
Usually, it is unnecessary to reserve a FastPass for the nighttime shows in the Disney World parks. The nighttime show at Hollywood Studios is called Fantasmic! This magical show combines fireworks, water, light and performing characters. Fantasmic! could reach capacity during busy nights, and sometimes the park has two performances during peak seasons.
If you’re concerned about missing out on this amazing show, there are a few different ways to save a seat. Of course, one way is getting a FastPass, but this isn’t always the best option. If you don’t want to use a FastPass to see the show, it’s recommended that you arrive to the seating area as early as you can. Another way to view the show without using a FastPass is to take part in the Fantasmic! dining package or dessert experience.
You will probably discover that many FastPass options are available at the same time as Fantasmic! Most Hollywood Studios visitors will watch the show, which leaves short lines and small crowds in the rest of the park. If you see a rare FastPass available during the nighttime show’s performance, you’ll have to make the decision of whether to ride the attraction or view the show.
However, sometimes a FastPass isn’t necessary during the show’s performance because the lines are so short anyway. Don’t be discouraged if you can’t find a FastPass for your “must-do” attraction. The Fantasmic! performance is the perfect chance to wait in a queue for a popular attraction because the lines should be much shorter than usual. Use the My Disney Experience app to track wait times for the attractions.
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