When planning a vacation to Walt Disney World Resort, making the most out of your trip is vital to any family. With all of the money spent on hotels, travel expenses, tickets, food, and other souvenirs, you want to make sure you’re getting as much of the experience as possible.
Luckily, Disney has adopted a system called Fast Pass+: a reservation system that allows you to book spots in line months in advance for up to three major attractions per day.
- 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.
How It Works
You’re able to book these Fast Pass+ Reservations online, through the My Disney Experience app, or in the parks at one of the Fast Pass+ Reservation Kiosks. Your Fast Pass+ Reservations will be within a set time range, and all you have to do is return to the attraction you’ve chosen in that time range, tap your magic band or park ticket against their Mickey Mouse sensors, and you’re off to ride!
This system helps keep your time waiting in line to a minimum so you can enjoy everything else the parks have to offer. You can read more about the Fast Pass+ Reservations system on the official Walt Disney World Resort website.
With all of the new construction going on around Disney’s Hollywood Studios, the lines for remaining attractions have gotten longer, and it’s hard to pick which Fast Pass+ Reservations are going to give you the most out of your trip. Luckily, there are some neat tips and tricks to help picking the Fast Pass+ Reservations that will save you time and allow you to get the most out of your trip. Here are my top ten attractions with a few of those tips and tricks.
Top Ten Attractions
Let’s kick it all off with Rock n’ Rollercoaster.
You might be wondering why Slinky Dog Dash isn’t at the top, but just hold on. We’ll get there.
By far one of the most popular attractions in Disney’s Hollywood Studios, let alone Walt Disney World Resort, Rock n’ Rollercoaster is a high-speed indoor rollercoaster that takes you in a “super stretch limo” through the streets of L.A. to get backstage to an Aerosmith concert. Pretty cool, right?
A lot of people think so, and this ride also happens to have one of the longest queues, if not sometimes the longest, in Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Sometimes that’s not too much of an issue, except for the fact that the queue itself is pretty stale. There isn’t anything for the younger children to do while they’re waiting, and worse, almost the entire first half of the attraction’s queue is waiting outside around beige cement walls.
Things look a little better when you first enter the building and see posters for more recent music albums and pop stars on the walls, and children can amuse themselves by running their hands along the marble-imbedded doors that rattle when touched, but this queue is still fairly tame until you’re able to “meet Aerosmith” and “go out back” to see the attraction.
The Fast Pass+ queue allows you to bypass most of the first half of the queue, heading directly into another room of music album posters before you’re directed to “meet Aerosmith”. Just be careful – children cannot ride if they are below 48”. More information on the safety restrictions can be found here.
Another one of the most popular attractions in Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and perhaps one of the best themed, is The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror. Based on the original 1959 television show by Rod Serling, The Twilight Zone, Tower of Terror takes place in the ritzy Hollywood Tower Hotel during 1939 when a lightning bolt strikes one of the elevators, sending five innocent passengers directly into The Twilight Zone.
Now, it’s your turn to enter the elevator and follow the fates of these five passengers. Tower of Terror is a drop ride in the dark, and the creepy paranormal theming is enough to scare even grown adults, so it may not be for some children. However, despite getting a Fast Pass+ Reservation, you still get to experience the same queue, just at a faster pace.
You get to pass through the overgrown foliage, the abandoned fountain, and the web-covered hotel lobby, but without having to wait just as long for it. This attraction is enjoyable with or without a Fast Pass+ Reservation, but if you’re in a rush or want to get more out of your vacation, this ride does typically have longer lines and you could benefit from a Fast Pass+ Reservation, if only to pass through everything quicker. Just be careful when booking this, as children under 40” are not permitted to ride.
3. Slinky Dog Dash
You might be wondering why this attraction is ranked third, but hear me out. While this is still a very popular attraction, the newness of it has begun to wear off, leaving the wait times shorter for those who don’t want to wait two hours to get on a quick rollercoaster. That being said, Slinky Dog Dash still reigns as one of the top three to get a Fast Pass+ Reservation for.
This attraction is likely to shut down throughout the day due to rain and inclement weather, and there’s nothing worse than waiting two hours for a ride only for it to close once you’ve reached the front of the line. In addition to the higher likelihood of it closing, the queue itself is pretty stale in comparison to its neighbor, Toy Story Mania.
The idea behind this queue, as well as Toy Story Land as a whole, is that you’re attending a carnival in Andy’s backyard, and while some aesthetic pieces really pull it together, the queue is pretty open with an occasional oversized book or toy to break it up once in a while. The ride itself is nothing too extravagant either: it’s an outdoor rollercoaster.
Aside from the fact you’re riding in a Slinky Dog coaster and some blocks and other characters are set around as decoration, the track is very clear to see and almost jarring compared to how Disney has handled other outdoor coasters such as Big Thunder Mountain Railroad and the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train. This attraction would be best ridden with a Fast Pass+ Reservation to bypass the line and get right on, but if the line is shorter than 40 minutes, it wouldn’t be too horrible to wait for, either.
4. Alien Swirling Saucers
Another one of the newest additions to Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Alien Swirling Saucers takes you on a backseat ride in little spaceships as the aliens from Toy Story spin you around in circles. Similar to Slinky Dog Dash, the queue for Alien Swirling Saucers is pretty open and entirely outdoors, with little in terms of decoration to break it up.
While it is covered after you reach a certain point, it can get very hot when crowded. The ride itself is relatively short and feels like a less intense version of the Mad Tea Party ride at Magic Kingdom. Children might be more inclined to this ride than adults, especially in regards to the spinning aspects of the ride. This attraction is worth waiting in a line for 15 minutes or less, but for anything longer I would recommend getting a Fast Pass+ Reservation.
5. Toy Story Mania
If not for the popularity of Slinky Dog Dash and Alien Swirling Saucers, Toy Story Mania would likely be higher on this list simply based on what a good ride this is. Toy Story Mania is a 4D attraction where you travel through a carnival set up by Woody and his friends in Andy’s bedroom and play 4D carnival games against others in your party.
It’s a fantastic competitive attraction that’s not only enjoyable to ride, but also wonderful for bonding with others in your party. This attraction is open for all ages with no height requirement, so even the little ones can get in on the action. Now, while there aren’t any interactive games or much to do during the queue, the theming is very eye-catching and entertaining.
There are several board games and puzzles creating something akin to a maze that leads you into Andy’s room where you’ll find oversized children’s books and toys that you might have once owned during your own childhood. You’ll even find a talking Mr. Potato Head similar to the Buzz Lightyear in Magic Kingdom’s Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin.
That being said, because there is little to do, with longer lines, children may get impatient with the wait. The Fast Pass+ Reservation line still allows you to see most of the queue before you board the ride, so if you’re in a hurry or have children that get antsy in line, a Fast Pass+ Reservation may be the right choice for you.
With the upcoming Star Wars expansion of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, the Star Wars franchise in the parks has grown immensely popular, including the Star Tours attraction. Following a mix-match of the films, you board a Star Tours flight vehicle with the intention of taking a tour of the galaxy, only to find out your vehicle is harboring a rebel fugitive and you must all deliver them safely to their destination.
This attraction is a simulator, and you travel through different planets in the Star Wars universe from different parts of the movies in a grand adventure to get there. Even for someone who isn’t a fan of Star Wars or has never seen the series, it’s still an enjoyable ride, although you may be a little confused by some of the characters or scenarios.
The queue is set up like a mixture of an airport and a Star Wars space station, with androids stopping to speak to the audience as they carry on tasks such as checking luggage or preparing the ship. This can be cute and entertaining, but for a longer wait, might become repetitive, whereas you will walk through most of this during the Fast Pass+ Reservation line and almost get directly onto the ride. Just be careful when booking your Fast Pass+ Reservations, as children need to reach the 40” height requirement.
If you’re a fan of the firework shows at Walt Disney World Resort, Fantasmic! is something you’re not going to want to miss. With seating around a large outdoor amphitheater surrounding the stage and lake, there is plenty of room to grab a decent seat for this firework/special effects show if you arrive early.
That being said, some seats are better than others and will allow you to get a more up-close and personal feel of the show. The Fast Pass+ Reservations for Fantasmic! guarantee you a seat close to the water to get the best view of the stage. If you aren’t able to secure a Fast Pass+ Reservation through the app, Disney also offers a special Fantasmic! dining package that has reserved Fast Pass+ Reservation seating as well as scrumptious food and drinks.
If you’re a fan of live theater, Beauty and the Beast – Live on Stage is a spectacularly done production that summarizes the events of the 1991 film Beauty and the Beast. Because it is a high capacity show, there is plenty of room to sit, and if you arrive 10-15 minutes early you can still manage to find a good seat.
However, if you want a good view, a Fast Pass+ Reservation will have reserved seating for you by the stage, so you can see everything up-close and in detail. If you, someone in your party, or a little one loves Belle or Beauty and the Beast, a Fast Pass+ Reservation is definitely recommended for this production.
Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular is also a live show, albeit a little more geared toward action lovers and behind-the-scenes fans. This show takes the audience through famous scenes in Raiders of the Lost Ark and shows you how famous stunts are created- from diving underneath a giant boulder to escaping an explosion.
Because this is a high capacity show, there is plenty of room to find a seat. This live show is interactive for certain participants that are 18 years or older, so if you’re looking to be chosen as part of the show, you’ll want to try to get a seat near the front row and show excitement when prompted. Because there are so many seats available, getting a Fast Pass+ Reservation for this attraction isn’t worth it, and should be saved for something else.
Similar to Beauty and the Beast – Live on Stage, Voyage of The Little Mermaid is a live show that summarizes the events of the 1989 film The Little Mermaid through theater and musical production. Voyage of The Little Mermaid is held in an indoors theater with a little more interactive effects such as a mist of the audience and screens to show parts of the film.
Unlike Beauty and the Beast – Live on Stage, the Fast Pass+ Reservations for Voyage of The Little Mermaid do not reserve you seating but instead allow you to enter the show in less time, so unless the line is very long, it might be better to just wait it out and save your Fast Pass+ Reservation for something else.
While there are a few other Fast Pass+ Reservation selections such as Muppet*Vision 3D and For the First Time in Forever: A Frozen Sing-Along Celebration, like Voyage of The Little Mermaid, they are high capacity shows that run all throughout the day and typically do not have a wait to see them. With the upcoming Star Wars expansion as well as Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway, the new addition of rides will surely change up how hard it is to get Fast Pass+ Reservations for new attractions versus the older ones.
As of right now, it’s best to grab Fast Pass+ Reservations for attractions that give you enough time to walk across the park, as there are very few shortcuts with all of the construction. Disney’s Hollywood Studios closes earlier than EPCOT, Disney’s Magic Kingdom, Disney’s Animal Kingdom and Disney Springs, making the best times to get Fast Pass+ Reservation for these rides in the afternoon. Evenings will often have lower wait times, especially closer to and during the fireworks.
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