A vacation to the Walt Disney World Resort can be exciting and is for many, a once in a lifetime opportunity. This is a chance for family and friends to experience magic, movies, delicious food and thrilling rides; however, waiting in long lines can put a damper on the magical experience.
Who wants to wait six out of ten hours in long queue lines, especially if they only have a couple of days?
Thankfully, Walt Disney World Resort has considered that and have provided some excellent opportunities to help vacationers make the most of their stay. Fast Pass+ Reservations are available to all Walt Disney World Resort Guests; however, Guests staying in a Disney owned and operated hotel are able to book Fast Pass+ Reservations even earlier in advance. Click here for more information.
These Fast Pass+ Reservations allow for Guests to skip the normal queue line and wait in a much shorter (sometimes nonexistent!) line. For many, this can mean turning a one hour wait into a ten-minute wait. When you’re only visiting for a few days, that can be the difference between a relaxing trip and an exhausting one. There’s nothing quite like walking miles in the Florida sun to put a damper on a vacation. Fast Pass+ Reservations can take some of that stress away but only if you know how to use them.
The Fast Pass+ Reservation system is available on one’s smartphone via the My Disney Experience application. From here, you can link your park admission tickets and start planning your vacation. In addition to Fast Pass+ Reservations, dining reservations, menus and games can be accessed. It’s a great resource (when it works) and you should always keep it open even if it’s just to check on wait times. If you want to learn more about the app and how best to use it, click here.
Because Fast Pass+ Reservations are a bit confusing, I’ll dip into the various aspects of the system before diving into the best choices. Each Guest is entitled to three Fast Pass+ Reservations. After using all three (yes, all three – not just one!) Guests can book additional Fast Pass+ Reservations one at a time.
In Disney’s Magic Kingdom there are no tiers (Mouse Hacking has a great article about the tiering system here) but there are some popular rides that are difficult to get Fast Pass+ Reservations for if you fail to plan properly. Guests who are not staying in a hotel on Disney World property can make Fast Pass+ Reservations 30 days in advance of their visit while hotel Guests can make them 60 days in advance.
Because of this, it’s important to plan ahead, because if you don’t, you’ll likely only be able to get Fast Pass+ Reservations for the less popular rides (that honestly, you shouldn’t waste them on). Without further ado, let’s dive into the best Disney World rides to get Fast Pass+ Reservations for.
- Seven Dwarves Mine Train
- Space Mountain
- Big Thunder Mountain
- Splash Mountain
- Peter Pan’s Flight
- The Haunted Mansion
- Buzz Lightyear Space Ranger Spin
- Princess Fairy Tale Hall
- Meet Mickey in Town Square Theater
- The Jungle Cruise
- Pirates of the Caribbean
- 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.
My number one choice is the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train. This is the newest ride in Disney’s Magic Kingdom, so it is in high demand and always has a wait time of at least one hour but is typically closer to two hours.
In addition, a short video is filmed and pictures are taken on the ride so it’s one of the best attractions to provide a memory that Guests can take with them. It’s also an incredibly smooth roller coaster so many parents like to take children on it for one of their first if not their first roller coaster. It’s very well-themed with Snow White and her seven dwarves being the feature.
A fun detail is that the animatronics seen dancing at the end of the ride are the original animatronics from the old Snow White ride (it is now a Winnie the Pooh attraction). It’s a great ride steeped in history; however, it’s fairly short. Because the wait for this is never less than one hour, the ride itself feels like it’s simply not worth it.
It’s a smooth ride but it’s over before you know it. Thankfully, the queue line is interactive and has multiple games because even with a Fast Pass+ Reservation, it can be a wait upwards of twenty minutes.
More than any other ride in Disney’s Magic Kingdom, having a Fast Pass+ Reservation for Seven Dwarfs Mine Train will save you inordinate amounts of time. In fact, if you don’t have a Fast Pass+ Reservation, I wouldn’t waste your time visiting this attraction.
It simply demands too much of your valuable time without one. If you are able to get one, count yourself lucky and stop by the nearby tavern for some freshly baked cinnamon rolls as a reward.
After the Seven Dwarves Mine Train, I would suggest using a Fast Pass+ Reservation for Space Mountain. Space Mountain is about as classic as it gets. It’s an old ride with a rich history but it’s also an incredibly fun roller coaster that takes pictures and goes fast but doesn’t go upside down (which is a huge plus for a lot of people!).
It’s obviously outer space themed and each roller coaster car is meant to be a rocket. Sitting in the front is going to appeal to thrill seekers because it’s almost complete darkness and therefore impossible to know when dips and turns are coming.
It’ll certainly provide an adrenaline rush even if you’ve ridden it before. The queue for this attraction is typically all indoors (except on very busy days) and air-conditioned so the wait isn’t unbearable, but it is easily upwards of an hour on a slower day at Disney’s Magic Kingdom.
Despite having an air-conditioned line and games in the queue, Fast Pass+ Reservations are the best way to experience this ride because it is a must-do on many Guests agenda.
If you’re able to get a Fast Pass+ Reservation for the morning, it’s a great option and will provide some relief knowing that it’s already been completed. I’d suggest that if you see one, snag it while you can!
My next pick is Big Thunder Mountain. It is another classic roller coaster and one of the longest in Disney’s Magic Kingdom. It claims to be the “wildest ride in the wilderness!” and while it may well be, it’s also not horribly scary.
The height limit is 40 inches, which is less than Space Mountain’s 44 so it’s more child-friendly. (For a list of all of the height requirements, click here.) It’s an older attraction and the queues aren’t as accessible because they’re very narrow. A Fast Pass+ Reservation would definitely make for a more pleasant wait, especially since it’s not air-conditioned. The next recommendation has to be Splash Mountain.
I only suggest this as my fourth pick because it’s often down for technical difficulties and it’s only necessary to get a Fast Pass+ Reservation on hot days. It’s a very short wait during the rare chillier times of year, if it’s even open at all. It also is likely to get you and your party wet so be prepared to be damp all day after you’ve ridden (or bring a poncho!).
It does offer a classic photo op and many older Guests remember it from their childhood visits so it’s certainly worth a spot in the top five Fast Pass+ Reservations. Speaking of nostalgia, that brings us to our number five spot.
I only suggest this as my fourth pick because it’s often down for technical difficulties and it’s only necessary to get a Fast Pass+ Reservation on hot days. It’s a very short wait during the rare chillier times of year, if it’s even open at all.
It also is likely to get you and your party wet so be prepared to be damp all day after you’ve ridden (or bring a poncho!). It does offer a classic photo op and many older Guests remember it from their childhood visits so it’s certainly worth a spot in the top five Fast Pass+ Reservations. Speaking of nostalgia, that brings us to our number five spot.
Peter Pan’s Flight
Peter Pan’s Flight is one of the oldest rides in Disney’s Magic Kingdom and almost always has a long wait. Even if you’re not a huge fan, I would still recommend using a Fast Pass+ Reservation for this attraction because the wait is so long and the queue is mostly outdoors.
It’s simply not worth it without one. It’s also an area that gets very bottlenecked because it’s at the edge of Fantasyland and Liberty Square, so it can be a little overwhelming.
It also doesn’t have a height requirement so it’s a good choice for children.
It has very few vehicles to accommodate Guests in wheelchairs though so if you aren’t able to transfer from a wheelchair to a ride vehicle, it’s not a good choice. A better choice for wheelchairs is the Haunted Mansion.
The Haunted Mansion is number six on my list of recommendations. It’s a classic and Guests who love this attraction love this attraction. It’s not unusual to see Guest who have tattoos displaying their love for the characters and there are even entire backstage tours available for purchase dedicated solely to this ride. It has hidden Mickeys, catchy songs, spooky elements and is one of the few attractions, you won’t see smiling Cast Members.
To add to the theming, Cast Members are instructed to not smile or be friendly and use phrases like “move to the dead center of the room.” It’s one of the best themed areas with lots of hidden details that only the most dedicated fans know about. For this reason alone, it’s a great choice for Fast Pass+ Reservations.
In addition, the queue is mostly outside and has very few fans so it’s not exactly a pleasant wait; however, there are a lot of great photo opportunities if you want to make some memories of your ghostly experience. Another great place to make some memories is at Buzz Lightyears Space Ranger Spin.
In this attraction, Guests are recruited by Buzz Lightyear to become space cadets and fight the evil emperor, Zurg. Each ride vehicle can fit two Guests, and each receives a laser pistol to shoot targets with. Points are displayed on screens in front of the Guests, so they can see their rank and what level they’re promoted to in the space ranger hierarchy.
While it is an indoor queue line, there isn’t a lot to do and the waits can often be over an hour so it’s certainly worth using a Fast Pass+ Reservation on. If you’re able to get a Space Mountain and Buzz Lightyear Space Ranger Spin Fast Pass+ Reservation around the same time, they’re right next to each other so you could potentially complete all of your Tomorrowland to-dos in one go! While you’re moving out of Tomorrowland into Fantasy Land, you’ll pass Storybook Circus.
This is a Dumbo-heavy themed area and has a short roller coaster called the Barnstormer. Most Guests flock to the Dumbo ride and use a Fast Pass+ Reservation for that; however, the queue line for Dumbo is one of the best in the park. It contains an entire indoor jungle gym that children can play on. This allows them to play out some energy while you catch up on your adult conversations and decide what to do next.
It’s a nice reprieve and for that reason, I would never suggest using a Fast Pass+ Reservation for it and simply enjoying the line, even if it is over half an hour. Instead, I would look for a Fast Pass+ Reservation for the Barnstormer. It is a children’s rollercoaster and is smooth but short. In fact, it’s so short that unless someone you’re with really wants to do, it’s not worth the wait without a Fast Pass+ Reservation. It’s also all outdoors with very little shade or fans. If you’re going to do it, get a Fast Pass+. Conversely, you could keep moving into Fantasyland and meet with some Princesses!
One of the most popular meet-and-greet locations in Disney’s Magic Kingdom is Princess Fairy Tale Hall. This “hall” is a beautiful set of rooms adorned with paintings of princesses in their finest attire. The last half is indoors but the rest is outside under some shade.
One side is a meet-and-greet with Princesses Tiana and Rapunzel (from Princess and the Frog and Tangled respectively), while the other features Cinderella and Elena of Avalor (from their namesakes Cinderella and the popular children’s television show Elena of Avalor). Guests can meet and take pictures with these princesses and build the fantasy of their favorite characters.
It’s also right across from Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique, where children are able to get dressed up as princesses or princes for a significant fee. So if you decide to do the entire Fairy Godmother package, you can meet with the princesses who are sure to gush over how lovely and royal your children may be. Another popular meet-and-greet choice is to meet Mickey Mouse in Town Square Theater.
This is my tenth choice over other attractions because he is the one in charge of the entire park! Depending on the season, he will be wearing different outfits – anything from Santa outfits to birthday gear! Occasionally, he will also be with Minnie Mouse. They sign autographs and take pictures along with simply spending some time interacting with each Guest.
Many Guests love to begin their day with this because they have similar pictures from past vacations that they remember as a staple from childhood. It provides a lovely feeling of nostalgia and provides some great memories. The queue line also is inside an old-fashioned theater so there’s lots of interesting posters and it’s air conditioned. This is one attraction for the entire family! If you prefer a little more excitement, heading over to Adventureland is always a good choice.
Jungle Cruise is a truly classic ride stuffed with terrible dad jokes and puns, old boats, odd scenery and good old-fashioned silliness. It often elicits groans interspersed with laughter, but each Skipper has a unique spiel they give while captaining the boat that makes it special. It is a ride where anything could happen because it’s so dependent on individuals.
The Cast Members are the entertainment, not screens or animatronics. It is a good use of a Fast Pass+ Reservation too because the queue line is entirely outdoors with very few fans, so it can get a little stifling. On a busy day, it’s a necessity to get a Fast Pass+ Reservation unless you’re willing to melt in the Florida sun.
If being inside is more your speed, Pirates of the Caribbean is just around the corner. This is a fun boat ride featuring animatronics, ships battling and of course the famous Captain Jack Sparrow. The queue line is pretty pleasant, which is why this is towards the bottom of my list.
It’s almost entirely air conditioned indoors and it has a lot of cool ship and harbor theming. It also features a newly installed photo opportunity, so it also provides a great option to take home some memories. It’s worth using a Fast Pass+ Reservation for though because the average wait time is about 45 minutes while the Fast Pass+ Reservation line is closer to ten minutes.
Overall, it’s all subjective when making a definitive list of the top 12 Fast Pass+ Reservations because Disney’s Magic Kingdom has so much on offer. If you’re a thrill seeker, the “mountains” should be a priority but if you’re traveling with small children, you might prefer It’s a Small World over the “wildest ride in the wilderness.”
This list is simply in order of how much time you might be able to save by using a Fast Pass+ Reservation. If you want to do everything and maximize your day, the best Disney World tips are to make smart use of the Fast Pass+ Reservation system and don’t be afraid to enjoy some of the lines!
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