Your FastPass+ Priorities at the Magic Kingdom

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The Magic Kingdom begins exclusive use of FastPass+ today. We’ve updated all 50 of our Magic Kingdom touring plan templates to use only FastPass+. Each plan now lists the suggested FastPass+ start times for the attractions that will save you the most time in line, like this:

Suggested start times for FastPass+ reservations:

Peter Pan’s Flight = 10 AM
Buzz Lightyear = 5 PM
Enchanted Tales with Belle = 7 PM

We also added the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train to most plans, as we think that will begin previews sometime next month.

When we updated the plans, we kept track of how many times each attraction was identified as needing FastPass+. It turns out that this is a prioritized list of which attractions you should use FastPass+ for to avoid long waits in line:

FastPass+ Priorities

While the Magic Kingdom offers FastPass+ for 27 attractions, the touring plan software only identifies 5 as frequently needing FastPass+:

Why is Peter Pan’s Flight listed so often? Probably three reasons:

  1. Peter Pan isn’t going to be anyone’s choice as the first attraction to visit. If you’ve got small children, you’re probably headed to Enchanted Tales with Belle or (when it opens) the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train. If you’ve got older kids, you’re probably headed to Space Mountain or Seven Dwarfs. And no matter where you go first, you’ll probably visit at least one other attraction nearby next. That means you’re not getting to Peter Pan within the first 30 minutes the park is open.
  2. Peter Pan appears on virtually every Magic Kingdom touring plan. It appeals to every age group and demographic, and has no height requirement. It’s a classic, if simple, Disney ride.
  3. Although it’s not a headliner attraction, Peter Pan develops long lines throughout the day. Peter Pan’s wait times over Christmas exceeded 150 to 180 minutes fairly often. Peter Pan’s hourly capacity is around 1,100 guests, or a little more than half of Buzz Lightyear’s, and far less than half of Pirates of the Caribbean.

Enchanted Tales with Belle is probably ranked second because it usually doesn’t make sense to visit it first thing in the morning. Counting walking time to Belle and the elaborate pre-show process, you’d probably be committing about half an hour to that one attraction, whereas you could probably visit 2 or 3 other attractions in Fantasyland or Tomorrowland in the same amount of time.

Big Thunder and Splash Mountain are on the list, too. While they don’t normally get a huge influx of guests immediately at park opening, lines of 20 to 40 minutes can develop around mid-morning at Splash Mountain and Big Thunder Mountain, as crowds make their way from Tomorrowland and Fantasyland.

Space Mountain appears on the list probably because of the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train. When the Mine Train opens, it’ll be the hot new attraction in the Magic Kingdom, It’ll also have a shorter height requirement than Space Mountain (38 inches vs 44 inches), meaning more families will want to ride it. The Seven Dwarfs Mine Train is listed as the first attraction to visit in a lot of our touring plans, and it’s usually followed by other Fantasyland attractions to minimize how much you have to walk.

Attractions In Our Touring Plans That Never Need FastPass+

Some FastPass+ attractions seem never to require FastPass+, either because the touring plan gets you to them before long lines develop, or because the attraction rarely sees long waits:

Magic Kingdom Attractions In Our Touring Plans That Rarely Require FastPass+

These include:

It’s also worth noting that we don’t usually recommend using FastPass+ for the Main Street Electrical Parade, Wishes fireworks or many shows, so they don’t appear on this list. FastPass+ at parades, fireworks, and shows usually only gets you a guaranteed seat or spot to stand. You still have to arrive early to stake out a prime viewing location, so you don’t end up saving much time. We think you’re better off using FastPass+ to avoid long waits in line.

The Best Times for FastPass+ Reservations at These Key Attractions

Now that you know which attractions most need FastPass+, the next question is when you should make your FastPass+ reservations. Here’s a chart showing the times our Magic Kingdom touring plans use FastPass+ to avoid long lines (yellow=morning times, orange=afternoon):

FastPass+ Times

Our touring plan software tends to recommend Peter Pan a lot in the morning, along with Big Thunder Mountain. All of the other attractions tend to have their FastPass+ recommendations in the middle to late afternoon.

What To Do If You Have Other FastPass+ Attractions or Times

If you can get a FastPass+ reservation for the attractions shown, anywhere near the times listed, the touring plans will work exactly as shown, and your waits in line will be minimized. If you need to choose other FastPass+ attractions or times, our free computer-optimized touring plan software will incorporated those.

For what it’s worth, here’s the process I usually follow to create an optimized touring plan with low waits in line:

  1. Select all of the attractions I want to visit during the day, and enter in all of the meals and breaks I want to take. I don’t enter any FastPass+ times at this step, because I first want to see what the Optimizer identifies as the attractions with potentially long waits.
  2. Click the “Optimize” button and wait for the touring plan to be optimized.
  3. Find the first attraction with a wait over 30 minutes, and see if a FastPass+ reservation is available for that attraction around that time. If I find one, I enter in the FastPass+ time that’s available, and re-optimize the plan.
  4. I repeat Step 3 for the two FastPass+ eligible attractions with the highest wait times throughout the day. I re-optimize the plan after each attraction, because saving a bunch of time on one attraction may allow the Optimizer to uncover other ways to save you time throughout the day.

Another great resource for optimizing touring plans is our Lines Chat forum, where lots of folks are happy to offer suggestions.

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Posted on January 14, 2014

69 Responses to “Your FastPass+ Priorities at the Magic Kingdom”

  • This is great, Len. Well done. What are the chances that Mine Train will be up and running by April 1? You said “previews” next month already, but as a WDW newbie, I’m not sure what that means.

    • I think it’ll be up by April 1. I’ve heard that the coaster has to be handed over to Disney (from the contractor) by February 1. So they’ll probably have it for a couple of weeks to do CM testing and whatnot, then start guest testing.

  • by Larry Scaglioni on January 14, 2014, at 4:28 pm EDT

    Len:

    Have they tiered the Magic Kingdom yet like they have with Studios?

    If yes, how does this impact the list? And if not, how would that change the list?

    Or would the times not be impacted that much by implementing the tier system?

    • Hey Larry – thanks for reading the blog! The Magic Kingdom isn’t tiered. If it was tiered, I suppose the impact would depend on which attractions were in each tier. My guess is that it would increase wait times at the mountains, if all of those were in one tier. You’d have no choice but to go standby in some of them.

  • This article is great and extremely helpful as I plan for my trip in late March with 10 of us. I’m orchestrating all the fastpasses for everyone and was wondering if you’ve done a similar article for the other parks?

    • Thanks Marcus! We’ll do them for Epcot and the Studios as they convert over later this month. I’ll go back and see what we can find out for the Animal Kingdom too.

  • What about Dumbo?

    • Dumbo’s lines aren’t as unmanageable as they used to be. Moving it from the dead center of Fantasyland reduced demand, and doubling the capacity also helped. I think that’s one of the reasons why they left the Fastpass machines disconnected – there just wasn’t that much demand for it.

    • The wait at Dumbo is great now with the play area – it was one of the highlights of my son’s trip!

  • This is great – so helpful! I’m heading down for 7 days at the end of the month and feeling like a fish out of water with all the FastPass+ changes – especially since I’m also staying off-site for the first time. I had a faint hope that perhaps Mine Train would be in previews… not likely, but I will be SO excited if we get to ride it! Even getting to see walls come down or cars running on the track would be pretty exciting.

  • Can you tell me how they’re handling “Rider Switch Passes” under FASTPASS+?

    • I believe it’s the same as under Fastpass. Tell the CM at the front of the line what you’re doing, and they’ll give you instructions for that particular attraction.

  • Len, great info. I have Touring Plans created for the week of April 12-19. Should I re-optimize them now that this has been updated. Any way to make a copy of a plan to try new times or FP+s while leaving the original to compare?

  • Oh man. We’re trying to gift a trip for my brother and sister-in-law, but they’ll be staying at Shades of Green and using Military Salute tickets. There’s no actual way for them to get FP+ reservations before reaching the resort, is there??

    • If they’ve stayed recently at a Disney resort and got Magic Bands, they might be able to. Or you could try to register the tickets (if you have them). Let me know how that goes if you do.

    • We are military and headed to WDW in two weeks. We purchased our park ticket vouchers from our MWR and were able to register them for Fastpass+. However, we are staying at Disney owned resorts not Shades of Green.

  • Great info Len! We are headed down for DCL cruise over Canadian March break and we are squeezing in one day at Magic Kingdom. Should we stay on site ($$$) just to get Fast Pass+ or should we take our chances with the kiosks on that morning? Are you seeing long lines at the kiosks? Will there be anything left? We would really like to spend that extra money on fruity drinks at Serenity Bay….;)
    Thanks so much!

    • Hey Crystal-

      You could rent a campsite at Fort Wilderness and not stay there. That’s the cheapest option to get FPP. :)

      Spring Break will be busier, and it’s possible some attractions or popular times will be unavailable if you wait until day-of to get FPP.

      We’re sending people to the Magic Kingdom all this week to look at lines. Look for a set of blog posts soon.

  • Len, I’m surprised that you are considering Mine Train one that isn’t high demand for FP. Since it hasn’t opened, how do you have data on that? Also, I would think the opposite. Everyone will want to try it when it is new, I would expect long lines and high demand for FP. Can you explain?

  • Hi Len, I am not seeing the suggested start times for FP+ when I optimize in the format you presented.

    Peter Pan’s Flight = 10 AM
    Buzz Lightyear = 5 PM
    Enchanted Tales with Belle = 7 PM

    I see…
    Enchanted Tales with Belle

    This would be a good candidate for FastPass+. Add here.

    Is the time slot it is dumped in supposed to = the suggested time as you have presented above? I want to be sure I understand what this is supposed to look like because I don’t see any changes on my end. The presentation of suggested attractions and times looks the same as it did last month. Was it supposed to change? Sorry if I am just missing something here.

    Thanks!

    • Hey Sarie-

      The suggested time slots should be in the text at the top of the plan.

      If your change the plan’s times or attractions, or if the recommended FP+ times aren’t available, you can ask the Optimizer for suggestions.

      To do that, find the FastPass+ section of the Optimizer, just below the preferences for walking and waiting. In that FastPass+ section, there’s a place to enter the actual FP+ reservations you have. And there’s another section that asks you how many remaining FP+ you have, so we can make suggestions. Enter into that section the number of FP+ opportunities you have left for that day.

      We’re working on a video for this, so let me know if this isn’t clear.

      • Hey Len,

        Thanks so much for the explanation. I finally saw it up there. Just a suggestion – maybe bold that area or put a header over it so it stands out. I actually just glanced over it thinking it was just telling me about arriving early like it always did. ;-) I was expecting to see it in the actual plan. I think the video will be very helpful to folks newer to the touring plan process.

        This is all very helpful and the work you and the team have done with this is exceptional. As a researcher, I am always interested in your new findings and updates. Thanks for all you do!

  • Thanks for the tips. If you stay at non-Disney resort how do you incorporate Fastpass+ in your personalized touring plan?

  • If we’re staying offsite and booking FPP after we arrive at the park, how do you add your FPP times to your TP and re-optimize on a smart phone?

    Thanks for the info!

    • We’re updating Lines for off-site guests and same-day FPP, and that should be done in about a week.

      If you’re traveling in the meantime, use the full version of the site on your phone to enter the FPP times. You can use Lines to follow and re-optimize your plan as you go along.

  • So the advance Fastpass+ is available only to onsite guests now? Can I get these if I rent DVC points to stay at bay tower? Does it matter which propert you stay at and whether you rent points from owner? Thanks

    • Yes. I rented points for a recent stay and got MBs and was able to make FP+ reservations. The property you stay at should not matter – it’s the DVC reservation that counts.

    • If you rent DVC points all you need to do is link your DVC reservation to your MDE account and you get all the benefits of being an on-site guest, including advance FPP reservations.

  • Len, a poser if I may:

    Why would one ever use FP-minus in the morning (I.e. Peter Pan @10am) when one can usually be riding something at that time with very little wait? This seems counter-intuitive to me.

    One would think that using FPM during afternoon hours when there’s a long wait for nearly everything but the people mover makes the most sense, no?

    Thanks in advance for schooling me on this. Great job as always.

    • Thanks!

      During summer months and holidays, the standby waits at Pan from 10-11 AM can approach 30 minutes. Check out yesterday’s posted and actuals here: http://touringplans.com/magic-kingdom/attractions/peter-pans-flight/wait-times/date/2014-01-13. (Black dots are posted wait times, green dots are actuals.)

      The thing is, if you can get through Pan faster than 30 minutes, then you’ve still got time to stay one step ahead of the crowds at the secondary lands – Liberty Square and Frontierland. My guess is that’s what the Optimizer is figuring out.

      • Argh. That Pan link is for 2 days ago. Adjust the URL to get yesterday please.

      • Len, I don’t understand your answer. At 10am, one can ride something else with little to no wait. At 3pm… not so.

        Also, if one wants to ride PP with no wait, one must either ride it first when the park opens, or use FPM. Using it at 10am saves 30 minutes. But using it at 3pm saves 60-90 minutes.

        What am I not understanding? Thanks for your patience with me.

        • Ah, okay. Here’s an example. Copy the 1-day touring plan for parents with small children and set it to mid-summer crowds on a not-morning-EMH day. (I use June 18, 2014. Here’s a link to the plan: http://touringplans.com/plans/37169)

          Click ‘evaluate’ without entering any FP+ reservations, and you’ll see the steps Pan > Jungle Cruise > Haunted Mansion > Small World has about 59 minutes of standby wait, with Pan at 28 minutes.

          Now enter the recommended FP+ reservations for Pan at 10 AM, Buzz at 5 PM and ETWB at 7 PM. The amount of time you wait for Pan > JC > HM > IASW drops to 26 minutes, so you save 33 over 4 attractions.

          No other attraction in the plan has an expected wait of more than 13 minutes. So for that set of attractions, there doesn’t seem to be a better place to use Pan’s FP+.

          Of course, this is dependent on the set of attractions, arrival time and time of year.

          • Oh, and that plan averages about 6 minutes of waiting at each attraction, and 5 minutes of walking. The totals for 23 steps are 144 and 123, or 267 total. Let me know if you come up with something lower than that. If it looks reasonable I’ll change our plan.

          • Fascinating… I’ll have to try it out from home later. On would think that a 6pm FP- for Pan or a 3pm- 4pm would work better. I’ll try it out and let you know. Thanks!

  • I’m visiting in a couple of weeks. We are staying on property and can only use FP+ for all parks, not just the Magic Kingdom. Any chance the touring plans will be updated before the end of January (for those of us who already cannot use the original Fast Passes)?

    • Have fun Gina!

      All of the Animal Kingdom plans are updated for FastPass+ only, and we should have the remaining parks done within two weeks.

      If that’s not enough time for the Studios and Epcot, you can always copy one of the existing plans for FastPass+ suggestions.

      If you want the Optimizer not to suggest the original Fastpass system, make a “dummy” Fastpass+ reservation for any attraction at any time, like Journey into Imagination at 7 AM. It’s a workaround, but it’ll prevent the Optimizer from suggesting original Fastpass.

      From there you can follow steps 1-4 that I’ve outlined at the end of the blog post, to see where FP+ might help you the most. But let me know if this isn’t clear.

  • Based on the updated information and directions, I created a personalized touring plan for MK on 2/19 using the one-day play for parents with tweens. When the plan is optimized TP recommends not using my FPP reservation for Enchanted Tales with Belle, even though it sends me to the attraction during the time that I have a FPP (1-2pm) and anticipates a 39 min. wait. This is the longest wait of the day on the plan. Why not use the FPP in this situation?

    Thanks for the directions on how to incorporate FPP and optimize a plan — along with the great data! It’s always so helpful.

    • Hey Elaine-it’s fixed now.

      We use military time for the FastPass+ reservations, so 1 PM is 13:00. I changed that in the plan and it all looks good.

      I’ll remind our programmer that we shouldn’t give a 1 AM option when the park’s not open then. Sorry for the confusion!

  • May not be right place to ask, but we are going to Disney world (priority -MK, seven dwarves, etc.) and Universal (priority Harry Potter!!! Diagon Alley!!!) last two weeks of August. Last week of August shows as light crowds and next to last week shows as ok. In which park does this make most difference? In other words, if avoiding lines is a priority, would you do Disney third week of August and Universal last week of August or vice versa? Thanks much.

    • The last week of August, the 24th through the 29th, looks better for Universal. It’s still going to be a zoo because of Diagon Alley. And don’t forget that Labor Day is September 1, so crowds around that weekend may be higher.

  • We just saw this — thanks for the instructions. We are going to be in MK this Saturday, staying off property, so unable to get FPP in advance through Disney online. It sounds like we need to generate a “mock” optimized plan through touringplans.com, assuming that we will be able to get FPP for the times we want. Then, on Saturday at the park, we will see what we can actually get, and use the full site on a smart phone to re-optimize (unless Lines will be up and running for this by then?) The question is: should we focus on getting the FPP first, or on getting to the first rides (like Buzz Lightyear or Space Mountain) quickly and worrying about FPP later in the morning? In other words, how quickly do you think the FPP availability will disappear for popular attractions in the “good” time windows? Also, we will be in the Studios on Sunday and Epcot on Monday — will those still have the old FastPass system this weekend or is it also disappearing for those parks?

    • Hey Joel-

      I’d get through the first hour of the plan, then stop at the nearest FPP kiosk. Let me know how it goes, too – that’s new advice for everyone. Good luck!

  • Hey Len,
    This is WONDERFUL information. Now I just wish I was the ONLY one who read it.
    We have our reservations for the Princess-half weekend, but weren’t planning on getting our new APs until we arrived (which means we couldn’t book advance FPP reservations). If I call and get the voucher # before we go, can we link it to our reservation and make selections?

    Thanks for responding to everyone’s comments. It’s very helpful!

  • Hi Len

    Thanks for all the changes to the plans for FP+, however for offsite guests are you adding the new booths so that I can add in the time for queuing up to get the FP+.
    For example for MK I would usually go straight to Space Mountain to obtain FP’s then meet the family in Fantasyland and start the rides there. Now with FP+ I need to build in time for this but cqn’t see how to do this with the new plans.
    I hope this makes sense!

  • Fantastic! I look forward to creating our plans even more now ….. What do you suggest is the best way to represent additional activities in a touring plan such as BBB please? Should I just stop the plan at the time of our res then resume after?

  • Hello friends. I’m new to the group. Attending WDW parks Jan 24-29, 2014, staying at an offsite hotel. It is my understanding that fast pass plus will not be available for my use at this date, so I need to use standard fast pass. I can’t figure out how to integrate fast pass into my touring plan here on toiringplans.com. (I am a subscriber). Any suggestions would be great as my current touring plan leaves standing in line at all major attractions without the benefit of fast pass use.

  • Is it really possible that the mine train will be an option for a trip in February? We have a trip planned from February 12 through 19 and would love the chance to ride it but I’ve checked a few other blogs and they seam to indicate a Easter opening as a best case scenario, and many are skeptical that is realistic.

  • With magic kingdom not tiering fastpass +, do you think it’s okay to do a late arrival for this park and just do the headliner attractions for fastpass+?
    We will have park hopper option and want to save our morning for the parks that are most important for us to be at rope drop because fastpass + tiering or parks that we could tour in the morning without using fastpass +.
    I guess my question is what parks should we try to save for the mornings (in order of priority)? We have 2 year old and tall 7 year old.

  • I read all the posts from Jan. Now that it is end of march, I am wondering if anything has changed for advice? We are staying off site and we are visiting during spring vacation. I am sure this is a bad combo and I am worried! Should we still do the first hour of the touring plan and then stop at a kiosk? The kids are young so Peter pan, winnie the pooh, dumbo, small world, aladdin, pirates of caribbean, jungle cruise, Buzz lightyear will be top priority. Thanks for any advice. I am having nightmares of standing there with my iphone trying to input all the info and optimize and not knowing which way to go!