8/12/14

Ins and Outs of Disney's FastPass+

Ahem . .  . Sorry, guys, there are no real tricks to this. . . yet.


Gotta smile with Minnie and Pluto!
There are a few facts that I can list, and I will, but for the most part there are no tricks to securing the FastPass+ for certain coveted rides except to catch the ride during the off season, or staying at a WDW hotel, or waiting in lines (horribly long wait times during peak season!)


The show right before the 'soft' park opening.
.
Tips:
  • If you can afford to stay in a WDW hotel, then do so. This gives you up to 60 days in advance to schedule your FP+ times. WHICH MEANS: you have to know which park you are going on any given day. There is no freedom to change your mind at the last minute. Oh, the WDW gurus say that you can, but not during peak season as all the 'good' FP+ passes are gone before you even get to the park. If you buy your tickets, but stay off-site at another Orlando hotel, then you have only 30 days prior to your visit to get your FP+ tickets.
  • Go to the online map, print it out, and have some family meetings prior to picking your FP+ options. Your vacation will be much happier if you let everyone choose something they really, really want to do. And this way, you can familiarize yourself with the park, the rides, and the set up.
  • Last year I groused about the new maps. Well, there was a reason for the way they set up those maps--they have an online phone app that gives you the wait times of various attractions. Yes, there are tons of people starring at their phones as they figure out where their FP+ is and how long the wait times are for the attractions around the FP+ time. And yes, there was one day, a Saturday, that the app was down for virtually all day. If we hadn't jotted the information down prior to walking out the door we wouldn't have had a clue when or which FP+ we had, along with the time of our dinner reservations. Just realize that there are probably 100,000+ people at these four parks on a crowded day, all trying to log on to their app.
  • My hubby's Samsung 5 had enough battery juice to last all day (8 am- 9 pm), but not all phones last that long. There were many people sitting next to a plug all around the park. On an aside: the Universal Florida app wasn't as good and we roamed a lot, which sucked up the battery juice.
  • Only three (3) FP+ passes are issued each day. You can try to get more FP+ AFTER the final time frame of your last issued FP+. Each FP+ takes an hour time frame, which means that you can have FP+ tickets back-to-back. For example: 9-10 am--7 Dwarves Mine Train, 10-11 Big Thunder Mountain, and 11-12 Pirates of the Caribbean. After the 12 PM time passes you can go to a kiosk and try to get another FP+. Many times the wait times were up to an hour just to see if there were any FP+ tickets left for a particular ride. . .  In other words: don't waste your time if it's peak season, just wait in line or get up at the butt-crack of dawn to be one of the first to ride the ride.
  • The way we would plan the previous three FP+ times would be to ride the Mine train toward the end of the FastPass period and then hit Thunder Mountain at the beginning of the Fast Pass time. Don't forget to allow for lunch and the ensuing crowds at the lunch places.
  • If you are an early morning park person, I would suggest not getting your first FP+ until an hour after the park opens. You won't need one in the first hour of operations because the park isn't that crowded.
  • And no, you can't have two FP+ at one park, and then park hop to your third FP+. We wanted to do that since we tend to eat at EPCOT in the evenings. As it currently is set up, you are not able to do this.
  • Rides that normally don't crowd up had waits of 45 min. or longer. The Haunted Mansion was one of those rides.
  • Peak season is hideously crowded. They even offer FP+ locations for parades, fireworks, along with character greetings. Yeah, it's that crowded. Plan to have ZERO personal space as people will squish and squeeze their way into any small opening. It's not so bad first thing in the morning, but by late afternoon you are dealing with hot, tired, sweaty, and stinky people with a very short fuse. .. .just saying. And that's not all the screaming kids throwing temper tantrums because they are hot and tired.
  • If you are an early morning park type person, get thee to a park at least 30 minutes prior to opening. Many times they will have a soft opening and open the main gate 10-15 minutes before the official opening. Don't kill yourself or others as you gallop to Space Mountain because the rides themselves will NOT open until the official opening time. The early opening allows you to place yourself in a good spot to get on the ride in a timely manner.
  • Do not waste your time going to a show during this first hour of any park opening, focus on riding the big rides before the lines get too long. Shows might look crowded from the outside, but most of them offer a system of various pre-show rooms.
  • IF you stay in a WDW hotel, you must take advantage of the early park entry times offered. It isn't every park on every day. Some are late night hours after the park is closed, but remember that everyone else who is staying at a WDW hotel will be going to that park after the other parks close, thus jam packed with stinky, sweaty humanity.
  • It's the early morning hours you want as most of the late nighters are still sleeping. You have to figure out your schedule to work the early park openings into your schedule (yes, it's on their website and in their brochures). On a side note: the early/late park hours don't necessarily stay the same every year, AND the times change according to the park hours during that particular time of year. Summer offers longer hours than spring or fall, staying open as late as 12 AM or even 1 AM.  
  • When you choose your FP+ options don't expect to get the primo roller coaster ones each day. They allow two big rides and one minor type attraction. This is really a pain in Epcot where you can have either Soarin' or Test Track, but not both on the same day. Remember the early days of Disney where they had A, B, C tickets? You would only have one or two A tickets, but you couldn't give the C tickets away. Yeah, some of the FP+ options are like the C tickets. Do you really need a FP+ to see Captain Eo? I think not.
That's all I can think of to offer as suggestions for right now. If you have any questions, please ask away. I'm getting tired of talking to myself on this blog.

Here are a few pictures taken at Walt Disney World.

All these pictures are taken with hubby's cell phone.

Here are a few pics from the Magic Kingdom:

Cinderella's Castle in the Magic Kingdom. Disney drained the ponds on either side and are doing some major construction. No, we don't know what they are doing.

Space Mountain. I think we rode this about six or seven times. This is the best picture! We texted our friend Steve with a daily picture since I didn't want to post on FB that we were gone, and this was one of the first ones we sent.

Buzz Lightyear ride. I suck at the laser shooting, personally I blame the hubby for moving the car when I line up my shot. That's my story and I'm sticking to it!

on Big Thunder Mountain Roller Coaster

This was very early in the morning and the crowds were light.

Sad gargoyle needed some sugar--on entrance way into the Beast's castle.

On walkway to the Beast's castle, the 7 Dwarves Mine train is coming out of the mountain. The picture doesn't capture the gorgeous color of the plants on the mountain.

From Animal Kingdom:


Expedition Everest is in the background--totally awesome roller coaster.  The small peak to the left of the mountain is the temple in the next picture on the way up the mountain.

Going up on the steep incline of Expedition Everest. We usually hit this ride in the single rider line. We had a FP+ for this shot.
 
Kilimanjaro Safaris. . . blurry young giraffe.


Kilimanjaro Safaris. Elephant and baby.

 
From Hollywood Studios: 
 Olaf and FROZEN characters are huge at this park. They even had a fireworks show that we could see out our hotel window. It was nice to watch right before going to sleep!

Numerous big screens had Olaf interacting with the visitors throughout the day and especially during the park opening and the fireworks.



Yep, they even had Olaf cupcakes--carrot cake with cream cheese icing.

Toy Story Mania

Star Tours. The new show combines different scenarios in each ride to give a multi-faceted thrill ride that isn't the same every time you ride.

Tower of Terror. Yes, we are the goofballs on the back row. :-) We wouldn't have raised our arms if we were in front of people. This is taken at the top of the drop, right as the elevator falls. Again, this ride is set up with an infinite number of scenarios that have different drops, mixing long drops with short drops.
 
Tower of Terror behind us. The last time we took a picture here--the kidlet was up to my chin. Oh, my, how she has grown!

 
 
And finally a few pictures from EPCOT:  

 AT the Rose and Crown Pub in the UK. Post dinner. I had an incredible Scottish salmon dinner, and I don't even like salmon!

 Outside of Paris. The Eiffel Tower is in the background.
 
 The Japan pavilion. We buy the funkiest Japanese candy at the department store there. It's so good!
 
 Picture taken from Italy facing toward the front of EPCOT. The round ball is Spaceship Earth. It's a sleepy kind of ride that had Dame Judi Dench ('M' of the most recent James Bond flicks) narrating.
 


 At the China Pavilion.
 
 We ate Italian on our last WDW night.
 Outside Canada and 'Bow Falls'.

 And those are a few of the pictures we have of Walt Disney World 2014. Todd managed to keep most of the crowds out of the pictures. The most crowded location was Fantasyland in the Magic Kingdom.

The new expanded Fantasyland was a big draw along with the newly opened Seven Dwarves Mine train. It was a fun ride. Not an exciting coaster, but a very Disney one.

More from Universal Florida in a day or two!

Later, peeps!

2 comments:

Meg said...

Great report!

Margaret Golla said...

Can't wait until we can go during off season again, then FP+'s aren't really needed.