Fastpass+ Strategy - Opinions needed

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Fastpass+ Strategy - Opinions needed

My family and I will be in WDW 6 days around New Year's. Crowds are projected to be very high the whole time we're there, and most of our previous WDW trips have been in low-season why lines are fairly short. We have park-hopper tickets, and I am thinking about how to make the best use of our FastPass + reservations.

The issue: You can only pre-book Fastpasses at one park per day. Further, Epcot and Hollywood Studios only allow you to pre-book one "Tier 1" attraction if you book at those parks.

Animal Kingdom is a one-day park for us, and 3 fast-passes are more than enough unless some new stuff opens before then that requires a Fastpass. So that leaves 5 days worth of Fastpasses for the 3 other parks.

Epcot has Frozen Ever After, Soarin' Around the World, and Test Track all as Tier 1 attractions. The first two attractions are new since we've last been to WDW, and Test Track is a big family favorite. On the other hand there are NO Tier 2 attractions at Epcot that seem important to Fastpass.

DHS has Rock n' Roller Coaster and Toy Story Mania both as Tier 1 attractions, plus also Fantasmic, all among our family favorites. We usually don't fastpass Fantasmic, but we also usually don't go during heavy crowded times. Star Tours and Tower of Terror are Tier 2s that seems worth Fastpasses, but nothing else beyond that.

MK favorites that we usually would fastpass include: Space Mountain, Splash Mountain, 7 Dwarfs Mine Train, maybe Big Thunder Mountain, and maybe Haunted Mansion.

So what do you think -- how would you maximize the 5 days of Fastpasses across the 3 other parks ? And which core rides should we risk waiting in the standby lines for ? Any other thoughts ?

All info appreciated, and thanks!!

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Did you read Allie's great FastPass+ article yet? She's amazing at optimizing her selections.

http://www.wdwforgrownups.com/articles/top-5-tips-make-most-walt-disney-worlds-fastpass-system

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Cool article with good info, thanks Allie and Kristen!!

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Yes... the article is great and has some excellent tips.

But I would also say that how you use and strategize your fastpasses also depends on how you want to use the parks (and what your "whole family" will prefer) ... and even the weather once you hit the day.

For instance, if you plan on staying at Magic Kingdom til close, that may shift how you want to use your fast passes,
given that later at night, the lines for Haunted Mansion, Splash Mountain, and Big Thunder Mountain seem to ease up quite a bit, especially toward close with extra magic hours.

Moreover, if you have kids in your party, privileging Toy Story Mania over Rockin Roller Coaster seems like a no brainer. If you have teenagers or roller coaster enthusiasts, then I might suggest the other way around. Also, if you are willing to ride alone, the Single rider line at rockin roller coaster is often an excellent option -- but know that your party will be split up -- they really do mean "single rider".

I haven't been to the parks since the renovations (extra track to toy story... and didn't they add extra seating to Soarin also ???) So I'm not sure how that's impacted the lines... but my strategies are as follows:

--I always fastpass Kali Rapids (AK) and Splash Mountain (MK) because I like to ride them in the heat of the day like everyone else, so that _if I do get wet_ , its enough to cool me off, and I dry off fairly quickly. (It's kind of miserable to walk around wet on a cold night)

--I always fastpass 7dwarfsmine train (MK) because this ride seems to be new enough and popular enough that there's almost always a long standby line, even at night (And if for some reason there's a short line during extra magic hours, then as a bonus, and I'll ride again)

--I always fastpass space mountain (MK) again because this ride usually has significant wait times, unless again, late at night with extra magic hours). (Note that because this ride is indoors - it is one of the few not impacted by rainy/stormy weather - except everyone goes to it because its still running)

--I tend to fastpass Toy story at (HS) because as a single rider, I take advantage of the single rider line at Rockin Roller Coaster.

--As for Epcot.... A tough call... (again, who is in your party may dictate this...)
... Test track tends to get my fast pass (But if its a stormy or rainy day, you may want to try for the others, as test track cannot run in the rain.)
... Since Frozen is new, I would probably use my fast pass here, just because I would want at least one go on the newly renovated Maelstrom (just to see what all of the fuss is about).
... If I were to try to place my bets on waiting in line, it would probably be for Soarin'. I know we are all spoiled by fastpasses and hate lines, but sometimes you just have to put on your big kid pants and wait. But, my logic is that Soarin is a high capacity ride/theater experience. So while there may be a wait, They Usher LOTS of people into the theaters at once for this. It is a long queue line, but it moves significantly when it moves.

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SorcererMickey wrote:

... Since Frozen is new, I would probably use my fast pass here, just because I would want at least one go on the newly renovated Maelstrom (just to see what all of the fuss is about).

Even the FastPass+ line for this attraction has been 45 min - 1 hour at time this Summer. Plus, it's a *SUPER* hard FastPass+ to get. If you want to see this one you really should come up with a good plan to squeeze it in. Though, if you are a late night person, you can always hop in line 5 minutes before Park closing.

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Kristen K. wrote:
Did you read Allie's great FastPass+ article yet? She's amazing at optimizing her selections.

http://www.wdwforgrownups.com/articles/top-5-tips-make-most-walt-disney-worlds-fastpass-system

Mike_S wrote:
Cool article with good info, thanks Allie and Kristen!!

SorcererMickey wrote:
Yes... the article is great and has some excellent tips.

Thanks!

It really depends how many days you plan on visiting each park. For Magic Kingdom for sure FastPass 7 Dwarfs Mine Train, maybe on two different days even if you think you'll want to ride it more then once. The other ones you have listed for MK are all good FastPass+ options as well, but if you rope drop you should be able to knock out a couple of them first thing in the morning with a fairly short line. Keep in mind too that MK has the most amount of attractions on FP+ so getting 4th, 5th, etc rolling FastPasses is easier in this park. Do NOT plan on getting a rolling for 7 Dwarfs, though.

Epcot if you are going more then one day I would FP+ Frozen one day and Soarin' the other. If you're not concerned about the other attractions I would only make the one reservation for that day so then you can immediately setup a rolling FastPass for another park once it is used up. If you're only going to Epcot one day I would rope drop Soarin' (it is new but like Sorcerer Mickey pointed out they did add an additional theater) and FastPass Frozen. Test Track has a single rider line you can utilize so I would not waste a FastPass on that.

Hollywood Studios I would FastPass Toy Story Mania, Tower of Terror, and Star Tours. Rock 'n' Rollercoaster has a single rider line that can get you on faster if you're willing to split your party up.

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Thanks again!!

The best new information I was not previously aware of is that you can make exactly 1 Fastpass+ reservation and then, as soon as you use it, make additional rolling Fastpass+ reservations via the app even for other parks. I'm somewhat nervous about trying to do this during busy season, but it seems like it has a decent chance to work as long as we're flexible. And it also feels like a better play to risk this than using up the Tier 2 Fastpasses for lesser attractions.

So I think that may be the core solution to the worst problem -- Fastpass Frozen one morning for as early as possible, and Soarin' another morning for as early as possible, and try to make rolling fastpasses for other attractions asap. Maybe even do the same thing for Rock n Rollercoaster if we get all three of our desired fastpasses a different day in Hollywood Studios.

A few related side questions if anyone has info:

1. Soarin' has always seemed to have a longer wait than the already-long posted wait times. Even the Fastpass line there typically has had a wait -- does anyone know if this has improved since the original attraction was shut down and the new movie opened ??

2. How much have the Toy Story Mania waits improved (or not) since the additional track was put in ?

3. Splash Mountain sometimes goes down for renovations in January. I am unable to find any definitive details on whether this will happen this year, and if so, what dates. Any good links that would have this info fairly far in advance ?

Thanks again for all info and help!!

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1. The longest wait I saw for Soarin a couple of weeks ago was 45 minutes. I have the My Disney Experience app on my phone and even when I am not there, I randomly check the wait times of rides. I've seen it over an hour and a half a couple of times.
I rode it with just a 25 minute wait while there and fast pass the next time. There was only a 30 minute wait when we got off but Blondie didn't want to ride again... confused confused

2. Same with Toy Story, didn't notice huge lines but we were only at HS once and had a FP

3. Norway opens at 9am instead of 11 with the rest of World Showcase. A friend posted that he rode Frozen 3 times in about 45 minutes a couple of weeks ago. If you are planning to meet Anna and Elsa, there are 4 doors once you get inside, the wait hasn't been over 30 minutes for them!

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JMed wrote:
Norway opens at 9am instead of 11 with the rest of World Showcase. A friend posted that he rode Frozen 3 times in about 45 minutes a couple of weeks ago.

Very happy to see this!

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JMed wrote:
3. Norway opens at 9am instead of 11 with the rest of World Showcase. A friend posted that he rode Frozen 3 times in about 45 minutes a couple of weeks ago. If you are planning to meet Anna and Elsa, there are 4 doors once you get inside, the wait hasn't been over 30 minutes for them!

Love this! We were planning on FastPassing Frozen Ever After both of our Epcot days in February and we were going to rope drop our second Epcot day to meet Anna and Elsa. Maybe we'll just FastPass Soarin that last day, rope drop Frozen Ever After, and then do Anna and Elsa if their waits aren't getting to insane.

Mike_S wrote:
Thanks again!!

The best new information I was not previously aware of is that you can make exactly 1 Fastpass+ reservation and then, as soon as you use it, make additional rolling Fastpass+ reservations via the app even for other parks. I'm somewhat nervous about trying to do this during busy season, but it seems like it has a decent chance to work as long as we're flexible. And it also feels like a better play to risk this than using up the Tier 2 Fastpasses for lesser attractions.

So I think that may be the core solution to the worst problem -- Fastpass Frozen one morning for as early as possible, and Soarin' another morning for as early as possible, and try to make rolling fastpasses for other attractions asap. Maybe even do the same thing for Rock n Rollercoaster if we get all three of our desired fastpasses a different day in Hollywood Studios.

A few related side questions if anyone has info:

1. Soarin' has always seemed to have a longer wait than the already-long posted wait times. Even the Fastpass line there typically has had a wait -- does anyone know if this has improved since the original attraction was shut down and the new movie opened ??

2. How much have the Toy Story Mania waits improved (or not) since the additional track was put in ?

3. Splash Mountain sometimes goes down for renovations in January. I am unable to find any definitive details on whether this will happen this year, and if so, what dates. Any good links that would have this info fairly far in advance ?

Thanks again for all info and help!!

That's a pretty recent change and it is super helpful!

I just logged into the Disney Travel Agent site that normally has the most up to date list of refurbs and nothing is listed yet.

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Mike_S wrote:

A few related side questions if anyone has info:

3. Splash Mountain sometimes goes down for renovations in January. I am unable to find any definitive details on whether this will happen this year, and if so, what dates. Any good links that would have this info fairly far in advance ?

It _may_ be a bit early to confirm seasonal closures/refurbishment schedules for specific attractions. Looking in a few different places seems to confirm the refurbishment dates for Blizzard Beach and Typhoon Lagoon, but I'm not seeing much for specific park attractions for the month of January yet.

A couple of options to keep checking:

1. A google search of "Refurbishment Calendar Walt Disney World 2017" will land you Refurbishment schedules on "allears.net", "undercovertourist", "wdwinfo", "wdwmagic", "touringplans.com", "themouseforless", and "doctordisney". By comparing data at some of these websites, you should be able to garner some insight... especially as time nears closer to your trip

2. If you go to my disney experience (without logging in), At the top of the page you can click on "Things To Do".
On that Drop Down Menu, choose "attractions". This will bring you to a page where you can enter a date in a small box on the right hand side of the page (enter one of the dates you will be in the park). you can then Choose Magic Kingdom park and/or search for Splash Mountain. .... AS I Said, IT MAY BE TOO EARLY but the calendar should (eventually) tell you if its "closed for refurbishment" on the date. (I tested this method with dates that Big Thunder Mountain and Rockin Roller Coaster are scheduled to be closed - and the refurbishment notice appears).

When I choose a mid date in January, nothing comes up yet for Splash Mountain, but that doesn't mean much... So my advice is to Keep Checking and keep your fingers crossed.

Good Luck.

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Thanks again all!!

One more small thing if anyone knows: Last time I was in WDW, I had an older Android phone. The WDW App had wait times, and when you looked at it you saw one theme park's attractions and you could toggle which theme park you were looking at.

Now I have a new Samsung Galaxy 7, and just got the latest version of the app. When I look at the Wait Times, it shows all the attractions from ALL the parks at once. I can't seem to find a way to toggle things to just one park at a time, and I like that format much better.

Does anyone know a way to do this on the new version of the app ?

Again all info appreciated and thanks so much!!

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From the main menu, select Wait Times.

It will show the screen with ALL of the times. In the bottom right corner there is a circle with what looks like a funnel in it, click on that and it will pull up the options to filter the options you are looking for.

Select the park you want and then Done in the top right corner.

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That did it -- Thanks again!!

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yay Welcome!

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"I want adventure in the great wide somewhere. I want it more than I can tell."

"It seems to me that we have a lot of story yet to tell."

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OK!! Woke up at 4AM PT to get our Fastpasses this morning (60 days 'til the trip), and things went really smoothly!!

The web page to get Fastpasses has been improved since we last scheduled some, it's now much easier to customize times and the like.

Though there were a few oddities...one time after making a lot of Fastpasses it suddenly lost my daughter from our party and tried to make a Fastpass for 3 people, after which my daughter was gone completely from all aspects of our account until I logged out and back in to find her again!!

More interesting: You cannot overlap Fastpasses, even by 5 minutes. If you do, your first Fastpass is cancelled in favor of the new one.

Anyway, thanks all for your help with this!! Our family is very excited today!!

mickey

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Glad to hear it went well for you!