During our first visit to Disneyworld with our kids several years ago, I did a lot of digging to figure out how the Magic Kingdom FastPass works. After all, it’s a lot of money to visit Magic Kingdom and we were there for only a single day, so I wanted to be as efficient as possible — especially with two small children in tow.
And after my recent mom-cation at a few of the Disney Parks, our crew had a bunch of questions about our allotted Magic Kingdom FastPass so I thought it would be helpful to share what I know and some strategies to make the most of your FastPass+ experience while you’re at the Happiest Place on Earth.
How much is a Magic Kingdom FastPass?
It’s FREE! You can’t buy FastPass+ and they aren’t tangible tickets in your hand but rather a virtual pass that allows you to bypass the main (big) lines for many of the most popular rides at Magic Kingdom in Orlando.
While you can now purchase a VIP package for Magic Kingdom (at a very hefty VIP price tag) and super-elite Club Level guests can add three extra FastPasses per day at a premium price, the other 99 per cent of us cannot buy, or sell, Disney FastPasses. Nor does FastPass+ have any cash value — use them or lose them.
How do I get a Magic Kingdom FastPass?
Your FastPasses are included in the price of theme park admission and you get a total of three to use per person per park per day. So until you purchase your Magic Kingdom tickets — which are obviously far from free — you won’t be able to use the FastPass+ or its reservation system.
And before you can access a single Magic Kingdom FastPass, you have to register either online or through the My Disney Experience app. Pro Tip: Once you register, link your family members and tickets so you can go paperless and manage everything from one central point.
How do I use my Magic Kingdom FastPass?
Think of your FastPasses like a special reservation tool. If you’re staying at a Disney property onsite, in Disney Springs hotels or at the Hilton Bonnet Creek or Waldorf Astoria Orlando hotels, you’ll be able to make your FastPass selections 60 days ahead of your day at the park. This is one of the biggest advantages of staying in a Disney-sanctioned hotel.
However, those staying offsite still have a 30-day reservation window to make FastPass selections. And having been in that camp, I can tell you that there will still be plenty of choice. So don’t fret.
Before you arrive — within that 30- or 60-day period — go online or into your My Disney Experience app to check the availability for your top attractions and experiences. Consider the location of these attractions to move around the park as efficiently as possible and then go ahead and reserve up to three of your FastPasses for EVERY day of your ticket.
You can either use your Disney MagicBands or entry cards to enter the FastPass+ line for your reservation any time during the specified one-hour window. Walk up to your ride or attraction, look for the FastPass+ entry and tap your MagicBand or card where indicated and bypass the main lineup. Keep your card handy as most of the rides require you to tap a second time.
FastPass+ rides, character experiences and other attractions have limited arrival windows but they do “renew” once you’ve completed all three of your selections. So, technically, you can use more than three FastPasses during your day at Magic Kingdom. After that third FastPass+ experience is done, you can then make a new reservation at one of the in-park kiosks or on your app. Use that FastPass and get one more. Get it? Rinse and repeat all day, provided there’s availability.
Can I cancel or change Magic Kingdom FastPass experiences?
The short answer is YES. The longer answer is, it depends and is based on availability. Of course you can cancel a FastPass+ reservation at any time but you won’t be guaranteed a spot on that same ride/attraction or a replacement.
If your plans change or you find a ride you’d reserved without a long wait earlier in the day and want to change out your FastPass for a different attraction, you can make modifications in four different ways:
- On the My Disney Experience planner page.
- Using the My Disney Experience app.
- Through your Disney hotel’s Concierge.
- At the FastPass kiosks.
Are all rides and attractions available through a Magic Kingdom FastPass?
Your FastPass at Magic Kingdom gives you access to a whopping 24 experiences (it’ll be 25 once Splash Mountain re-opens). From Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, Pirates of the Caribbean and It’s a Small World to the Monster’s Inc. Laugh Floor, Seven Dwarfs Mine Train and Space Mountain, many of the most popular rides are included.
Select character meet-and-greets are also part of the Magic Kingdom FastPass. You can:
- Meet Ariel at Her Grotto
- Meet Cinderella and Elena at Princess Fairytale Hall
- Meet Rapunzel and Tiana at Princess Fairytale Hall
- Meet Mickey Mouse at Town Square Theater
- Meet Tinker Bell at Town Square Theater
How to make the most of your Magic Kingdom FastPass
While I’m certainly not a Disney expert by any stretch, my visits have taught me a few tricks that I can share.
Although you can register your FastPass reservations online and renew them at the in-park kiosks during your visit to Magic Kingdom, I strongly recommend using the My Disney Experience mobile app instead. Disney WiFi is free and strong at the parks and the app is extremely user-friendly. It creates the perfect hub — housing tickets, FastPasses, maps, lineup times, restaurant reservations and so much more, all in the palm of your hand and ready when you are no matter where you are at Magic Kingdom.
My biggest tip of all is to move around Magic Kingdom in some kind of order, and book your FastPasses accordingly. Zigzagging around the huge park isn’t going to do you or your legs any favours, especially if you want to make it to the fireworks at night.
Keep a close eye on the lineups — times for the regular lines are posted at the entry points for each as well as listed in real time on the My Disney Experience app. Don’t bother using a FastPass for rides that usually have lines that are less than 30 minutes. Save those suckers for the rides that consistently have those 75- to 90-minute lines.
Consider peak times. Some rides may be really busy from 11 a.m. until 6 p.m. but have considerably shorter lines first thing in the morning or while the masses are eating dinner. Ride patterns are pretty predictable, so watch the wait times on the app for a few days to get a sense of them. For example, it won’t take long for your strategy to form around starting at the Fantasyland area of Magic Kingdom in early morning since there are usually short lines there this time of day.
Continue to be strategic about timing to ensure you’re really maximizing your FastPasses. When Miss Q and I first passed by Enchanted Tales with Belle midday, it was an 80-minute wait but when we checked again around 6:30 p.m., it was a mere 12 minutes. Standing in a line for more than an hour just wasn’t an option for me with a three year old, but less than 15 minutes was totally doable — and we didn’t have to use a precious FastPass to do it.
You can make another FastPass reservation even if you’re in a different park, so if you have a Park Hopper ticket, you could conceivably make your three Magic Kingdom FastPass selections for the morning, head to another park midday (like a full-on food fest at Epcot for lunch or another three attractions using fresh FastPasses for your other park) and while you’re there organize your next FastPass for when you return later in the day. We did this from Disney Hollywood Studios, while watching Fantasmic, and zipped back to Magic Kingdom to do a popular ride. Using the app instead of hunting for kiosks will make you even more efficient! Just don’t forget to factor in transfer times from one park to another.
Have a magical time!
Planning a Disneyworld vacation? My Adults at Disney post may be helpful even if you’re planning to take kids along.
DISCLAIMER: I have been provided with Disneyworld tickets in the past to facilitate Disney Parks content.