Disney World's FastPass+ vs. Fastpass: What was the Difference?

Splash Mountain at Disney World
Garth Vaughan/Disney

Special Update

In August 2021, Disney World announced that its parks would be ending FastPass+. (Fastpass and MaxPass are ending at Disneyland in California as well.) After closing due to the COVID pandemic in 2020, the four Florida parks did not offer the line-skipping program when they reopened in July of that year. Now Disney has made it official that it will replace Fastpass+ with Disney Genie, a digital park planning service that will include line-skipping options. The company says that the new service will debut in fall 2021.

Looking Back at FastPass+ and Fastpass

The following information is about the now-defunct FastPass+ and Fastpass line-skipping programs.

In 1999, Disney revolutionized the park industry (yet again) with the introduction of Fastpass, its attraction reservation and line-skipping program. For some of its most popular attractions, visitors no longer had to wait in humongous lines, but could get tickets that allowed them to return at specific times and hop right on board. In 2014, Disney World tweaked the program considerably when it fully rolled out FastPass+.

FastPass+ was only available at Disney World in Florida. The parks at the Disneyland Resort in California still used the original FastPass program. In 2017, Disneyland introduced MaxPass. That program allowed visitors to use their mobile devices to make ride reservations, but, unlike FastPass+, it cost extra, only one reservation at a time could be made, and the system only allowed day-of reservations. 

So, how did the FastPass 2.0 version compare to the original? There were a number of considerable differences, highlighted below.

01 of 09

Get Fastpasses in Advance—Way in Advance

FastPass-Site.PNG
Disney.

Perhaps the biggest difference between the old Fastpass program and FastPass+ was that guests could book ride times and other experiences in advance of their visit. Previously, the time tickets were only available in the parks on the day of their visit. With Fastpass+, they could reserve a ride on, say, Expedition Everest up to 30 days before they planned to actually encounter the Yeti. (As a perk, guests staying on property at Disney World hotels could book FastPass+ experiences up to 60 days in advance.) To learn experiences were booked in advance, how to use FastPass+ in general, and how to use Disney World‘s planning app, see our overview of My Disney Experience.

02 of 09

No More Paper Tickets

MagicBands-Disney-World.jpg

Arthur Levine

With the original program, guests had to insert their park passes into Fastpass machines at kiosks in front of the attractions. The machines would then spit out paper FastPass tickets, which guests would hand over to Disney cast members when it was time to board the rides. With Fastpass+, everything was handled electronically, and the information was stored on either wearable MagicBand bracelets or credit card-like park passes. Both were embedded with RFID chips. When it was time for a FastPass+ experience, guests tapped their MagicBands or passes on Mickey-shaped readers to transmit the info and gain entry.

03 of 09

You Chose the Time—Sorta

Dumbo.jpg

Arthur Levine

It used to be that you walked up to the Fastpass kiosk at an attraction and were offered the next available reservation time, take it or leave it. With FastPass+, the MyDisneyExperience site or app generally offered a number of times for a particular ride or experience. You still couldn’t name the exact time you would have preferred, but you at least had the option of different times from which to choose. If the times offered were not optimal, you could have booked them anyways and changed (or cancelled) your reservation later. Sometimes, better times may have been available for experiences closer to or on the day of your visit.

04 of 09

Get Up to 3 Fastpasses at a Time

image.jpg

Disney

You were generally only able to get one Fastpass at a time with the original system. With FastPass+, you could have reserved up to three experiences in advance per day of your Disney World visit and mapped out a good portion of your park itineraries before you ever set foot on the property. After you had used your three advance-reserved Fastpasses, you could get additional ones in the parks, but you could only get one of those at a time.

Continue to 5 of 9 below.
05 of 09

Make Changes on the Fly

My-Disney-Experience-Change.jpg

Arthur Levine

You were no longer locked into the time stamped on your paper ticket. If your plans changed, or you wanted to make changes to your Fastpasses for any reason, you could have used the MyDisneyExperience site or smartphone app to change your reservation times (or even change to different experiences altogether) both before your visit and once you were at the parks. See other power-user My Disney Experience Tips.

06 of 09

There were Many More Experiences Available

AnnaAndElsa.jpg

Disney

With the original program, select attractions were available for reservations. Disney more than doubled the participating experiences with FastPass+. In addition to a whole bunch more rides, guests could have booked times for character greetings as well as reserved viewing areas for parades and nighttime shows.

07 of 09

It was Still Free

While many things changed, one important thing stayed the same: It did not cost any extra to use FastPass+. Unlike other parks, including ​Universal Orlando, which charges additional fees to bypass the lines of its rides and attractions, Disney included its program as part of general admission to its parks.

08 of 09

No Need to Run or Zig-Zag

WDW-Group.jpg

Disney

Every morning at Disney World, there used to be a Fastpass ritual. When Disney cast members dropped the ropes, allowing entry into all areas of the theme parks, guests would make beelines to the most popular attractions, pump all of their family members' admission passes into the Fastpass machines to get the earliest and best times, and then run back, time tickets in hand, to meet up with their gangs. Later in the day, guests would have to crisscross the parks on behalf of their families to pick up additional Fastpass tickets. With FastPass+, since reservations were made in advance, guests could hang out with their park posse.

Continue to 9 of 9 below.
09 of 09

Arrive in the Afternoon and Enjoy Popular Attractions

soarin-epcot.jpg

Disney

Let's say your plane landed midday, and you wanted to visit Epcot in the afternoon after you arrived at the resort and unpacked. In the old days, it might have been virtually impossible to get a ride on Soarin'. Since the ride has always been in such high demand, the Fastpasses were typically all distributed early in the day, and the machines were covered and no longer issuing tickets in the afternoon. The standby lines often swelled up to two hours or longer, making that option a dicey proposition. With FastPass+, you could have reserved afternoon times for even the most coveted E-Ticket attractions weeks before you got to the parks.

While My Disney Experience and the FastPass+ system offered many ways to do advance planning and save time at the parks, they did require effort. There was (and still is), however, a seamless, carefree way to skip all of the lines at Disney World. (It’ll cost you plenty of bucks, though.)

Was this page helpful?