Disney World's revolutionary My Disney Experience allows guests to make advance reservations for rides and other experiences as well as enjoy a host of other benefits. It can, however, be a bit confusing to navigate and to take full advantage of its many features. That's where we can help.
We've pulled together a rundown of the best FastPass+ and My Disney Experience tips and suggestions. The first set of tips refers to things you should consider prior to your visit, while the later tips correspond to strategies you might want to use while you are at the parks.
The biggest tip: Use the program! You can't enjoy its s benefits if you don't do a little pre-planning. Before your visit, sign up for a My Disney Experience account, purchase tickets in advance, choose your experiences, and download the My Disney Experience app.
Before we get to the tips, here are some more My Disney Experience resources:
- What is Disney's FastPass+ and My Disney Experience? Breaking down and defining the different elements of Disney World's trip planning program.
- FastPass+ vs. FastPass: What is the Difference? How the new ride reservation program compares to Disney's original program (which is still used at Disneyland).
OK, on to the tips:
Before You Visit: Make FastPass+ Reservations Early
If you will be staying on property at a Disney World resort, you can get advance FastPass+ reservations as early as 60 days in advance of your visit. All other guests who purchase tickets can make reservations up to 30 days in advance. If you want to reserve the best times for the most popular attractions, especially if you will be visiting during a busy time at the resort, make your plans as early as possible (and consider booking a room at Disney World to get the extra 30-day window).
Reserve Early Times
If you plan to visit the parks early in the day, reserve your three advance FastPass+ choices for the earliest times possible so that you would be able to reserve additional experiences on site at the parks. (Once you have completed the last of your three advance-reserved experiences, you can make additional FastPass+ reservations at the parks.)
Don't Book Late-Night Experiences
If you will be visiting one park for most of the day, don't reserve a late-night parade, fireworks viewing, or ride as one of your three advance FastPass+ choices, because you would not be able to reserve additional experiences on site at the parks until after the late-night event was completed.
Reserve Character Greetings
FastPass+ reservations are not just for rides and shows. Use My Disney Experience to book character greetings, especially if your kids (or you?) have their hearts set on meeting one or more of their heroes. Without a reservation, you could spend a lot of time in line waiting to see a character—or worse yet, get shut out from meeting one.
Change FastPass+ Times Later
If the time of one of your reservations is not ideal, you might want to accept it anyway, because you could modify the time of any one experience once it has been booked. Check to see if a more suitable time is available, and change the reservation.
Connect with Your Group
If you will be visiting the parks with a large group of family or friends, use the My Disney Experience feature that allows you to share and build your itineraries with others. The system will allow you to choose experiences and identify which members would like to reserve FastPass+ times together. (Members within groups can also choose not to participate in certain experiences.) The system can accommodate groups of up to 200 people.
Pick Your Favorites and Schedule Them
After you have chosen your three advance FastPass+ reservations, identify other experiences as "favorites" in the mobile app or the online Web site. When you are at the parks, refer to your favorites wish list on the app to help plan the rest of your day. My Disney Experience also allows you to plan a rough itinerary and schedule times for the non-FastPass+ favorites you want to experience. You can share the schedule with everyone in your group.
Save Your Memories—and Your Cash
If you are planning to use Disney's Memory Maker program, which allows you to access unlimited PhotoPass and on-ride photos using My Disney Experience, pre-order the program before you get to the parks, because Disney offers an advance-purchase discount.
At the Parks: No FastPass+? Don't Panic!
What if you didn't do any advance planning and did not make any FastPass+ reservations before your visit? Don't panic! If you have a smart phone, get the mobile app, scan the bar code on your admission ticket, and make day-of reservations within the app. If you don't have a smart phone, visit the FP+ kiosks in the parks to make day-of reservations.
Check the Interactive Maps
This is a very cool feature. When you are at the parks, click the Attractions tab on the mobile app to see what experiences are available near your current location as well as to see the current standby wait times in real time. Seek out the ones with the shortest waits. You can also access interactive maps of character, dining, restroom, entertainment, and shopping locations.
Replace FastPass+ Reservations
By clicking the Attractions tab on the mobile app, you can check the standby wait times of upcoming FastPass+ reservations. If any of them are relatively short, use the app to replace those FP+ reservations with other experiences.
Add Additional FastPass+ Reservations
Once you use the last of your three advance FastPass+ reservations each day, you can make additional day-of reservations using the mobile app or in-park kiosks. You can only make one additional FP+ reservation at a time. When your fourth reservation is completed, you can book a fifth one, for example. When the fifth one is completed, you can book a sixth, and so on. Note that you can also add additional reservations at a different park in the same day.
Take MagicBands into the Water
The MagicBand bracelets ARE waterproof. Take them with you into the water at the water parks and hotel pools. Leave your wallets and purses in your hotel room safes, and use your bracelets to make cashless poolside or water park purchases. (Make sure that you have linked your credit card to your MagicBands.)
Hungry? Use My Disney Experience.
You can view the menus of Disney World restaurants using the mobile app. You can also check out our rundown of Disney World's best restaurants. Use the app to make dining reservations as well.
As of 2017, Disney World introduced a mobile orders feature for select quick-service restaurants. It’s only available while you are in the parks. You can use your smartphone to pre-order and pay for your meals. When you are at the restaurant, click the "I'm Here" button on the app, and your meal will be prepared.
Check into Your Hotel (Without Going to the Registration Desk)
When you arrive at the hotel, the MDE app can confirm that you are checked in and will send you a message indicating your room number. It will also let you know whether your room is available. If you make your on-property hotel reservations far enough in advance, Disney World will ship MagicBands to your home. Since the MagicBands act as door keys, you could proceed directly to your rooms without having to register at the front desk.