Your FastPass+ Priorities for the Magic Kingdom

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I recently updated the FastPass+ recommendations for each of our 50 Magic Kingdom Touring Plans, using our latest computer models to save you the most time in line. The biggest change is that Seven Dwarfs Mine Train is recommended more frequently, because FastPass+ reservations are more readily available now than when the ride first opened.

As before, each of the touring plans suggests the FastPass+ recommendations you should make in advance of your visit, like this:

Suggested start times for FastPass+ reservations:
Seven Dwarfs Mine Train = 9 AM
Peter Pan’s Flight = 10 AM
Enchanted Tales with Belle = 11 AM

I also added new recommendations for day-of FastPass+ reservations you can get at the Magic Kingdom’s in-park kiosks, after you’ve used your original set. These are based on our statistician Steve Bloom’s excellent analysis of when day-of FastPasses run out for each attraction. Here’s what the new recommendations look like:

You should be able to get day-of FastPass+ reservations starting around lunchtime. Here’s what we suggest:

Buzz Lightyear = 3:30 PM
Pirates of the Caribbean = 7 PM

When I updated the plans, I kept count of many times each attraction was identified as needing FastPass+. If you’re building your own touring plan, or you prefer an unstructured tour, this list shows the hot spots in the Magic Kingdom:

FastPass+ Priorities

While Magic Kingdom offers FastPass+ for more than 2 dozen attractions, our free touring plan software only identifies 10 as frequently needing FastPass+:

Just like last year, Peter Pan’s Flight is the most frequent recommendation for FastPass+. Why? Probably three reasons:

  1. Peter Pan isn’t going to be anyone’s choice as the first attraction to visit. If you’ve got small children, you’re probably headed to Enchanted Tales with Belle or the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train. If you’ve got older kids, you’re probably headed to Space Mountain or Seven Dwarfs. And no matter where you go first, you’ll probably visit at least one other attraction nearby next. That means you’re not getting to Peter Pan within the first 30 minutes the park is open.
  2. Peter Pan appears on virtually every Magic Kingdom touring plan. It appeals to every age group and demographic, and has no height requirement. It’s a classic, if simple, Disney ride.
  3. Although it’s not a headliner attraction, Peter Pan develops long lines throughout the day. Peter Pan’s wait times over Christmas exceeded 150 to 180 minutes fairly often. Peter Pan’s hourly capacity is around 1,100 guests, or a little more than half of Buzz Lightyear’s, and far less than half of Pirates of the Caribbean.

Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, in the second spot, is usually the first FastPass+ recommendation our software suggests, often with a start time between 9:00 and 9:30 AM. If you’re doing a comprehensive tour of the Magic Kingdom, that allows you to visit Space Mountain and Buzz Lightyear as soon as the park opens, then ride Seven Dwarfs Mine Train with little wait. It also puts you in a good position to ride a couple of secondary Fantasyland attractions before a 10:00 AM Peter Pan’s Flight FastPass+ reservation, and that helps cut down on how much walking you have to do in the park.

Big Thunder and Splash Mountain are on the list, too. While they don’t normally get a huge influx of guests immediately at park opening, lines of 20 to 40 minutes can develop around mid-morning at Splash Mountain and Big Thunder Mountain, as crowds make their way from Tomorrowland and Fantasyland.

Enchanted Tales with Belle makes the top five because it usually doesn’t make sense to visit it first thing in the morning. Counting walking time to Belle and the elaborate pre-show process, you’d probably be committing about half an hour to that one attraction, whereas you could probably visit 2 or 3 other attractions in Fantasyland or Tomorrowland in the same amount of time.

Pirates of the Caribbean and the Jungle Cruise are interesting additions to this chart, because our software usually recommends these as day-of FastPasses, not one of the 3 you’d get in advance before you arrive at the park. Take a look at the chart below and you’ll see that most of our Jungle Cruise recommendations are for late afternoon, day-of FastPass+ reservations. Why? These aren’t in the top tier of popular attractions in the park, and they’ve got enough capacity to move a lot of people per hour. Those two things help moderate waits, so other attractions are generally more important for your first set of FastPass+ reservations.

Space Mountain appears on the list probably because of the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train. The Mine Train is still a hot attraction in Magic Kingdom, and it also has a shorter height requirement than Space Mountain (38 inches vs 44 inches), meaning more families want to ride it. Space Mountain is followed by Buzz Lightyear in many of our touring plans, to minimize how much you have to wait at these popular rides.

What about the Anna & Elsa meet and greet at Princess Fairytale Hall? Demand for those FastPasses still far exceeds supply on most busy days, so it’s unlikely that most families will get one. Because it’s unlikely that FastPasses will be available, the software doesn’t recommend trying. If you’d still like to meet the princesses, the waits are lowest first thing in the morning.

Attractions In Our Touring Plans That
Never Need FastPass+

Some FastPass+ attractions seem never to require FastPass+, either because the touring plan gets you to them before long lines develop, or because the attraction rarely sees long waits:

Magic Kingdom Attractions In Our Touring Plans That Rarely Require Advance FastPass+ Reservations

These include:

It’s also worth noting that we don’t usually recommend using an advance FastPass+ for the Main Street Electrical Parade, Wishes fireworks or many shows, so they don’t appear on this list. FastPass+ at parades, fireworks, and shows usually only gets you a guaranteed seat or spot to stand. You still have to arrive early to stake out a prime viewing location, so you don’t end up saving much time. We think you’re better off using FastPass+ to avoid long waits in line. The touring plans do recommend checking for FastPass+ reservations for the nighttime entertainment once you’ve used your last attraction FastPass reservation though.

The Best Times for FastPass+ Reservations at Key Magic Kingdom Attractions

Now that you know which attractions most need FastPass+, the next question is when you should make your FastPass+ reservations. Here’s a chart showing the times our Magic Kingdom touring plans use FastPass+ to avoid long lines (yellow=morning times, orange=afternoon):

FastPass+ Times

In the chart above, yellow cells indicate morning FastPass+ reservations, and orange is for afternoon reservations. Grey represents day-of FastPass+ reservations, and all of these are made in the afternoon, after you’ve used your initial set of advance FastPass+ reservations.

Our touring plan software tends to recommend Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, Peter Pan, Big Thunder Mountain, and Enchanted Tales with Belle a lot in the morning. All of the other attractions tend to have their FastPass+ recommendations in the middle to late afternoon.

What To Do If You Have Other FastPass+ Attractions or Times

If you can get a FastPass+ reservation for the attractions shown, anywhere near the times listed, the touring plans will work exactly as shown, and your waits in line will be minimized. If you need to choose other FastPass+ attractions or times, our free computer-optimized touring plan software will incorporated those.

For what it’s worth, here’s the process I usually follow to create an optimized touring plan with low waits in line:

  1. Select all of the attractions I want to visit during the day, and enter in all of the meals and breaks I want to take. I don’t enter any FastPass+ times at this step, because I first want to see what the Optimizer identifies as the attractions with potentially long waits.
  2. Click the “Optimize” button and wait for the touring plan to be optimized.
  3. Find the first attraction with a wait over 30 minutes, and see if a FastPass+ reservation is available for that attraction around that time. If I find one, I enter in the FastPass+ time that’s available, and re-optimize the plan.
  4. I repeat Step 3 for the two FastPass+ eligible attractions with the highest wait times throughout the day. I re-optimize the plan after each attraction, because saving a bunch of time on one attraction may allow the Optimizer to uncover other ways to save you time throughout the day.

Another great resource for optimizing touring plans is our Lines Chat forum, where lots of folks are happy to offer suggestions.

Magic Kingdom FastPass+ Kiosks

Magic Kingdom’s FastPass+ kiosks are located throughout the park, including:

  • In the walkway between Adventureland and Liberty Square, near The Diamond Horseshoe Saloon in Liberty Square and Swiss Family Treehouse in Adventureland
  • At the entrance to Jungle Cruise in Adventureland
  • Outside Mickey’s PhilharMagic in Fantasyland
  • Near Stitch’s Great Escape in Tomorrowland

Other Tips and Advice for FastPass+ at Magic Kingdom

Tips and advice for specific attractions and touring FastPass+ attractions in Magic Kingdom:

  • Space Mountain,
    Seven Dwarfs Mine Train,
    Peter Pan’s Flight,
    Princess Fairytale Hall’s meet and greets, and
    Enchanted Tales with Belle develop long lines within 30 to 50 minutes of park opening. Use FastPass+ if you are unable to ride these attractions early in the day.
  • If you do not ride Space Mountain immediately after park opening, use FastPass+ if available.
  • Those using FastPass+ for Space Mountain cannot play the interactive games in the stand-by queue.
  • FastPass+ enables you to postpone a wet ride like Splash Mountain to a warmer part of the day.
  • If it is a cold day (or if it will be cold at night), do not bother with FastPass+ for Splash Mountain. Lines will be short on cold days and once it gets cold at night.

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Len Testa

Len Testa is the co-author of the Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World, and has contributed to the Disneyland and Las Vegas Unofficial Guides. Most of his time is spent trying to keep up with the team. Len's email address is You can also follow him on Twitter: @lentesta.

17 thoughts on “Your FastPass+ Priorities for the Magic Kingdom

  • August 13, 2015 at 7:22 pm

    I love the planning almost as much as the trip itself. Nothing like enjoying the anticipation for months and months! Thanks for some great info. I hope you have articles like this for the other parks as well.

    • August 14, 2015 at 8:42 am

      Thanks JoAnn! Yes, I’m working on the other parks too.

  • August 13, 2015 at 8:51 pm

    Len, once again I bow down to your “god of WDW planning” status. We have not been able to visit The Castle since the inception of FastPass+, but I feel confident that our next trip will be successful thanks to your algorithm prowess. Keep up the good work!

  • August 13, 2015 at 9:17 pm

    This absolutely amazes me! Combine a mathmeticians brain with Disney and the result is absolutely beautiful. Thank you for your clear explanation of it too – even my right brain was able to follow it 🙂

    • August 14, 2015 at 8:42 am

      Thank you, DDD. 🙂 Our statistician, Steve, did great work on day-of FP+ availability, and that really helps with decision-making.

  • August 13, 2015 at 9:33 pm

    Glad to see this post. I’d been wondering about this very topic. I will want to optimize my plans before the 60 day mark. We are going Dec 15- 27 so I am wondering how the holiday schedule will impact FPP selections. For instance, the park will likely open at 8, or possibly 7 am, as we get into the trip towards Christmas. Do you have any different advice for holiday TP these days? Still start FPP selections about the same time? I am planning on letting the TP’s tell me when to get the FPP

    I’d love this blogpost on each park. Thanks for your site. Been an UG book reader since our 1998 trip.

    • August 14, 2015 at 8:44 am

      Thanks Teri! We have holiday-specific touring plans, but I think with our newer wait-time models you could run any plan on any day and get good results. (That is, other than the specific holiday shows, there’s no behind-the-scenes differences in how we come up with numbers for the touring plans.)

  • August 13, 2015 at 11:35 pm

    This post confuses me a bit as it seems contrary to the golden rule of arrive early and ride as much as possible early in the morning. Why waste FP+ on anything at 900am? Standby is still short. Why not have first FP+ more like 1130 or Noon when crowds are now much bigger and wait times in standby approaching peak levels?

    • August 14, 2015 at 8:48 am

      Excellent question, Scott, and the reason definitely fits in with that golden rule.

      Here’s how I think of it: 1 minute saved in the morning is more valuable than 1 minute saved in the afternoon. That’s because in the morning, you can get to another attraction earlier, while crowds haven’t yet filled the park.

      In the morning, it’s possible for every 1 minute saved at Seven Dwarfs, to be worth 2 or more minutes saved somewhere else in the afternoon. So if you can save 10 to 15 minutes at 7DMT or Peter Pan, it’s like getting 20 to 45 somewhere else in the afternoon. And in the afternoon, you can visit shows like Tiki Room or Hall of Presidents, which don’t typically run into lines.

    • August 14, 2015 at 11:43 am

      Scott, I had the same thought, and we typically plan to schedule our first three FPs at roughly 10-11, 11-12, and 12-1. But another way to look at it is:

      1. A 9-10 am FP+ means you can plan to use it at 9:50 am, for example. You don’t have to (and shouldn’t) use it at 9.

      2. A decade ago, at 9:50 am on most mornings, almost everything was a walk-on. That’s simply not true at all today, even on “crowd level 2” days.

      3. If you use up your first three FPs before noon, you can get more. Combined with lunch and “anytime rides/shows” (of which MK still has a bunch worth doing), this can carry you through the afternoon. Or you might take a mid-day break.

  • August 14, 2015 at 12:50 pm

    Great stuff. I grew up in Florida and went many times as a kid, but then didn’t visit for 20 years. Back in 2013 I found the Unofficial Guide in prep for our first family trip, then got my Touringplans subscription, built our personal touring plans didn’t wait in line for more than 15 minutes and have been singing the praises ever since to everyone! I haven’t been since FP+ was instituted and am doing my research for a November trip. Here’s my question which is FP+ related but maybe a little off-topic: do you have any information on how quickly FP+ reservations are claimed at the 60 and 30-day marks? For instance, if I’m, say, planning for a Nov12-19 trip, and have a room reservation so can make FP+ reservations September 12th at midnight, how quickly will Seven Dwarfs get reserved for the days I want? Do I need to login at midnight or can I wait till the next day as it’s a bit slower season (and since I’m in Colorado can I login at 10pm on 9/11)? Very curious how different times of year affect the availability of FP+ reservations. That was a lot of questions…(;

  • August 14, 2015 at 11:16 pm

    What about Anna and Elsa M&G? With Frozen mania in full swing, I’m surprised this option isn’t mentioned.

    • August 15, 2015 at 12:03 am

      Since they seem to disappear within minutes, I guess that with Frozen M&G, you just have to take what you can get – whenever you can get it. 🙂

  • August 15, 2015 at 3:44 am

    In 3 days I’ll be embarking on my first WDW Trip with FastPass+. I’ve been using Touring Plans and the Unofficial Guide for 20+ years. This is the 1st trip where I’ve created touring plans with my subscription to the site and the Personalized Touring Plan software. It was amazingly addicting!! What if I add this attraction? Take out that attraction? Can I force this attraction to be the 1st to continue a family tradition? How can I juggle this to get the attractions in the order I want to minimize time waiting and the “I want to go on this ride! Why are we walking past it?” whining.

    • August 15, 2015 at 3:56 am

      (I hit submit in error) What a blast to play with!! I ended up creating a number of plans for each day, most an improvement over the last one optimized, some baffling. In addition to showing you the best way to do WDW, it gives us WDW-philes something to entertain us between trips. Thanks so much for all the amazing work you’ve done and for making our WDW trips so efficient and enjoyable.


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