First, timing is important. You will plan your dining in advance. Sometimes your dining will dictate which park you need fastpasses for each day. If you are eating in Hollywood Studios it would make sense to get your fastpasses there as well. Sometimes your meals are not in theme parks so you have flexibility on which park to go to that day and then which fastpasses to get.
Once you know the park you plan to be in for the majority of the day you will choose three rides, shows or character meet n greets are worth using your passes on. This is not something we do for clients for a couple of reasons. Your family is unique. As your family grows and changes the fastpasses that make sense change. It is important to my family to get Tower of Terror at Hollywood Studios for instance. For some families there isn't anyone willing to ride that! There is also the component of characters. Some people have a lot of character meals so they don't need to plan specific character times to get photos. Others have kids that don't want to be around the characters or just value rides over characters. Most shows will allow you in regardless of having a fastpass but you will have to get there much earlier and wait in a line to secure your seat. This is true of Fantasmic, Animal Kingdom's light show, Beauty and the Beast, Lion King and Indiana Jones. If you have a fastpass you come when it tells you to and you are guaranteed that spot. I would also highly suggest going later in the day to any of these. Oftentimes there are second showings at the end of night events. When the fireworks are done a second time there are fewer people in the park and getting a prime spot is much easier.
Park Planning I suggest really being practical about what your vacation will look like based on the reality of your family. If you have to argue and douse your children with buckets of ice to get them out of bed at home to do an activity they like, don't expect to have a pleasant vacation waking them up at 6am to make park opening! If your children are teens you might decide a divide and conquer approach is best. Leave them and go do what you want and they can join you later. Obviously, this takes mature, responsible kids with some experience on Disney property using buses and understanding the process. I cannot sleep in a hotel much past 7:30 am. I will be very grumpy sitting there awake waiting hours to go knowing the park is filling up. So, our family gets up and anyone ready goes to the park. Anyone else is required to be there by the first fastpass and we generally stay together for the fastpasses and meal then let everyone do their own thing.
However, you might still be in the throws of little princes and princesses that really like to see the sun come up whether they have slept 2 hours or 12. If this is the case you might as well tackle the parks at dawn, do your sit down meal for lunch and fastpasses early so that you can return to swim and relax at the resort without worrying about meltdowns at a late dinner.
- IF you can get there near park opening:
- People tend to merge right in our society...and wander forward as if the castle has a magnetic pull. DON'T herd forward and right. Instead, move through the connected stores on the left side of the store and you will be spit out to the left of the castle where there are bathrooms immediately behind you then continue on to the left to go to Adventureland. Ride Pirates of the Caribbean, Jungle Cruise, Big Thunder Mountain and Haunted Manson. Get fastpasses starting around noon for Peter Pan, Space Mountain and one other fantasyland ride.
- IF people will not get out of bed!
- Plan to be there later. Do fastpasses for Option 1 thrill riders: Big Thunder Mountain, Space Mountain, Jungle cruise and then wait in standby for Pirates (air conditioned standby) and Haunted Mansion Option 2 non thrill riders/little ones: Peter Pan, Jungle Cruise, Haunted Mansion
- This park divides rides into Tier 1 and Tier 2. You can choose one Tier one ride (awesome rides) and two Tier Two rides (lesser rides)
- Tier One: Toy Story One and Rockin' Roller Coaster: EVERYONE should pick Toy Story
- Tier Two: Tower of Terror, Star Wars are the top two for thrill riders. Frozen Sing a long, Disney Junior or Indiana Jones if you have little ones
- This park also has Tier 1 and Tier 2:
- Tier One: I highly suggest Soarin....more than that I won't even contemplate anything else! Okay, fine, if you have a princess and HAVE to do Frozen do it, I will just be really sad for you.
- Tier Two: Spaceship Earth and Mission Space...if you have little people you can still do Spaceship Earth (the big globe), and maybe a character meet
- Tier One: Crazily important **Nearly impossible to get** Avatar Flight of Passage...basically for now you will not ride this if you don't fastpass it. The wait was nearly 3 hours.
- When you don't get this you go ahead and take the other Avatar ride: Navi River Journey if you just like to do everything new...but the Safari is better if you haven't done either.
- Tier Two: Dinosaur and Kali River Rapid (you will get wet).
- Read my blog on which park to visit each day: Picking the day for each park
- Choose your dining based on where you will be and let us now 190 days in advance so we have time to review it then make your reservations 180 days in advance: Dining Plan blogs
- 70 days prior to travel decide which three rides/shows/experiences you will fastpass each day and make a written plan, send that to us if you want our opinion then login so that you make sure you can get in your account!
- 60 days in advance at 7 am get your fastpasses done on an actual computer not on a phone app!