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Here are some things to keep in mind:
- Regardless of what you pick, you can make last minute changes with your smartphone. This is especially important if you get to a ride you've reserved, and the line isn't very long.
- The Fastpass+ system is new, and so rides that typically had long lines might not, and things that typically had pretty short waits might develop long lines. At this point, we aren't sure.
- If possible, you might want to go to Magic Kingdom 2 days and take advantage of as many Fastpass+ options as you can.
- For more info. about reserving Fastpass+ in general, check out this page: Reserving Fastpass+
Of course, you can only use Fastpass+ 3 times a day. But based on typical line length and popularity, you should use Fastpass+ for these rides and attractions if possible.
- Why: One of the most popular, and arguably most famous, roller coasters at Disney World is Space Mountain. And with good reason! This ride is fun and thrilling, but the wait is not. Definitely snag a Fastpass+ time for this one.
- If not: Get to the park early, and head straight here. You will get on pretty quickly, as you'll have hopefully beat all those meandering down Main Street, as well as those sleeping in.
- Why: A roller coaster like this immediately means that there is a long wait. Fastpass+ this to skip the line, and make the experience most enjoyable.
- If not: Ride this when the kids have left the park - after the fireworks. The line gets much shorter, and the wait is much more tolerable.
- Why: All of the "mountains" in Magic Kingdom typically mean long waits, so (once this reopens after refurbishment this spring, March 2014) be sure to grab a Fastpass+ to ensure you get on this one.
- If not: Try and ride it on a colder day. The water aspect of the ride might mean that lines are shorter then. Oh, and take a poncho!
- Why: The newest roller coaster in Walt Disney World, this line is sure to be very long! Do your best to get a Fastpass+! And book early, because it's likely that Fastpass+ time slots will fill up sooner rather than later.
- If not: You'll be missing out. Lines are sure to be long, and the rush of people at the beginning of the day will likely mean that you'll be in line for a while, even if you get there early.
- Why: There really aren't many other places you can get your photo with Belle in her yellow dress, unless you attend one of the princess dining restaurants (alternatively, you can get a picture with her in her blue dress in Epcot). If you want this photo op, and a cute attraction experience with pretty neat technology, check out Enchanted Tales with Belle.
- If you want the picture, make sure you volunteer to be "part of the story." The audience can't get the photo, unfortunately.
- If not: You could skip it. It's a cute story and the technology is cool, but not worth the wait, and as a new Fantasyland attraction, the wait can be long. Alternatively go to this one after the fireworks. The kids have left to go to bed, typically making the line pretty short.
- Why: Ariel enthusiasts will appreciate being able to meet the princess without waiting in line. And as a character meeting spot, that line can be long! Also, this is the only place to get a picture with Ariel with her mermaid tail. She is wearing her dress in all other venues.
- If not: Skip it entirely. There is no ride or attraction here, just the character photo op, and as much as we like to pretend we're kids again and meet our favorites, it just isn't work the line.
- Why: A trip to Disney just doesn't feel complete to me without a picture with the mouse that started it all! However, you are going to be waiting a while to get that photo. Get a Fastpass+ here to skip the line. If you're lucky, Magician Mickey will be there, and he might actually talk to you!
- If not: Again, this will likely have a long line. If the picture is important to you, stick it out. If not, move on.
- Why: Like the last few, Princess Fairytale Hall is place where you can talk to Cinderella and a visiting princess, likely Rapunzel, and get a picture with them. If you have extra Fastpass+, and you want to get that picture with a princess, definitely do it. It would also be neat to check out another new addition to Fantasyland, and see the intricate detail in the new Hall.
- If not: Don't go. The long line likely isn't worth the wait.
- Why: If you want to meet Anna and Elsa, you must get a Fastpass+. The standby wait can be over 4 hours, which is absolutely insane for any attraction at Walt Disney World. The popularity of these too is so great that they stopped having a visiting princess with them...it's just Anna and Elsa! Even with a Fastpass+, the wait can be a little long (up to an hour). If you want any chance of seeing them, this is really the only "logical" way to do it.
- If not: DEFINITELY DO NOT GO. I don't want to see you in line for 4 hours. You don't want to see you in line for 4 hours. Disney World doesn't want to see you in line for 4 hours.
Meet Tinker Bell at Town Square Theater (not pictured)
- Why: Just like the other character meetings, lines can be long without a Fastpass+. The new set for Tinker Bell is adorable. If she is one of your favorites, be sure to get a Fastpass+!
Typically, these lines aren't too long, and waiting in them is definitely worth the ride! Many are Disney World classics, and though you probably shouldn't use a Fastpass+ on them, you could consider it if they are very important to you (and if there is a short line, you can always change the Fastpass+).
- Why: So I'm already contradicting myself, as the Dumbo line is typically pretty long. However, it's a Disney classic, and a must ride at least once a trip. Also, they have added a feature where they give you a buzzer, and for a portion of your wait you can hang out and watch little kids play on a jungle-gym inside the tent while waiting for your turn!
- Alternatively: Get the Fastpass+. It'll definitely save you some time, but the experience of the queue line is an attraction within itself.
- Why: This line, even when it's long, moves quickly. Many people go into the ride entrance (the thing with the elevator, Disney veterans) at a time. There are so many details in the decorations in the queue line that it can easily keep your interest the entire way through. There are even some statues that are interactive.
- Alternatively: Really, to me there is no alternative. The line is worth it. It's one of my favorite parts of the actual ride. Have patience, and wait this one out.
- Why: Another Disney classic, that is a must ride during your trip! However, waits typically don't exceed half and hour, even during busy times of the year. If the wait is longer than that, come back later in the day.
- Alternatively: Maybe switch one of your current Fastpass+ to this last minute, if the lines are especially long during your trip.
- Why: A fun ride, with clever puns from your guide the entire time. Typically lines aren't very long, and move quickly.
- Alternatively: Like It's a Small World, if the lines are especially long, switch the Fastpass+ last minute. Or, if all else fails, skip this one, and try for it next trip.
- Why: This line is very rarely long, and moves quickly because of so many people getting on per ride. A definite must-do for first timers, and definitely worth the short wait.
- Alternatively: Don't Fastpass+ this. Check back later for a shorter line, maybe during lunch or dinner hours. This is definitely not worth the Fastpass+ credit.
- Why: Really great for fans of the movies! Again, lines tend to be tolerably short (maxing out at about 40 minutes). Worth it if you enjoyed Pirates of the Caribbean movies, and is really considered a classic ride at the parks.
- Alternatively: If the line is longer than usual, try and switch a Fastpass+ to ride this. If that doesn't work, like the Jungle Cruise, you might want to wait until your next Disney World trip to go on this.
These rides are fun, and truly great, but you probably won't feel like you're missing much if you don't get the chance to go on them. But if the line is short, and you have time, definitely give them a try!
- Why: Really cute rendition of the Little Mermaid story. The technology in this ride is pretty astounding, and worth taking a look if the line isn't too long!
- Why not: If you don't particularly love the Little Mermaid, and the line is pretty long (due to it still being a new attraction), skip it.
- Definitely go if: You're a really big fan of the Little Mermaid.
- Why: The 4-D type experience makes for fun surprises, especially for those who have never seen it before. It's entertaining and quite a few times you forget you're sitting in a theater.
- Why not: You can typically find a time of day where you only have to wait one showing and then go right in. Also, if you have other priorities (ex: you love the parades, you want to visit characters), you won't feel like you're missing much not seeing this.
- Definitely go if: It's a hot day. The show is pretty neat, and the theater is air-conditioned and comfortable, if not a little chilly.
- Why: It's a cute and funny show, and the way that they have made it interactive makes it slightly more enjoyable, not like you're just watching a movie. Be sure to text in your joke before the show.
- Why not: The jokes are a bit cheesy, as it is mostly aimed toward a younger crowd.
- Definitely go if: It's hot. Like Mickey's PhilharMagic, the air-condition can be a nice change from the hot Florida sun.
- Why: This is a classic ride at Disney, and provides nostalgia for those who loved the movie as a kid.
- Why not: The line is almost always really long for this one. The animatronics are a bit outdated and need some TLC, so the technology of the ride is definitely not impressive compared to some of the others.
- Definitely go if: You want to ride the classics at the parks. Or if the line is pretty short, because that never happens.
Generally, these are rides to skip in the park. For the most part, they are aimed at a very young audience. That being said, with short enough lines, you might want to try it. Disney is a place for everyone to be a kid, after all. (And if nothing else, it can occupy time waiting to go to a dinner reservation, or when it's almost time for a Fastpass+ ride nearby.)
- Why to skip: This tends to be a favorite of little kids, because it has the video-game like feel, and you can interact by shooting targets and trying for a high score.
- Consider it if: You and those you are with are really competitive, and the line is short.
- Why to skip: It's very much made for little kids. In reviews of the ride, many adults said that it was "cute" but that they just "didn't get it." There is no real plot to the scenes.
- Consider it if: You need to get off your feet a while. Typically, the line is really short (sometimes you can get right on it), and it's a nice way to relax.
- Why to skip: This is an introductory roller coaster, easing kids into the other, bigger roller coaster. The line is likely not worth the very short ride.
- Consider it if: You are scared of roller coasters yourself.
- Why to skip: This is exactly the same ride as Dumbo, but without the classic Disney implications. If you ride Dumbo, definitely not worth standing in line here.
- Consider it if: You and your significant other want to sing "A Whole New World" to each other.
- Why to skip: The cars are slow, and you can't control their movement more than a little back-and-forth. This ride is definitely designed for little kids.
- Consider it if: You don't have a need, a need for speed.
Parades and Fireworks
Unless you are a parade and firework die-hard, I don't suggest using a Fastpass+ on these attractions, simply because you don't need it to experience them. Showing up early or sacrificing the "perfect view" can save you a Fastpass+ to use elsewhere. With so many things to do in Magic Kingdom, unless you are going there 3 or 4 days during your vacation, or if you can get an extra Fastpass+ later in the day, I don't suggest using one on any of the following.
- Festival of Fantasy Parade: Though the parade is absolutely amazing, you can arrive about a half hour before and get a seat in the front row. If you don't mind standing, 20 minutes early will do.
- Main Street Electrical Parade: If you are willing to stay at Magic Kingdom until around 10 or 11 at night, there is often a second Main Street Electrical Parade that is far less crowded than the first.
- Wishes Nighttime Spectacular: The fireworks are truly magical regardless of where you view them. For what I think is the best experience, book a meal at 'Ohana or California Grill during the fireworks. Or watch the show from Tickets and Transportation. Or show up early and slip in to the crowds. You have to be there early for the Fastpass+ section anyway!
Does this help? Should I do this for the other 3 parks? Should I make a fake itinerary? Do you want me to help with your itineray?
Let me know in the comments! Questions and suggestions are welcome!!
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