Alright folks, listen up. You are going to find a thousand posts about how to ride the prime rides at Disney World without having to use a FastPass. And these posts are absolutely right – you can hit some of the key rides if you are strategic.
You have to be able to plan smart and hit the parks early (or in some cases stay at the parks late). You have to know when people will want to be eating (probably when you start feeling hungry,) spray your hunger in the face with a water bottle and say “NO!” and instead hit rides. You have to be able to sacrifice some of the experiences (i.e Fantasmic or the parades/fireworks).
I am not strategic. I am not in the practice of sacrificing things. I am lazy.
I like to sleep in. I like to randomly change my mind at the last minute about plans. I am the type of person that regrets making plans because I enjoy doing nothing. Just the other day Hubby tried to get me to go to the store with him and, with a horrified expression, I had to explain to him that, “No, no, I’m DOING nothing. ”
The few times we did manage to get up early, we wound up wanting to jog around the resort. We had a wonderful time doing that activity together, but because we chose to jog together, we were not there to experience the parks at park opening (and the short wait times at opening).
So I want to make sure you have the tools to know which rides need to be FastPassed so you can experience them at least once, just in case you aren’t able to make it to the parks first thing in the morning, able to stay late, or able to sacrifice certain events.
FYI, the rides fall into certain categories that prevent you from booking them all with your first 3 FastPasses (i.e. Soarin and Frozen in Epcot are considered premium rides so you have to decide between them to FastPass for your initial 3 FastPasses).
A great thing about the FastPass system is that once you use up your 3 FastPasses for the day, you can continue to book more rides with a FastPass one ride (and FastPass) at a time. And there are rides/activities in all of the parks that don’t require a FastPass.
You won’t be able to book all of the rides I’m going to list for each park with your first 3 FastPasses, but here are the rides that consistently have looooong wait times, and deserve your consideration:
Rides to FastPass in Magic Kingdom:
- Peter Pan’s Flight: Real talk for a second – this is a cool ride. But one of the things that made it SUPER cool was the standby wait line when you get to go through the Darling’s house. I have an advanced degree and I am still trying to figure out how they made my shadow burst into hundreds of butterflies (but for real though, Disney, WHERE DID YOU PUT MY SHADOW?!). That being said not everyone wants to stand in line for 60+ minutes. If you’ve got better things to do than stand, add this to your FastPass list.
- Haunted Mansion: This is one of my favorite rides. Current wait time (at 3:00pm)? 65 minutes. Every time I ride it I notice something new. Also, it has made me highly suspicious of Disney. Near the end of the ride some ghosts hitchhike with you and will hold up signs. Each time we road it the ghost in our cab held up a sign that named the state we are living in as to where it was planning to go. We tended to ride this ride late at night (because we sleep in and the waits were too long during the day) and didn’t FastPass it. WHICH MEANS Disney somehow identified us to be able to have this occur (this also happened to us on Small World where our names somehow appeared at the end of the ride). Maybe I’m paranoid. Maybe Disney has government grade face identifying cameras.
- Seven Dwarfs Mine Train: This ride consistently had wait times >90 minutes during the hours of 11-7ish when we were recently in Disney. There are interactive stations in the standby line that help pass the time, but it doesn’t help pass the time that much. Wait times aside, this is a fun ride and absolutely should be on your list! It’s also a more “gentle” rollercoaster compared to some of the other rides, and is a nice one for that person in your group who doesn’t know if they like to ride rollercoasters.
- The Barnstormer: Surprisingly fun for a ride that lasts about 63 seconds, but the wait at peak hours is 60+ minutes. That’s right, you wait 1 minute for every second of that ride. We wound up having a 10 minute wait, but that’s because we were taking advantage of the Extra Magic Hours and were riding it around 11:00 pm.
- Pirates of the Caribbean: It consistently has long wait times during peak hours and is an excellent ride to use to get out of the sun since it is all indoors and in air conditioning.
- Splash Mountain: Another ride with consistently long wait times. Each time we wound up riding it was at night (because of the long waits during the day), which I would NOT recommend doing, because holy cannoli that water is cold at night!
- Space Mountain: Full disclosure, this was not my favorite ride. However you should add it to your list so you can say you road all three mountains at Disney World!
- Big Thunder Mountain: We enjoyed this ride more than Space Mountain, and found that it seemed faster when we road it at night compared to during the day. We wound up in the standby line for this at around 11:00 am, and had a 45 minute wait. Fail on us. Don’t be like us. FastPass this.
Rides to FastPass in Epcot:
- Soarin’: This is my favorite ride in all of the parks. There’s something so magical about dangling in the air and seeing on that massive screen different areas around the globe while smelling coconuts, and grass, and roses. Pro-tip when you get to your “terminal” request to stand against the wall so that you will be placed in the front line and have no feet dangling in your view. This really makes you feel as though you are soaring around the globe. The wait times are definitely cut down early in the morning and late at night (we walked onto the ride at night, but wound up missing some of the fireworks), but not everyone wants to set their alarm clocks early or miss the fireworks. Current wait time (at 3:00 pm)? 55 minutes. FastPass this!
- Frozen Ever After: I will give you this – in the standby line you get to walk through Wandering Oaken’s Trading Post (and see some characters relaxing in the sauna). But the wait times are loooooong here! If you have a Frozen fanatic in your family, use one of your FastPasses on this during your Epcot day. You will be enchanted by how realistic (or as realistic an animated character can be) the animatronics are. Bonus points if, after the ride, you snap a picture with a troll!
Rides to FastPass in Animal Kingdom:
- Expedition Everest: I just…is it possible to love a rollercoaster? This is one of the “scarier” rollercoasters, fyi, and typically has wait times in the 60+ minute range. We have been able to go through the standby line in ~20 minutes, but that was because it was near park closing time.
- Kali River Rapids: I just checked my MyDisneyExperience app and the wait time for this ride is currently 130 minutes (insert mind blown gif here). It’s super fun, and you will absolutely get wet so make sure you dress accordingly.
- Dinosaur: We managed to FastPass this and had a great time – we wanted to ride it again, but didn’t feel like standing in line for 60 minutes. This ride was surprisingly scary. The kid sitting behind us literally cried the whole ride, so keep that in mind!
- Kilimanjaro Safaris: You can’t go to The Animal Kingdom and not hit the safari (although that is exactly what we did on our last trip. Another fail on us). This is absolutely something you should FastPass and is not a ride that has as much interactive areas in the standby line, to help pass the time. Be sure to sit on the edges of the car so that you can have an unobstructed view to get some killer photos. (Note the head in the view of my photo. Another fail!)
Rides to FastPass in Hollywood Studios
- Toy Story Mania!: I just cannot say enough good things about this ride. It’s an interactive ride where you are whisked around to different “games” and try to accumulate the most points by shooting things with your mini cannon. We road this ride multiple times because we kept re-FastPassing it after we ran through our 3 FastPasses of the day. I would like the record to show that I beat Hubby and had the highest points at the end of the day!
- Tower of Terror: I mean, this is one of those rides that it’s almost an act of irreverence if you don’t ride it. It is scary. You will scream. You will walk away smiling, thinking, “oh good, I didn’t die!”. If you wait in the standby line you can have waits upwards of 90 minutes. Don’t do that to yourself.
- Star Tours: This ride is fun, because as we mentioned in our prior post this ride is unlikely to be the same each time you ride it. Because of this (and because Star Wars is awesome) the wait times can get pretty brutal. That being said, there are droids that talk to you when you’re waiting in the standby line, which helps pass the time. Definitely FastPass this if Star Wars is your thing.
- Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith: Current wait time (at 3:35 pm)? 125 minutes. That’s because this ride is fun. It’s all indoors and there are times when you’re almost completely in the dark and going through loops. But don’t stand in line for two hours! FastPass this!
Hope this gives you all some tips on FastPassing your next Disney World trip! Let us know what rides you find need to be FastPassed.