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When You Can\'t Get That High Demand FastPass…

Anyone who has ever booked a last-minute trip to Disney knows the risks of finding  high-demand dining and FastPasses. Shoot, for Disney, a \”last minute trip\” is anything inside of 60 days! Hardly last minute for many other places, but with the FastPass window opening 30 or 60 days out, it\’s last minute here!

So, what do you do when you\’ve booked last minute and there are no more FastPasses for THE ride your family must ride? Here are a couple of options:

1. Keep checking before you go! Don\’t give up just because you can\’t find those FastPasses right away. People change their plans all the time, and they might become available later. Granted this is easier for a party of 2-4 than a party of 12, but keep checking. Remember that Disney allows you to cancel a package up to 30 days in advance and a room only reservation up to 5 days in advance. If someone makes a very last minute change to their trip, those FastPasses are up for grabs!

2. Check the day of. While this might seem ridiculous that you would be able to find a FastPass for a high demand ride the day you are in the park, it does happen! In May, my family of three was able to find not one but two FastPass options for Frozen Ever After–a ride that had been booked up for at least a month.

3. Go first thing in the morning. If you still don\’t have any luck finding a FastPass time, go first thing when you arrive. I recommend being at the park before opening so when they drop that rope, you\’re in the first wave of people heading there. It will look daunting as most people are doing the same thing you are, but the line will still move very quickly and will likely be the shortest of the day.

4. Use Extra Magic Hours. If you\’re staying at a Disney resort, take advantage of Extra Magic Hours! Since only people who are staying at a Disney resort can use these, there is a much smaller number of people trying to get on that ride. I would still recommend getting to the park as early as you can and be ready to go straight to the ride first thing in Extra Magic Hours. If you can do evening Extra Magic Hours, the later you can stay, the shorter the line will be! Crowds are usually smaller late in evening Extra Magic Hours.

5. Avoid Extra Magic Hours. Wait, what? I know–I just said USE Extra Magic Hours, and now I\’m saying don\’t use them. If you are staying off property and NOT at a Disney resort, avoid days with Extra Magic Hours if you want to ride first thing in the morning. If Extra Magic Hours are 8-9am and you are inside the park at 9am, think how many people are already ahead of you who entered for Extra Magic Hours. Instead, if you need to use the option 3 (above), choose a day without Extra Magic Hours at that park.

6. Wait in the stand-by line. If you can\’t get to the parks early, you never find FastPasses, and you can\’t use Extra Magic Hours, your last resort is to wait in the regular stand-by line. This may mean a wait of a couple of hours, but if this is a ride you absolutely must ride or a ride you built your entire trip around, what\’s 2-3 hours in line? Luckily most of the new queues at Disney are interactive (things to do or see while you wait) and indoors/air conditioned. At the very least, they\’re fully covered with strong fans.

We will continue to see high-demand FastPasses go quickly on the newer rides–Flight of Passage (in Pandora at Animal Kingdom), Frozen Ever After (Epcot) and Seven Dwarfs Mine Train (Magic Kingdom). At Disneyland, while the system is different, the high demand rides there are Radiator Springs Racers (Carsland in California Adventure) and Mission: Breakout (California Adventure).

Maybe most of all, be patient, stay hydrated, and remember that Disney is a magical place!

Susan Burks is a military wife, and a homeschooling mom to a chess playing space-loving 12 year old! In addition to many Disney World trips, Susan has done eight Disney cruises and one Disneyland trip! She has her next Disney World trip planned and two upcoming Disney cruises!

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