Stress Free Disney
We are self-described Disney fanatics. Yep, every year we make the 8 hour (or 12 hours with two kiddos who never need to potty at the same time and are hungry every 20 minutes) down to Orlando, Florida for our annual trip to visit Mickey and Minnie. Well, this year we went for one reason and one reason only… Elsa and Anna. Disney World never ceases to amaze me. They are the ultimate in cleanliness, customer service and endless details. Every last detail of the experience is always fit for a princess, or prince of course. Each and every year I also get the sarcastic yet appreciative nickname the Fast Pass Queen. Yep folks, I have mastered the art of the Fast Pass. We hardly ever wait in lines and I have our day scheduled to a “T”. Although it would be amazing and relaxing to fly by the seat of our pants and wing it, unfortunately for Disney World, that would equate to two hour lines, cranky children and miserable parents. So I will wear my title proudly and share all of my secrets with YOU!
The wonderful yet frustrating part about Disney is that they are ever evolving, changing and updating their technology. In years past, fast passes were acquired at stations inside the park. Although that can still be done, the overall idea of it has changed drastically and the initial fast passes are booked a month ahead of time. Although I’d love to be the queen of money saving Disney tips, these are simply time saving and kid/husband breakdown saving tips. Here’s my little secrets one by one…
1. Buy your tickets in advance. Yes, it may be less expensive at a pit stop along the way but the only way to book advance fast passes now is to buy your tickets in advance. Here’s the link… DISNEY TICKETS
Once you’ve purchased your tickets and set up a login, it’s time to create your “My Disney Experience”! Here you can book fast passes, dining reservations and other entertainment plans.
2. Book fast passes! Fast passes allow you to skip right past the long lines into much and in some cases, much much MUCH shorter lines for most all rides and attractions at all of the Disney World theme parks. Here’s the link… FAST PASSES
This is where it gets tricky but I will attempt to make it short and sweet…
A. Up to 30 days in advance (and up to 60 days in advance for Disney Resort hotel guests) you can start booking fast passes.
MY TRANSLATION: Purchase your tickets and book fast passes as close to 30-60 days in advance as possible. Some attractions book VERY quickly. For us, I waited a little too late and the new Mine Train ride and the Anna/Elsa Meet and Greet at Magic Kingdom were both already booked (keep reading for how we still waited very little for the Meet and Greet).
B. In advance, you can book up to 3 fast passes per day and then additional ones once you are at the park AND have used all three advance passes.
MY TRANSLATION: Book three advance fast passes each day as early in the day as possible! You cannot obtain any extra ones at the park until ALL THREE have been used. For us, we booked them all before 1pm so we were able to get an additional 3-4 fast passes after 1pm which equated to 6-7 rides per day with little to NO wait times!
C. The Disney SECRET: I want to let you all in on a little “secret”. This is something we learned last year and it worked VERY much to our advantage. It is called a Baby Swap Pass. If you are like us and most other Disney enthusiasts, you have little ones who are too small to ride most all major rides. For us, we have one too small and another daughter who loves them all! In years past, my husband Mark and I would switch off who rode each ride with Addison and the other parent missed out completely on the ride. With the baby swap pass, you simply all go up to the attraction line, tell the attendant that you and your little one are sitting out while the older child and parent are riding and the attendant will provide you with a fast pass for up to THREE people to ride that ride anytime that day.
MY TRANSLATION: For us, I booked an advance fast pass for Mark and Addison (my older daughter) to ride an attraction with a height requirement. I then also booked an advance fast pass for Winter (my two year old) and myself to ride a “baby ride”. When it was time to use the fast passes, Winter and I would first go with Mark and Addie to their ride and get a baby swap pass. Then they would ride the height requirement ride with their fast passes and Winter and I would ride the baby ride with our fast passes. Once we all rode our rides, Addison and I would ride the height requirement ride AGAIN with our baby swap pass! Addison said having a baby sister at Disney World was the best thing ever because she got to ride everything two times!
D. If you are staying at a Walt Disney World resort, TAKE ADVANTAGE of the Magic Hours! Each day a different park offers earlier opening times and later closing times for guests staying at any Disney resort.
MY TRANSLATION: For us, we arrived at Magic Kingdom at 7am (gasp!) and ran to the Elsa/Anna meet and greet line. We had been unable to get a fast pass for this attraction and we had heard rumors of wait times running 3-4 hours long! We were able to wait just thirty minutes and we had two happy little campers!
E. If you have a little princess wanting to fill her autograph book, book character dining! Once again, I will remind you that this is NOT a money saving tip, LOL! When Addison was almost four years old, we visited Disney World and she was in full princess mode. We waited in 45 minute lines ALL. DAY. LONG. for her to get pictures and autographs with Ariel, Snow White, Belle, etc. We’ve since learned that this is THE BEST way to kill an entire day at the Magic Kingdom. And tickets are not cheap!
MY TRANSLATION: This trip, we booked a princess character dining at Epcot in the Norway Castle and a Mickey character dining at Chef Mickey’s in the Contemporary Resort. Addison and Winter got their pictures and autographs with five princesses and five Mickey characters while enjoying lunch and dinner! MUCH less stressful and enjoyable 🙂
I hope you find these tips helpful and enjoy your trip to the Happiest Place on Earth!
XOXO, Brittany Hayes