Tuesday, 4 August 2015

The Countdown to Florida - Month 2

We can hardly believe that we only have two months to wait until we go on holiday to the most magical place on Earth. Considering we've had the holiday booked for 18 months, the countdown has gone fast.

This update is all about reserving our FastPass+ options. FastPass+ is a free benefit included in your Disney tickets. The FassPass+ system allows you to book popular attractions to guarantee you get to visit them or ride them during your visit. You are allocated a 1 hour window to arrive for your FastPass; you join the FastPass queue and ride or visit the attraction within that 1 hour window.

As we are staying at a Disney hotel, we are able to book our FastPass+ reservations 60 days in advance, for our full stay. If you are staying off site, you can book your FastPass+ reservations from 30 days before you travel to your first Disney park. You can only book per day. Reservations open at 5am UK time and you can book them via the Disney website or using the My Disney Experience app.

This morning, my alarm was set for 4.50am and I was downstairs at my PC, ready to get booking. As we had already planned what days we wanted to do what, I knew where we were going to be and the best times to book the attractions we really wanted to visit. It may seem crazy to be that prepared for a holiday but it's a good idea to have some sort of plan in place if you want to do popular attractions.

One of the most sought after FastPass+ reservations is to meet Anna and Elsa. It's been two years since Frozen was released but people are still eager to meet them, with stand by queues being up to 3 or 4 hours long. We definitely wouldn't have been waiting that long to see them so I was really keen to organise this FastPass+ reservation. We were also really keen to get one for the new 7 Dwarfs Mine Train ride in Magic Kingdom and Tower of Terror in Hollywood Studios. Miss C was too small to go on it in Disneyland Paris but she's tall enough now and can't wait to go on it.

Selecting FastPass+ reservations was actually a lot easier than I thought it was going to be. You need to make sure you have your ticket reservation number linked to your Disney Experience account before you can start selecting FastPass+ reservations. As we booked everything as a package, our resort reservation number was all I needed and it was linked from when I booked the holiday. The FastPass+ booking system doesn't open until you reach your 60 days or 30 days before travel.

I logged on and headed straight to the FastPass+ link. I was then presented with a page with the guest details. On this page, you can select which members of your party you want to choose FastPasses for. If everyone wants to ride or visit an attraction then you all need a FastPass; you can't just book one for your full party.

After selecting us all, I was taken to a page with a calendar on it and the list of parks on the left hand side. I chose the park we wanted to select FastPasses for and then chose the date we were visiting that park.

The next page displayed the rides and attractions that are eligible for FastPass+ reservations. Not all rides and attractions require or have FastPasses and even some of the rides with the FastPass+ option don't require a FastPass as the queues aren't too bad. I used the My Disney Experience app to check wait times on rides to give me an idea of what to definitely FastPass. For example, in Magic Kingdom, 7 Dwarf Mine Train has an average standby queue of 120 minutes and Peter Pan's Flight has an average wait of 90 minutes. Things like The Magic Carpets of Aladdin and It's a Small World only have an average wait of around 15 minutes.

I knew for our first day I really wanted the Anna and Elsa FastPass but it was already full. With many guests being able to book that day in advance already, I wasn't surprised. I booked my first lot of FastPasses for Magic Kingdom and then went to the next day we planned for a trip to Magic Kingdom to check the availability. Thankfully, there were FastPasses available then for Anna and Elsa.

You can choose three FastPasses for any one day. A tip would be to make them for early on in the day as once you have used your three, you can choose another one, use it and then choose another and so on.

When you choose your FastPasses, you aren't given a specific time to select. The system automatically selects a time for you and gives you 4 options of when you can use your FastPass+ reservations. Option 1 is deemed the best option. It doesn't matter what option you pick because, once you have selected your FastPasses, you can go in and modify them and change the times to something you'd prefer, if there is availability of course. However, you can't have a FastPass for one ride or attraction at the same time as another.

Now that the FastPasses are done, planning for the holiday is pretty much finished. All we need to do now is print off our ESTAs, travel insurance and travel itinerary and get the bags packed.

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