Disney

Using FastPass+ at Walt Disney World

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FastPass+ allows Walt Disney World resort guests to reserve “Fast Passes” for select Disney park attractions up to 60 days in advance of their check-in date and non-resort guests 30 days in advance of their arrival date. FastPass+ is basically a reservation to get in a shorter line for that attraction during a specific time window. This can shorten your wait time drastically or guarantee you access to a show if used correctly. It’s also completely free and included in park admission for EVERY park guest. Fast Passes can be made for select rides, shows, and character meet & greets depending on the park.

  • For park guests staying in a Disney resort, you are able to book up to 3 FastPass+ attractions per day 60 days in advance of your check-in date.
  • For park guests not staying in a Walt Disney World resort, you are able to book up to 3 FastPass+ attractions per day 30 days in advance of your arrival date.

How to Reserve FastPass+

The easiest way to reserve “Fast Passes” is by linking your park tickets to a My Disney Experience account on your computer or phone app. If you are staying onsite you can also link your resort/ticket package on your “MDE” account. Alternatively, you can call Disney World (407-939-5277). (You will not be able to reserve any Fast Passes in advance unless you have tickets purchased for your trip.) Using the website or app is much easier and everyone in your group can see, make and change Fast Passes for the entire group using their own My Disney Experience account.

After your 3 scheduled Fast Passes have been used, you are able to book additional Fast Passes, one individually at a time, using the MDE app on your phone or at a FastPass+ kiosk located throughout the parks.

Can I Get More than 3 Fast Passes?

You can only reserve 3 FastPass+ reservations in one (1) park in the same day. For example, if you reserve your first FastPass+ in Magic Kingdom all three of your Fast Passes will have to be in Magic Kingdom. If you are park hopping, you can reserve your first 3 Fast Passes at the park you will be going to start the day in and then add one Fast Pass at a time after those have been used in your next park.

How to Use Your FastPass+

If you are staying onsite or have a MagicBand, you will scan your MagicBand at the FastPass+ line entrance. If you don’t have a MagicBand, you will scan your park ticket. Make sure to check the wait time before scanning you MagicBand. If the attraction wait time is less than 20 minutes you may consider waiting in the standby queue line and changing your FastPass+ to something with a longer wait time, so you get the most use of your Fast Passes.

All FastPass+ times are valid for one (1) hour with the exception of live shows, which instead would give you a shorter arrival time to show up to be seated before the show starts. Only one (1) Fast Pass can be booked per hour (they are not necessarily on the hour).

When you use MDE to reserve your FastPass+ attractions after you select the date and your party, a list of qualifying attractions will appear. Every park, except Magic Kingdom, has ride tiers. For those parks, you are allowed to choose one ride in Tier 1 and then two rides in Tier 2. As new rides/attractions are created, the list will change.

What Should you FastPass+?

In general, there are definitely some rides that are more important to Fast Pass than others, but all attractions at Disney World are popular. Ultimately, what you choose will depend on your groups interests. For the parks that offer Tier 1 and Tier 2 attractions, you should definitely choose a Tier 1 attraction as one of your FastPass+.

Right now, some of the most popular rides that you may consider for a Fast Pass are:

  • Avatar Flight of Passage – Animal Kingdom
  • Big Thunder Mountain Railroad – Magic Kingdom
  • Expedition Everest – Animal Kingdom
  • Frozen Ever After – Epcot
  • Kilimanjaro Safaris – Animal Kingdom
  • Peter Pan’s Flight – Magic Kingdom
  • Seven Dwarfs Mine Train – Magic Kingdom
  • Slinky Dog Dash – Hollywood Studios
  • Soarin’ Around the World – Epcot
  • Space Mountain – Magic Kingdom
  • Splash Mountain (if it’s going to be warm) – Magic Kingdom
  • Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster – Animal Kingdom
  • Test Track – Epcot
  • Toy Story Mania – Hollywood Studios

If you really want to attend a show, by all means, get a FastPass+ for it and if you really want to meet a certain character (Mickey Mouse) again get a FastPass+ for it.

What do you think and what do you Fast Pass? Is there something you HAVE to get a Fast Pass for I missed?

Ready to Start Planning a Walt Disney World Vacation?

Contact Dream Makers Travel Agency today to book your vacation and get FREE concierge level planning included with every booking.

Toy Story Land at Hollywood Studios

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Toy Story Land at Hollywood Studios

Toy Story Land is a cute new Toy Story themed land at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. It opened on June 30th, 2018 and we had the pleasure to visit it on July 4th less than a week after its opening. As you enter the land you are supposed to be walking into Andy’s backyard and become the size of one of his toys. It’s a pretty small Land. I don’t think I really felt the size of a toy, and my husband had no idea what the theme was besides just bright colors and toys. He loved that he had most of the toys they featured growing up though. There is a ton of small cool details though if you are a big Pixar or Toy Story fan. The land felt a little bigger than last year’s new Pandora land over at Animal Kingdom because it’s more open, but it’s roughly that size or smaller. It only has one entrance for now, but will connect to Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge once that opens late fall 2019.

Toy Story Land at Hollywood Studios

Woody’s Lunchbox

The food options in Toy Story Land is limited to a quick service stand that looks like the inside of a Woody lunchbox. The food was great. For lunch and dinner, they have sandwiches and a tart dessert (basically a homemade pop tart). We didn’t try breakfast but they do offer it. We got the brisket sandwich which has cheese, pickle, and brisket with BBQ sauce. You get a side included with your sandwich and we had the tomato basil soup. Our drink was an “adult” lemonade. It has vodka and cherry lemonade puree. The hazelnut tart was really good, but very rich and definitely meant to split. We couldn’t finish it. Overall, I was very impressed with the food and theming of Wood’s Lunchbox, especially for the prices. It’s a good quality meal that has options most people will like and decent prices with sandwiches ranging from $9.99 to just over $12.00.

Food Review from Woody's Lunch at Toy Story Land in Disney's Hollywood Studios

Attractions

The attractions in Toy Story Land are Toy Story Mania, Slinky Dog Dash, and Alien Swirling Saucers. Toy Story Mania was already a ride at Hollywood Studios and they just redid the entrance and queue line to add it to the new land. This is an all ages family 3-D “shoot em” game ride. Slinky Dog Dash is the big ticket item. It’s a family-friendly coaster featuring some of your favorite Toy Story characters. Slinky Dog Dash is incredibly cute and not a super intense coaster. The characters around the ride all talk! Alien Swirling Saucers reminded us of a less intense version of the Teacups. The aliens drive you around in a circle while your “car” slides back and forth its own. It doesn’t make you dizzy, but is fun. Currently, both of the new rides have a height requirement and I felt a little disappointed by that. Since this is such a family-themed area I really think at least one of the two new rides should be all ages.

Toy Story Land at Hollywood Studios

Wait Times and Queues

We went July 4th less than a week after opening, but ride times weren’t bad. Wait times were roughly 75-85 minutes for Slinky Dog Dash and 30-60 minutes for Alien Swirling Saucers. It started to pour right when we were leaving and I heard Alien Swirling Saucers went down to 5 minutes. The queue lines are mostly outside for Slinky Dog Dash and Alien Swirling Saucers, so keep that in mind. Toy Story Mania was all over the place we rode it at 20 minutes and waited maybe 10, but most of the day it was upwards of 45 minutes and later in the evening when it rained it went way up since the queue line is partly indoor. Mr. Potato Head is back in the queue though! This is a stark contrast to opening day when there were reported 4 hour+ wait times for Slinky Dog Dash.

The rides are currently tiered in two categories in the FastPass+ system at Hollywood Studios with the Toy Story Land rides in the first category. This means can get one (1) FastPass+ for one of three Toy Story Land rides and two (2) FastPass+ for other attractions in Hollywood Studios. I expect this to change when Star Wars Galaxy Edge opens.

Toy Story Land at Hollywood Studios

Character Interactions

There are a few character interactions in Toy Story Land. The green army patrol walk around interacting with guests. They continuously move around and will talk with you while you walk. They told my husband his parachute (baby carrier) was weird. Jessie and Woody walk around before their meet and greet starts, but they don’t take pictures with people just wave and stuff. Jessie and Woody have an outdoor meet and greet location in front of Toy Story Mania queue line. The wait to meet them was super long the entire time we were there, but where it’s positioned outside without a FastPass+ option or a true queue line, it doesn’t look like they anticipate that to be normal.

Toy Story Land at Hollywood Studios

New Merchandise

Of course, no new land opening would be complete without new merch! There is not a merch store inside Toy Story Land, which we found a little odd. They did have a few merch stands in the land and merch in other stores around Hollywood Studios. The Toy Story Land merch is very cute and we wanted to buy a lot of it. The Slinky Dog headband is just downright adorable and I’m already sort of kicking myself for not buying it. In fact, I might hop back over to Disney to go get it! There is also a very cute Alien headband that lights up at night perfect for those nighttime shows. Also, there are tons of toys, shirts, and other fun items. I know our baby will be getting his own Slinky Dog once he is old enough. I think they did a fantastic job with the merch. Most of the shirts and mugs are themed for the opening and hopefully, as time goes on there will be less grand opening merch and more items that aren’t dated.

Toy Story Land at Hollywood Studios

Overall Thoughts on Toy Story Land

Overall, I think Toy Story Land is a wonderful new addition to Hollywood Studios. The rides are very cute and fun. The food at Woody’s was a huge hit and I am excited to try their breakfast items. Much like Pandora, Toy Story Land looks completely different at night than during the day and it’s worth a visit and a ride on the coaster during both times. I wouldn’t say that any of the rides are worth a huge wait, (not that I think ANY ride is worth a huge wait) but for first-time guests, I think under 75 minutes for Slinky Dog Dash, under 60 for Toy Story Mania, and under 45 for Alien Swirling Saucer would be worth it. I highly suggest getting your FastPass+ for Slinky Dog Dash if it’s available and Toy Story Mania as your second option.  My main suggestion when walking through this land is to look at all the details. The designers put so much work into the theming of this land and there are a lot of hidden things to see.

Ready to Plan a Visit to Walt Disney World’s Toy Story Land?

Contact Dream Makers Travel Agency today to book your vacation and get FREE concierge level planning included with every booking.

A Quick Guide to Walt Disney World Planning

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The days of just showing up to Disney buying a ticket and walking through the gates are long gone. If you’ve never been to Disney World before you may not realize the amount of planning people put into their vacations to the magical land of Disney. You can book vacation packages 499 days in advance, dining reservations 180 days in advance and fast passes up to 60 days in advance (if you’re staying onsite), not to mention there are more websites than Ican count telling people where to stay, what to eat, which rides to go on, crowd calendars, reservations finders, itineraries you name it! Disney can be very overwhelming, but it does not have to be. If you have no idea what I’m talking about or want a simple guide on how to plan for Disney World this VERY quick guide to Walt Disney World perfect place to start. Then check out our other Disney articles for Disney World Updates and more in-depth planning advice!

 Decide When You Want to go to Disney World

The time of year you travel will impact the cost of the resort rate, airfare, ticket prices and sometimes even restaurant prices.

Disney rarely ever has low crowds just less busy times and you can usually tell when those are going to be based on ticket prices for a day ticket. Try to go when a one day ticket is at a non-peak rate for less busy parks, but don’t expect low crowds. Historically the week after Thanksgiving, early December, January, February and late September avoiding holidays are “less busy” according to current crowd calendars. That could change tomorrow so take it with a grain of salt. Basically, if schools are out, the parks will be busier.

Disney World tries to announce refurbishments in advance so plan accordingly to what will be open during your vacation. Last minute changes happen along with unscheduled closures, so also plan to be flexible (very rarely but it happens). Click here to see if any of your most important attractions will be closed during the dates for vacation.

Set a Resort Budget

How much do you want to spend on a resort? Disney has 3 price categories for their resorts, value, moderate and deluxe. The differences between these categories go beyond location and if there’s a restaurant in the resort. There is a difference in the pillows, beds and square footage, pools, size, layout etc.

If you have more than 6 people, you will need a deluxe resort bedroom villa unless you plan on staying in multiple value or moderate rooms. Want to stay on the monorail or have direct park access? You will need to stay in a deluxe resort. If you need more space or a better, quality bed, a value resort is not the place for you. Maybe you don’t have the budget for deluxe and moderate is your happy medium or maybe you don’t care about the resort at all and want to budget as much as possible and value fits the bill!

Choose a Resort

After you’ve picked the resort category that fits your needs, you need to decide on which hotel! Yes, that was just deciding a resort category. Each resort has its own theme.

When choosing a Value resort, it’s easy to choose the resort with the least experience price. There are theme differences and a few offer family suites and some were recently redone which may help you decide if the cheapest price doesn’t sway you.

For Moderates, I prefer either of the Port Orleans Resort. This is simply personal preference, but Port Orleans are both MUCH smaller than the other moderate resorts so that is always my first pick. Simply size of the resort and theming are a priority for me. Also, Port Orleans has ferries to Disney Springs which makes it slightly more appealing as well.

Deluxe is a different story. Grand Floridian, The Polynesian, and The Contemporary resorts are on the monorail. If you stay at the Contemporary, you can walk to the Magic Kingdom. Animal Kingdom Lodge is nice and quiet and offers animal views. If you stay at Boardwalk or Beach/Yacht Club you can walk or ferry to Epcot and Hollywood Studios. At Wilderness Lodge, you can ferry to Magic Kingdom. Some of the deluxe resorts offer villas with kitchens and multiple bedrooms. They all have amazing pools, amazing restaurants, offer tons of activities, and are top of the line resorts. Choosing a Deluxe resort is purely a personal preference.

Do you want a Dining Plan?

This is a million-dollar question when booking a Disney vacation. A dining plan can cost a lot of money, that may or may not be money well spent.

Since we do mostly quick service, signature lounges, and snack for meals and usually only do a table service one or two days out of our vacation, the dining plans are usually not cost effective for us. We also don’t eat enough for the quick service plan to be worth it. When our son is a teenager this might be a different story though!

If you have big eaters, want your vacation to feel all-inclusive, want to do lots of character or signature meals or simply want to prepay for your meals (remember you will still be paying tips) then the dining plan might be a good choice.


How Many Days To Visit the Parks

Now we get into the nitty gritty fun part. How many days do you want to go to the theme parks? I suggest (and for first timers especially people choose to have the first and last day as travel days). Go to Disney Springs, swim at your resort, go resort hopping along the monorail etc. If you’re planning at 7-night vacation 5 days in the parks should allow you to do and see most things and get some downtime to relax at your resort.

If you are using Disney’s Magical Express (Disney free transportation to and from the airport only for resort guests) you will leave your resort at least 3 hours before your flight. Keep that 3-hour window in mind when booking your flights and choosing park days. Yes, that means if you are leaving on 6:00 am flight you will be leaving your resort at 3:00 am or even earlier. It also means doing a park on your departure day isn’t really cost effective unless you have a night flight.

 My Disney Experience

Sign up for a My Disney Experience “MDE” account. Then download the app to your phone and play around with the website. Once you have a vacation booked you will use this site/app to select your MagicBand colors, reserve dining, select FastPass+ attractions, get park hours, see park maps, and just about anything you will need for your vacation.


Select Dining

180 days from your check-in day you can start to reserve dining at 6:00 am eastern on the website or 7:00 am eastern by phone. The most popular restaurants will book up 180 days out or even earlier because if you stay onsite you can book for your entire vacation at one time on the 180th day from check-in (for up to 10 days at a time). So, if someone is checking in three days before you they actually can book earlier than you can. If you are staying offsite you will not be able to book your dining all at once and will need to book your dining reservations 180 days from the day you will be dining at the restaurant. If you have a Travel Agent they should be able to help you out with this!

 FastPass+

If you stay onsite 60 days from your check-in date you can reserve your FastPass+ attractions. What is a FastPass? It’s a reserved time for you to enter a special faster queue line for select attractions. Depending on the park some of the attractions have a tiered system where you can only pick one from that list and need to pick your rest from another list. Look this all up and have a game plan before you go to reserve them. If you have a Travel Agent they should be able to help you out with this!

What are attractions should you FastPass+? It’s a personal preference, but typically the most popular are roller coasters/big thrill rides, new rides, character meet & greets, and nighttime shows. The new rides in Toy Story Land, Flight of Passage in Pandora and Seven Dwarfs Mine Train at Magic Kingdom are typically the hardest fast passes to get. Try for those first if you want to ride them. Peter Pan’s Flight is also high up on the list for some reason. It’s not a thrill or new ride, but VERY popular.


Additional Things to Think About

Disney offers an unlimited digital photo package called Memory Maker. Before you pack, look at the weather. Allocate money for tips for dining, bell services, bus drivers, travel to the airport, etc.. You may want to bring a portable cell charger, rain jacket, backpack, water bottle, stroller, baby carrier or other things to make your life easier in the park. If you are a US military veteran and/or active duty, Disney has discounted rooms and tickets at amazing good rates.

For Disney World Resort packages, your final payment is due 30 days from check-in. If you change your mind about something or need to cancel your trip altogether, you can make changes until that date.

Ready to Start Planning a Walt Disney World Vacation?

Contact Dream Makers Travel Agency today to book your vacation and get FREE concierge level planning included with every booking.

Using a Baby Carrier at Disney World

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We just took our son for his first visit at Disney World. We tried using a stroller and using a baby carrier and there were pros and cons to both. Here are my thoughts on using a carrier or babywearing at Disney World and why it might be a good idea for your family.

Why Use a Carrier

Many people love and prefer to babywear at Disney World. A carrier gives you the freedom to have your hands free, not need to park or fold up your stroller, not leave it unattended, and baby is always safely attached to you! It is super easy to walk around (more…)

Provincial Belle Running Costume

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Provincial Belle is a fun easy to put together running costume. Running in runDisney races has become a true passion, okay maybe an addiction, of mine. I was hooked after my first 5k and quickly upgraded to a 10k just the following fall! For my second race, I had to wear one of the fun costumes I saw on the race course at the 5k. I came up with the idea of doing Provincial Belle because I was running at the runDisney Wine & Dine 10k and that weekend has the Lumiere challenge, which made me think of Belle. (more…)

Peter Pan Nursery

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From just about the moment we found out we were pregnant we wanted to do something special with our baby’s nursery. With my love of Disney, something using a Disney classic was likely in the cards, but we did want it to be something a little different. During my pregnancy, we went to see Finding Neverland and I came up with the idea that a Peter Pan Neverland nursery would be the cutest idea for a boy. We didn’t know what we were having at that point, but the minute we found I immediately knew we had to go through with that idea. We had so much fun putting together this room and I (more…)

Disney’s World of Pandora

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I got the chance on Sunday of opening weekend to visit the new world of Pandora inside Disney’s Animal Kingdom theme park. There has been a lot of news about Pandora and how amazing it is. There has also been news that it is crazy crowded and will have huge wait times. I went and I survived without really having to wait at all. In this post, I’ll give you my advice, tips, and reviews to visiting the amazing world of Pandora.

Exploring Disney World's Pandora The World of Avatar

Getting into Pandora

We went on opening Sunday in the evening after dinner before dusk. After getting into the Animal Kingdom, we waited 10 minutes to get in the Pandora section. Yes, we had to wait to even enter the section of the park. We had fast passes for the Na’vi River Journey ride, (more…)

DIY Magic Band Decals

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Whether you are planning your first trip to Walt Disney World or your 100th, you’ve likely seen or heard that Disney uses something called a Magic Band as an all in one source for your park ticket, room key, reservations, photos, fast passes and even a credit card to use on in park purchases. Basically, everything for your vacation is linked on this one little waterproof wristband.

If you book a stay at one of the Walt Disney World resorts your entire party will receive a magic band by mail at least 30 days prior to your vacation. You can also choose to buy your own magic band and Disney sells many different ones. I now have about 10 different magic bands. I like to make these personalized magic band decals with my Cricut die cut machine. They add a little personality and then I can tell my bands apart.

*This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase using these links we will be compensated.*

 

Make Your Own Vinyl Decals for Disney Magic Bands Decals with Cricut

The magic bands used for this project were the old style magic band. Around January 2017, Disney updated the magic bands and now uses a different style. This project will still work for the new style bands, but you may need to adjust the size of your decal accordingly.

There are many places you can buy vinyl decals such as Etsy if you do not want to make your own vinyl decals. I love any excuse to use my Cricut, so I make them for myself, friend’s, and family. This is a pretty (more…)

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