If you are looking for a fun family vacation, Disney World ranks towards the top! It truly is a magical place. BUT, the long lines can often take away from the magical experience. Figuring out the Disney World fastpass system can be overwhelming. My husband happens to be an expert (at least in my opinion) at navigating through all of the Disney parks, using Fastpasses to maximize every minute.
Today, Jason is guest posting for me! He has listed the major attractions in Magic Kingdom, providing his opinion on which attractions require a Fastpass and which ones have less of a wait.
Last year, Jason wrote another awesome post: 10 Tips for Doing Disney Right. You’ll definitely want to read that first if you are planning a Disney vacation.
I should also tell you I am apparently horrible at taking pictures of our family. So, as you are looking at the photos in this post, know they likely won’t have anything to do with the specific attraction it is near. I was just lucky I had any photos at all!
Jason’s tips for Magic Kingdom: To Fastpass or not Fastpass…
Seven Dwarfs Mine Train – Fastpass.
This is a popular attraction for two reasons: (1) it’s one of the newest experiences at the Magic Kingdom; and (2) it appeals to both young and old. Consequently, the lines are very long. You could go directly after rope drop, but it’s located past Cinderella’s Castle and is not convenient to get to quickly. You’re going to want to get a Fastpass for this one.
Space Mountain – No Fastpass.
This is an iconic ride for the Magic Kingdom, but might not be suitable for all ages. It’s definitely a thrill ride and takes place in near complete darkness, which could be scary for the little ones. If you’re going to ride this one, go immediately after park opening. Lines will be short and you won’t need a Fastpass. It’s very easy to get to from the opening gate, just hang a right after Main Street U.S.A.!
Big Thunder Mountain Railroad – Fastpass.
This is another extremely popular thrill ride. Lines will be long and loading isn’t particularly fast. Again, this one may not be for the littlest kids, but if you elect to experience Big Thunder, grab a Fastpass for it.
Splash Mountain – Fastpass.
What a weird and wonderful attraction! It’s one of the longest rides in the park and well worth experiencing. There’s a pretty intense drop at the end, but this one still appeals to all ages. Song of the South may be one of the most controversial Disney movies, but the theming works great on this ride. Keep in mind that it is a water ride and is often shut down for various reasons. Get a Fastpass and enjoy.
The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh – No Fastpass.
This is really more of a kids’ ride (although it does get a little psychedelic at one point!) Lines will be long early in the day up through about mid-afternoon, but if you can wait, it’ll clear out later in the day (once the exhausted kids start going back to their resorts and condos). No Fastpass for this one.
It’s a Small World – No Fastpass.
You’re going to want to experience this attraction – you can’t really go to the Magic Kingdom without riding this icon – but don’t waste a Fastpass on it. Lines will be huge at times, but be patient. The line ebbs and flows. There’s enough to do in this area of the park that, if the line is long, you can do something else and it might be a little more manageable when you’re done. This one is a pretty fast loader, too. So, even if the line is long your wait time might not be that bad. Skip the Fastpass.
Mickey’s Philharmagic – No Fastpass.
I love this attraction, and it’s suitable for all ages. I don’t know why, but it’s one of my favorites. Once the theater is filled (or everyone in the queue is seated), you watch a 12 minute 3D movie with some cool special effects. The good news is that the theater is pretty large and the demand isn’t. So, usually the longest you’ll be waiting is… about 12 minutes. Visit the Philharmagic, just don’t spend a Fastpass on it.
Peter Pan’s Flight – Fastpass.
This is a tough one. Peter Pan is great for kids and adults alike; and it attracts a crowd. That said, the queue is actually pretty cool and includes reconstructed life-size scenes from the movie. Loading is continuous, but the line doesn’t seem to move very fast for some reason. I recommend a Fastpass.
Haunted Mansion – No Fastpass.
Ok, it’s not all that scary, but the littlest kids may still want to avoid this ride-through haunted house. This is another one where there are some interesting things to do in the queue, but it generally moves pretty fast. You’ll want to check the line before heading over, though, because it can get very busy. This is a must do, in my opinion, but don’t worry about a Fastpass.
Tomorrowland Speedway – No Fastpass.
Actually, I would recommend skipping this attraction altogether. There’s a version of this ride in nearly every theme park. There isn’t anything special about this one. The line is often long and takes forever. There are better ways to spend your time at the Magic Kingdom. Definitely don’t get a Fastpass for it.
Stitch’s Great Escape – No Fastpass.
This one probably won’t even be open unless you’re there during the busiest times for the Magic Kingdom (which you should avoid), but even if it is, don’t get a Fastpass for it. It’s not a good attraction. Little kids will be scared because it’s loud and often dark. Older kids (adults) will be annoyed… because it’s loud and dark. Experience it if you want to, but DO NOT throw away a Fastpass on it.
Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin – No Fastpass.
You have a gun and you shoot at stuff. Again, there’s a version of this ride in most theme parks. I will give it credit because the execution here is pretty good. Unlike at certain theme parks, the guns actually work and the theming is enjoyable. It’s worth experiencing, but not enough reason for a Fastpass. Especially if you’re going to visit Hollywood Studios on your trip (which has a similar, but much better ride – Toy Story Mania), forget the Fastpass.
Monster’s Inc. Laugh Floor – No Fastpass.
This is a fun way to experience a little improv comedy show. The shows don’t last long and the theater is large, so no need for a Fastpass. There’s a lot of audience participation in this one, so be prepared for that. But, if you’re a good sport and want to laugh a little, this one is a lot of fun. Do it, you just won’t need a Fastpass for it.
Walt Disney’s Carousel of Progress – No Fastpass.
This one is fine for all ages, but the kids might get a little bored. It’s a rotating theater, so no thrill aspect to it. This classic attraction takes you through different time periods to show “progress”. It’s somewhat interesting, but it’s very dated and doesn’t attract much of a crowd. No Fastpass needed for this one.
Under the Sea: Journey of the Little Mermaid – No Fastpass.
This is a slow, ride-through attraction with animatronic characters from the Little Mermaid. It’s beautiful and very well done, but there’s nothing particularly unique about it, so, even though it’s one of the newer attractions, it doesn’t get a ton of traffic. If the Mine Train is packed, the Little Mermaid might get some spillover, but if you catch it at the right time, you won’t have much of a wait. And you won’t need a Fastpass.
Tomorrowland Transit Authority Peoplemover – No Fastpass.
If you want a relaxing “tour” of Tomorrowland, this fits the bill. It’s fine for all ages, but it’s more of just a time killer, to be honest. The technology that powers the Peoplemover used to be cutting edge, but it’s kind of old news at this point. Nonetheless, it’s an enjoyable way to spend a few minutes and get an interesting perspective on Tomorrowland. No Fastpass required.
Jungle Cruise – No Fastpass.
Another one you pretty much have to do because it’s a classic. It’s a slow, outdoor water ride through animatronic animals with a human guide telling jokes. This one is good for all ages and the jokes actually aren’t that bad. Unfortunately, the line can get pretty long and it moves fairly slow. Be prepared to wait for this one, but I still wouldn’t get a Fastpass for it. Just be alert and you can catch it at a low time.
Pirates of the Caribbean – Fastpass.
You’re going to want to consider a Fastpass for this ride. It’s another slow, water ride and this one passes through animatronic pirates – featuring Captain Jack Sparrow. The reason I’m suggesting a Fastpass for this one is the incredible popularity of the seemingly endless chain of movies. The line moves slowly and the queue isn’t that interesting. Get a Fastpass if you can.
Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room – No Fastpass.
This is a sit down show of animatronic birds (and other things) that sing and dance. Demand is low, but it’s a fun way to pass some time (about 10 minutes) in an air conditioned space. If the Jungle Cruise line is long, check it out. It’s not spectacular, but, as with all things Disney, the execution is very good. No need for a Fastpass, though.
The Hall of Presidents – No Fastpass.
Another theater show that features animatronics of all the U.S. Presidents. The history of the U.S. show is educational, but somewhat long for small children. You won’t need a Fastpass for this attraction.
Enchanted Tales with Belle – Fastpass.
With the Beauty and the Beast live action movie fairly fresh on everyone’s minds, you’ll probably need a Fastpass for this Character experience in which kids get to act out the classic play and interact with Belle. If your kids are into Beauty and the Best, grab a Fastpass.
Character Meet-and-Greets – Depends.
This really depends on if there are any characters your kids MUST see and interact with. In my opinion, Character breakfasts/meals are the best way to get up close and personal with certain characters, but if that won’t work, you might want to get a Fastpass. Otherwise, you’ll be standing in line for an eternity to get a quick autograph and picture.
I would classify the following attractions as generic or carnival rides – mostly for kids.
As with a few of the larger attractions above, you can usually find versions of these rides in every major theme park. Sometimes the lines get long, but there’s not enough Disney magic in these rides to recommend a Fastpass. Your kids may love them, but don’t waste a Fastpass on them.
The Magic Carpets of Aladdin
Walt Disney World Railroad
Dumbo the Flying Elephant
Mad Tea Party (there are actually two of these rides now, so, while it’s a must do, you won’t need a Fastpass)
Prince Charming Regal Carrousel
The Barnstormer featuring Goofy as the Great Goofini
That’s a LOT to take in!
The problem is, you’re not going to be able to get Fastpasses for all of the Fastpass recommended attractions. You’re going to have to prioritize. Don’t forget to take a look at 10 Tips for Doing Disney Right for some additional thoughts on Fastpasses and how to get the most out of your Disney experience.
I hope you gained some tips for planning your trip to the Magic Kingdom and using the Disney World fastpass system! If you have any other great tips to share, please add them in the comments below!
For More Disney Tips:
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