Please help with HS fast passes planning

I am planning my family’s first trip to WDW from August 21 to 26. My group of six includes four adults and my niece (13 yo) and nephew (6 yo). We are scheduled to arrive at the airport at 2:25 pm and will then take Magical Express to Pop Century. We are planning to drop off our carry on bags in the room and then take the bus to Hollywood Studios. We have a reservation at Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater at 6:35 pm.

I know we will not be able to see everything at Hollywood Studios but I wanted to spend the other full days at the other Disney parks and one day at Kennedy Space Center. No one in my group is interested in Star Wars. What fast passes and times of fast passes would you recommend considering our trip arrival time and dinner reservation? We are interested in seeing Fantasmic. Also our flight is only about two hours long so not worried about jetlag. I am getting ready to book fast passes soon and I am not sure what are the right timings and best fast passes to book for Hollywood Studios would be considering our schedule and dinner reservation. Any help would be appreciated.

What time is fantastic that night, and what attractions interest you and your party?

I would suggest creating a personalized touring plan. Go ahead and input the rides you’d like to prioritize and the hours you can be at the park. You’ll be able to put in your Sci-Fi reservation too. I’d allocation 90 minutes for your meal - in case you have to wait for a table for a bit and in case service is slow since that is right at dinner time.

Once you put everything in, you can optimize and take a look at what your longest wait times are and choose your fast passes based on that. You can test it by adding fast passes to different rides and see how it affects the timing of your schedule.

In general, you will likely want to FP TSMM (since you have a 6 yo I would prioritize that as a FP over RNR - would be fun to have everyone on that together and then send a few off separately if some want to do RNR but others want to skip it).

Then, if there are those who want to do ToT FP that as one of the Tier 2 options.

Those three are definitely the highest demand rides at holly wood studios. If you all are interested in Fantasmic, once you ride your Tier 1, I would start looking for Fantasmic passes.

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I would not plan on getting to HS before 5:00. If that is the case I would make my FPs for 5, 6 and 7 or as close as possible (assuming HS is closing at 8 ?). You will need to try to get to two FPs before dinner. I agree that with a 6 year old you will need to forget about RnR- your call on tower of terror. Star tours will be fun and of course plan on the fireworks if they are scheduled that night.

Fantasmic is at 8:30 pm. I am making all reservations because I am not getting feedback from the others in the group aside from being happy that I am handling it. Only the kids and I are interested in the rides. I am going to try and get the other adults on some of the milder rides. I am personally scared of tower of terror because I am not a big fan of huge drops but I am open to other rides. The kids have said they want to ride everything. Although my nephew is physically tall enough for everything I am not sure if he will be emotionally ready for the more scary rides.

I also want to add that once the other adults experience the rides they may feel differently and be more into the rides. They have not been exposed to theme parks since they did not grow up here so I think they just do not get it. They are excited about experiencing the magical aspects of Disney though.

I also sent the birnbaums Disney book for kids to the kids hoping that I could get fast pass requests but they just say that they want to try everything.

I have ready about rides but I am not sure what rides and shows to prioritize considering our time there and not receiving feedback about specific rides. I do know that due to medical issues with the 6 year old he can’t be on any rides with water in his ears. I do not think that is an issue though in Hollywood studios.

I would try to FPP toy story, Star Tours (even though you aren’t huge star wars fans I think the ride is a classic and one that most people enjoy and then either Little Mermaid OR Frozen, but that depends on what times the shows are the interests of your group.

We typically FP Toy Story, Star Tours, and then a show of some sort.

Bless you for doing it for them :). If it helps you decide about ToT at all, I hate hate hate drop rides. I am a roller coaster person, but between the height and the freefall I have never liked a drop ride. That being said, ToT might be my favorite ride in all of Disney. It is just so well designed and such an incredible mind warping experi nice. The drop is just so very little of th ride. Just food for thought if all the kids want to go on it and throw a little pressure your way :slight_smile:

Thanks for the feedback. Am I being overly concerned thinking that if my nephew gets scared on tower of terror that he may then become scared of riding other rides on the other days? This will be our first night at Disney and we will be spending two days at magic kingdom, one day at AK, and one day at Epcot. Or am I overthinking it?

The park closes at 9 pm.

So much to think about. I appreciate all of the feedback. Any other feedback would also be appreciated.

You are not overthinking it. Each kid is, of course, different, but when I was six and went the first time, I rode snow white’s scary adventure at MK (not there any more). It terrified me and put me off all dark rides. My parents had to drag me on to small world and I had to be conned into haunted mansion (hid my face the entire time once they got me on).

Aside from the drop, ToT is spooky too - not so much jump out at you scary, but more eerie. If he wants to ride it, you might check out a ride video on YouTube to help all involved, including him, decide.

I don’t like big drops either. ToT wasn’t bad, it would drop, go up, drop, nothing too bad. I have heard or smaller children (5-6 yo) even enjoying it!! So I wouldn’t cross it off the list. Agree with others that TSMM should be on the list, it is fun and high demand. Finally I would add rock n roller coaster, it is fast, fun, twisty but not too scary and high demand. You can do rider swap with the 6yo who may be too short to ride it, but once the time expires try to find another TSMM or FP that they would like!

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My niece has been riding ToT since she was 3 and loves it… her younger sister is also a thrill seeker and will probably be doing it this fall (she’ll be just 4) so it’s really a matter of how adventurous the kids are. The older one rode RnR as soon as she was tall enough (she was 5.5… tall kid!), but it’s much more intense and it goes upside down and she was content with going just once around for the first few visits.


As for ToT, I know several above mentioned loving it - honestly, I do too. However, DH hates drops and ToT is one of his least favorite rides. He’s done it before, but absolutely refuses to do it again this time (at least that’s what he’s saying). It’s a firm no every time it’s mentioned. He loves roller coasters so its not a thrill ride thing - its strictly the free fall. If you’re slightly scared or a little nervous, you might be ok. However, if you’re terrified of free falls/drops, then you may want to skip it.

I’ve read that you can bypass the room where the introduction is done if you think the kids will be scared - not sure since I’ve never tried that, but I’d say that’s probably the scariest part of TofT so that could possibly be an option.

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Thanks everyone for sharing your experiences and tips. I will watch a video of tower of terror and also send the video to the rest of my group and ask for feedback. I doubt the other three adults will want to ride it so I am thinking if I do bookmit perhaps I would book three fast passes for it and then use the other three fast passes for something else since we are a group of six.

Is it worth it to book a fast pass for fantasmic? I read online that you have to arrive there one hour early to get a seat without a fast pass or dining package and that would eat up a lot of our limited time. However since it is a tier one I also hesitate to use my only tier 1 fp on it. But it is the only thing that everyone in the group wants to do so perhaps it is worth it. Any thoughts?

Also any other tips about timings of fast passes would be appreciated?

I wouldn’t book it unless you can get it as a day-of 4th FP after you’ve used your first 3. Here’s a blog entry that has a general estimation of when the same day FPs run out on a given crowd level day, just to give you an idea of whether it’s even a feasible option:

It looks as though you would have until about 3pm on any given day to try and snag them. Keep in mind, however, that if you book a same day FP for something at the very end of the day then you will not be able to get any more, because you’d have to use that one first.

Thanks for the link. It will not help with Hollywood Studios since I will likely be arriving there between 4 and 5 pm so I will not be able to use my three fast passes before the Fantasmic passes would be gone. But the link will be very helpful for planning the fast passes in the other parks.

So I have to either use up a tier one fast pass on the show or arrive early to get into the show. Not sure yet what I will do.

Unless your crowd level is 1-3 then you may still be able to get a 4th FP for Fanstasmic after 4 or 5… I know it seems backward, but the higher the CL, the later the FPs run out (any CL 6-10 will likely have them available until 6:00 or later). This is partly because there are more FPs available for the other Tier 1 attractions on higher CL days and fewer people will be taking Fantasmic as a consolation prize, and partly because the lower CLs tend to coincide with earlier park closings and fewer opportunities to see Fantasmic in general as well.

Even if you can’t get one, if you show up 30 minutes or so before the show you’ll still get seats, but they’ll probably be on the sides and you may have to split up. You’re allowed to take QS food into the venue, so that’s what we like to do to make the wait feel a little shorter.