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Travel: DisneyWorld and Universal Orlando Fans, help me out!

TS0104TS0104 Registered User Posts: 812 Member
Hi! I'm guessing there are some Orlando park fans on there that can help me out with a couple of questions. We've been to both, many times, we are fans too, but it's been a while and we're not up on the Disney FastPass changes. (Full disclosure, we used to totally game the old fastpass system, and we really like to strategize to minimize our wait time).

We'll be in Orlando for two days and are definitely going to Universal on one of them. We might play that second day by ear, so finally my question is...can you get Fast Passes for a last minute (as in decide the night before) trip like this? Will you get terribly bad times? We think we might be interested in the new Avatar ride which I've heard is the hottest ticket right now. In the past we've always planned way in advance but well, now, we have teens :) . I kind of like the idea of deciding which park (which Disney World park, or Universal again) to do on the second day on the fly (or no park if we are exhausted), but if this means we won't have any good fast past options for DW, that would change that plan.

Would love some experienced opinions on this, fellow fans will know these parks take planning and strategy!

Thank you!

Replies to: Travel: DisneyWorld and Universal Orlando Fans, help me out!

  • bjscheelbjscheel Registered User Posts: 445 Member
    Last minute fastpasses will not get you some of the big rides, but depending on park, there will be something. Get to the park before opening so you can hit some at rope drop. That would be my recommendation if you want to get on Flight of Passage- be at AK well before opening and head straight there.

    Get your FP scheduled for like 10 am, 11 am, 12 pm, and once you get through the FP touchpoint for the last one, get on your phone (download the app before you go) and start looking for a new one. If you don't like what you find, refresh and keep trying.

    If you're only going one day, I'd go to MK just because there are so many more rides to choose from so you'll have more options. But if Avatar is your priority, you can still have a fun day at AK. You can ride single rider on Expedition Everest on repeat!
  • ProfessorPlum168ProfessorPlum168 Registered User Posts: 3,253 Senior Member
    You should go on touringplans.com and check out some of their forms. For $8 you can subscribe for their touring plans. I used them many years ago and it was pretty accurate.
  • TS0104TS0104 Registered User Posts: 812 Member
    thanks @ProfessorPlum168 , that's what we used for our older trips and we've kind of internalized the info! It was fantastic, and we got used to not really ever waiting in lines, even though we go in summer. But then the FastPass system changed.

    I'm assuming that one has to have tickets purchased to access the FP reservations, right? Which would put a big kink in our play it by ear strategy. I didn't know that you could still get more FPs once you've passed through the gate...that was one way we used to "cheat" (once the FP time started, go get another one, then come back to ride the first FP one).

    We're thinking maybe AK because we have a shorter day (have to leave for the airport at about 430), and we've never taken our time there...we usually go over near close to hit Everest multiple times and that's about it. Since we have one park day, a short one, this might be our time to finally take our time at AK instead of rushing to the highlights and leaving.
  • taverngirltaverngirl Registered User Posts: 708 Member
    We are big Disney & Universal fans and have been quite a few times. easywdw is the best website, imo, and it's free. Outlines the best one day tours and what FPs to get. They also have forums full of super experienced and helpful people.
    I think it's doubtful you will get any decent FPs that late in the game, but when you are going will affect your chances. I'd do Universal for both days - there's just so much there. Get the park to park express tickets and stay onsite. It'll be more relaxing (well, as relaxing as the theme park vacas can be, lol)
  • TS0104TS0104 Registered User Posts: 812 Member
    Thanks @taverngirl . Good to know that waiting to decide would not work out with FPs. We like the big rides, and we like to have FPs for them! We'll have to plan this more ahead. We are staying at Universal onsite and getting the included Express pass. I feel like we can hit all our faves at Universal in one day, but the family seems to prefer it over Disney.
  • dentmom4dentmom4 Registered User Posts: 1,200 Senior Member
    Not sure when you are planning to go, but the new FP system doesn’t work with your plan. Are you at least 6 months out? Most of the big rides are gone immediately when they open for signup. You need the reservation and tickets to sign up. I have to say I don’t like the new system, a year ago you could only get 3 passes for one park per day and it was hard to get a 4th that wasn’t something you normally skip.

    If you only have 2 days, do Universal. While you can do it in a day, you can hit many faves multiple times, especially with the Express pass.

    If you do Disney, pick a park and arrive very early. Then run to the one ride you want most. You can do several in the first hour, especially if they still do early magic hour.
  • NJWrestlingmomNJWrestlingmom Registered User Posts: 952 Member
    edited May 15
    Just got home from Universal - D21 is a ride freak and loved it so much more than Disney! Maybe because it was our first time, but the rides on the whole are much more teen oriented than Disney. Staying on site for the Express is definitely the way to go!
  • maya54maya54 Registered User Posts: 2,020 Senior Member
    If you are going after the new Star Wars area opens it seems like you’d be crazy to leave anything open. We are going in October. Restaurant reservations almost anywhere were gone in almost no time.

  • TS0104TS0104 Registered User Posts: 812 Member
    Thanks all...we have decided against Disney...we don't want to do any of the DW parks with no "good" fastpasses. I think we will wait a couple of years and do an all Disney trip the right way, with tons of advance planning. I did know about Star Wars, but we would have been going in June, before it opened...but still, now I know that we don't really want to ever go without doing the 60 day out FP.

    Bummer! Now I am just wondering, when we do go, to DW, are the standby lines really long now that FPs are so limited and managed?

    And @NJWrestlingmom , you're right...my teens prefer Universal too. We like big/fast rides (although I can't stomach all of the simulation/screen rides at Universal, so I spend a lot of time waiting around). We stay at the Royal Pacific which is worth it for a bigger family, so we get the included Express passes.

    I was feeling nostalgic for Disney but I think we'll just put that on hold until they get some of their new stuff done...including a new Tron light bike coaster that I'm super excited about...I love that scene in Tron!
  • beebee3beebee3 Registered User Posts: 140 Junior Member
    Standby lines at DW can easily reach 2-3 hrs for the most popular rides (Pandora reaches a 150-180 minute wait almost immediately after rope drop most days). FastPass is really the way to go if you want the least stressful, least amount of time in line experience.

    There are ways to game the new FastPass system (you can continue to search for and book fast passes once you have finished using the fast passes you booked in advance) so the earlier in the day you book your fast passes, the better chance you have to grab more passes during the day.

    If budget isn't an issue - you can also book more advance fast passes if you stay on club level at a deluxe resort. You can get 6 fast passes per day per person on club level (for an additional fee per person, of course!) 60 or 90 days out. You may also want to look into extra magic mornings (which are different from extra magic hours). Extra magic mornings are hard ticketed passes into parks where a limited number of guests are given about 1 1/2 hr in a park area (toy story land, fantasy land) before anyone else. It costs around $80 per person for that time (in addition to regular park admission) and does include breakfast as well. But it almost guarantees no wait riding to some of the most popular rides (Slinky Dog Dash, Seven Dwarves Train Mine Ride, etc).
  • NJWrestlingmomNJWrestlingmom Registered User Posts: 952 Member
    @TS0104 I declared myself officially old Monday night after the day at Universal! D21 went on the last one by herself, I just couldn't! I was turning green from all the simulations! I can't do the rides like I used to! : (
  • TS0104TS0104 Registered User Posts: 812 Member
    I know @NJWrestlingmom isn't it sad? I tried an anti motion drug last time at Universal, maybe I will double up this year. But now even the coasters (Rip Red Rocket? used to be so fun), now anything but the smoothest ones rattle me around too much. But there's hope because the newer coasters (like at Cedar Point, near us) don't do that, so I can still do the new generation of thrill coasters, just not those sim rides.

    Thanks @beebee3, great tips. Never herd of the extra magic mornings, I will note that. I wonder if at some point one if the VIP tours would actually be worth it...like it could cut your number of park days in half if you can get to what you want so much faster.
  • dentmom4dentmom4 Registered User Posts: 1,200 Senior Member
    Last year Spaceship Earth was a fast pass; we skipped thinking we would ride at the end of the day. Never happened in our days there. Lines were always an hour plus without FP.
  • KKmamaKKmama Registered User Posts: 3,063 Senior Member
    My kid just came back from a Disney trip. She rode Flight of the Phoenix three times in the same day. While waiting in line after using a Fast Pass she was able to get another one so got off and right back in the fast pass line again. They also like to inflate wait times at the end of the night to discourage people from getting in lines - posted wait at the end of the night was two hours and actual time was 30 minutes. Getting in line for a popular ride at the end of the night could mean a long wait but at least you aren’t wasting time that could be spent on other rides.
  • whitepicketfencewhitepicketfence Registered User Posts: 120 Junior Member
    I think you are smart to skip Disney unless you have the time to plan. We are passholders so I just checked the app for FP availability tomorrow. At Animal Kingdom neither of two Avatar rides had availability (not surprising) and neither did the safari. All the Everest times were late evening. Checked the other parks and the Studios were nuts. Nothing in Toy Story Land, again not surprising, but Tower of Terror and Rockin Roller Coaster were not available either. Can’t imagine when Star Wars Land opens. We have lived close by for 20 years and the only thing you can do with any spontaneity is people watch!
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