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The last time we were at WDW, we could still pull our Fast Passes out of the machines by each ride! The new FP+ system is new to us. During our many past visits, DH and I never planned anything but since we are up early in the morning, we always arrived at the park of our choice for "rope drop". We always found that we could get on many attractions before the park actually got crowded without using any Fast Passes and without waits or very minimal waits. That being said, we do know that we have to "plan" now to take advantage of FP+. For those of you who get to the parks for "rope drop", can you still manage to get on some attractions before the parks begin to get really crowded? If that is still the case, what time do you recommend making your first FP+ time for? We will be at WDW in early March. Thanks.
We, too, have transitioned from legacy Fastpass--the kiosks--to FP +.
As to what time to make your first FP of the day, for us, that depends on what park.
In Magic Kingdom, we make our first FP within the first hour the park opens. For example, we would have a FP for Pirates, but ride Jungle Cruise first in stand-by and then head to Pirates. We would then try to have 2 more FP lined up back to back for the first three hours. Because, you can get a 4th FP when the 3 are used. And, then a 5th, 6th etc. Magic Kingdom seems to be the best park to use this strategy.
At EPCOT--there are FP Tiers and you can only have 1 FP from Tier 1. So, select your FP more to fit your touring style. If you are rope drop and can get to Test Track and Soarin, then save your Tier 1 FP for FROZEN and make it for a time you plan to be in that area of World Showcase.
At Animal Kingdom--again, go towards your touring style. If you plan on riding an attraction at rope drop, then make FP for the rides you know you want later in the day and plan for what area on the park you plan to be in at what time. We sometimes let your FP selections determine the direction we move around AK.
At Studios, FP at least one attraction in Toy Story Land in the first hour and enjoy the others as part of your rope drop arrival. Guests can select only 1 Toy Story Land attraction for FP. Then, pick for the rest of your day.
We find that at Studios and Animal Kingdom, our FP selections are a combination of attractions and shows.
There are many website articles about various FP strategies. Sharing what works for us.
If we get to the parks for rope drop, we also go for the first Fastpass+ within an hour or so of the park opening. We figure the quicker we can get the first three in, then the more chance we have of getting another one later in the day....
Here's a valuable tip for making your pre-selections (which you can do for your whole trip at T-60 days if you're staying at a WDW resort, or one day at a time at T-30 days if you're not staying at a WDW resort):
When you make your pre-selections, you'll be given a number of pre-set options to choose from. None of them will be exactly what you want, but select the one that is closest to what you want.
After you make your selections for the day and confirm them, you can go back and edit the selections. While editing, you're not limited to the pre-sets, you can change the attractions one at a time, and also select other time windows. Example: In MK I might choose a pre-set that gives me Pirates 9-10am, Buzz 1-2pm, and TTC 6-7pm. When I edit, I can switch Buzz to 10-11am, and trade TTC for Haunted Mansion 11-12am. Or any other combination available.
It takes some time and effort to get it all the way you want it, but it's worth the extra to get a set of FP selections that fits your plans and touring style. It also allows you to select FPs in an order that prevents you from having to run all the way across the park to get to your second one, then cross the park again to get to your third one.
Personally, I like to make all of my advance FPs come one after the other in the morning, which means that I can then make additional selections with the app or kiosks for my afternoon, and also allows me to park-hop after lunch - I'm not tied to only one park all day by a third FP that might be near dinner time. It's all about flexibility.