orlandovacation_disney-fastpassThere’s a lot of controversy about FastPass+. Many families find that it lets them sleep in late and still enjoy their must-do attractions, while others complain that it requires them to do far too much planning. Whether you’re a first-time dad about to visit the parks, or this is old hat for you, there’s one question we see time and time again: is it a good idea to use FastPass+ for rides and parades?

Undercover Tourist write a thorough post about this very topic, though some of that info is not up to date. Check it out and then read our analysis of the situation.

Recent changes and their impact

When FastPass+ was first introduced, you got 3 per day. Once they were done, you were not eligible for more. Now, once you’ve used your top 3 you can go to kiosks in the park to get more. This has changed the way people tour the parks and the way we recommend using FP+.

Most firework experiences aren’t worth using FP+

For the most part, you won’t find much use for FP+ for fireworks viewing – unless you’re planning to only come to the park in the afternoon. The reason is simple: you can’t get more FP+ until you’ve used all 3. As a result, if you use your first 2 and are holding your final one for use with the fireworks at the end of the night, then you’re missing out on extra passes you could get throughout your day.

Again, if you’re planning to only come in the afternoon, use your 2 passes, and then watch the fireworks, then it may be well worth it. Check the Undercover Tourist post linked to above to see where the FP+ locations are for each of the fireworks experiences and then decide if it’s worth it to you.

orlandovacation_disney-world-paradeThe parades are another story

Several parades are held earlier in the day, which means you can use your 3rd FP+ on them, and then go get more. These may be a great choice, but again check the Undercover Tourist link above. Some of the parade spots are directly in the sunlight and end up being more uncomfortable than simply finding your own spot.

The key to optimizing your use of FP+ is to carefully consider your options. If there’s one ride that’s a must-do, or one character meet and greet that your kids will be upset having missed, then you’ve already got your answer on what to use your passes on.