MEETING THE PRINCESSES: If your daughter is as princess-obsessed as mine is, the character meet and greets will be a staple of your holiday. If your daughter just has to meet Elsa and Anna, I strongly recommend you use a Fast Pass. Fast Pass is essentially a reservation that you can use to book your “must do” things in advance. The way it works is that each person gets three Fast Passes a day to use on a variety of attractions. The Fast Passes for any given day must all be at the same park (so you can’t, for example, use a Fast Pass at Epcot in the morning and one in the Magic Kingdom at night; you can, however, book your Fast Passes for different parks on different days; for example, on day 1 you are planning to be in Magic Kingdom – you can book three Fast Passes for Magic Kingdom attractions; on day 2 you are planning to be at Epcot – you can book three Fast Passes at Epcot).
Another thing to note is that you cannot book different Fast Passes for you and your child, unless you plan to let your child do something on his/her own (which obviously you might want to do by the fourth day, but unfortunately you can’t just abandon your kid when he/she wants to go on the Buzz Lightyear ride for the 7th time). So for your preschooler who wants to meet princesses, this means that you, too, will have to book your Fast Passes accordingly.
If you stay at a Disney property, you get to book your Fast Passes 60 days in advance of the first day of your trip. What this means is that when you are booking your Fast Passes, you’re more likely to get your first choice if you start booking from the last day and work your way backwards. This is because the earlier part of your trip is likely the end part of someone else’s and those people have already booked their Fast Pass selections for those days.
In any event, don’t be discouraged if your first choice Fast Pass isn’t available when you first book them. I nearly canceled my trip (yes I am a bit of an over-reactor) when I couldn’t book a Fast Pass to meet Elsa and Anna at the 60-day mark. I had prepared my daughter for this, but one week prior to our trip, I was stalking the Disney website and tried a trick I’d heard from others. I selected one person in our party (myself) and tried to get a Fast Pass to meet Elsa and Anna. Luckily, I was able to score myself a Fast Pass and then I did the same for my daughter and my mother (and then my friend and her daughter). By breaking up our party, we were able to each secure a spot, something we couldn’t do when I tried to book us as a group of five.
Just a note: you may see that when you book each person manually, that the times don’t line up. Don’t be too worried about this, as you can always switch around times once you’ve secured the actual Fast Pass experience. For our party of five, we had one person with a Fast Pass from 4-5, another 4:10-5:10, and the third at 4:20-5:20. Obviously, there was enough overlap from 4:20 to 5 that three of us could go in together. The other two went in together at their appointed time.
We were lucky to snag a time to meet Elsa and Anna, and on the particular day we went to meet them, the ONLY way to get in was to have a Fast Pass. There was no standby line and so if you didn’t have a Fast Pass, you were totally shut out. Thus, if meeting the Frozen princesses is as critical to your daughter as it was to mine…..you may have to stalk the website and/or do a little extra work to make it happen.
And speaking of meeting princesses, it’s super important for you to bring your own princess dresses. You will see tons of little girls running around the Magic Kingdom (and to a lesser degree, the other parks) wearing the costume du jour, and buying them in the park might cause you a slight coronary when you see the price. I picked up official Disney-licensed costumes at Costco for around $20/each. In the park at the gift shops, similar costumes are $70. Elsa was the most popular costume, as you might expect given the success of “Frozen,” and many gift shops were actually sold out of the Elsa ice queen dress. To avert any tantrums – at least of that variety – it’s best to bring your costumes with you.