The Disneyland MaxPass is a great way to save time, but does it cost too much?
The Disneyland MaxPass was what I always envisioned FastPasses being. I wanted them faster, more frequently and easier to adjust. I think you’re really going to like them. These Disneyland MaxPass tips really helped our family!
**Right now Disney says an “introductory price” of $10… which is amazing. Keep in mind that Universal Studio’s front-of-the-line passes almost doubles the cost of your ticket. However, I am guessing the price or the structure of the tickets will be headed up sometime soon. And, for now, you can still get regular FastPasses (which I talk about in this post) the same way you could before without the extra price.**
Full Disclosure: I did get 2 free tickets from Disney to cover the park, but I did purchase the MaxPasses on my own.
This post is going to talk about what the Disney MaxPass is great and how to use it.
Disneyland MaxPass Tips
Prep before you get a Disneyland MaxPass:
- Get the Disneyland app – it’s available for both ios and Android. Keep in mind that Disney “does” have wifi in the park, but I very rarely could connect or use it – you’ll be using mobile data a lot using the Maxpass (which could be an added expenses, so keep that in mind, although I didn’t find the app to be a data hog).
- Get a portable charger as your phone will be in use most of the day. Make sure to have it charged in advance (I love this one), or if you forget it, you can buy a portable charger from within the park. They’re called fuel rods, and after your initial purchase, you can exchange them for a charge device at many locations within the park (pro tip: you can also buy the fuel rod in advance for only $20 – so if this appeals to you, that’s an option as well – it can still be exchanged within the park. Fuel rods can also be used at many other places as well including airports, concert venues and more).
- If you have paper tickets, scan them in advance into the app. It’s super simple to do and will save you some time in the park.
- Add a form of payment to your Disneyland.com account. If you don’t already have an account, create one – and add payment.
Ok, as I said the MaxPass is currently $10 as of December 2017
You can purchase it with your ticket if you purchase directly on the Disney website – which I would never do as you can save when you buy your tickets with Get Away Today. If you purchase it with Disney it applies to each day and it will provide some convenience. But, it will be pricier.
For the smart people who didn’t buy on Disney’s website, you’ll want to purchase your MaxPass as soon as you head through the turnstiles (you can’t add MaxPass until your ticket has been scanned). Hopefully, your tickets are already scanned in, and you can quickly purchase the MaxPass on the app. Once you do (fYI, you’ll need your credit Card’s “secret code” in order to make the purchase) you can get your first MaxPass right there as you walk into the park.
FYI, if you enter the park early you can get your first pass as you pass through the turnstiles. The first FastPass return time wasn’t until 9:30 (and the park opened at 9).
Disneyland MaxPass Review
MaxPass is available for all rides that have FastPass.
- Splash Mountain
- Haunted Mansion (seasonal)
- Big Thunder
- Buzz Lightyear AstroBlasters
- Star Tours
- Space Mountain
- Small World (seasonal)
- Roger Rabbit’s Cartoon Spin
In CA Adventure
- Soaring over the World
- Guardians of the Galaxy Mission Breakout
- Grizzly River Rapids
- Screaming over California (soon to be the Incredicoaster)
- Toy Story Mania
- Radiator Springs Racers
How to get a MaxPass:
There are several parts of the app where you can get a MaxPass (once you’ve bought it).
- On a ride page (where it tells you the wait time and the FastPass return time)
- Also on the front page of the app you can get a FastPass
Once you click in, make sure you add the members of the party that you want added to that MaxPass.
Then, you’ll pick your park:
You’ll notice that all the members of our party are up top (well, 4 of them — but if you scroll you can see the rest).
Then, you pick your ride — be sure to click on the TIMES, not the ride (the times are the only place you can click).
Once you pick your FastPass ride, the app will tell you when you can get your next one.
This depends on a variety of factors:
- 30 minutes is the minimum, even if your fast pass starts before then
- If your fastpass is for much later in the day, the maximum amount of time is 90 minutes.
- If the timing falls within the next 90 minutes, but more than 30 minutes, you can get your next MaxPass when your FastPass window starts.
Pro Tip: You can always get your next MaxPass as soon as you scan your ticket into the ride. So: Let’s say it’s 10 am, and you get a Buzz Light Year FastPass that can be used in 15 minutes. As soon as you scan in at 10:15, you can then get another FastPass as you have used your previous one. Thus, you CAN bypass the 30-minute rule on the less-busy rides and by scanning in as soon as you can.
ProTip #2: Take advantage of Disney Wifi when you’re in queues. Often you can’t get mobile data within the line but check to see if you can get wifi and get your next MaxPass before the ride starts.
LOSER REMINDER: Don’t turn on your phone in the middle of a ride to get your next MaxPass – no matter how tempting it is. No one wants to see your phone light.
Picking where to get your next MaxPass
It depends on a variety of factors:
Be sure to get the rides you want to do done first. Rides like Radiator Springs or Guardians of the Galaxy sell out fast for Max/FastPasses. That means, by 3 pm they are likely to be sold out for the day, so if you want to skip those lines, be sure to do those first.
Guestimate rankings of Rides that “Sold Out” of MaxPasses the quickest:
- Guardians of the Galaxy Mission Breakout
- Radiator Springs Racers
- Space Mountain
- Toy Story Mainia
- Big Thunder
- Small World and Haunted Mansion are also pretty popular during the holidays.
I also have a day planner that shares which rides are most popular and a good order to ride them in:
Get my Double Feature Disneyland Day Planner
Do all the popular rides in both Disneyland and California Adventure!
Strategically pick them. If you want another MaxPass sooner, and see that Buzz Lightyear has a pass available in 30 minutes, grab it – and you will likely get two rides in, instead of just one if you picked a longer wait time for Space Mountain.
If you have reservations to eat, or want to see a parade. Make sure you avoid that time in your MaxPass picking.
PRO TIP: MaxPasses can be canceled, so if you decide that you picked the wrong time/ride, you can get into the app and cancel them – and then re-select. A huge bonus of the MaxPass system.
Let’s talk FastPasses in General
Maybe you’re not even sure what they are.
The Max/FastPass basically holds your place in line for a ride.
There is a standby line and a FastPass line for the rides listed. You’re just holding your place in the FastPass line and told a certain time to return.
That way, you can go eat and shop and spend more money – at least I am pretty sure that’s the reason Disney invented it.
BUT, lately, I really started to notice that FastPass lines were LONG. We waited almost a half an hour in the Matterhorn FastPass line (keeping in mind, that night only one side was working and the ride had been broken a lot of the day), but many times the FastPass wait time was over 15 minutes. One time we walked up to Space Mountain to see the FastPass line extending well down the corridor vs the standby line being able to easily walk up.
PRO TIP: I think people were just confused how to scan – we’ll talk more about that. Or, they just got into the line because they figured it was the one to be in. An easy mindset to get into in Disneyland.
How to Use your MaxPass:
Ok, you got your MaxPass and you’re headed back to a ride. What do you do now?
Disneyland has installed scanners at all FastPass Lines.
At this point, you scan your PAPER TICKET (you can also scan it from the app, but the paper ticket makes things a LOT easier- – PRO TIP: I totally recommend each person have their ticket in a lanyard – we were WAY faster than other families with this pro tip).
The circle turns from red to green and you’re magically allowed to enter the FastPass line. Keep your ticket handy though, because some rides ask you to scan again in that line (to make sure people aren’t line-hopping). **Even if you’re using the paper FastPasses, you still scan your ticket – everything is now tied to your ticket – I am guessing it cuts down on cheating that way.
Is there more to it?
YES! One of my favorite parts of the MaxPass is that it came with the PhotoPass with it!
That meant we could get our picture anywhere in the park and we could easily download it when we got home.
This is nice as I am not so great at selfies. AND it includes the photos from rides – which we love to take fun ones of those too.
Huge bonus – and that is usually around $30 bucks on its own/day – so a huge perk (and one I am concerned will go away after the “introductory time period”).
You can NOT get a Paper FastPass at the same time you hold a MaxPass. I didn’t check to see if you could get a paper FastPass if you aren’t holding a MaxPass (I have seen some blogs saying you can – I think that would be nice, as you could get the MaxPass just for photos and still use the paper FastPass system to skip lines).
FYI, paper FastPasses have a 2 hour wait time between obtaining passes. So, it is a little slower. Plus, you do have to walk to the machines, wait in line to get the paper ticket and then walk back to your party.
**Many times the return time for a MaxPass was faster than it was with the paper FastPass time slot – I’d see that it was posted for 2:05 – but I could get a MaxPass for 1:45 or whatnot. Just an FYI. Not sure how all that is calculated.
What if the ride breaks down during your window:
Your MaxPass is automatically turned into a “multiple experiences” pass.
This pass is good on ANY FASTPASS RIDE from the time listed to the END OF THE DAY.
That means, if Matterhorn breaks down (as it did about 40 times while we were there) you can hold onto that Multiple Experiences Pass until the Matterhorn is open later in the day. OR, you can use it on Space Mountain at that time frame too. However you want to use it.
It’s like you hold the keys to the kingdom.
A VERY cool perk.
At one point the Matterhorn DID re-open and we decided to stand in it’s 30 minute stand-by line in order to keep our passes for use during the evening on another ride.
ALSO, at one point it stole our “Multiple Experiences” instead of the FastPass we had for a ride — I went to guest services, and they were able to reinstate it.
Is the Disneyland MaxPass worth it:
I would say a resounding yes.
For $50 I actually think our family got ALL the things in that we wanted to do (sometimes multiple times) in 2 days. That might have saved us from buying a 3-day ticket because we really had “done” Disney by the end of day 2.
The park wasn’t crowded for our first 2 days and we often had MaxPasses in a similar time frame to the wait time.
Example: It’s 10 am and the wait time is 30 minutes. But, the MaxPass gives us a return time of 45 minutes.
However, if money is really a crunch then you can certainly make do with just paper FastPasses. As far as I can tell, those aren’t going away anytime soon – and they are included with your ticket, at no increased cost. I used my teenage son as a FastPass runner last time. He enjoyed the autonomy of being away from me and he could easily dodge crowds on his own to get us FastPasses without us all having to walk to the FastPass line.
When the MaxPass is not worth it:
If you have small children who don’t want to ride many of the MaxPass Rides, I would say that it is not. I might get one MaxPass to use for an adult and then also use the Rider Swap program to allow you to use that one MaxPass to its potential.
Who can get a MaxPass for your party:
We had 4 of us who had phones, all signed into my Disney account so we could each get MaxPasses as our wifi allowed. That means you don’t have to have it on just one phone, multiple members of your group can have it on different phones. Also, you can get a MaxPass for just one or two of you, leaving the other members of your party available to get another MaxPass. Just keep in mind that will each have your own time to get another MaxPass. Sometimes we were able to get separate max Passes in a very similar time frame, so that made the next MaxPass a lot easier to get together.
I loved the system. It really helped us enjoy our trip more, spend less time waiting and more time enjoying the park.
My friend Katie has a great post about doing Disneyland with Small Children << She shares how she used the MaxPass with them.
When used strategically, you can really MAX out your day at Disney with the MaxPass system. I hope they keep it $10 bucks. 🙂
If you liked this post, be sure to get my Disneyland Day Planner that I shared above. If you have small ones I also have a “Scare Factor” list that goes through all the rides and what might trigger concern from your kids. AND, be sure to check out my other Disneyland posts below that:
Your FREE guide to Disneyland
No more surprises by rides at Disneyland. Know which ones might be too scary, and which will be just right for your child!
Includes descriptions, scare triggers and tips for each ride in both Disneyland & CA adventure!