Disneyland is a whole new world if you’re used to Walt Disney World vacations. Or really any other type of vacation. There were a lot of days when I felt like I was taking crazy pills when I was trying to figure out what’s what. Luckily, I have made some friends on Instagram who are Disneyland locals and had a lot of advice. So lucky for you, I am going to pass some of my Disneyland advice on to you! The topic for today? The Disneyland Maxpass. So I have to say, during the four days that we were there, I was actually quite surprised to see how many people were as confused as I was about how Disneyland works. I already knew my fellow WDW based Instagram friends were confused, as I had chatted a lot with of them prior to the trip but I guess I figured once I got to Disneyland, I would be surrounded by people who knew what they were doing, especially when it came to something as mainstream as fastpasses.
Ok, so lets start from the beginning, in case you too, are unaware of how Fastpasses work. We have created a quick and dirty guide to FastPasses at Walt Disney World, but a lot of that does not apply here.
Firstly, what is a Fastpass? A Fastpass is a pass that allows you to cut the line per se(no, you don’t actually get to cut) via a faster queue. It cuts down your wait time for rides and in our opinion is essential for an enjoyable trip that utilizes your time as best as possible.
Fastpasses are free to everyone, whether you are doing Walt Disney World or Disneyland. They are implemented differently at each location, but if you went to Walt Disney World in the pre-magic band era, then the Fastpass system at Disneyland will be familiar to you.
If not, here’s how it works. Not all rides have fastpasses, but the ones that do will have a kiosk near the ride entrance that will tell you a return time. Just scan your park ticket and you will be given a fast pass for that return time.
Now, when you return to the ride during your fast pass time, you will need to scan your Fastpass with a cast member in order to enter the FastPass queue. You can do this with either your paper ticket or your phone using the Disneyland app. We stuck with the app because honestly I was too afraid I would lose our paper tickets if I had to keep taking them out.
Now, the tricky part about this system is that generally, you can only be holding one Fastpass per person at a time. This is not the case 100% of the time, but a lot of times, it is. So you will need to wait to redeem your Fastpass before you can get another one for another ride.
This can make things tough because some of the more popular rides will run out of Fastpasses really quickly, so if you’re waiting around for your next Fastpass window to open, its possible that Fastpasses for popular rides will run out in the meantime.
A lot of people that I talked to recommended that one person stands in line for one ride, while another goes to the Fastpass kiosk of another ride to get a new Fastpass. I was just traveling alone with my daughter, so that wasn’t really much of an option for us.
So this is where the Disneyland MaxPass comes in. And this was actually what I found most people(even locals whose conversations I overheard-whoops) are confused about.
Ok, so MaxPass is a ticket add-on that allows you to make Fastpasses from your phone via the Disneyland app. Its kind of, like Walt Disney World’s app. But, it costs $15/day PER TICKET. So in our case, we had 4-day tickets and for the two of us to have MaxPass, it added an additional $80 to the total cost of our tickets.
MaxPass cannot be used until you are in the Parks, but they do allow you to make Fastpasses as soon as you walk through the gates, whether its during a parade, while you’re standing in line or while you’re eating. Basically, as long as you’re inside the Parks, you can use it.
It will save you a lot of time not having to walk to each of the kiosks to retrieve your Fastpass. And we found that most of the time, it would actually allow us to make our next Fastpass much sooner than if we had gone to the kiosk. Which was great because we could book a Fastpass for Guardians of The Galaxy: Mission Breakout while waiting for our Radiator Springs Racers Fastpass to begin. And overall, it really helped us make the most of our time.
In my opinion, the MaxPass was totally worth it for us. We were trying to see and do a lot in a short amount of time and although I generally try to stay away from Disney add-ons like that, I also know that time is very valuable, especially when you’re paying the high cost of a Park ticket. It is definitely not the most budget friendly option, since Fastpasses are free otherwise and if you have a large party, the cost can definitely add up.
So, our verdict? Should you get it? If you’re short on time, planning to ride a lot of the more popular rides while you’re there or going during a busier time and aren’t really concerned about your budget, then absolutely. It made our trip so much more streamlined and simple. It’s also good to note that the MaxPass also includes your photopass photos, so if you plan on taking a lot of those, this can be a good deal.
If those things don’t apply to you or you have a very tight budget, then its definitely not a necessity. While it’s super convenient, its not worth blowing you budget over.
Just remember, people were going to Disneyland long before everyone and their sister had a cellphone and I’m sure their trips turned out just fine 😉