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Disneyland has introduced Disney MaxPass, a program designed to help visitors make the most out of their time at the Disneyland Resort. Those familiar with the FastPass system at Walt Disney World will find some similarities but this program is definitely unique to the West Coast parks. Recently, I had the chance to test out Disney MaxPass so that I could share everything you need to know before your next visit to Disneyland Resort.
What is Disney MaxPass? This new program allows park visitors to enjoy the convenience of mobile booking and redemption of FastPasses as well unlimited downloads of PhotoPass images. Mobile booking allows users to see all available FastPass times in one place and eliminates the need to crisscross the parks all day to grab passes. The result? More rides in less time which truly helps your family maximize your time inside the parks.
Maxpass is being offered for the introductory price of $10 per ticket per day. I think this is a great deal, especially for those who only visit the parks once or twice a year. My family was able to get on Space Mountain, Big Thunder Mountain, and Splash Mountain all within 60 minutes on a Saturday afternoon in July. Enough said. Please note that Disney uses the term “introductory price”. This seems to mean that prices will go up sometime in the future. I have a feeling it will be an issue of supply and demand. Annual Passholders can either purchase a single day use of Maxpass or pay $75 add it to their current annual passport. Those who have the Signature Plus Annual Pass (the most expensive and most inclusive option) will find that Disney MaxPass has been added to their passport for no additional cost.
MaxPass is not for the “technically challenged”. You do have to a basic understanding of how apps work in order to use it. Put simply, MaxPass would send my mom (who is still afraid of email) into a technological meltdown. That being said, if you can’t figure it out (it should be quite simple for anyone with basic smart phone skills or has used the Disneyland App before) I am almost certain your kids can.
Make sure you have the Disneyland App downloaded on your phone and you have signed in to your account before you arrive. Learn from my mistake. I spent a good 20 minutes trying to remember my password and attempting to reset my password before getting locked out of my account. I finally just set up another account using my husband’s email address. This wasted precious time at the park.
After you receive your tickets, click on the “my tickets” tab and add your tickets (use your phone’s camera to scan them) to your account. If you use the Disneyland App to purchase your tickets, they will already be linked to your account. I would definitely put your entire party’s tickets under one account so it will be easy to grab FastPasses for everyone at the same time. When you select “Get FastPass” you will be given the option of creating a “FastPass Party”. This allows you to select multiple tickets and load the same FastPass on to all the selected tickets. For example: If you have six people in your party and three want to go on California Screamin’, you can add those three tickets to a FastPass party and get the next available FastPass time added to their tickets. It is really very simple and incredibly convenient. If you pre-purchase tickets (using the app or a ticket broker) you can upload them ahead of time, purchase MaxPass, and start adding your first FastPass to your account before you even arrive at the parks while staying at a Disney hotel, in the esplanade between parks, or in Downtown Disney.
FastPass is not available for every ride in the park. It is currently available for 16 of the most popular rides in Disneyland and Disney California Adventure. You can’t currently use MaxPass to secure FastPasses for preferred seating at the Fantasmic and World of Color shows. You must manually “pick up” at their designated FastPass stations inside the parks. If you have someone in your group who is not likely to ride most of the rides that utilize FastPass (young children who aren’t tall enough to ride the bigger rides would fall in to this category), I don’t suggest purchasing a MaxPass for that individual. You can still include these people in your PhotoPass pictures.
When you load a FastPass to your MaxPass you will be given a time in which you can select another FastPass. You can often reserve another ride in a much shorter time window than you are able to with the traditional FastPass system. I couldn’t quite figure out the pattern but I was quite pleased to discover that I didn’t always have to wait until the beginning of the FastPass return window to select another FastPass. For instance, if I selected a FastPass for a ride that gave me a time that was 3 hours in the future, the time in which I could select another FastPass might only be 90 minutes away. I also noticed that the times I was given for my FastPass were sometimes earlier than the ones being displayed at the traditional FastPass kiosks. This allowed us to ride far more rides than we would if we just stuck to the traditional FastPass system.
When the time comes to redeem your FastPass for a ride, you can either scan the Disneyland App, your park ticket, or your annual pass at the beginning of the rides FastPass line. Many rides will require you to scan your ticket or phone a second time once inside the ride. I can’t quite figure out what the point of the second scan is other than to slow down the line. I am hoping it is eventually eliminated. Be sure to keep your tickets or phone open to the Fastpass until after the second scan or else you will be holding up the line as you scramble to find it once again. I highly recommend using your tickets or annual passes over the app whenever possible. I ran in to connectivity issues within certain rides queues which made it impossible to pull up my FastPasses on the app.
Good to know: Disneyland has long been known to suck the life out of cell phones and with continued use of the Disneyland App, I found my phone drained even faster than normal. Be sure to pack a backup charger, buy one inside the parks, or rent a locker that includes a place to plug in (note: these go quickly).
Be sure to take advantage of the PhotoPass benefits that come along with MaxPass– after all, you paid for them! There are tons of photographers positioned in key spots all over the park, allowing you to capture images that include everyone in your group. The Disneyland App can even help you find exactly where photographers are located on an easy-to-use map. You can also link those hilarious ride photos to your PhotoPass by entering the 8 digit code above the image on the Disneyland App. I find it easiest to snap a quick picture of the code and then entering it later when I have time while waiting in line.
Have more questions about Disney MaxPass, FastPass, or PhotoPass? Leave a comment and we will be happy to answer!
Disclosure: My family received complimentary 1-day park hoppers for Family Media Day at Disneyland Resort. All opinions are my own.
First two photos and social media images courtesy of Disneyland Resort.