Today I want to take a look at Disneyland’s Maxpass system and how you should be using it to maximize your time in Disneyland Park. Before I go too much further, keep in mind I used to be a Cast Member at Disneyland, I am biased. My views may differ from you, but I just want you to have all the information out there so you can make your own decisions and form your own opinions.
What is FastPass? How does it relate to MaxPass?
If you are new to Disney Parks, you need to first learn about Disney’s Fast Pass system. When you go to Disneyland or any other theme park, you will inevitability have to wait in line at an attraction. It’s part of the experience of visiting a Disney theme park. Yes you may be hot, tired or annoyed by how long the line it, but at least there will be interesting things to look at while you wait. Maybe you’ll spend your time looking for a Hidden Mickey, or interacting with an talking Mr. Potato Head. There are secrets and hidden gems everywhere in a Disney Park queue to help you forget you are waiting in line.
In 1999, Disney Parks announced the introduction of the FastPass system. For most major attractions, Disney wanted you to be able to have a way to essentially hold your place in line while you went to enjoy another attraction. Traditionally, a Disneyland Resort guest would first make a decision on what attraction they wanted a FastPass for. Next, they would go find the FastPass distribution machine, usually located next to the attraction, and would receive a paper ticket telling the guest when to return to the attraction so they could skip the normal line.
Confused? I don’t blame you. Let’s say you are arriving at Disneyland Park and it’s 1 hour after park opening. You decide you want to see how long the wait for Indiana Jones is. You walk over to Adventureland and are dismayed to see it’s a 75 minute wait. You really don’t want to spend an hour and 15 minutes in line. You notice, however, the FastPass distribution machine next to Indiana Jones lists a return time for 12:00pm-1:00pm. You stick your park ticket into the machine, receive the pass. Now you have two hours to kill. Why not hop onto another attraction?
You check out the wait time for Pirates of the Carribean. It’s only 20 minutes! In the two hours you had free before 12:00pm, you’ve ridden Pirates, the Jungle Cruise, Big Thunder Railroad and the Haunted Mansion. You even had time to have a beignet and mint julip. At 12:00pm you make your way back to Indiana Jones and don’t have to go into the normal line, but can use the FastPass line! You skip a large amount of the line and only spend 10 minutes waiting to make your way to the loading area.
FastPass is a service that is offered to all guests of the Disneyland Resort. If is included with the price of the ticket. A FastPass can be a great tool, but entering the digital age, Disney wanted to modernize too. Enter the era of smartphones and apps. Disney wanted to have a way for you to be able to get a FastPass from your smartphone. In 2017 they created the system known as MaxPass which does this.
MaxPass and the Disneyland App
In order to utilize the MaxPass system, the first thing you need to download is the official Disneyland App. It’s a free app that has all sorts of other helpful information to it such as a digital map, where to find characters, attraction wait times, and even mobile food orders now. Both Disneyworld and Disneyland have their own app. You will need to ensure you have the Disneyland one. Disneyworld uses a different version of the FastPass system.
Once you have the Disneyland App loaded onto your digital device, you will need to create an account for the app. This will require credit information to link to your profile that will be used for any purchases. The app is free, but as other apps are these days, there are features of the app that require a purchase. MaxPass is one of these features.
Now that you have the app and a Disney account, the next thing you will need is your theme park ticket! You will need to link your ticket to the app. If you purchased your ticket through the app, the ticket is already linked. If not, all you will need to do is launch the app, hit the home button, and touch the My Tickets option to link you ticket. The app will ask you to scan the barcode of your paper ticket or type in the numbers on it. This option really saves the day when it comes to lost tickets! Having the ticket linked to the app creates a digital copy of your ticket!
Note that if you have a family, I would designate and have 1 person link all the tickets to their account. It can get confusing otherwise when it’s time to purchase MaxPass.
Now that everything is linked, you will want wait until your ticket has officially been activated for the day. What this means is you will need to wait until your ticket has been scanned for the first time at the Main Entrance of Disneyland, California Adventure or the Downtown Disney Monorail turnstile. showing you’ve officially entered the resort for the day. The app needs to know you are inside of the theme parks.
You will finally be able to utilize MaxPass. Going back to the home button on the Dinseyland App, you can select the option to “Get Fastpass with Disney’s MaxPass”. This option will ask you which tickets linked to your account want to have MaxPass added to them. This is why 1 person should have linked all the ticket to their account. The cost of MaxPass is $15 per ticket per day. It’s pricey, but it will allow you a lot more flexibility than a normal FastPass and is worth the cost.
With the purchase of the MaxPass to your ticket, you no longer need to go in search of the FastPass distribution machines as you once did. Once your tickets have been activated for the day, you are able to select FastPasses from your phone. You can be in your hotel room and can decide that you want a FastPass later on for the Haunted Mansion. The possibilities are endless.
Included with the cost of MaxPass is the ability to use Disney’s PhotoPass service. This means that all of the photos for attractions and that Disney Photo Pass Cast Members take for you can be downloaded for free. Make sure you actually remember to download them! They will stay on the app for about 90 days.
Like the traditional FastPass, when using MaxPass, you can only have 1 FastPass at a time. You are able to get your next FastPass as soon as the time on the FastPass says you can. It’s much easier to do with the App now. The exception is if you want to get a FastPass for a show (Frozen the Musical, Fantastmic or World of Color). Show FastPasses can only be obtained in person.
When you return to use the FastPass, ensure that you are returning during the 1 hour window on the pass. You are no longer able to go before or after the times on the pass. Visit this page for more information about MaxPass.
I hope this post helps you get started with using MaxPass! It can be an extremely useful tool! Until next time, happy travels!