Recently I was able to spend the day at Disneyland, and as one does when they only have one day to spend at the happiest place on earth, I wanted to make sure that I maximized my time in both Disneyland Park and California Adventure.
One of the great benefits of going to Disney World in Florida, is the ability to make Fastpass selections via the Disney World app. These Fastpasses allow you to pick an available time to visit popular attractions, and at the appointed time you enter the ride through a special line that is much shorter than the regular standby line.
In Disneyland however, historically you need to visit specific kiosk locations in order to get a physical paper fastpass for each corresponding ride. This makes getting fastpasses for the most popular rides a physical exercise. Additionally, each kiosk distributes fastpasses for a specific time frame, which gets later in the day as the fastpasses are depleted. They are limited and will run out if you don’t get to the kiosk in time.
Maxpass on the other hand, allows you to select your fastpass via the Disneyland app, similar to how it works in Disney World. Maxpass has a daily cost of $10, and only allows you to make selections for the day you are actually in the parks.
I discovered its existence when I first opened my Disneyland app the morning of my arrival. I was presented with the option of purchasing Maxpass in the app, and so I decided to give it a try. My park ticket was already connected to the app, so I was able to make my first selection immediately. Within the app, I simply selected the fastpass option and was presented with a list of rides that still had them available for the day. Earlier in the day, the list is much longer of course.
The trick is maximizing your usage by selecting rides that have times as close to the current time as you can. The app tells you how long you have to wait until you can make your next selection, and this is typically close to the time of your current fastpass. So you won’t have much overlap of fastpasses as the day goes on. It’s better to ride the most popular attractions as soon as you can, so that there are still fastpasses available for you to select later in the day on the less popular rides.
In Disneyland, lines can get really long, and not having to travel around the park visiting kiosks to get my physical fastpasses really saved a lot of time.
Currently, the most popular attractions that typically will run out of fastpasses later in the day at both parks are Star Tours, Splash Mountain, Space Mountain, Soarin’, Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: BREAKOUT! and Radiator Springs’ Racers. So try to get to these as early as you can.
The method I used was to look at the attraction wait times listed on the app, and then head to the popular attraction with the shortest wait time. Early in the day, this is actually possible, especially if you get there at park opening. Once in line I selected my first fastpass attraction with the app, and made note of the next time I would be able to select another fastpass. When the popular rides lines became too long, I simply used the app to get fastpasses for the remaining rides I hadn’t already ridden while visiting the other less popular attractions that had shorter wait times listed in the app.
Using this method, I was able to ride every one of the popular rides, except for Splash Mountain (simply because I didn’t feel like getting wet that day). Additionally, I was able to ride the Haunted Mansion, Pirates of the Caribbean, Indiana Jones Adventures, Jungle Cruise, The Matterhorn, Snow White’s Scary Adventures, grab a Dole Whip at the Enchanted Tiki Room, eat lunch at Blue Bayou, and go to Tomorrowland Skyline Lounge Experience from 8 to 10 PM and watch the fireworks. You can read all about that experience here. After that I was pretty tired and headed back to my hotel, however I still had another two hours I could have toured Disneyland before they closed for the evening.
Another Maxpass benefit is you can use the app to cancel a fastpass if you aren’t going to be able to use it, and immediately select a new one after the first is cancelled. So, if you decide to take a much-needed break, there is no need to rush to get to your next fastpass appointment.
The other great benefit of having the Maxpass is that it also includes the Disney Photopass for the day, so any pictures taken by Disney photographers, or ride photos, can be downloaded free for the day if you have Maxpass. Tip: It took me a while to realize that I needed to write down the number on my ride photos in order to be able to download them later from Photopass. All I had to do was take a picture of the ride photo with my phone, and then look up the numbers later after I got home to download each of my pics.
All in all, for ten bucks I was able to ride every ride that I wanted too, and get all the pics Disney took of me during the day. This was all during one of the busiest times of the year. If you are looking to maximize your time at the Disneyland resort, Maxpass is an excellent option.
You can find out more about Maxpass at the Disneyland Website.