Two of my top timesaving tips for Disneyland are pretty much related. The first is to use the Disneyland App, which I wrote about here, and the second is to buy MaxPass. Superhero Diva has a great in-depth explanation of MaxPass, and in summary it is a way to book FastPasses from your phone, without having to go to a kiosk. It also provides you with unlimited PhotoPass digital downloads, including ride photos, for each day that you purchase it. You get both of these for the cost of $10 per person per day.
Reason to Buy #1 – You have an Annual Pass. If you have an Annual Pass (AP) and your pass does not already come with MaxPass, you can add it onto your pass for $75/year. This will allow you to have unlimited access to MaxPass anytime you are in the park with your AP. Since MaxPass is $10 per day, you only need to be in the park for 8 days to make it worthwhile. You can read my article about when you should purchase an AP versus regular park hopper tickets, but in summary, if you are buying an AP, you are likely spending more than 8 days a year in the park. Therefore, you should be adding MaxPass.
Reason to Buy #2 – You ride several times a day on rides with FastPass options. Using MaxPass is an incredible time saver compared to walking to each ride and selecting a paper FastPass. And as the saying goes, time is money! One of the best perks of using MaxPass is that you can book your next FastPass while you are in line for a ride where you just used your current FastPass. That will save you so much time compared to riding a ride, leaving the ride, walking to your next ride’s FastPass kiosk, inserting your ticket and getting another FastPass. MaxPass could easily save you 30 minutes or even more. In addition, if you are on a Park Hopper pass, you can select a FastPass for THE OTHER PARK! For example, you are currently in Disneyland and waiting in line for the Haunted Mansion. You have decided that you want to ride the Incredicoaster next. All you need to do is to select Disney California Adventure Park in the MaxPass menu and voila! You will see all the selections for rides in the other park while you wait for a ride in Disneyland. It’s is brilliant!!
Reason to Buy #3 – You were going to buy PhotoPass anyway. Currently, you can only buy PhotoPass for one week, not daily, at a cost of $78. Let’s say you are a family of 4 on 3-day Park Hoppers. MaxPass for this family of 4 for those three days would be $120. This is a cost of $42 over the price of PhotoPass for a week, or roughly $14 per day. That $14 per day is about the same cost as three churros. So maybe you should pass on the churros and instead add MaxPass for those 3 days. If you are a couple traveling for 3 days, MaxPass would be $60, which is less than purchasing PhotoPass. In this case, you definitely should choose MaxPass over PhotoPass alone.
Are there reasons NOT to buy MaxPass? Of course, anyone traveling to Disneyland who is looking to keep on a budget will find forgoing the $10/person/day a quick way to save, especially since you can still get FastPasses for free in paper form at the ride kiosks. In addition to the cost, there are a couple of other reasons why you might decide to skip a MaxPass purchase. One of those would be that you ride very few, if any, rides that require a FastPass. On one of our recent multi-day trips, we decided to save the money we would have spent on MaxPass and focus our day on rides that do not require it. We entered the park at opening and were able to ride 5 rides in the first 2 hours that would have otherwise required a FastPass. We spent the rest of the day riding attractions and seeing shows that didn’t require a FastPass.
Similarly, if you are in the park on a day with lower attendance, you may find short enough wait times that you don’t need to use the FastPass system. We were on a trip once only a couple of days before Christmas when it rained most of the morning and very few people stuck it out in the park. I was amazed at how many rides for which we would normally wait 45 minutes or more had wait times of 15 minutes or less. In general, since ‘slow’ days at Disneyland seem to be few and far between, I highly recommend that most people that visit Disneyland or Disney California Adventure Park add the MaxPass feature.
One more note about MaxPass. You cannot use MaxPass to get a FastPass to a reserved seating area for Fantasmic! or World of Color (when it returns from refurbishment). Everyone must go to the kiosks for each of these shows to obtain a paper FastPass. Currently the kiosk for Fantasmic! is located to the left of the entrance to the Mark Twain Riverboat.
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