I wanted to share a nice RideMax review I stumbled into today. Thanks, Ginger, and enjoy!
For those wondering, “UEA” stands for the Utah Education Association, which typically holds its annual convention on a Thursday and Friday in October. Schools in Utah normally close for the convention, making a perfect excuse for many Utahns Escaping to Anaheim!
The UEA break this year is October 20-21. Though not as crowded as spring break or Christmas week, UEA does bring some extra crowds into the park, with some folks even leaving town early and arriving before the official break begins on Thursday.
So, what can you do to help cut down your wait and enjoy your Disneyland visit over UEA weekend? Here are three tips:
Tip #1: Arrive early in the morning. You’d be surprised at how much time you can save in line by simply arriving at Disneyland in time to be among the first guests entering the park for the day.
There are two reasons for this.
First (and most obvious), the lines for some of the popular attractions are at their shortest of the entire day first thing in the morning. Some folks mistakenly believe they can make up for this by staying late into the evening, and to some extent this is true, but don’t be surprised if you still see an hour-long posted wait for Splash Mountain at 10:00pm! Clearly, arriving early is still better than staying late if you’re trying to avoid the crowds.
The other reason for arriving early is that you can get much better use of Disney’s FastPass system early in the day. Consider that first thing in the morning, once you have obtained one FastPass, you are allowed to obtain another one in as little as 40 minutes or so after obtaining the first one. Contrast this with later in the day, when you may have to wait two hours before obtaining the next one, or worse, FastPass may even be gone for the day for some of the more popular attractions (Star Tours, anyone?)!
Tip #2: Maximize your use of FastPass! Even though FastPass has been in use at Disney’s parks for over 10 years now, it’s amazing that some guests still seem to think Disney charges for this service, or don’t know how to get the most from the FastPass system. So let me emphasize this point: FastPass is FREE, and it can save you a lot of time in line!
Once you obtain that first FastPass of the day, make a mental note of the time at which you can obtain your next one (this time will be indicated at the bottom of your first FastPass ticket). Then when that time draws near, send a “runner” from your group over to obtain your next FastPass ticket, and continue this process throughout the day.
The RideMax for Disneyland planner can help you prioritize which FastPasses to obtain first (and we’ve reserved at least one Disneyland FastPass “trick” for our subscribers), but even without the software you can save time in line by carefully noting the time at which you can obtain your next FastPass, and gathering them accordingly.
Tip #3: Take a midday break! If you’ve followed my advice above and arrived early, you’ll find it’s very difficult to “burn the candle at both ends,” and stay late into the night as well, especially if you’re traveling with young children. If you’ve followed tip #2 and racked up a stack of FastPasses by 2pm or so, feel free to leave the park for a much-needed break back at the hotel during the busy afternoon hours. (Many RideMax plans include a large block of afternoon “free time,” so this break can fit naturally into place if you’re using RideMax as well!)
If you follow this last bit of advice, who knows? You might be surprised to find that the kids enjoy the hotel pool almost as much as they enjoy the park itself!
We recently received a trip report from a repeat RideMax customer from Kefar Saba, Israel. We’ve copied his report here in it’s entirety (with minor editing adjustments).
Let me start my story at the beginning – 23 years ago. In the summer of 1988, my wife (my girlfriend back then) and I visited Disneyland. Although we had fun, the most prominent memory we have from that visit was waiting in endless lines – sometimes up to an hour (and if we remember correctly, even an hour and a half for one attraction). In fact, during our first day, we wanted to ride the “Star Tours” attraction, and the sign posted there claimed that the wait will be 2 hours. Since we didn’t want to wait that much, and we were planning to come back the next day in any case, we returned the following day early in the morning, and were among the crowd waiting at the end of Main street for the rope to drop (at 9:00am, I think). When the rope dropped, we ran towards the “Star tours” attraction – as did everybody else there; We ended up waiting “only” 45 minutes.
The next chapter in the story takes place during July 2009 – when we went on a family vacation (we are now with 3 children) in the USA, including several days in Walt Disney World. We dreaded the expected lines, and I started to look for some tips on how to get the most out of a visit to WDW – that is when I first heard of RideMax, and decided to purchase it. Needless to say, the results were great – our waiting time was minimal for almost all rides, and we succeeded in doing everything we planned (and then some more).
The final chapter (in the meantime), is the family vacation we went on last month, including a visit to Disneyland and California Adventure on July 11th and 13th 2011. Of course, I decided to use RideMax once again, as the challenge in visiting Disneyland seemed to be greater than the parks in Disney World.
Once again, the results were fantastic – we were able to do almost everything we planned to (21 rides, three shows during the afternoon and two shows in the evening), and even succeeded in riding Indiana Jones and Space Mountain twice, and Big Thunder Mountain Railroad three times, all in one day, without waiting in line more than 15-20 minutes, and usually much less. To be honest, during the planning we ended up eliminated in advance the peter pan ride, as the projected wait time was too long for us (more than 30 minutes – RideMax “spoiled” us) and during the day at Disneyland, we decided to skip “Finding Nemo Submarines” as the standby wait time was more than 40 minutes (as projected by Ridemax). The same goes for our visit at California Adventure – we were usually ahead of plan, hardly waited in line (except for Toy Story Mania – for which the wait is inevitable), and did the “Goofy’s Sky School” twice and “California Screamin’ Roller Coaster” three times.
But in addition to the planning that RideMax does – taking FastPasses in the correct order, allowing us to maximize the number of FastPasses we collected during the day, scheduling rides at times that there was little to no wait at all, while the same rides had standby lines of 30 minutes or more during other times of the day, the tips the came with RideMax were very helpful – in particular the tips on arriving early and how to plan the arrival (my Wife and kids initially wanted to “kill” me for forcing them to wake up at 6:30am in order to be at the gates no later than 7:20am, but ended up thanking me for doing so) and the tips about the shows and parades (where the best location to view them is, when to arrive for them, how to get a ticket for World of Color).
So once again – I can say without any hesitation: RideMax is worth every cent it costs (and then some more), and I recommend it to anybody planning a visit to Disney’s parks. In fact, I have a feeling that more and more people are using it – during our visit in Disneyland, we met two families that also had RideMax plans in their hands (and had some time to exchange views on this – not too much time, as this was during our waiting in lines, which as noted was usually very short), and another person who saw our plan and asked if it was “from that software that plans the visit”.
Thank you very much, and keep up the good work.
Thanks to this customer for sharing his RideMax experience. We’re glad he had such a nice trip, and that RideMax could help!
We’re excited to announce a new web-based version of RideMax that works great on iPhone, iPad, Android, and Mac systems! Access to this mobile beta is free to RideMax subscribers.
This new version of RideMax is in “beta” mode right now (which means we’re still testing it and improving it before final release) but even in it’s current “unfinished” state, it’s very usable, and provides new capabilities to the RideMax system as well!
Since the new version of RideMax is web-based, there is no need to install an “app” if you want to use RideMax on your iPhone, iPad, or Android device. Simply point your mobile web browser to the application’s home page:
Here are some of the important features provided in this new release:
- Create and view your RideMax plans right on your mobile device or web browser.
- RideMax now saves your plans for later use. Create a plan using a standard web browser and view it later on your mobile device, or vice-versa!
- Add up to FIVE breaks to your plan for meals or other activities.
- Report wait times to RideMax. More wait time data allows us to improve the RideMax estimates over time.
Here are some additional screenshots:
Q: I just subscribed to your service. How do I access the new beta version on my iPhone, Android, or iPad?
A: When you subscribed, your download instructions contain a link you can use to activate the beta. Click on this link, choose a username and password, then point your mobile web browser to http://ridemax.com/webapp. Now sign in with the username and password you just selected and start planning!
Q: Will RideMax work on my particular mobile device? What devices are supported?
A: Given the number of mobile device models being produced these days, it’s impractical to test RideMax on all of them. We’ve done extensive work with RideMax on iPhone, and though we haven’t tested it extensively on other systems, it also seems to work on some other mobile “touch-screen” browsers that are based on newer versions of WebKit, such as that found in newer Android models. We’ve also had specific customer reports that RideMax runs on the Motorola Cliq and the HTC EVO, but that it does not work on Windows Mobile devices. We had one Blackberry customer report success, but that was on a very new touch-screen model device, and we don’t believe it will work on the “click-based” Blackberries that are still fairly popular.
Q: What are the pros and cons of using the mobile or web-based version rather than the Windows version of Ridemax?
A: One advantage of the web/mobile version is the ability to modify your plans right from the web or a mobile device. No more need to take the laptop on vacation just to access RideMax! Another advantage is that you don’t need to carry a paper plan with you if you have access to RideMax on your mobile device. With a mobile device, you can also share wait time information and comments with us. This allows us to improve the RideMax estimates further.
A disadvantage of the mobile version is that it’s still in “beta” mode — meaning that it’s incomplete and some of the formatting is less than ideal. Most of the “tips” still need to be added as well.
Q: Aren’t there lower-cost applications for the iPhone and Android that work just as well as RideMax does? Why do I need this?
A: It’s true that there are “wait-time apps” produced by others, but sometimes you get what you pay for! Planning in advance — not just supplying current wait times — is a RideMax specialty, and in our opinion, this is vital to minimizing your overall wait, especially when the park is busy.
Does it really help you to know that right now the wait for Indiana Jones is 60 minutes rather than 90? Either way, you don’t want to stand in that line, right? What you really need is help avoiding that 60-minute-long line, and that’s what RideMax is designed to do!
Take a look at how much you’re spending on your Disney vacation, and we think you’ll agree, the cost of RideMax is tiny by comparison.
This summer we celebrate our 10th anniversary of providing customized itineraries for Disney theme park customers. Why take a chance with some random iPhone wait-time app, when you could be using RideMax instead?
For those planning a December trip to Disney World, December dates are now available in RideMax.
Based on our experience from previous years, we still expect several changes in park hours from Disney, especially during Christmas week itself. We wouldn’t be at all surprised to see 8:00am openings at the Magic Kingdom — that’s a 7:00am Extra Magic Hour!