Re-Run Those RideMax Plans for DCA! Soarin’ Running at VERY Reduced Capacity

Disney California Adventure

This is something of an urgent post for those of you planning a visit to DCA in the near future — especially if your plans include a ride on Soarin’ Around the World. In fact, if prior to 9:00am PDT today you’ve created RideMax plans for DCA which include Soarin’, I strongly suggest you create new plans instead!

Disney has begun refurbishments on Soarin’, but rather than close the ride completely, they’re closing one of the two theaters, which effectively cuts the ride’s capacity in half. Rumors are that the refurbishment could run for several weeks.

As you can imagine, the reduced capacity has resulted in some very long waits for Soarin’ recently, as well as extremely reduced FastPass distribution.

We’ve been keeping a close eye on the FastPass return times at Soarin’ over the last several days. To illustrate just how much the refurbishment has impacted FastPass availability, take a look at the chart below, which indicates the latest time at which you could have pulled a FastPass for the three most popular rides in the park — Soarin’, Radiator Springs Racers, and Guardians of the Galaxy. The chart covers Thursday through Saturday of last week, as well as yesterday (Monday):

Latest FP Availability Soarin’ Radiator Springs Racers Guardians of the Galaxy
Thursday, 8/24 12:40pm 2:35pm 2:50pm
Friday, 8/25 12:55pm 2:30pm 5:25pm
Saturday, 8/26 1:25pm 2:50pm 5:00pm
Monday, 8/28 1:05pm 1:50pm 3:35pm

As you can see, FastPasses for Soarin’ are now running out earlier in the day than they are for either of the other two rides. (Contrast this with earlier in the month, when despite higher crowds, FastPasses for Soarin’ were typically available until early evening.)

As a result of these drastic changes to the wait times and FastPass availability, it’s very likely that once you re-run your RideMax plan, RideMax will have you either visiting Soarin’ earlier in the day, or getting that FastPass sooner than you might have otherwise.

Of course, we do plan to keep a close eye on the situation and adjust the RideMax estimates back to “normal” once the ride comes out of refurbishment.

So for now, re-run those RideMax plans — and stay tuned here for any updates as the refurbishment continues!

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MORE FastPass Changes at Disneyland… And MaxPass Coming Soon!

If you’ve created RideMax plans recently for an upcoming visit, this is a very important post, so please read at least the first paragraph below!

Disney has made some major changes to the FastPass sytem at Disneyland over the last few weeks. If you don’t have time to read this entire post and you’ve recently created Disneyland or DCA RideMax plans for an upcoming visit, let me cut right to the chase: I strongly encourage you to create new RideMax plans instead, as a “recalculation” will pick up on the most recent change to Disney’s FastPass system, and allow RideMax to take this change into account as it’s creating your new plans. (More on this specific change below.)

If you weren’t aware of the larger picture here, for several attractions, and especially early in the day, you’ll find that the “return time” for your FastPass ticket will begin as soon as you pull your FastPass reservation from the machine. This is a change Disney made a few weeks ago in mid-to-late June, and this change is still persisting now well into July.

StarTours FastPass - 30 Minute Rule Change

You can see this in the image above, which was sent to us just this past Friday by long-time RideMax customer Carrie. In Carrie’s case, she pulled the FastPass at 9:11am (per the timestamp in the lower-right corner), and was able to use it just four minutes later, at 9:15am. Under the old system, she would have been required to wait a minimum of 40 minutes before using the FastPass, and this is now cut down to four minutes.

This change makes it possible to get more from the FastPass system, as waiting just four minutes (or even zero minutes!) to use your FastPass is a much better deal.

One new tweak Disney made to the system was just introduced late last week. If you look closely at Carrie’s ticket above, you’ll see that even though the one-hour “ride window” on her FastPass ticket begins in just four minutes, she has to wait a minimum of 30 minutes, until 9:41am, before she can get her next FastPass. (Under the rules in place as recently as the middle of last week, she could have retrieved her next FastPass at 9:15am, at the same time her ride window for the first FastPass began.)

I stress all of this because we’ve just updated RideMax today (at around 2:00pm Disneyland time) to assume this 30-minute minimum wait between pulling FastPasses. So again, if you created Disneyland or DCA RideMax plans prior to this, I’d really suggest creating new plans instead.

Coming later this week (on Wednesday, the 19th, to be exact), Disneyland is expected to roll out the new MaxPass sytem. This is a $10-per-day add-on to your ticket which will allow you to get FastPass reservations from the comfort of your smartphone, rather than requiring you to walk across the park to an actual FastPass machine. It could be a time-saver for sure, but I’m still not convinced of the value at that price. Time will tell, I suppose.

And yes, once MaxPass has been rolled out you can expect to see a new “MaxPass” checkbox in RideMax coming sometime afterwards. In the meantime, you should be able to “simulate” it fairly well by using the FastPass Options tab in RideMax to specify that you’ll be using a FastPass Runner for your RideMax plan, and that your runner is willing to skip ANY attraction while off gathering FastPass tickets. (Even though you won’t really be using a runner. Or tickets.  :-)  )

Keep an eye here on the blog for possible future changes to Disneyland’s FastPass system, as well as for accompanying changes to RideMax as we move forward with these new FastPass rules.

If you have any thoughts on these recent changes or about the new MaxPass system — good, bad, or indifferent — please be sure to leave a comment below!

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Why Your Favorite Disney Theme Park Touring Plan is Now Broken

Flight of Passage queue at Disney's Animal Kingdom

In case you haven’t noticed, even with the upcoming Star Wars attractions still many months away, there are a LOT of changes happening at Disney’s theme parks lately. And as a result, that “fool-proof” game plan you used to visit the parks several months ago is probably now broken.

Consider the changes that have occurred over just the past few months:

Continue reading Why Your Favorite Disney Theme Park Touring Plan…

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FASTPASS Changes Come to Disneyland!

Earlier this year, Disneyland announced that there were several FastPass changes coming this year, and since the first of those was rolled out in the park yesterday, I thought it worth mentioning how this might affect your RideMax plans.

So, just what are those FastPass changes? There are three of them:

  • FastPass will be added to Toy Story Midway Mania
  • FastPass will be added to the Matterhorn Bobsleds
  • A product called “MaxPass” will roll out sometime later this year

FASTPASS comes to Toy Story Midway Mania

The first of these changes was implemented yesterday, with Toy Story Midway Mania now offering FastPass.

The important thing to note here is that we sampled wait times and FastPass return windows yesterday during the rollout, and have now added FastPass support for this attraction in RideMax. Of course, we may change estimates as time goes on, but feel like we at least have a good starting point here.

As a result of this change, if you’ve previously created RideMax plans which include Toy Story Midway Mania, I strongly recommend creating new plans instead.

I expect a similar update to RideMax for the Matterhorn once it comes out of refurbishment later this month, so keep an eye out for those changes as well.

As for MaxPass (which you can read about on the Disney parks blog), I don’t see this having a huge impact on RideMax plans, since it basically adds a new layer of support to the existing FastPass system, rather than replacing it entirely, like FastPass+ did at Walt Disney World.

As usual, if you’re planning a visit to either Walt Disney World or Disneyland and want custom, wait-busting itineraries designed to save significant time in line, please subscribe to RideMax.

Oh, and have a great trip!

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Walt Disney World Spring Break 2017? This ONE SIMPLE TIP Can Save You HOURS in Line!

 

Magic Kingdom Spring Break Crowds

OK, sorry for the sort of click-baity title this time, but if you’re visiting Walt Disney World for spring break this year, there is ONE THING I absolutely recommend doing to prepare for your visit.

As the author of RideMax (a planning tool designed to help people spend less time in line at Disneyland and Walt Disney World), I know you’re probably thinking, “Duhh… He’s going to tell me to buy RideMax.” And while I do recommend RideMax, you’d be wrong if you think that is my FIRST recommendation, as there is something else you absolutely have to do before leaving home if you don’t want to waste hours of your precious vacation time for nothing.

Continue reading Walt Disney World Spring Break 2017? This ONE…

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