You may remember in a previous post that we examined Disneyland’s MaxPass system, using the plans created by RideMax customers to help us estimate how popular MaxPass might be among Disneyland guests. It’s been a month since that last post, so I thought it might be time to look at this again, to see if anything has changed recently.
As you’ll recall from my last post on this topic, up through April 7th, 48% of RideMax plans (which were still in the database and hadn’t been deleted) had been created with the MaxPass setting turned ON. There also seemed to be some seasonality to the data, with the low coming in October at 40% MaxPass use, and the high during the Christmas holiday period, at 60%.
It’s interesting to me that for plans created from April 8th until May 8th (again, of those which are still in the RideMax database), 57% were created with the MaxPass setting turned ON.
I’m a bit surprised by this number, since it’s a snapshot taken after the busy spring break period, when MaxPass use in RidMax plans was running at 55%. Even if you allow for some margin of error in the numbers, that the number has gone UP during a relatively quieter period at the park says something about the staying power of MaxPass.
One question for me is whether this upward move is a real trend. There may be an explanation for the numbers which I haven’t captured by taking such a high-level snapshot of the RideMax data. If you have any theories to explain the upward tick in usage, please share in the comments below.
In the meantime, at the very least it looks like MaxPass is a popular addition to Disneyland — and it may be getting even more popular as time goes on.
You might be wondering, though, just how popular is the MaxPass system among Disneyland guests? After all, MaxPass isn’t free — Disney charges $10 per-visitor, per-day to use the system, or $75 as an add-on to an annual pass.
If this is your first time visiting the RideMax website, you should know that RideMax is planning software designed to save you time in line at Disneyland and Walt Disney World. You enter the date you’ll be visiting the park, as well as the attractions you want to visit, along with your preferred touring options. RideMax takes these into account, crunches on our estimated wait times for the date of your visit (possibly comparing *millions* of potential itineraries), to create a custom, optimized game plan which you can then take to the park.
RideMax was initially released in the pre-smartphone days, when folks actually printed their RideMax plans on paper and took them to the park.
Although you could still follow this procedure today, a lot of technology has been introduced since those early days which can assist the visitor to Disneyland and Walt Disney World. Some of these innovations include smartphones in general, FastPass+ at Walt Disney World, MaxPass at Disneyland, and the parks’ own apps, which give users insight into current wait times in the park. Third-party apps also abound.
Given all of the tools available to theme park visitors these days, I thought it would be helpful to outline ten reasons why I STILL think you should be using RideMax to help plan your next Disney park visit.
Reason 1: It saves you time in line (and time is money!)
This may seem obvious, but the whole point of RideMax is to save you time standing in line, while also reducing the amount of walking you need to do to make this happen. (It’s optimization algorithm is specifically designed to minimize your estimated waiting AND walking time.)
So, how much is that time savings worth to you? Let’s assume for a moment that you are a family of four is planning a three-day visit to Disneyland, where you expect to spend an average of eight hours each day in the park, at a total cost of $2,000 for everything, including park tickets, hotel stay, and travel.
If you divide that $2,000 by the 24 total hours you expect to spend in the park, you’ll see that the cost per hour of park time is just north of $83. At that rate, RideMax will only need to save you eleven minutes(!) in line before you break even on your $14.95 RideMax investment. And that’s not eleven minutes per day, but eleven minutes TOTAL for your entire vacation.
We’ve had customers report saving HOURS of time in line thanks to RideMax, so this advantage seems pretty clear.
If you’re planning a trip to Disneyland in the near future, you may be asking yourself if MaxPass is worth it. It certainly is convenient to arrange all of your FastPass reservations directly from your phone, but it does cost $10 per-person, per-day, so this can add up, especially for larger groups.
I’ve analyzed this in detail below, but if you don’t want to read further, let me summarize my conclusions: MaxPass helps most on busy days, and it helps most those groups who can’t or won’t use a “FastPass runner.”
To be clear, as I posted previously, I think Disneyland’s MaxPass system is far superior to Walt Disney World’s FastPass+ system. But the intent of this post isn’t to compare parks, it’s to help you decide whether MaxPass is worth the cost for your own individual situation, given that you plan to visit Disneyland.
To help you decide, I ran four different RideMax plans for the Friday of Thanksgiving weekend, which is one of the busiest days of the year.
With the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays quickly approaching, I thought a quick “PSA post” was in order today.
Those of you who use RideMax to plan your day at Walt Disney World or Disneyland know that along with a custom itinerary, RideMax plans include several tips for helping you get the most from your day. Some of these relate to our recommended arrival time for each park, as well as tips for certain individual rides to help you save time in line and/or get more from a particular attraction.
If you’re visiting Walt Disney World, however, there is ONE TIP that many first-time visitors, or guests who haven’t visited in a while, need to know, and that tip is simply to BUY YOUR PARK TICKETS IN ADVANCE. In fact, I’d go so far as to say that you should buy those park tickets as soon as you’re sure you’ll be going on that trip.
Let me repeat: BUY YOUR WALT DISNEY WORLD PARK TICKETS IN ADVANCE!
If you read my recent post on the 10 advantages the Disneyland MaxPass system has over Walt Disney World’s FastPass+ system, you’ll know that the main reason you need to buy your park tickets ahead of time is because you need those tickets in order to make your FastPass+ reservations. (This is different from the Disneyland FastPass or MaxPass system, where you make your FastPass reservations on the actual day of your visit.)
If you’re not familiar with the FastPass+ system, you’re allowed to make advance FastPass+ reservations for your group for up to three attractions for each day of your visit. Those with FastPass+ reservations skip the normal “standby” line and are usually able to board the attraction much more quickly than those who don’t hold reservations. If you’re staying at a Disney-owned hotel, you can make those reservations up to 60 days in advance of your trip. Otherwise, you can make those reservations up to 30 days in advance.
The catch is that these FastPass+ reservations are given on a first-come, first served basis. So the sooner you make your reservations, the better your choices in terms of attractions and available time slots.
As I’ve said previously, I’m not a huge fan of the Disney World FastPass+ system (quite the opposite, in fact), but as long as it works the way it does, we might as well take maximum advantage of it.
If you ARE visiting over the holidays and don’t yet have your park tickets, the easiest way to purchase them is through Disney’s own app. Just search the app store for “My Disney Experience,” download the app, and go from there. You can tie your tickets directly to your account in the app, then use the app to go ahead and make those FastPass+ reservations. (Buying tickets through the app, you won’t have physical possession of the tickets until you get to the park, but you can still make those FastPass+ reservations as soon as you’ve purchased them.)
A final note is that if you’re using RideMax to plan your Walt Disney World visit, be sure to pay attention to the “FastPass+ Options” section of the main RideMax planning screen. There you can tell RideMax which attractions you want to use FastPass+ for. You can also have RideMax tell you the time at which it would be optimal to set up your FastPass+ reservations in the context of your own individual RideMax plan. (If your time slots are limited and you can’t change your FastPass+ reservation times, you can also tell RideMax the time at which you want to use them, and it will work these into your plan accordingly.)
So… buy those Disney World park tickets in advance, get those FastPass+ reservations set up EARLY, and have a great trip!