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!
While visiting Disneyland recently I posted something on Twitter that seemed to cause something of a stir:
I tweeted the above as I was making my way through Disneyland actually using the MaxPass system. The tweet came from my own emotional response to the new Disneyland system after using the WDW FastPass+ system for a long time now. And I really liked what I was seeing at Disneyland.
And yes, several weeks later I still stand by the statement that the MaxPass system at Disneyland is superior to Walt Disney World’s FastPass+ system in almost every possible way. Here are 10 reasons why:
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
Radiator Springs Racers
Guardians of the Galaxy
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!