Christmas Week at Disneyland & Walt Disney World – RideMax Customer Reports

Disney World Castle
Cinderella Castle lights up with magic during the Christmas season!

Just a quick update today to share some very nice customer reports from Christmas week, one from a customer visiting Disneyland/DCA, and another one from Walt Disney World.

First, from a Disneyland RideMax customer (I’ve bolded some text for emphasis):

Hello. My family was at Disneyland and California Adventure 12/26-12/28 and thanks in part to your computer program and tips, we had an incredible trip. We got to do everything that we wanted to do and some things two or three times. We had time for shopping, watching shows, and doing other things (like riding the train and monorail) not listed on RideMax, too. We looked at people standing in stand-by lines that had up to 3 1/2 hour long waits and felt sorry for them. We were often ahead of schedule (wait times were shorter). We will tell everyone that we know about your service.

Here’s an example of our success. We arrived at the gate for California Adventure on Friday, 12/28 at about 7:20 a.m., knowing that hotel guest were being let in early. We stood near a Magic Morning entrance so that as soon as it changed to a regular entrance we could get in that line. We knew (from our past day’s experience and from reading your tips) that we would be let into the park to the end of Buena Vista Street to wait until the official 8 a.m. opening. We were right against the rope. We were led to Cars Town and to Radiator Springs by cast members behind a gas hose. We were ordered into a single file line as we approached Radiotor Springs. We ended up being about the 8th-10th people in that line. We walked right into the lane for single riders. We walked right onto the platform for the ride. My husband and son ended up being able to ride in the same car, and I was in the car behind them. INCREDIBLE!!

On Thursday, 12/27, we checked both single rider and regular rider lines for Radiator Springs at least half a dozen times. The single rider line was always about an hour long, and the other line was anywhere from 2 to 3 1/2 hours long. We also kept checking the lines for the other two rides. We were able to ride both of them during our free time on Thursday when the lines were the shortest we had seen them all day (probably waited no more then 35 minutes in each one). We started this trip knowing that we would probably not ride anything in Cars Land but would enjoy seeing all of the sights. We are not die-hard ride fans. Imagine our delight when we were able to ride all three rides!

We were able to ride every ride in Paradise Pier that we wanted to ride on Thursday with little to no wait. Our first ride was Toy Story Mania, and we walked right onto it.

On Wednesday, 12/26, we were able to enter Disneyland early (before 8 a.m.) because of Magic Morning and because it was drizzling, many people did not show up. We were able to ride everything that we wanted to in Tomorrowland by 9 a.m. before crowds appeared and started the day ahead of our schedule.


And from a Walt Disney World customer:

We just came back from a 6 day trip to Disney World over Christmas.

This is a very, very busy time and the crowds were overwhelming at times.  With this in mind, we purchased RideMax and set our schedule around the online recommendations.

I was skeptical when my friend told me about RideMax, I doubted it would work at Christmas time but it was only $16 so I thought it was worth a try.

I am a believer!  It was truly amazing but we never waited more than 10 minutes and we rode all the best rides.  The total cost for our Disney trip was nearly $10,000 and the $16 dollars I spent on RideMax doubled our fun!  What a great product!

Thanks again RideMax Team!

To which I say, “You’re welcome!”  🙂

I should also add that in addition to using RideMax, arriving EARLY at the parks is key to success if you’re visiting during the holidays or other busy season, such as spring break. We received a note from another customer who wasn’t nearly as successful as those shown above, but after reading their report, it seemed pretty clear to me that they were late getting to the first attraction on their RideMax plan, and things sort of cascaded downhill fast from there: the line was longer than expected at the first attraction on the plan, causing them to be “late” getting that first FastPass, and the late FastPass messed up the time at which they could get the next FastPass, etc.

I know I say this a lot, but if you’re going to be brave enough to visit during the holidays, you almost need to be hyper-focused on making sure you arrive early. There’s simply no substitute for this, RideMax plan or not!

What are YOUR thoughts about visiting during the holiday season? Do you find the extra “magic” worth braving the crowds?


Updated Tips for Cars Land and DCA

Radiator Springs Racers Entrance
Radiator Springs Racers Entrance

With our update today, we’ve added some arrival tips for DCA to RideMax, as well as some specific advice for the Cars Land attractions in certain scenarios. (This advice can change or display depending on whether you’re visiting on a Magic Morning day or not, or the time of day you arrive at the park.) These new tips will appear automatically as you view a web-based plan, either with the desktop or mobile web versions of RideMax, or as you create new plans with the Windows version.

With the busy fall break season upon us, I’m hoping these new tips will help you get more from your visit to DCA.



RideMax Reviews – Thanks!

RideMax Reviews - Thanks for spreading the word!

As the author of RideMax, it’s sometimes amazing to me how little paid advertising we’ve had to do for RideMax. Happy customers who have actually used RideMax at Disneyland or Disney World, and who then recommend RideMax to their friends, has really done most of this work for us.

So with that, here is yet another of those nice RideMax reviews. Thanks also to Rich Pearson, for his kind words here about RideMax. Reviews of RideMax like these from actual customers are so appreciated!

Now a question: How did you first hear about RideMax? A friend? An online article? Please let me know in the comments below!


UEA Break at Disneyland: RideMax Tips!

World of Color - Disneyland Resort's New Show!
World of Color - Disneyland Resort's New Show!

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!


New RideMax Version for iPhone, Android, and Mac!

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.

Disney RideMax Plan for iPhone and Android
Your RideMax plan in a nice portable format for display on iPhone and Android devices!

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!

RideMax Planner - Adding Breaks, Options
Many customization options included. Add up to five breaks and decide how you want to utilize FastPass!

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:

RideMax - Share Wait Times
While in the park, report wait times!

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 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?