Today I’ll discuss how touring strategies are likely to change based on the new Covid-related protocols, and in the next post I’ll finish up with how we’re adapting RideMax to fit with the changes, including the release of a new Disneyland RideMax app.
Your Favorite Touring Strategy is Broken Now
Back in the good ol’ days of 2019, our recommended touring strategy, whether you were using RideMax or not, would have gone something like the following:
Take maximum advantage of FastPass/MaxPass
Get the “bottleneck attractions” done early
Use Single Rider if possible
The problem with this strategy now is that many of the circumstances that made it work will no longer apply. In particular:
FastPass and MaxPass are no longer available
Single Rider isn’t available
No Annual Passholders
You might see this list and think those first two will have obvious effects on how I tour the park, but why would that last one have an impact on my touring strategy?
Since Disney just announced last week that Disneyland will reopen April 30th, I thought it would be worth digging into what this means for you, especially if y0u’re planning to visit in the near future.
This is the first of three posts dealing with the reopening. In these posts I’ll cover the following:
Disney’s operational changes and how you will be affected by them when the parks reopen (the subject of today’s post)
How touring strategies are likely to change based on the new Covid-related protocols
How we’re adapting RideMax to fit with the changes, including the release of a new Disneyland RideMax app
The Changes Are Coming!
Today, let’s dive in and look at some of the operational changes we expect to see when Disneyland finally reopens, and how these might affect your plans.
This post is a quick reminder that if you plan to visit Disneyland between May 31st and June 23rd, YOU WILL NEED A RESERVATION if you plan to visit the new Star Wars land, aka, Galaxy’s Edge.
Just as important, RESERVATIONS OPEN TOMORROW, MAY 2nd!
Given the anticipation for this new addition to Disneyland, our guess is that these reservations will sell out within minutes of becoming available. So be sure to act quickly if you’re visiting during this date range. The registration site will open on May 2nd at 8:00am PDT, and the site will start accepting reservations at 10:00am. You can read all about it on Disney’s site here.
If you plan to try and take advantage of this, be sure to set up your Disney account in advance. It also isn’t clear from their FAQ, but if you don’t yet have park tickets for your visit, we’d suggest buying them in advance via the Disney website or app, just in case you need an actual ticket number to secure your reservation.
For those of you using RideMax to plan your trip to Disneyland on these dates, given that your access to Star Wars Land (as it often seems to be called) will be restricted to a certain time slot, we recommend setting up a “break” in your RideMax plan to cover the time of your reservation. Just set the break location to “Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge,” and make the duration long enough to cover the time you expect to spend there.
Of course, if you plan to visit Disneyland after June 23rd, you don’t need to worry about reservations — you’ll just need to plan to arrive REALLY early in the morning if you want to visit Galaxy’s Edge. (This is a topic for another post!)
I hope this helps… and when it comes time to actually get those reservations, may your fingers be quick, and may the force be with you!
In reviewing some recent customer support emails, it’s apparent that not everyone is aware that when you set up your RideMax plan for Disneyland and California Adventure, you can tell RideMax how you intend to make your FastPass reservations.
The FastPass options RideMax supports are:
You can use the traditional FastPass machines, located near each attraction which offers FastPass.
You can use the traditional FastPass machines, but rather than having your entire group walk to the machines, you will send a single “runner” from your group to pick them up for you (saving the extra walking for everyone else). And as an extra bonus, if you use this option, you can tell RideMax which (if any) attractions your runner is willing to skip while off gathering your FastPasses, possibly making an even more efficient plan for the rest of the group.
You can use the new MaxPass system.
I highlight this last option because, as I said, it appears that not everyone is aware of this.
These options are found under the “FASTPASS Options” tab at the top of the main planning screen in RideMax, as shown in the picture above.
If you check the MaxPass option, RideMax will assume that you’ll be making your FastPass reservations from your phone, eliminating the time it would normally set aside to walk to and from the FastPass machines. It will also assume that you’ll only need to wait a maximum of 90 minutes after getting a FastPass before you can get your next FastPass, rather than the two-hour max for everyone else.
If you’re using RideMax to plan your visit but aren’t sure if you will use MaxPass or not, my suggestion is to create two versions of your plans, one with this option set, and another without. That way, when you’re actually at the park and are ready to decide whether you’ll purchase MaxPass or not, you’ll be set either way.
A final bonus to creating two plans this way is that you can also see how much time RideMax estimates you’ll save in waiting and/or walking with the use of MaxPass. I delve more into this comparison in a previous post, aptly titled, Disneyland’s MaxPass: Is It Worth It? Be sure to check this out if you’re on the fence regarding the extra cost for MaxPass.
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.