Crunching the Numbers: How Popular is Disneyland’s MaxPass System?

Disneyland's MaxPass system in use

It’s no secret that if I had to choose between the FastPass+ system at Walt Disney World and the MaxPass system at Disneyland, I’d pick the Disneyland system as the hands-down winner. In fact, as I discussed in these pages recently, I consider Disneyland’s MaxPass system superior to Walt Disney World’s FastPass+ system in almost every possible way.

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.

While I don’t have access to Disneyland’s internal data, I do have access to the options used for thousands of RideMax plans which have been created since MaxPass was implemented.

And yes, I believe these RideMax numbers tell a story.

RideMax FastPass / MaxPass Options
FastPass options available in RideMax. How many RideMax plans have the MaxPass option turned on?

As shown in the RideMax screenshot above, when you create your RideMax plan for Disneyland or California Adventure, you can tell RideMax whether you’ll be using MaxPass or not, and RideMax will take this into account when it’s creating your custom itinerary.

So, what percentage of RideMax plans are using MaxPass?

I queried the RideMax database to find out, and for plans dated from October 1st of last year through this Friday, April 7th, I’m seeing that 48% — or nearly half — of those RideMax plans were created with the MaxPass option turned on.

Okay, since this is RideMax data and not Disneyland’s own numbers, does this mean that half of all visitors are actually using MaxPass?

Good question.

On one hand, I could probably make the argument that this 48% number is higher than Disney’s actual number, because RideMax customers — who have invested in RideMax to plan out their days at the park — might also be more willing spend money on MaxPass than the typical park visitor is. In other words, these “planner types” are out to give themselves every possible advantage, including spending money on both RideMax and MaxPass.

On the other hand though, I could also imagine someone buying MaxPass who thinks (mistakenly, in my biased view), that they don’t need RideMax, since they’ll “just use MaxPass instead.” This would argue that RideMax customers under-represent the number of customers using MaxPass.

So, which is it? Are these RideMax numbers higher or lower than the actual? I’ll leave it to you to draw your own conclusions, but my own guess is that they’re at least in the right ballpark.

Just to wrap things up, it’s worth noting that there also seems to be some seasonality to MaxPass use. As I pointed out recently, whether MaxPass is worth the extra cost or not depends partly on how crowded the park is, and the RideMax numbers seem to indicate that customers agree. This is illustrated in the table below:

Time Period MaxPass Use
Mid-Fall: October 1 – October 31 40%
Holidays: December 24 – January 4 60%
Post-Holidays: January 15 – February 10 44%
Spring Break: March 12 – April 7 55%

I remember wondering back around the time that Disney announced MaxPass if it would get much traction given the cost. Would people really be willing to spend money for some extra convenience in collecting FastPasses?

The numbers seem to indicate that they are.

What are your thoughts on MaxPass? Have you used it? Did you find it worth the cost? Leave your comments below!


6 thoughts on “Crunching the Numbers: How Popular is Disneyland’s MaxPass System?”

  1. I love MaxPass. For our family, it’s so much better to be able to select FastPasses from the app rather than having to ditch my wife with our 2 young kids so that I can be the runner. Also, we love getting pics taken by the Disney photographers, so it’s worth it just based on that aspect alone.

  2. Yes, Stephen, there are advantages to MaxPass even if you’re not visiting on a day when it’s all that advantageous in terms of reduced wait time. Saving that extra walking is definitely a plus.

  3. Which Fastpass option does RideMax default to? I think you could be getting skewed data with people who don’t touch those settings.

  4. As usual, you raise a good point Mike.

    I went back and double-checked the code here, and for a customer creating plans for the first time, RideMax defaults to using regular FastPass (no MaxPass), with the “FastPass runner” option turned ON. It also assumes that the runner is willing to skip any attraction while off gathering FastPasses for the group.

    If someone has created plans previously and still has one or more of those plans in their list, RideMax defaults to using the same FastPass settings as used by the most recently-created plan for that specific park. (So plans for Disneyland and DCA might have different starting defaults.)

    The final scenario is that if someone has created a RideMax plan for Disneyland but not yet for DCA, and then starts creating a new plan for DCA, RideMax will default to using the same FastPass settings used by the Disneyland plan, with minor differences (i.e., the list of runner-skippable attractions).

    So, I guess I’m saying that for a plan to go into the RideMax database with the MaxPass setting turned ON, it had to have been intentionally set that way by the customer at some point. Perhaps there are cases where it was left ON unintentionally (someone experimenting with plans and not paying attention to the new defaults), but it seems like it’s still a high enough hurdle to lend some validity to the data.

  5. We loved Maxpass. Because of how the windows work, maybe we were going on a favorite ride every 90 minutes or so… and so was everyone else… The difference was, they were standing in line for the 90 minutes between rides, while we were walking around, having a snack, enjoying performers, etc. 🙂 Maxpass was the best! 🙂

  6. Marie, I think there are a lot of folks like you, who once they try MaxPass, really like it (myself included).

    I think if someone is vacationing at Disneyland and is on the fence regarding MaxPass, they should buy it for the first day of their trip and see how they like it. They can then decide if it’s worth buying for the rest of the vacation or not.

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