It’s here! That highly anticipated system called MaxPass at Disneyland.
What is MaxPass at Disneyland?
MaxPass at Disneyland is like a digital FastPass, but allows you to schedule your FastPasses from your phone through the official Disneyland App, instead of walking (or running) to the FastPass ride distribution kiosks throughout the park.
Instead, the process is all done from your phone.
The same FastPass rules apply to MaxPass, it’s just that you can do it from your phone every two-hours (or until the time on your next FastPass return begins). So the same rules, it’s just a matter of reserving electronically vs. physically.
One person in the party can manage everyone’s MaxPass schedule from one phone.
Does the MaxPass cost extra?
Yes it does.
It is $10 per person, per day.
If you are an annual passholder it is $75 for the year.
Signature Annual Passholders get it for free.
Is the MaxPass like Magic Band at Disney World?
No. It is completely different. You will not get a band of any kind, it is all managed through the Disneyland app.
You cannot schedule anything before the day of your visit, it is all done the day of, after you enter the park. There is really no similarity between the two programs, so don’t get confused. It is basically a souped up FastPass – well, not really. It just makes accessing the FastPasses easier while in the park.
What are the benefits of the MaxPass?
First off, you have the ability to schedule your FastPass tickets from your phone every 2 hours or until the next return time on your next FastPass begins. You can also schedule in either park (just keep in mind if you don’t have a park hopper, you need to stick with one park for that day). You do not need to physically be present at the FastPass ride distribution kiosks, but can do it all from your phone once you enter the park. However, you have to have entered either of the two parks before you can begin making electronic reservations. Your entrance ticket has to have been scanned at one of the entrances to have the ability to buy and use MaxPass.
At this time, you can only purchase MaxPass the day of, when you enter the park and then schedule your FastPass times once you have entered either of the parks. Note that if you leave the parks, you can still schedule (like in Downtown Disney, your hotel, etc.) it’s just that you have to have initially entered the park for the day.
If you decide you want to go with MaxPass, you will want to make the decision early and check the current distribution times and availability before buying MaxPass because once the FastPasses are gone, you will not be able to book them through the MaxPass either. But for $10 per person per day, as long as the FastPasses are not taken by the time you order, you can begin scheduling as soon as you enter the park and purchase MaxPass from your phone for the day and have ease and hardly a wait in the lines at Disneyland and California Adventure.
In addition, one of the coolest perks is the ability to get unlimited ride and park photographer photographs for the day of your MaxPass. This is a huge value and a great way to enjoy the rides and then get all of the pictures from them (along with all of those other pictures). I consider this the real benefit since the MaxPass doesn’t give you much of an edge over the classic FastPass system, besides less walking/running.
Does Disneyland still have paper FastPass?
Yes and no.
A few weeks ago, they announced that they were moving into a digital FastPass system. It was literally announced the day the did it. No warning.
What does that mean? Well, we laid it all out in our previous article titled: but in summary, it’s the exact same system with the same rules, it’s just that your FastPass return times are now recorded on your park entrance ticket instead of a separate paper ticket. We encourage you to read the article to understand the new digital FastPass system, but note that this is still in place and has not been replaced by MaxPass.
So if you have a FastPass strategy (like us!), you will likely still be able to be successful for the most part. MaxPass may interrupt some strategy a little, but I think those of us that are FastPass strategists will be okay!
Is a MaxPass the only way to get a FastPass?
The old/new FastPass system is still in place (new because it is merely digital now, but old in the since of the same ‘ol system and rules). You are not required to get a MaxPass. It is only if you want to not have to run/walk to each ride to request the FastPass return times, plus the bigger benefit of free photopass for the day!
What is the best way to maximize my MaxPass at Disneyland and California Adventure?
If you want to pay extra to have a bit more ease, then we would recommend doing the MaxPass for one-day as a park hopper and visit both parks in one-day, focusing on rides, characters with photos taken by the in-park photographers and the other photograph opps for the whole day. Ride a ride, get a picture, ride a ride, get a picture…you get the picture.
Still use your FastPass strategies, just shave off a bit of time by doing it from your phone and do it as often as you can, the second you can request a new FastPass (again, every 2-hours or until the FastPass return time has started on your current FastPass) and do it right from your phone on the Disneyland app no matter where you are!
This will save loads of money and may likely mean you get an extra FastPass or two when you can save time and headache not having to get to the kiosks.
Then the rest of your trip (the remaining day or two, relax and enjoy everything else! Still get your traditional FastPasses, but since you got all of the big rides out of the way already, along with the pictures from the rides and from the photographers throughout the park, then you can just visit all of the other amazing sites and sounds and not have a ride schedule and be dictated by rides.
If you have one park per day tickets (non-park hoppers), you can decide if it is worth it and decide if you want to get one for each park per day at $20 total per person, or just do it once and pick the park that has the rides that are most important to you (at this time, we would recommend California Adventure because the Guardians of the Galaxy along with the other amazing rides have a longer stand-by wait time than the rides in Disneyland overall). However, the picture opps at Disneyland are going to be better (including classic characters in classic attire and the family pictures in front of the castle) and so if this is an important aspect, the MaxPass in Disneyland for one day may be better for the picture lovers.
Is the MaxPass worth it?
From a ride standpoint, I am not sure I can answer that yet. I feel like a FastPass strategy expert, that I am not sure $10 per person, per day is worth it if I take my family of 8 (that’s an extra $80 a day – a decent meal for all of us).
From the photo standpoint – yes. At least now. Disneyland use to have a one-day photopass that gave you unlimited ride and in-park photographer photos for your party for $39 each day. We usually do the $99 package for a full week with (photo CD – $78 without), or the $119 package for the full week that also includes one printable portfolio (which we usually get from Goofy’s Kitchen).
Now, with the MaxPass, the $39 one-day photo pass is gone. The MaxPass is the only way to get photos for one-day. The other options are still the week-long versions.
So now, instead of the old $39, I would have to pay $80 for a one-day unlimited photo pass (with the side benefit of not having to run to the ride kiosks to get the FastPasses), so I am bummed about that because at that point, for my family of 8, I might as well get the week long photo pass.
There are definitely decisions to be made! It can be hard to decide when and where you should spend money on those extras. I am curious to try it out to see if I can really get further with MaxPass vs. my FastPass strategies and to also test my FastPass strategies to see if they will still produce the same results now that it is competing with MaxPass.
Time will tell, but we would love to get your thoughts!
You can also watch Kiz and I discuss the new MaxPass system live. Please note, this was early on in the process, so we had one key fact incorrect – we thought the $10 MaxPass allowed you to schedule FastPasses for the whole day, not one at a time like the current FastPass. I guess it didn’t make sense to us that this extra benefit wouldn’t be included.