Breaking Disney News: Disney announced a major change to its Fastpass service to take effect later in 2017. Find out how MaxPass will change Disneyland’s same day virtual queueing system. Plus learn what we don’t yet know about Disneyland MaxPass.

Disneyland MaxPass: California Adventure Mickeys Fun Wheel

Photo credit: Leslie Harvey / Frequent Flyer TravelingMom

If you’re headed to Disneyland in Anaheim, California, big changes are afoot for 2017 to the Disneyland FASTPASS system. Earlier today, Disneyland announced MaxPass. MaxPass will combine smartphone driven FASTPASS reservations with a little bit of the PhotoPass service now offered separately.

Ever since Walt Disney World unveiled FASTPASS+ at the end of 2013, the rumor mills have been abuzz about what Disneyland would do with FASTPASS. Would Disneyland also go electronic? If so, would Disneyland implement its system differently? With this announcement, it seems clear that Disneyland is going to adopt a unique system for its California parks with the aim of working better for locals and weekenders on shorter trips.

Staying off-property at Disneyland can save you a bundle. But make sure you know what you will compromise - and what you won't - with these insider tips!

Photo credit: Leslie Harvey / Frequent Flyer TravelingMom

What We Know About Disneyland MaxPass

As with many big Disney announcements, all the details have not been entirely released. Disney hasn’t announced a launch date for MaxPass other than to say it will be later this year. Here is what we know so far about MaxPass and how it will work at Disneyland.

1) Prepare to Pay

Unlike FASTPASS+ at Walt Disney World, you’ll need to pay for the privilege of MaxPass. MaxPass will cost $10 per person per day (children under age 3 won’t need to pay since no ticket is required).

What bang will you get for your buck? The most obvious is the convenience of booking same day FASTPASS reservations in the Disneyland app. If you’ve been to Disneyland before, you’ve probably experienced the process of having to send a runner in your group to the various paper FASTPASS machines located in front of each ride in order to make a FASTPASS reservation. You will now be able to do that from the app while in the park. Disney has said that one person can manage the reservations for an entire group on a single device.

The other benefit for the money is that MaxPass will include unlimited PhotoPass downloads.

2) MaxPass Will Be Entirely Voluntary

Disneyland MaxPass - Paper Fastpasses

Paper FASTPASSES will still be available once MaxPass is unveiled.
Photo credit: Leslie Harvey / Frequent Flyer TravelingMom

If you still like and use the old paper FASTPASS system at Disneyland, you’re in luck. You can still get FASTPASS reservations under this system without paying for the privilege of using MaxPass. MaxPass doesn’t change the rules under which the FASTPASS system works (same day reservations, one FASTPASS at a time, etc.). Instead, it just offers a second electronic method of accessing the existing system.

Similarly, if you like the old PhotoPass service, it appears Disneyland will continue to offer PhotoPass products without having to opt into MaxPass.

3) New Rides Will be Offering FASTPASS

Disneyland Thrill Ride Guide - Matterhorn Bobsleds

Matterhorn will be one of two new rides offering FASTPASS.
Photo credit: Leslie Harvey / Frequent Flyer TravelingMom

Two rides that have previously not offered FASTPASSES – the Matterhorn Bobsleds in Disneyland park and Toy Story Midway Mania in Disney California Adventure – will be added to the FASTPASS program. Frequent Disneyland visitors know that those are two of the most popular rides without FASTPASS currently. These additions may well save you time in line overall.

What We Don’t Know Yet About Disneyland MaxPass

1) How Annual Passholders Will be Affected

Currently, certain higher level signature annual passes at Disneyland come with included PhotoPass offerings. Disney has not yet announced whether discounts for MaxPass will be available to APs to account for the fact that they already pay for PhotoPass or whether some other AP pricing structure will be available entirely.

2) If Disneyland Will Finally Get WiFi

The big elephant in the room for any smartphone based FASTPASS system at Disneyland is the lack of WiFi in the parks. No matter what cell phone provider you have, cell data service in the parks is spotty at best, making the app currently unusable in places for many guests. Walt Disney World has had WiFi coverage in all the parks for years but Disney has made no announcement about whether Disneyland will finally get WiFi coverage with this MaxPass change. Many of the Disneyland faithful (including yours truly) are hoping so!

3) How Crowds Will Change

Disneyland has had some trouble with overcrowding the last several years as visitor attendance has spiked. Certain walkways, particularly in Disneyland park where thoroughfares were built to accommodate smaller crowds decades ago, can get choked on peak periods on peak days. With more rides offering FASTPASSES and keeping people roaming the parks instead of in line, what remains to be seen is how these FASTPASS changes will affect crowding.

What do you think about MaxPass? A good value, too much, or too soon to tell?

Visiting Disneyland in 2017? MaxPass - a major addition to Disneyland's FASTPASS system - will soon be here. Get the early details on MaxPass to help plan your next Disneyland vacation.

Photo credit: Leslie Harvey / Frequent Flyer TravelingMom