Disneyland’s MaxPass offers convenience, time to squeeze more rides and experiences into your day, and even unlimited PhotoPass downloads. But at $15 extra per ticket, per day, is the MaxPass worth it? Here are all the things you need to consider before buying the MaxPass system for your family’s Disneyland getaway.
Is MaxPass Worth the Cost?
Anyone who visits Disneyland regularly knows that the parks have gotten steadily busier over the past couple of years. But don’t let the thought of long lines keep you away from the Happiest Place on Earth! There are ways to minimize wait times for rides, and using a MaxPass is the best way to beat the crowds.
MaxPass is a paid add-on for the Disneyland Resort’s FASTPASS system. Like the original – and still available – FASTPASS, MaxPass lets you skip long lines on many popular attractions and wait in a shorter FASTPASS line instead. People the FASTPASS line get priority boarding, usually at a fraction the time stand-by riders must wait.
What’s the Difference Between FASTPASS and MaxPass?
I’ve been a huge fan of the FASTPASS since way back when I was still pushing my now-teenage son around in a stroller. Over the years, we’ve learned to work the FASTPASS system like nobody’s business! You’ll often spot us breezing through our day at the parks, regardless of how thick the crowds were.
When MaxPass debuted in 2017, a whole new level of convenience was born. Where FASTPASS requires you to scan your park tickets at a kiosk located near the entrance of the ride, MaxPass lets you reserve tickets from anywhere in the park using your smartphone.
With MaxPass, you link your ticket in the Disneyland app on your smartphone. You can even manage all the tickets for everyone in your family on just one phone. Game changer! This would have been awesome when I was pushing a stroller from ride to ride just to get my hands on that paper FASTPASS ticket.
As an added bonus, MaxPass also includes unlimited Disney PhotoPass photo downloads. That means you can download photos taken by Disney PhotoPass photographers (hello family picture in front of Cinderella’s castle!) or on select rides.
Alas, this kind of Disney magic doesn’t come free. The 2019 price of MaxPass at Disneyland is $15 per ticket, per day.
How the MaxPass Works
The most important thing to know about MaxPass is that it is all run from your phone.
One of the biggest bummers about the original FASTPASS system is that you have to go to a kiosk at each attraction to make your FASTPASS reservation. MaxPass allows you to book FASTPASS selections from any location using the Disneyland app. So if you are at Goofy’s Sky School and want to make a reservation for Radiator Springs Racers – you can do it right from your phone without having to run clear across the park!
And if you have a park hopper ticket, you can even reserve a FASTPASS for a ride at Disneyland while you’re at Disney California Adventure park. Super convenient!
The Disneyland app lists attractions and their current FASTPASS return times, as well as the current wait time. Scroll through the list and select the attraction you’d like to reserve. When it’s time to ride, simply walk up and scan the barcode displayed on your phone. No need for paper FASTPASS tickets!
MaxPass doesn’t work until the day of your visit, after you have scanned your ticket to enter the park. Unlike Walt Disney World, where you can reserve 30 or 60 days in advance, Disneyland FASTPASS reservations can only be made on the day of your visit.
Families can all book on a single smartphone or break up on to individual devices. This is especially important if you have kids in your group who do not yet own a phone.
More Flexibility with MaxPass
Another cool thing about MaxPass is that you have the flexibility to cancel and rebook MaxPass reservations throughout the day. It is great to know you don’t have to waste a ticket if your plans change.
For example, if lunch is running long and you have a 1 p.m. FASTPASS reservation and know you won’t make it, simply fire up the Disneyland app and change the time to later in the afternoon.
You don’t even have to put down your fork to do it!
The majority of Disneyland’s most popular rides are FASTPASS attractions, which means they are also MaxPass attractions. Here is a complete list, broken down by park.
- Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
- Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters
- Haunted Mansion
- It’s a Small World
- Indiana Jones Adventure
- Matterhorn Bobsleds
- Roger Rabbit’s Car Toon Spin
- Space Mountain
- Splash Mountain
- Star Tours
- Fantasmic! (for reserved viewing section)
- Goofy’s Sky School
- Grizzly River Run
- Radiator Springs Racers
- Soarin’ Around the World
- Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: BREAKOUT!
- Toy Story Midway Mania
- World of Color (for reserved viewing section)
NOTE: As of October 2019, Disney FASTPASS service and Disney MaxPass are unavailable for attractions in Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge.
More MaxPass Tips & Tricks
Here are a few other things to know about using the MaxPass at Disneyland.
- Once you use your current FASTPASS (scan to get on a ride), you can make another FASTPASS reservation immediately. If you have MaxPass, this means you could do this in line as soon as you use your FASTPASS. This will help you pack more rides into your day with shorter wait times for each one!
- With MaxPass, if your current return time is more than two hours away from the time it was made, you will be able to reserve a second FASTPASS after 90 minutes. If you were using a paper ticket instead of the MaxPass, the wait is 2 hours. So again, score for MaxPass!
- You can purchase MaxPass when you buy your park tickets, or add them on when you arrive. Simply log into the Disneyland app (I recommend downloading it before you leave home) and tap “Get FASTPASS with Disney MaxPass.”
- Since children under 3 are free, they do not need to purchase MaxPass. As long as they meet the height requirement for a particular ride you can take them in the FASTPASS line with you.
- Disneyland has free wifi but the service is often spotty. You may have an easier time staying connected using mobile data.
- You’ll be on your phone – a lot! Be prepared and don’t let your power drain. Be sure to bring a portable battery charger as a back-up.
- Disney PhotoPass downloads are included. This is a great perk! Even if MaxPass for the whole family isn’t in your vacation budget but you like the idea of getting the photos, consider paying for one person to get a MaxPass. For just $15, you can get tons of photos – and everyone can be in them instead of mom behind the camera.
Is MaxPass Worth It?
With Disneyland tickets already so expensive, it is hard to justify spending another $15 per day for the add on. For a family of four, taking even a 2-3 day getaway can add up really quick! So you definitely need to consider if the MaxPass is worth it for your family.
Most people give this a resounding YES!
- If you are visiting Disneyland and want it to be a memorable, stress-free vacation, then the MaxPass is probably a good investment.
- If you only have a day or two at the theme parks and don’t plan on coming back for a while, then again yes, the MaxPass will help maximize your experience.
- Or if photos are super important to you and you would spend big bucks anyway buying a PhotoPass package, then yes, do it!
- If you are visiting during a busy time of year when the lines are going to long everywhere – yes!
But NO if…
- You are going to Disneyland mid-week or during the off-season when lines are 30 minutes or less for FASTPASS rides anyway; it’s probably not worth it.
- If you are going to be at Disneyland for three or more days and can take your time meandering through the parks – save your money and use free FASTPASS paper tickets instead.
In these instances, save that $15 a day for Mickey pretzels and Dole Whips!
And finally – if you are an Annual Passholder or visit Disneyland frequently, buying a MaxPass every time you go is going to add up. (Disneyland Annual Passholders can pay an extra $100 a year to add the MaxPass. MaxPass is free – aka included – for Signature Plus Annual Passholders.)