The Disney Hacks Complete Guide to MaxPass!

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Disneyland MaxPass Guide

Back in the late 20th century Disney implemented a cutting edge FASTPASS system into their parks. This system has grown and changed over the years while eventually making it to each of Disney’s six resorts worldwide. Unfortunately though each of the resorts implements FASTPASS in its own way which can be confusing.

Disneyland Resort in some ways has stayed true to its paper FASTPASS roots. Still to this day you can take your park ticket and go to a machine outside of various attractions around the resort and get yourself a piece of paper telling you when to return. That is free with admission, but there is another option that is so much better.

In this Disney Hacks Disneyland MaxPass guide we’ll answer the age old question. Does it make sense to pay for Disneyland MaxPass or should you save your money to spend elsewhere?

What Is Disneyland’s MaxPass?

Disneyland MaxPass Guide

MaxPass is Disney’s electronic fastpass system at Disneyland Resort. Instead of having to walk all the way to an attraction in order to get a paper ticket, with MaxPass you can get and use your fastpasses on your phone. This is advantageous for many reasons that I’ll get into, but the bottom line is it is just a better system.

MaxPass Cost

While some Disney resorts like Shanghai Disneyland have moved to this digital fastpass system without a cost, MaxPass isn’t free. You can get MaxPass one of two ways.

  • Daily: $15 per day per person
  • Yearly: $100 per year when added to an annual pass

As you can see MaxPass isn’t cheap especially when considering how much Disneyland tickets already cost!

MaxPass Benefits

MaxPass isn’t cheap, but do the benefits outweigh the costs? Here are the two main benefits you’ll receive when paying for Disney’s MaxPass:

  • Digital Fastpasses – You no longer need to go to a ride to get a paper ticket. You’ll be able to secure fastpasses from your smartphone.
  • PhotoPass Photos – If you have Disney MaxPass you’ll receive free PhotoPass downloads for the day. A nice little perk!

Using MaxPass

To use Disney’s MaxPass all you need is the Disneyland app for Android or iOS. Once you have the app, create or sign-in to your account and link your tickets. Then, simply tap the “+” at the bottom of the home screen and select “Get FASTPASS with Disney MaxPass”.

Disneyland MaxPass Guide

If you’re familiar with Walt Disney World’s My Magic+ then you’ll recognize it from there. First you’ll choose which park and then you’ll be presented with a list of Disney FASTPASS attractions along with the wait time and the return time you’ll receive. It’s fairly straightforward and easy!

Disney MaxPass Rules

While there isn’t a whole lot rules wise when it comes to MaxPass, here are some basics you probably should know about how it works.

  • No matter the return time you’ll be able to select another FASTPASS after 90 minutes. That means even if your last FASTPASS selected is for 4 hours later, you’ll be able to get another one in 90 minutes.
  • If your return window is within 90 minutes, you’ll be able to get a new FASTPASS when the return window opens.
  • If your return window begins in less than 30 minutes, you’ll have to wait 30 minutes to select another FASTPASS.
  • Once you have scanned your FASTPASS at the attraction entrance you’ll be able to select another FASTPASS through the app no matter when your return time is. I’ll explain more on this later.

Disneyland MaxPass Guide
Disney Maxpass

MaxPass On Busy Days

Disney’s MaxPass costs a lot, so does it make sense on busy days? Of course it does! Think about how inefficient it is to walk to a ride in order to get a ticket to come back later. With Maxpass you don’t need to be in the same area of the park to grab your FASTPASS. Heck, you don’t even need to be in the same park!

MaxPass On Slow Days

While it probably makes sense to use MaxPass on a busy day, what if it is slow?!? It is still awesome! Why? Because you can get on a ton of rides. Busy or slow those with regular FASTPASS need to walk to attractions to get their tickets the old fashioned way. You can easily get 2-3X the amount of rides if you have MaxPass.

And I should clarify what “slow” means. Even on days when the park will get busy, you can utilize MaxPass at slow times (like rope drop) to get on a ton of rides while avoiding lines. If you are someone who loves Disney rides plus you are willing to work your smartphone all day then this is a no-brainer if you can swing the cost.

Real World Disneyland MaxPass Scenario

While MaxPass has proven its value to me over and over (especially since I only paid $100 for my annual pass) here is a real world scenario to highlight just how awesome it can be! Take a look at this screenshot I took a few weeks ago at Disneyland.

MaxPass real world scenario

Besides the fact that my battery is already 20% gone that early, look at the time. It is 10:50am and the standby queue is 35 minutes long for Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. I guess I could have waited that long but I just grabbed the FASTPASS for 5 minutes later while I was exiting Space Mountain across the park!

Now, keep in mind once I scanned that FASTPASS at the entrance I was able to get another one right away. I booked this FASTPASS at 10:50am and arrived at the ride around 11am. Once I scanned my FASTPASS at the entrance I pulled up my Disneyland app and immediately grabbed another one before I even rode Big Thunder Mountain! This happens time and time again when it is slow.

MaxPass With Large Parties

Disneyland MaxPass Guide
Copyright Disney. Getting PhotoPass downloads included with MaxPass is a great perk.

So what if you have a large family and don’t want the expense of MaxPass? If that’s the case I still recommend at least one member of the party get it just for the photos. The Disney Hacks way to do it would be to plan for a specific day to take most of your PhotoPass pictures and then just pay for that day. Tons of professionally shot pictures for $15 ain’t too bad!

Disneyland MaxPass Guide – Bottom Line

For most people the decision as to whether or not to use MaxPass will come down to cost. In a day where everything at Disney costs record amounts, it can be frustrating to spend even more money on top of an already expensive ticket. While I can’t fix the cost, at least I can say that MaxPass is delivering value which isn’t always the case with overpriced things at Disney!

Have you used MaxPass? Are there any other Disneyland MaxPass tips I missed? Share your thoughts in the comments!

Shawn Coomer
I grew up an hour from Disneyland and spent most of my childhood at Walt Disney's Magic Kingdom. As I grew up my love of theme parks and Disney grew as did my love of travel. For the past 13 years I have circled the globe with my family for pennies on the dollar. I am an expert at travel hacking, saving money, family travel and of course Disney.

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