We went to Disneyland for the second day of our two-day pass on Lincoln’s birthday. We decided to try out the Disney MaxPass for $10 per person (so for our family of 4 = $40). I know that for some people, spending $40 would be nothing, but you know that I had to do some research beforehand to see if it would be worth it. I read a few online reviews and decided to go for it.
Disney MaxPass offers two main benefits: 1. PhotoPass and 2. What I call “Enhanced FastPass”.
MaxPass Benefit #1: PhotoPass
With the PhotoPass, you can have the official Disney photographers take pictures of your family. You then have the photographer scan your phone and the pictures then “magically” appear on your phone a few minutes later. The best part is that you can download these photos for up to 45 days after your visit so you do not have to do it while you are inside the park or even that day. This perk was really appealing to me because it is rare that we take the time to have someone else take a picture of all four of us together. Also, when we are in the parks we usually only use our iPhones since we do not want to lug around another camera. However, I was disappointed in that we only saw photographers in the morning in front of the castle, mid-morning with Captain Jack Sparrow and at night in front of the castle again. On the app, there were several photographers listed as being throughout the park, but we did not see them! Our kids were not interested in taking a picture with Captain Jack, so we basically only took pictures in front of the castle.
How did they make it look like we were the only ones there in this picture? The photographer took 5-6 shots each time, so that was nice.
Another daytime castle pic, just to give you an idea of the different shots…
The PhotoPass also includes ride photos. However, the only ones we saw were the ones for Space Mountain. Just take a picture of the code on your picture right after you ride, and you can enter the code later on the app at home to download the photos.
Look at cute little n holding on for dear life!
D hamming it up for the camera.
MaxPass Benefit #2: “Enhanced FastPass”
The main benefit of the MaxPass is that it allows you to schedule FastPasses through the Disneyland app on your phone. FastPasses are a wonderful invention for Type A planner types like us. For certain popular rides, you can grab a FastPass that gives you a return window where you can go through the FastPass line and bypass the “standby rider” line. In our experience, we were able to go on rides within 5-10 minutes using FastPass while the standby riders were waiting for up to over an hour! With regular FastPasses, you must physically go to the machine located near the ride to obtain a FastPass. With MaxPass, you go to the app and click on the ride you want to schedule a FastPass. With regular FastPass you cannot obtain another FastPass until you use your current FastPass, or until your return window starts. With MaxPass, you can schedule your next FastPass as soon as you enter the turnstile of your current FastPass ride (or until your return window starts). This was a huge timesaver, as we were basically able to have a FastPass at all times during the day without any gaps.
These were the rides we were able to experience during our day at Disneyland:
- Big Thunder Mountain Railroad (3x); MaxPass
- Space Mountain (2x); MaxPass
- Matterhorn Bobsleds (2x); MaxPass
- Star Tours; MaxPass
- Jungle Cruise
- Tiki Room
- Star Wars Launch Bay
- Buzz Light Year Astro Blasters; MaxPass
- Mark Twain Riverboat
- Winnie the Pooh
- Pirates of the Caribbean (I wish they had MaxPass for this one.)
- Haunted Mansion; MaxPass
- Indiana Jones; MaxPass (We should have been able to go on this ride a second time, but it was experiencing technical difficulties during our scheduled FastPass time.)
- Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride
- Roger Rabbit’s Car Toon Spin; MaxPass
- It’s A Small World
- Tarzan’s Treehouse (I do not really count this as an “attraction”, but included it since we had time to do it.
- We also had a Fastpass for Fantasmic, but it started to rain so we did not stick around.
That is over twenty attractions! I must confess, I do not know the average number of rides that is possible on a given day at Disneyland. However, the day we went seemed pretty crowded. Although we went on a Monday, it was Lincoln’s birthday, so a lot of kids did not have school. My estimate is that we were able to ride about five more rides than we would have without MaxPass. The following is my cost-benefit analysis for the MaxPass for our family:
$40 = $10 (pictures) + $6 x 5 “extra” FastPass rides
To me, the MaxPass was worth it in our situation. We only go to Disneyland every few years, we stayed the entire day and wanted to maximize our time. It was nice to be able to ride the roller coasters multiple times. The MaxPass probably would not be worth it if you do not plan to ride the roller coasters or if you have an annual pass and only stay at the park for a few hours at a time. Looking back, I would have been more diligent in my search for the park photographers so I could have had more photos taken. One more tip would be to be sure to keep your phone on airplane mode most of the day and use your paper park entrance tickets to scan into the FastPass lines (instead of your phone) since the Disney App drains your battery pretty quickly.
I hope our experience helps you to decide whether the Disney MaxPass is worth it for you!