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La Jolla Mom

Is Disney MaxPass Worth It?

Here's why you will save time and effort

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Adding Disney MaxPass to your Disneyland tickets enables you to make FASTPASS selections on the Disneyland app. We used it during a recent visit, and it saved significant time on a peak summer day. Here’s what you need to know about Disney MaxPass, including how it works, cost, and why we love it.

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3-Day Park Hopper® Ticket with Disney MaxPass

Includes one Magic Morning

What Is a FASTPASS?

First, let’s clarify what a FASTPASS is so that you understand better why MaxPass can be such a huge benefit.

The FASTPASS system works a little bit differently at every Disney Resort. At Disneyland and Disney California Adventure, both parks have FASTPASS distribution stations at select attractions. A digital screen above the stations indicates the return time frame that machines are issuing a FASTPASS for. If the time frame shown works for you, insert your park ticket into the FASTPASS machine, and it will dispense a receipt indicating that the FASTPASS is tied to your ticket.

Return to the attraction during your designated time frame and enter the FASTPASS queue where you’ll scan your park ticket or Disneyland app for entry. At this point, you can be eligible to pull another FASTPASS (this is where MaxPass comes in handy … keep reading).

In summary, FASTPASS holders bypass a substantial portion of the Standby line. MaxPass or not, you’ll want to incorporate FASTPASS strategy into your park visit. Disneyland tickets are expensive, so why wait in long lines if you don’t have to?

FASTPASS Rules and Limitations

Everyone in your group must hold a FASTPASS if they’d like to enter the FASTPASS line together. No exceptions.

Only one FASTPASS can be held at a time. This means if you hold a FASTPASS for a Disneyland ride, you can’t run over to Disney California Adventure to grab a FASTPASS for a ride in that park. The limit is one FASTPASS across both parks at a time.

How to Use Disney MaxPass

MaxPass helps Disneyland Resort guests secure FASTPASSES with less effort and time by allowing FASTPASS selection on a smartphone. First, designate the person in your group who will manage FASTPASS selections.

Sync Disneyland tickets to his or her Disney account via the Disneyland app. (MaxPass doesn’t work without the Disneyland app installed on a smartphone.) Add MaxPass to the tickets if they were not purchased with it.

One MaxPass is enabled, select your park to see first available FASTPASS times for eligible attractions.

Screenshots of the MaxPass in use on the Disneyland app
Screenshots of the MaxPass in use on the Disneyland app

Tap to select the attraction with the time slot that works for you.

Once your FASTPASS time window arrives, go to the attraction’s FASTPASS queue. The person managing the group’s FASTPASS selections will scan each person’s FASTPASS bar code before entering the (usually much) shorter line.

While in the queue, select a FASTPASS for your next ride. (Always have a FASTPASS selected.)

How to Buy Disneyland MaxPass

Yes, MaxPass is available on Disneyland discount tickets that you can purchase in advance of your visit.

Disney MaxPass can also be added to existing Disneyland tickets via the Disneyland app only AFTER entering a park. Connect your tickets to your Disney account, click the “+” button to add and pay for MaxPass immediately after passing through the entrance gates.

The entrance gates to Disney California Adventure Park

Annual Passport holders can add MaxPass as a yearly benefit or buy it for the day.

How Much Does MaxPass Cost?

The current price for Disney MaxPass is $15 per user per day. Annual Pass holders can add MaxPass for $100 annually or add it by the day.

What Are the Disneyland MaxPass Benefits?

In our opinion, Disney MaxPass benefits outweigh the negatives.

Less Walking

A Disney park visit involves a lot of walking, which can be taxing on young kids and even adults. One of the key Disneyland MaxPass benefits is that you can make FASTPASS reservations on your phone from anywhere in the park. This eliminates the need to go to the FASTPASS distribution point physically. 

Saves Tons of Time

On the app, you can instantly see what FASTPASS returns are for every ride, which saves the trouble of searching around the park for FASTPASS times that work for you. Without MaxPass, it’s not uncommon to arrive at a FASTPASS distribution point for a popular ride only to see that FASTPASS times are hours away or won’t work for you.

You can usually select your next FASTPASS immediately after using your current one. So, the minute you scan your current FASTPASS and enter that ride’s FASTPASS queue, hop onto your phone and select a FASTPASS for another ride.

Without MaxPass, you’d have to wait in the FASTPASS queue, enjoy that ride, and walk over to another FASTPASS distribution station to make your next selection. That alone could take 30 minutes or more.

We visited Disney California Adventure on a peak summer day and made sure to always hold a FASTPASS without a break for longer than a minute or two. We barely waited in line for the entire day.

Includes PhotoPass

One of the significant Disneyland FASTPASS benefits is that it includes PhotoPass as part of the package. That means you get unlimited PhotoPass downloads for the day, a terrific value. Any ride photo and any photo taken by a PhotoPass cast member are yours to download and keep on your phone. This includes Magic Shots, which are photos with added Disney Magic.

Are There Any Disney MaxPass Negatives?

If you have a large group, the cost of the Disney MaxPass can add up. A large group could instead send people to FASTPASS distribution points in the park while the rest of the group visits a different attraction, stops for a snack, or hunts for Hidden Mickeys to minimize time loss.

One person manages a group’s FASTPASS selections. To make FASTPASS selections for a group, the entire group’s Disneyland tickets with MaxPasses need to be added to one person’s Disney account. When all tickets are linked to one account, the downside is that the group can’t easily split up if say half want FASTPASS selections for thrill rides and the other half don’t. The risk of dividing the group between two Disney accounts is that you may not receive the same FASTPASS times for the same rides.

MaxPass is nonrefundable, so if you add it and decide you don’t want it, you’re stuck.

FASTPASSES are not available for any STAR WARS rides, which means that MaxPass won’t save you time there.

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