Disney MaxPass vs. FastPass

We went to Disneyland at the end of September and early October of 2017. Disney’s MaxPass had only been out a couple of months. Since then, we have been asked if we thought the MaxPass was worth the money. Our answer is YES YES YES! It’s like buying insurance on vacation so that you get to maximize every minute spent in the parks.

Disney MaxPass – How it Works

We had heard all about the FastPass system and how it works, but we only learned about the MaxPass a couple of weeks before we went. Here are a few things you should know about the MaxPass.

  • The MaxPass allows you to reserve passes for various rides in the park ahead of time so you do not have to wait in the long lines.
  • The MaxPass costs $10 per ticket, per day
  • The MaxPass is managed on an app that is on your phone. You also sign up and pay for the MaxPass function within the app. You can pay for it when you order your tickets, but if your tickets have already been ordered, you must wait until you enter the park to purchase it through the app.
  • It is only functional when you are actually in the park itself, meaning, you cannot reserve passes when you are not inside one of the parks.
  • You can manage all the passes/tickets for your party on one phone/app, up to 10 people.
  • MaxPass app is valid for both California Adventure and Magic Kingdom, it is not $10 per park/per ticket/per day.
  • If you have the MaxPass, the photographers can scan your pass so you can download the images for up to one month after your visit. This alone is well worth the $10 fee, we left with over 150 amazing images of adventures and character greetings!
  • Not all rides are available for the Fast Pass or MaxPass.
  • If you run into issues with the pass, go to guest services and they can fix it for you and help you request the tickets you are looking for. They were very helpful when we had questions.

Fast Pass vs. MaxPass

I had heard many stories of friends and family going to the Magic Kingdom and running all over to get Fast Passes to avoid the long lines. When I had heard about the MaxPass app, I was intrigued. But what is the difference? Essentially they work the same way and for the same system, meaning, there are limited “passes” that can be reserved ahead of time per ride. Once the passes are gone, whether, through the paper or digital format, you have to wait in the long lines.

  • Fast Pass is paper and must manually be picked up at the designated “Fast Pass” line for each ride, MaxPass is digital and must be reserved through the app.
  • There is no limit to how many rides you hold Fast Passes to at once, however, you can only reserve passes for a couple of rides at any one time through MaxPass.
  • Fast Pass is free, MaxPass charges $10 per ticket, per day.
  • FastPass does not require an app, MaxPass requires an app.

There are other perks to using the MaxPass but if you decide not to use MaxPass, still consider downloading the Disney park app. It allows you to see character locations, ride wait times, restaurant menus and more.

Just to try to help you understand the impact that the MaxPass made on our vacation, here is a breakdown of how one afternoon was spent. We entered into the Magic Kingdom at opening hours and reserved several rides for the morning. We split up, the girls and I went to the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique, while the boys went to Jedi Training. While at both experiences we received “Pass Photos” uploaded to our MaxPass (see below). Later, other family members met up with us, we then added them to our MaxPass “group” and reserved more tickets for the afternoon. We were able to organize the rides we wanted to go on based on our location in the park.

When we arrived to the rides at the designated times, we walked past a line that had an estimated 90-minute wait, and had our entire party of 10 on the ride within 10 minutes of arriving. We spent the rest of the afternoon in the Magic Kingdom jumping from ride to ride before park-hopping to California Adventure and reserving tickets for rides through the evening. I can honestly vouch for the MaxPass and say we would have had time to ride HALF of the rides we did that day if it wasn’t for the MaxPass. IT’S WORTH EVERY CENT!

I am so grateful that our first trip to Disneyland was productive and wonderful. When you are spending nearly $2,000 on tickets, an additional couple of hundred dollars to skip long lines is no-big-deal. And the photos we received, well worth the money alone! See below for yourself. The photographers didn’t just capture the moment we all posed, but they captured my daughter’s curiosity that kept her sneaking a peak around corners, and their initial reaction to seeing their beloved Disney characters! Thank you, Disney, for giving our trip a new level of magic!

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