Is Disneyland’s Max Pass Worth It??

Is Disneyland’s Max Pass worth it, or not??  That’s the question this article aims to answer, in as few words as possible!  I’m personally not an expert on Disneyland ~ but my family most definitely is!  They all have annual passes, & take Disneyland strategic-planning to a whole new level!  On my last trip with them, I had NO CLUE what a Max Pass was, but they made sure to give me the whole run-down. 

And that ‘s exactly what we’ll dig into here, in a Q&A format. 

Let’s Go to Disneyland!

Is Disneyland's Max Pass Worth It? Girl Who Travels the World

Is Disneyland’s Max Pass worth it for you & your family? Read on & find out..

Is Disneyland’s Max Pass Worth It?

  • Q: What is the Max Pass?
  • A:  The Disneyland Max Pass is basically a Fast Pass ~ but on your phone.  Instead of physically going to each ride to collect Fast Passes, all you need to do is look up ride wait times on your phone.  The Max Pass (or Fast Pass) then allows you to go in the “faster line” instead of waiting in the “regular line,” where you’ll typically wait between 5-10 minutes instead of 30-45+.
  • Q: How much does the Max Pass cost?
  • A:  The Max Pass is $10 per person, per day.  That’s an EXTRA $10, on TOP of your ticket price.  For a family of four, for example, it would cost $40 total to purchase Max Passes for the entire family.  
  • Q: Why would you pay $10 more for the Max Pass when the Fast Pass is FREE?
  • A:  Short answer: To save time. LOTS of time.  To get a Fast Pass, you must physically visit each ride & get a paper ticket.  And you need to bring ALL your family’s tickets to get a Pass for everyone.  Then, you need to return later, at the “window” of time you’re given.  With the Max Pass, you can be a little more strategic: you can look up ALL rides, & determine which ride makes the most sense to go on at that time.  The Max Pass is ideal for people who want to go on as many BIG rides as possible, i.e. to “maximize” their time. 
  • Q: Are all rides available on the Max Pass?
  • A:  No ~ but most of the “BIG” rides are, like Splash Mountain, Thunder Mountain, Space Mountain, Guardians of the Galaxy, etc.  If you have small children who can’t go on the “big” rides, then the Max Pass is probably NOT worth the money for your family.  But if all you want to do is go on the big rides ~ then the Max Pass will make your Disney day 10X better.
  • Is Disneyland's Max Pass Worth It? Girl Who Travels the World

    If all you want to do is go on the “BIG” rides, such as Thunder Mountain ~ then the Max Pass is easily WORTH the $10.

Is Disneyland’s Max Pass Worth It?

  • Q:  Are there any other perks that come with the Max Pass?
  • A:  Yes.  You’re allowed to download ALL photos taken inside the park (on rides & with Disney characters) for FREE on your phone.  For some people, this may not be important.  For others, who like to get funny photos from the rides, this could end up saving you money.
  • Q:  Can you use the Max Pass at both Disneyland AND California Adventure?
  • A:  Yes.  And the Max Pass is probably MOST worth it when you’re trying to maximize your time at BOTH parks ~ especially if you’re only there for one day. 
  • Q:  How many more rides are you able to go on with the Max Pass, vs. not using a Max Pass?
  • A:  Short answer: About DOUBLE.  On a typical day WITH a Max Pass, my family is easily able to get in 10-12 MAJOR rides in one day at Disneyland & California Adventure.  The last time they visited the park WITHOUT a Max Pass, my nephew made sure to tell me that they “only got on 6 rides!!”  (He was very upset about that : ).  
  • Q:  What is the exact list of rides available with the Max Pass?
  • A:  At Disneyland: Astro Blasters, Fantasmic, Haunted Mansion, Indiana Jones, It’s a Small World, Matterhorn, Roger Rabbit’s Cartoon Spin, Space Mountain, Splash Mountain, Star Tours, & Thunder Mountain.  At California Adventure: Goofy’s Sky School, Grizzly River Run, Guardians of the Galaxy, Radiator Springs Racers, Soaring Around the World, Toy Story Mania, & World of Color.
    Is Disneyland's Max Pass Worth It? Girl Who Travels the World

    Matterhorn is the latest ride to be added to the Max Pass!

Is Disneyland’s Max Pass Worth It?

  • Q:  How do you access/get the Max Pass?
  • A:  On your smart phone.  Download the “Disneyland App” & tap “Get FASTPASS with Disney Max Pass.”  You need to be inside one of the parks to access it.  Select ALL guests in your party (it’s easier if just ONE person handles Max Pass selections for the day).  If someone in your party isn’t listed, scan their ticket/bar code to add them.  
  • Q:  What happens once you’re in the Max Pass app?
  • A:  You can scroll down & look at CURRENT wait times of ALL Max Pass rides.  For example, it may say “Splash Mountain, 15 Minute Wait,” & show the 1-hour window to enter the ride is NOW.  If you’re close to Splash Mountain & want to go on the ride, you would activate the Max Pass for Splash.  And the really good news is: as soon as you’ve scanned your bar code for Splash Mountain, you’re able to reserve your NEXT Max Pass ride, while you’re still in line.  This is what ends up saving you even MORE time than even the Fast Pass.
  • Q:  What’s the main difference between the Max Pass & the FASTPASS?
  • A:  The FASTPASS is a physical ticket that you need to retrieve AT the ride, while with the Max Pass, it’s all done on your phone.  Further, you’re better able to “strategize” with Max Pass: you’re basically getting an overview of ALL current wait times in the park(s), which allows for better planning.  The Max Pass also allows you to fit in more rides, with the ability to “reserve” a ride while you’re still ON another one (after scanning your bar code).  And finally, you’re able to download all Disneyland photos for FREE with the Max Pass; this is not available with FASTPASS. 
  • Q:  Who is the Max Pass ideal for?
  • A:  It’s ideal for groups who mainly want to go on the “BIG” rides, & want to go on as many of them as possible.  For groups with small kids who aren’t tall enough to go on these rides, the Max Pass is NOT necessary.  Also, if you’re visiting Disneyland and/or California Adventure to simply enjoy the park(s), & don’t really care about racing around & going on a bunch of rides: it’s also not necessary.
    Is Disneyland's Max Pass Worth It? Girl Who Travels the World

    If you download Max Pass on the “Disneyland App,” this is the screen you’ll see, showing all current wait times in the parks.

Is Disneyland’s Max Pass Worth It?

  • Q:  What are the best hotels to stay at if you want to maximize your time at the park?
  • A:  Stay at one of the 3 Disneyland Hotels in order to get an extra early “magic hour” at one of the parks.  These hotels are, 1) Disneyland Hotel, & 2) Disneyland’s Paradise Pier Hotel, & 3) Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa.  The problem: they’re NOT cheap!!  You’re looking at $350+/night.  But, the perk of staying at these hotels, is that you can get into one of the parks an hour early ~ & still be able to use the Max Pass!  So basically, you can get a TON done in a short amount of time, letting the rest of your day be more relaxed.
  • Q:  If you’re on more of a budget, what are good mid-range hotel options near Disneyland?
  • A:  In the 2-star category ($85+/night), you’ve got a Budget Inn caddy-corner from Disneyland, the Eden Roc Inn & Suites on Katella, & the Super 8 Anaheim, right next to Disneyland.  In the 3-star category ($95+/night), there’s the Holiday Inn Anaheim with its mouse-shaped pool, the Residence Inn Marriott, & Best Western Plus Anaheim, which are both within walking distance of Disneyland’s main gate.
    Is Disneyland's Max Pass Worth It? Girl Who Travels the World

    Magic hour at Disneyland…

Straight from the Horse’s Mouth…

“If you love going on the big rides, GET the Max Pass!” ~ Big Ride Lover,  E Bear

“It’s the best $10 you’ll spend at Disneyland, hands down.” ~ Mom

“Don’t Disney without it.” ~ Master Planner, Dad

“Without the Max Pass, we only went on SIX big rides. NEVER AGAIN!!” ~ Little Strategizer, JB

Is Disneyland’s Max Pass Worth It?

I hope this article has helped you decide whether Disneyland’s Max Pass is worth it or not for your family’s next trip to the “Happiest Place on Earth!”  My family & I have so many great Disneyland memories, & I hope this helps you navigate & enjoy your next adventure there even more ~ so you can minimize the waits, & maximize the FUN : )

xoxo Noelia

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