Hey guys, Anne here! I just returned from a trip to Disneyland and would you believe it's been years since I've been there?? I know, I missed it too. It was so great to be back, and I learned a ton of new info while I was there! Today I'm going to talk all about the Disneyland FASTPASS system, including my experience with Disney MaxPass.
In a nutshell, Disneyland's FASTPASS service allows you to skip most of the line at certain rides and attractions throughout Disneyland and California Adventure Park. (Quick emphasis on most of the line: some people assume FASTPASS takes you directly to the front of the line, which isn't true. FASTPASS puts you in a shorter line and guarantees you'll never wait more than 10-15 minutes to get on a ride. So while you probably won't walk on to anything, 10 minutes is a lot better than 60.)
FASTPASS is completely free in both parks. It can be a little confusing to understand at first, but by the end of this article you'll be an expert and be able to fully maximize your time at both parks!
How to Use Disneyland FASTPASS Service
Only certain rides and attractions offer the FASTPASS service at Disneyland. Here they are:
Disney California Adventure Park:
Each ride or attraction has a designated kiosk (usually located near the ride) where you can get a FASTPASS. Disney has a map HERE that shows all the kiosks and their respective rides, and the Disneyland Mobile App offers this info as well.
To use Disneyland FASTPASS, all you have to do is head to the kiosk of the ride or attraction you would like a FASTPASS for, determine if the posted return time will work for you, insert or scan your park ticket in the kiosk, and take the FASTPASS ticket provided. Then just return to the ride in the return time window your ticket shows and make your way to the front of the line!
Things to Remember
1. You can only have one active FASTPASS at a time. This means you can't take an hour to run around gathering FASTPASS tickets that will last the whole day- you can get a new FASTPASS after you use your current one. The exception to this rule is if your return time for a ride is more than 2 hours away (this often happens for popular rides later in the day). In this case, you are allowed to get another FASTPASS 2 hours after you obtained your first. Your FASTPASS will tell you when you are eligible to get another FASTPASS.
2. Every member of your part needs a FASTPASS. If you are a family of four and want to ride Space Mountain, you will need four FASTPASS reservations to get into the FASTPASS line. Not everyone needs to run to every kiosk though- it's very common for families and large parties to have a "runner" who takes each person's admission ticket and gets all the party's FASTPASS selections at once.
3. FASTPASS selections can "sell" out. There are only so many FASTPASS time slots for each ride, so popular rides tend to run out of selections before the day is over. This is especially true during busy seasons, where FASTPASS selections for rides like Radiator Springs Racers and Soarin' can be gone by early afternoon. Keep this in mind if there's a certain ride you want a FASTPASS for.
Disney MaxPass is a relatively new service that offers a few perks. With Disney MaxPass:
Unlike Disneyland FASTPASS, Disney MaxPass is not free. It currently costs $10/day per guest, which is a fee that can add up pretty quickly if you have a long trip or a large group.
Here's my two cents: I decided to get MaxPass when I was at Disneyland October 31 and November 1. And I absolutely LOVED it. To be fair, there were only two of us for two days, which was $40 vs. who-knows-how-much for other parties. MaxPass also peaked my interest immediately because I'm used to DisneyWorld's FastPass+ system, which allows everything to be done through the app, so the idea of having to sprint around the park all day did not sound appealing to me. My brother assured me it wasn't a big deal at all, but I would have probably paid even more just for the convenience of MaxPass.
It was pretty great to select a FASTPASS reservation immediately after entering the park, and to then select another before we even got on the ride we had just scanned our FASTPASS reservations for. I feel like we added at least 4-5 additional FASTPASS rides to our day because of MaxPass.
Is MaxPass for you? Well, it might depend. If you're a "pay for the convenience" person, I'd say yes. If you are traveling during a busy season (Christmas, summer, weekends) I'd also say yes, even if you have a large family. You may save money not getting MaxPass, but if you can get more rides out of your day it maximizes your time and the money you paid for your ticket, so the cost probably evens out (and you get to be on more rides!).
If you're traveling in the off-season or spending only a couple of days, I would still recommend MaxPass. You may not need it, but I think an additional $50-$60 is worth all those extra rides and not having to deal with running around all day.
The only time I may not recommend MaxPass is if you are traveling with a large party, during a very uncrowded time of year, or simply don't mind using the kiosks. Ultimately it comes down to what feels like it's worth the price for you.
Disneyland FASTPASS Tips
1. Disneyland tends to have more FASTPASS availability later in the day than California Adventure Park.
2. Prioritize what rides will run out of FASTPASS availability and get FASTPASS for those as soon as you can. The most popular FASTPASS eligible rides in Disneyland are Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, Haunted Mansion (during the holidays), Indiana Jones™ Adventure, Matterhorn Bobsleds, Space Mountain, and Star Tours. The most popular FASTPASS eligible rides in California Adventure Park are Radiator Springs Racers, Soarin’ Around the World, and Toy Story Midway Mania!. Guardians of the Galaxy is also a popular ride, although FASTPASS doesn't run out as quickly.
3. Although most cast members will honor a grace period of 5-10 minutes, FASTPASS return times are strictly enforced. You may not be let it if you arrive early and you may lose your FASTPASS if you arrive late.
4. FASTPASSES are only valid on the day they are issued.
5. If you have a FASTPASS for a ride that is broken down or closed during your return time window, it will turn into a Multiple Experiences FASTPASS. This means you can use it at almost any ride in your designated park for the rest of the day. Excluded rides will be marked.
6. Getting a FASTPASS for Fantasmic! or World of Color will not affect your ability to get ones for other rides and attractions. Get one early and hold on to it until showtime.
There ya go! Hopefully that gives you lots of info about Disneyland FASTPASS. Want help planning your next Disney trip? Learn more about my custom trip itineraries here!