Is Disneyland’s MaxPass Worth It?

While at Disneyland this August, my and family and I took advantage of Disney’s MaxPass. Disneyland’s MaxPass works like Disney World’s FastPass Plus system by virtually booking fast passes from the mobile app. So, is Disneyland’s MaxPass worth it?

How Disneyland’s MaxPass works, and how it differs from Disney World’s FastPass Plus

For Starters, you cannot even begin to use Max Pass until all members of your party (which are tied to the max pass system in your phone) pay $15.00 per person per day. This cost is well worth the expense per person. Also, you cannot use the Max Pass until each member of your party scans their ticket to get through the front gate of either Disneyland or Disney’s California Adventure.

Once you are in the Parks

Once you scan your park ticket to get into one of the parks, you can literally start looking for your first fast pass for the day. Not every single attraction has a fast pass option here, but all the major attractions that have long lines have one.

MaxPass also includes Disney’s PhotoPass system which is only available to guests who purchase MaxPass for the day.  According to Disneyland’s website:

You can capture all of your memories with unlimited Disney PhotoPass photo downloads** from the day. Download and share photos from select dining locations, attractions, Character Greetings, Disney PhotoPass Photographers and Magic Shots.

disneyland.disney.go.com
Galaxy's Edge MagicShot
Galaxy’s Edge MagicShot
MagicShots with SpiderMan
MagicShots with SpiderMan

How to use Disneyland’s MaxPass

  • Start off with making sure that you’re Disneyland app is pulled up on your phone and hit the plus (+) sign in the middle of the toolbar.
  • You’ll select “Get FastPass”
  • From there, you’ll select the number of people in your party that you are searching for FastPasses for
  • If you want everyone, select all.
  • The attractions that are available will show, and the time that the attraction is available.
  • For whichever attraction you are looking for, select it and confirm it.
  • The app will tell you that you are booked for the attraction and give the time that you can book your next FastPass attraction.

How to Use MaxPass for Photo Pass

When you log in to the app on your phone, you will need to click on the plus at the bottom of the screen to bring up this screen:

Link-Photo-to-PhotoPass
Link Photos to PhotoPass

Once here, you can either input the code at the bottom of the screen when you exit a ride to link your photo to your app, you can link a PhotoPass card (we never did this as we already had it added by purchasing MaxPass), and you can bring up your code to show Disneyland Photographers so that the pictures that they take will show up in your app. When we first arrived, we took a screenshot (see below) of our PhotoPass QR Code and saved it as our home screen so that anytime we came upon a Disneyland Photographer, we just had to open our phone for them to scan the code and save our awesome pictures!

MaxPass - PhotoPass
PhotoPass QR Code to present to the Disneyland Photographers.

Tips for using Disneyland’s MaxPass

We would always arrive at the park as close to opening (or earlier) as possible, and for the most part, the park has very light crowds for the first few hours. This is your time to get on a lot of attractions without FastPass option, or just without having to use one.

Try and book your first fast pass reservation within the first hour of opening, however, as you can take advantage of a major attraction with a shorter line, as well as make your next fast pass reservation faster than if you waited until later in the day to book one.

Major Attractions can and most likely will run out of FastPasses!

Radiator Springs Racers
Radiator Springs Racers ran out of Fast Passes each day we were there, and it was not a busy week.

For example, at Disney’s California Adventure, “Radiator Springs Racers” is one attraction that will run out of fast passes. We could always get one early, but by early afternoon (1-2ish), the attraction was giving return times of 7-9pm, or possibly already running out. “The Return time”, is the time that you can return to the queue and get into the fast pass line.

What are Return Times?

One thing to take note of, if “return times” are within an hour or so of the moment you are logging in and looking for the fast pass, then there are plenty left, and the park is that that busy.

If the return times are several hours later or well into the evening, fast passes are going very fast and they will run out.

Guardians of the Galaxy - Mission Breakout
Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission Breakout – Overall Family Favorite that we rode 4 or 5 times.

So, is Disneyland’s MaxPass worth it?

We were unsure if this would be a good investment since it costs a family of 4 $60 extra per day to use this feature, however, we are so glad that we did. Our tickets were purchased with MaxPass, so with that, we rode all of the major attractions several times over because of it, plus we had park hopper. Being able to go back and forth between the two parks if we wanted to makes it really easy to ride Radiator Springs, Incredicoaster, Guardians of the Galaxy, Indiana Jones, and Big Thunder Mountain Railroad repeatedly (to name a few)!

If you are thinking about planning a trip to Disneyland and are debating getting Disneyland’s MaxPass, we recommend getting it and have a blast!

If you are just interested in Walt Disney World, check out our post on Avoiding the Lines at Walt Disney World.

Family Vacation to the Disneyland Resort

We admittedly have been a Disney World Family, because those have been the parks we’ve traveled to over and over again. However, in the week of August the 12th, 2019, we visited the Disneyland Resort in California. We had so much fun and highly encourage anyone and everyone to visit Disneyland and Disney’s California Adventure.

The vacation experience, in my opinion, is different from traveling between Disneyland and Disney World. I’d like to breakdown our experience and just tell you about our experience and a high-level overview of how that was different than when we typically travel to Disney World.

Traveling from DFW to Anaheim, California

First things first- we took a flight from Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport and landed at the closest airport to Disneyland – John Wayne Airport in Santa Ana, California. The flight took around 2 ½ hours and was smooth (For the most part).

John Wayne Airport

When we landed, the airport is so small in Santa Ana, that it was very easy to grab our luggage and head out. We should have thought about what time our bus would arrive to take us to the hotel because we stepped out of the airport (past the security line) and had about a 40 min wait. We walked outside into the beautiful 72-degree weather (a huge plus to traveling to Southern California) and saw a small ticket window that said Disneyland Express. There was a handwritten sign (yes- I said that) on the window that said: “Ticket attendant is on a break but will return before the next bus is scheduled to arrive.”  The bus schedule was basically every hour- and I understood why. Once the attendant came back (about 10 min before the bus was scheduled to arrive), we gave her our vouchers for the bus and proceeded to board it once it was ready. We waited about 10 minutes on the bus, to allow any other travelers to make the bus.

The Disneyland Express

The Disneyland Express bus was air-conditioned and offered a restroom in the back if needed. (My opinion- go before you get on the bus, because it was basically a port-a-potty and smelled like it). The drive took around twenty or so minutes to make it to the Disneyland Resort area where we stopped at all three Main Disneyland hotels (The Disneyland Hotel, Paradise Pier, and the Grand Californian). Many people on the bus will be staying at one of these hotels because this transportation comes with booking at those hotels. We booked through Costco Travel (highly recommended) and the package came with vouchers to take the Disney bus instead of private transportation. We were the last to be dropped off at Homewood Suites by Hilton Anaheim Convention Center (which was about 3 or 4 blocks away from the main entrance to Disneyland). The travel between the airport and our hotel was around 30 to 40 minutes because of the traffic on the main road that traveled to Disneyland (Harbor Blvd).

Homewood Suites by Hilton Anaheim Convention Center
Homewood Suites by Hilton Anaheim Convention Center

Homewood Suites by Hilton – Anaheim Convention Center

Our hotel was very nice and offered family suites that we loved. They came equipped with a separate living/kitchen area from the bedroom area. We had a King bed and a set of bunk beds for the kids. The bunk beds had the regular top and bottom bunk but also had a trundle bed that pulled out underneath the bottom bunk. This would be great for a larger family with lots of kiddos. Breakfast was also included every day. Not just continental breakfast either- at least one meat option each morning, eggs, pancakes, waffles, fruit, yogurt, cereal, and many other pastry options. They also have bottomless coffee all day long. Also, during the week (Monday- Thursday) from 5-7 pm, they serve a light dinner which is all included in the price of the stay that changes nightly and includes free drinks (draft beer and wine). The hotel stayed very clean all of the time, as they were continuously doing maintenance and cleaning. The one thing that was weird, was that the lobby had an orange smell to it that I wasn’t too fond of, other than that it was fine. (Some freshener that they were using).

Homewood Suites by Hilton Anaheim Convention Center Family Suite
Homewood Suites by Hilton Anaheim Convention Center Family Suite

The hotel had a good-sized swimming pool, and two smaller pools for toddlers, as well as a hot tub. There was a half-court basketball court and putting green, as well as the gym and a small arcade. There were laundry services and a small take and go area with bottled water, fruit, and popcorn, etc. Housekeeping did a wonderful job on our room every day. My only complaint on the hotel was that if the AC wasn’t extremely cold, then the room would get very humid and had a smell to it in the living room area only. The bedroom was fine. When the AC was running full blast, it was perfectly fine. We were gone to the parks way too much to say anything about it.

Toy Story Parking Lot and Shuttle to the parks

As far as traveling to the parks, we were literally about 200 yards or so to the Toy Story Parking Lot, which had constant buses traveling to the front of Disneyland and Disney California Adventure. We would literally walk to the bus loading area, get on the bus, and were in the parks in about 5 minutes with traffic. Every single time that we went, which was various times from 7:30 am; 8:00 am; 6:00 pm, 2:00 pm, etc for various events/reservations, there was never more than a few people standing with us. This parking lot is the overflow parking lot to Disney’s other parking areas as well as widely used by all of the guests in walking distance to this lot.

Walking to the Toy Story Parking lot from the hotel is a breeze!
Walking to the Toy Story Parking lot from the hotel is a breeze!

Once we arrived at the front drop off area, you go directly through security to one of three areas- left to Disney’s California Adventure, straight to Downtown Disney, and Right to the original Disneyland.

How was the Disneyland Resort experience? What were the differences?

Overall our experience was very laid back and easy. There are no fast pass reservations to book in advance. As a matter of fact, you cannot book fast passes until you get into the park for the day, so as far as being stressed about planning, there really wasn’t any. We were able to stop and eat where we wanted to and booked fast passes for major attractions over and over again. At Disney World in Florida, we typically book our fast passes 60 days in advance and wake up at 5 am to ensure that we get all the options that we are looking for. Now – we love the thrill of this, so it is fine, but this Disneyland trip allowed us to just explore the park and go at our own pace.

The other difference between the coasts is the Dining Reservations. At Disney World we book 6 months in advance for the best restaurants, to ensure that a table is available. At Disneyland, we booked a reservation 30 minutes before we planned on eating and had no trouble at all.

Meeting Stitch at Disney's California Adventure
Meeting Stitch at Disney’s California Adventure

The biggest difference in the experience is the type of crowd that you are therewith. The crowd at Disneyland is comprised of vacationers (sure), but there are tons of local people from Southern California or really all around the state. So a lot of Disney experts refer to this as “ a local park” – it doesn’t make it any less magical, it is just an observation. There are so many local people that may show up at 5 pm one day after work, just to grab a quick ride on Space Mountain and have a churro or funnel cake – wouldn’t that be awesome?  At Disney World, based on its’ sheer vastness in size and multiple parks (4 theme parks and 2 water parks  + Disney Springs), people from all over the world find themselves saving for years and years to attend their “trip of a lifetime” vacation. You have people who are first-timers, as well as people who are returning for another week’s vacation. You have groups of people who have saved their entire lives to take their families on this vacation and are experiencing that magical feeling for the very first time. The view of the castle as you round the curve down Main Street and you see the castle at Disney World takes your breath away.

How will we Disney in the future?

I’ve been asked, “Which park do you prefer?”  This is something that I honestly cannot answer that question. We would take them both at any time. I felt like I would miss the magic picking California this time, as opposed to heading to Florida (sort of like I was cheating on my home park), but I was pleasantly surprised, and we had the time of our lives. We had characters walking around all over the place, we rode multiple mainstream attractions several times over, and the food was amazing. I would say to anyone asking “Which park should I pick,” that if you can – take the leap of faith and travel to California and try it out— you will not be disappointed.

We are usually blogging about our adventures about Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida. Learn more about Mobile Ordering Coming to Select Disney World Resorts!

After Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge opened at Disneyland, What Should we Expect at Disney World?

Watching many Disney vloggers over the past few weeks, one thing is for sure – I should have booked a reservation in Anaheim and got a reservation for Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge! I watched so many videos of bloggers during their 4-hour reservation time that was allotted (if you were staying at a Disneyland hotel) and there was hardly any wait for Millennium Falcon. Now, I cannot say that was the case for Olga’s Cantina, which always showed a very long line, but everything else seemed very reasonable in terms of traffic flow. Disneyland was smart about this – from their opening day, which was May 31st and until June 24, 2019, you must have a reservation, and your reservation time is only for 4 hours. This is a way to control the crowds and slowly introduce people to Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge.

Disneyland = Successful Opening!

From every video that I’ve seen, it looks amazing. They also started out with opening only one attraction – The Millennium Falcon: Smuggler’s Run, to slowly introduce the public to the land. Eventually, the second attraction called Rise of the Resistance will open as well. This will obviously add even more people to the land since there will be two major attractions, but for now, it looks very manageable. We will find out on June 24, 2019, what the regular crowd will look like.

So, this seems like an awesome idea, right? A reservation system to get into the land and only have a 4-hour window? Seems like a smart way to control the crowd for at least a few weeks.

How will Disney World be Different?

However, Disney World is not doing this. On August 29, 2019, Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge will open in Walt Disney World’s Hollywood Studios to anyone and everyone who wants to attend. The actual park is scheduled to open at like 6:00 am that morning I believe and I’m sure that there will be people getting to the parking lot way before then.  They are only going to let so many people into the land, however, so they will be controlling the capacity, but on a first come and first serve basis. I guess this is also fair but will provoke a somewhat Hunger Games feeling to arrive in the morning.

How is Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge going to differ from Toy Story Land or Avatar?

Any time that there is a new attraction- and a very popular and fun attraction, Disney World Rope Droppers come out in full force. My family and I rope dropped Hollywood Studios in November 2018 because we could not get a fast pass for Slinky Dog (that had only opened in June 2018) to ensure that we were able to ride it. The park opened at 9:00 am this morning and we made it to the park at 7:45 am in hopes of being some of the first few people in line. We did make it to the turnstile line with about 5 families in front of us, but by the time that all turnstiles let people in and we made it down the main stretch of Hollywood studios, we were behind a group of people that were probably close to 50 people. From here, it was crazy. Cast members slowly walked the group to Toy Story Land behind a large sign that one of them held, which said “This way to Toy Story Land.” So, when I mentioned Hunger Games, it really was an approach to out speed-walk the person next to you. People were getting nudged & jostled in the thick of the crowd, so my husband had to take my 3-year-old and maneuver her through the crowd like he was a racecar driver with a stroller. We clipped some ankles, but we also were clipped by strollers behind us. No one was doing anything on purpose, it was just the name of the game.

Rope Drop on Opening Day?

Knowing this, what will this rope drop look like at Hollywood Studios for Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge?   Will there be a huge line waiting in the wee hours every morning, the night before?  What will this do the rest of Hollywood Studios? Will there be no crowds anywhere else? Or, will so many people hope to get into Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge that when they can’t, they go to every other Disney Park and there will be lines everywhere?

We are heading out that way in August of this year, but it will be around two weeks before Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge opens. We have some favorite YouTube vloggers that will more than likely be there, so we hope to report our findings and observations in the next few months!

Mobile Ordering Coming to Select Disney World Resorts

Mobile ordering is amazing and convenient. My family and I use it in our everyday lives at places such as Chic-Fil-A, Starbucks, Chipotle, Panera, etc. Why wait in line when you know what you want? I always get the stink eye from people waiting in a long line, when I breeze past them and pick up my Bacon Gouda breakfast sandwich and Blonde Roast in the morning. Sorry people, you can do it too! LOL!

Mickey Ketchup!
Mickey Ketchup!

Our Experience with Mobile Ordering

Last year we started doing mobile order at Disney Parks and it was a lifesaver (read more about it – Mobile Ordering at Disney World Quick Service Restaurants). The last trip we had an 8 and 3-year-old, and lines when you are hungry are no fun. We would literally be waiting in line for a ride, about to board the ride vehicle, and we’re looking at the menu. As soon as we got off the ride, we placed the order for what we wanted and started walking towards the restaurant. By the time we arrived, our food was nearly ready at the mobile order pick-up window. We utilized this feature at places such as Pinocchio’s Tavern and Columbia Harbor House in the Magic Kingdom, Flame Tree BBQ at Animal Kingdom, and ABC Commissary at Hollywood Studios. There are so many quick service locations that do mobile ordering, be sure to check Disney’s website in advance so you can plan.

Mobile Ordering at Select Disney World Resorts

Mobile Ordering at Disney Resorts
Mobile Ordering at Disney Resorts

Guess what? Now, Disney is adding the ability to use Mobile Ordering at Select Disney World Resorts! This will help cut down on the lines in the busy quick service locations during the peak meal period. The only way I wouldn’t use mobile ordering, is if I wanted to stand there and watch someone prepare my food with me picking out options. I’m excited to say that Disney Park’s blog has unveiled that some of the resorts soon to take on mobile ordering are: “Pop Century’s: Everything Pop, The Mara at Animal Kingdom, and Contempo Café at Disney’s Contemporary Resort.”

Can’t wait to try it out!

My family and I frequently stay at Pop Century and we are planning another visit in just a few short months. We will be trying the mobile ordering, more than likely for breakfast, prior to entering the parks. This will help with getting everyone fed and ready in the morning, before embarking on an exciting adventure in the parks.

Disney's Pop Century Resort
Disney’s Pop Century Resort

Have you used Disney’s mobile ordering service? If so, tell us about your likes or dislikes?

Did you know that we have an amazing community of Disney World Fanatics in our Facebook Group – Disney World Questions and Answers?  If you want to hang out with us and thousands of other Disney World Fanatics that are there to get all of your Disney World Vacation questions answered, click here to join our FREE private Facebook Group!

Our Review of Disney’s new Aladdin

My family and I just saw Disney’s live-action remake of Aladdin this afternoon. I know that there has been some controversy surrounding this film since Disney debuted the sneak peek trailer many months ago. A lot of people had a problem with how Will Smith looked as the Genie. The genie is blue, so it’s only certain that the people who re-made this film were going to make the actor blue right? So, I’ve heard people talking about how excited they were, and I heard people say, “It is never going to live up to Robin Williams playing the Genie.”  Here is my take on the film.

My family absolutely loved it. I don’t think that anything or anyone had to “live up to” the animated classic from the 90s, even though it is a remake. My thoughts are that this film brings forth a fresh and rejuvenated take on a classic Disney movie for kids of this generation. The upside is that people like me, a 34-year mother of two, get to re-live their childhood and all the memories of films that I grew up with. I was so excited to take my kids to see this movie. I’ll admit, my family is huge Disney fans, but my kids (who are 9 and 3) have never seen the original Aladdin, so I wasn’t sure how they would take to it. Within the first few minutes of the film, both kids were glued to the screen and were bopping in their chairs to the song “Arabian Nights.”  

The film was wonderfully made with beautiful colors and set decorations of the kingdom of Agrabah. All your favorites are in this film – Aladdin, Jasmine, Abu, the Genie, Jafar, and Raja (although I feel like Raja isn’t highlighted as much as in the animated version). There is also a highlighted focus on Jasmine’s handmaiden and Jasmine’s father, which added elements of humility and humor throughout the film. All the favorite songs are in the film and it stays true to the true story of Aladdin. One of the refreshing things about this film (that kids in today’s world will totally get) were the songs had some definite “Will Smith” vibes to them, especially “You Ain’t Never Had a Friend Like Me” – At one point,  I thought the Fresh Prince was going to make a cameo. My kids, who always dance to a good beat or break down, were b-bopping in their chairs to every song that played. The ending scene is especially fun and energetic.

The actors who play Aladdin and Jasmine did a wonderful job of capturing the innocence of young love, and Jasmine was beautiful. The costumes and jewelry in this movie are very well done, and in every scene that she is in, you cannot take your eyes off her beautiful outfits, jewelry, and makeup.

Jasmine and Aladdin – Credit Disney Movies

As far a Will Smith as the Genie? While it was a little funny seeing him very large (swole- like he’s been lifting) and extremely blue, he did a fantastic job of playing the Genie. There are several times throughout the film that he appears in human form, so you get to see classic Will Smith, against scenes of very blue Will Smith – if you remember the animated feature, he was also very large and very blue – so c’mon people, it’s a make-believe movie, cut it some slack.

The Genie - Credit Disney Movies
The Genie – Credit Disney Movies

My family laughed and smiled throughout the entire film. One thing to note – it was a lengthy Disney film, coming in at 2 hours, and 8 minutes, so make sure everyone visits the bathroom before sitting down to enjoy the film, as you don’t want to miss anything. My 3-year-old got a little antsy about the 1 hour 45 min mark, but hey – she’s 3, right? Other than a potty break for her, we were back in our seats and enjoying the show. It has wonderful music, humor, beautiful colors, and overall whimsical appeal. My opinion, especially if you are a Disney Fan like me – go see it, you’ll be happy that you did.

Did you know that we have an amazing community of Disney World Fanatics in our Facebook Group – Disney World Questions and Answers?  If you want to hang out with us and thousands of other Disney World Fanatics that are there to get all of your Disney World Vacation questions answered, click here to join our FREE private Facebook Group!