Updated August 8, 2018
***MaxPass launched 7.19.2017. Disney invited me to spend 7.18.2017 in the parks learning hands on with the new system. You can watch a video from that day of what MaxPass will look like here.
The most common complaint I hear about Disneyland is about wait times. No one likes standing in line. And, while we can’t control the crowds at the parks, we can control how we navigate through them.
Utilizing FASTPASSES at Disneyland and California Adventure can make all the difference in your visit. Take a few moments to learn how this works and you’ll be glad you did while you’re at the parks.
In this article
- Basic FASTPASS Info
- FASTPASS Attractions at the Disneyland Resort
- How FASTPASSES Work
- FASTPASS Details for Both Digital FASTPASS and MaxPass
- How to Know When You Can Pull Your Next FASTPASS
- Digital FASTPASS (Classic FASTPASS) vs MaxPass – How They Compare
- How to Use MaxPass
- PhotoPass with MaxPass
- How to Buy MaxPass
- How to Select a FASTPASS using MaxPass
- Digital FASTPASS (or “Classic” FASTPASS)
- How to Use Digital FASTPASS
- Single Rider Lines
- Rider Switch
Basic FASTPASS Info
To board an attraction at the Disneyland Resort, you may use the standby line to wait your turn. Or, you may use a FASTPASS line to shorten your wait time.
In order to enter that FASTPASS line, you must have a FASTPASS.
There are two kinds of FASTPASSES to choose from:
Digital FASTPASSES (Classic FASTPASS) – these are available to every park guest for free
MaxPass FASTPASSES – these are available to every park guest for $10/day per person
Regardless of which option you choose, the basic idea of FASTPASSES is this: A FASTPASS will allow you to avoid the standby line, which is always much longer than the FASTPASS line. You won’t jump ahead to the front and ride immediately, but your wait time will be cut down significantly. Depending on the attraction, a standby line can vary from 5 minutes to 2 or more hours. FASTPASS lines typically take between 5 and 10 minutes.
Before you choose which system is best for you, let’s cover some FASTPASS details that apply to both systems.
FASTPASS Attractions at the Disneyland Resort
The following attractions include FASTPASSES. Most FASTPASS distribution machines are located near each attraction, with a few exceptions. I’ve noted those, below.
- Fantasmic! (distributed across from the Golden Horseshoe Saloon) – disconnected
- Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
- Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters
- Haunted Mansion
- “it’s a small world” (distributed next to Matterhorn)
- Indiana Jones Adventure
- Pirates of the Caribbean (coming soon)
- Roger Rabbit’s Car Toon Spin
- Space Mountain (all the way down near the entrance, to the right)
- Splash Mountain
- Star Tours (distributed in the same distribution location as Buzz Lightyear – pay attention to which machine you’re using to ensure you get the right FASTPASSES)
- World of Color (distributed to the right of Ariel’s Undersea Adventure) – disconnected
- Goofy’s Sky School
- Grizzly River Run
- Radiator Springs Racers (distributed along the path, to the left, en route to RSR – just prior to the entrance of Bug’s Land)
- Soarin’ Around the World
- Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: BREAKOUT!
- Toy Story Midway Mania
***What does ‘disconnected’ mean? If a FASTPASS is disconnected, you are permitted to grab any other FASTPASS while holding the one that is disconnected. Only Fantasmic! and World of Color are disconnected.
How FASTPASSES Work
Here are some frequently asked questions about the FASTPASS system.
- What is a FASTPASS? This is a pass given to you that will allow you to return to certain attractions and “skip” part of the line, shortening your wait time. If you do not use a FASTPASS for an attraction, you will enter the “standby” line.
- Is a FASTPASS selected using MaxPass different from a Digital FASTPASS that I pulled from the distribution machine? Only in how it’s delivered to you. All FASTPASSES are pulled from the same pool of FASTPASSES. They’re all the same FASTPASS – just delivered to you in the way you choose.
- Do I need an app for Digital FASTPASS? What about MaxPass? You only need the app for MaxPass. Find it here.
- When can I pull my second FASTPASS? The FASTPASS you pull – or MaxPass you select – will indicate the time you can pull your next FASTPASS. (More on this here.)
- How long does a FASTPASS line take? Most often, it will only take around 5-10 minutes to board the attraction if you’re using a FASTPASS.
- Can I save my FASTPASS for the next day if I didn’t use it? No. FASTPASSES are only good for the day of issue.
- Do guests using MaxPass get to get in line guests using the Digital FASTPASS system? No. All FASTPASSES are created equal.
- How much do FASTPASSES cost? Nothing! Digital FASTPASSES are included in the cost of your ticket. MaxPass costs $10/day per person. (But, it includes more than FASTPASSES – read below.)
- Where do I find these FASTPASS distribution machines? Most distribution points are located near the entrance of the attraction. I’ve shared a few exceptions, above, where the FASTPASSES for each park are listed.
- Are FASTPASSES distributed during Extra Magic Hour/Magic Morning? Most often at Disneyland, Fantasyland and Tomorrowland are open for EMH/MM and all FASTPASS attractions in those lands should be available. DCA typically has the entire park open with all FASTPASSES available there, too. (None of this is guaranteed and is subject to change.)
FASTPASS Details for Both Digital FASTPASS and MaxPass
- Little ones (ages 2 and under) do not need a FASTPASS for attractions since they were not granted a ticket upon entry to the parks. (They wouldn’t have a ticket to insert for a FASTPASS, nor would they have one to register on the app.)
- FASTPASSES are available on a first-come, first-served basis and they do run out. Start your day early and utilize these passes as often as possible.
- FASTPASSES from the MaxPass and Digital FASTPASS labels all pull from the same group. Meaning, MaxPass doesn’t “hold” any FASTPASSES for its clients, nor does Digital FASTPASS.
- Here’s the scoop, guys: Disney doesn’t want you to stand in line. If you are standing in line, you are working against the positive park experience Disney strives for. So, through MaxPass or Digital FASTPASS, you have options to stay out of line as long as possible.
- The most common attractions from both parks that run out of FASTPASSES are Space Mountain, Star Tours, Splash Mountain, Soarin’, Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: BREAKOUT! and Radiator Springs’ Racers.
- FASTPASSES are not accepted AFTER the time frame on your ticket. You may scan your FASTPASS to enter the attraction up to 5 minutes prior to your return time.
- Here is the scoop on the Multiple Attractions FASTPASS: When you aren’t able to use a FASTPASS within its time frame (due to the attraction being temporarily closed), a Multiple Attractions FASTPASS will be automatically loaded into your app. A cast member does not have to scan it into your app. It will load automatically for any attraction you are holding a FASTPASS for that doesn’t open during its time frame. Multiple Attraction FASTPASSES are good for any time of the day. For Disneyland, you can use this pass at any attraction except for Space Mountain (unless it was Space Mountain that went down) and Peter Pan. For DCA, you can use a Multiple Attractions FASTPASS issued within that park at any attraction except for Radiator Springs Racers and Guardians of the Galaxy. Multiple Attractions FASTPASSES may only be used within the park they’re issued in.
How to Know When You Can Pull Your Next FASTPASS
The more you understand FASTPASSES, the more successful your visit will be. Please keep in mind the following rules that debunk many popular FASTPASS myths:
- There is no 2 hour rule between FASTPASSES.
- You may hold more than one FASTPASS at a time.
- You do not have to complete the attraction you’re holding your current FASTPASS for in order to pull your next one.
To know when you can pull your next FASTPASS (physically at the machines or via MaxPass), find this one simple sentence on any FASTPASS you choose. It’s included on every MaxPass confirmation on the app and it’s printed on every paper FASTPASS Reminder that the machines distribute when you pull your FASTPASS.
In the image below, that sentence circled in lime green tells you when you can grab your next FASTPASS. Some guests set an alarm on their phone to remind them of this time. I do that often. Just be sure your alarm isn’t going to go off in the middle of a quiet attraction like Pirates of the Caribbean! You don’t want to be that guest.
As soon as that time arrives, you are eligible to pull your next FASTPASS. Focusing on these times will ensure you make the most of your day.
(Please pay no attention to my manicure in this image. I do my nails in the carpool lane.)
Digital FASTPASS (Classic FASTPASS) vs MaxPass – How They Compare
Here is a basic comparison:
You can choose Digital FASTPASS, which is the free, old school FASTPASS system we have known for years, but only recently is attached digitally to our theme park tickets.
You can choose MaxPass, which costs $10/day per person, but includes unlimited selections of FASTPASSES from both parks via your mobile device PLUS PhotoPass privileges. That covers any photos you take throughout the entire Disneyland Resort, character meal images, ride photos and more.
Digital FASTPASS – free, no app needed
MaxPass – $10/day per person, use on the Disneyland app
I have detailed each below so that you can decide which is best for your visit.
How to Use MaxPass
MaxPass works within the Disneyland app and allows you to grab a FASTPASS electronically for an attraction, rather than walking across the park to do it. The cost will be $10 per guest, per day.
Simply put, you will select your FASTPASSES on your app throughout the day and then walk to attractions when your return window arrives. You’ll scan your device at least once to enter the attraction. Some attractions require you to scan it twice.
You will be able to add guests onto one app to manage everyone, however, each guest will be required to pay the $10 to use it. With the $10 per day purchase, each guest will receive unlimited PhotoPass privileges, too, including attraction photos.
I have two videos that will help you understand the system better.
Watch this one for an overview of how MaxPass works:
Watch this one to see how to purchase MaxPass and then how to select your first MaxPass:
- You will need the free Disneyland app for MaxPass. Find that here.
- Wifi is now available in the parks for free, but it’s spotty and still developing. Consider a data package if you think you might need it. MaxPass requires you to use your app.
- You may purchase MaxPass prior to arriving, as long as you purchase it as an add-on during the initial purchase of your ticket online at Disneyland.com, at the box office, at Guest Services Desks at Resort Hotels, or at Disney Desks in Good Neighbor Hotels.
- If you purchase tickets from a discounted seller like Get Away Today, no problem. Just have your theme park tickets added to the Disneyland app prior to going through the gates. I explain how to do this, below. Purchasing MaxPass this way takes literally seconds.
- You must enter one of the two Disneyland Resort Parks in order to “activate” or purchase your Maxpass. You may not select a FASTPASS prior to entering the park.
- You may select a FASTPASS from DCA if you’re standing in Disneyland or vice versa. You only have to have entered one park to become eligible to do so.
- To select FASTPASSES for others in your party (meaning, people you add to your app for MaxPass), each of those guests has to have entered the park. Your party can be 2 or 10 people – totally up to you.
- You will build a “party” with those people – all of the people you want included in a FASTPASS selection. It’s easy to do. See photos below.
- After you build your “party”, your party may select an attraction to pull a FASTPASS for. Because you built your party, the app will apply the chosen FASTPASS for the attraction to everyone listed in your party.
- When it comes time to redeem your FASTPASS – or board the attraction – each person in your party must scan his or her barcode. One person can do this for everyone. Because your “party” is built on one app, it’s easy to slide through each person in the party, redeeming each as entered into the desired attraction.
- At any time, you may redeem the FASTPASS that you selected via MaxPass with your theme park ticket. The barcode on your ticket is the same that is added to the app. So, if the person holding the mobile device chooses not to go on the attraction and wants to keep his or her mobile device, anyone or everyone else in the party can simply use their theme park ticket to redeem. Redeeming on the app isn’t an absolute. Some people like to conserve their phone battery by having people use their theme park tickets to redeem FASTPASSES.
- You may cancel a FASTPASS within the MaxPass portion of your app at any time. This can happen for one person in your party or all.
- If you have several people in your party, you can all select your own FASTPASSES. You don’t have to all choose the same attractions. For any FASTPASS selection on MaxPass, you will always start by “building your party”. Add only those guests who want to enjoy the attraction you’re selecting a FASTPASS for.
- You cannot stack MaxPass and Digital FASTPASS expecting to “beat the system”. Again, that barcode is connected to you. So, if you already have a FASTPASS selected with MaxPass and try to go use your annual pass or theme park ticket to pull a FASTPASS at one of the physical FASTPASS kiosks, you will get rejected. The systems work together.
- Your app will automatically adjust its brightness when you go to scan your code when it’s time to board an attraction. No need to drain your battery by keeping it at the highest level at all times. (This is so voodoo magical when you see it.)
- If an attraction breaks down and you are granted a “Multiple Attractions FASTPASS” or “readmission”, your app will automatically store that info as you depart the attraction. A cast member will not have to add that to your app. More on this later in this post.
- Fantasmic! and World of Color FASTPASSES will remain on paper. You may not use MaxPass to select FASTPASSES for either show.
- MaxPass can be added onto Annual Passes for $75 for the duration of your pass. It is free for Signature Plus pass holders. To add the $75 upgrade, guests will need to visit the ticket booths between the two parks. The $75 is NOT prorated for the remainder of your annual pass duration, so those guests with just a month or two before renewing might consider waiting to add it on.
- DAS will continue to work as is and works separately from MaxPass.
PhotoPass with MaxPass
Along with the ability to select FASTPASSES from your app, you’ll receive unlimited digital downloads of all PhotoPass images during the day you purchase MaxPass. This includes character photos, attraction photos, castle photos……and any others you take with a PhotoPass photographer from around the resort. For only $10!
To find the PhotoPass portion on your app, scroll down below the “See All Plans” portion. You will have 45 days from the day you visited to download your photos, just like PhotoPass.
If you want to purchase MaxPass and only use the PhotoPass portion of it, that’s totally fine. Everyone in your group can use the same PhotoPass account. Spend $10 a day and get all the images I mention above. There is no limit to how many people can share that one PhotoPass privilege. Just scan all of your images into the device that purchased MaxPass. So, technically, a group of 12 people could enjoy the perks of PhotoPass by having one person purchase MaxPass for only $10.
Visit this link for how to add your images to the Disneyland app if you purchased MaxPass.
Visit this link for all about character meal images if you purchased MaxPass.
Visit this link for all about attraction images if you purchased MaxPass.
How to Link Your Park Ticket or Annual Pass to the App
(Do this as soon as you have your theme park tickets – ideally before you go through the turn stiles on your first day.)
- Be sure you have the free Disneyland app.
- Be sure you have an account at Disneyland.com.
- Log into the app with your sign in information from your account at Disneyland.com.
- Click on the icon at the bottom of the screen. For me, it’s Snow White, as you can see here:
This screen will appear. Click on “My Tickets”.
When you do, this page will appear. You can add your tickets by clicking the “+” in the top right hand corner. As you can see my daughter’s ticket is linked here. And, if I scrolled to the right where that small purple line is, you would see another family’s member’s ticket. Add as many as you like.
Once you click that “+”, you’ll see this at the top of your screen:
Click on “Link Tickets & Passes” and you’ll find this screen where you can scan the barcode on your ticket or annual pass or enter the number manually:
How to Buy MaxPass
First, be sure you have your ticket or annual pass linked to the Disneyland app. I share how to do that just above this part of the post.
Since you now have your tickets loaded onto your app, scan them to enter the park through the turn stiles. This will confirm that you have entered the park and can now buy, activate and use Maxpass. Yay!
Once you scan your tickets, this next image will pop up, asking you if you want to purchase the product.
If you choose to “get started”, you’ll walk through the few steps that it takes to purchase the product. Since you signed in with your Disneyland.com account – which has a credit card on file already – it literally takes seconds to purchase MaxPass. You can do this for you and all of the other ticket holders that you added to your device.
Watch this video to see how simple it is to purchase MaxPass.
How to Select a FASTPASS using MaxPass
You’re ready! Here is the big moment!
At this point, you:
- Have your ticket or annual pass linked to the Disneyland app.
- Have purchased MaxPass.
(See the info above if you don’t have these two things done.)
Step 1 – Build Your Party So You Can Select Your First FASTPASS via MaxPass
Once you add everyone’s theme park ticket to your device, you’ll be prepared to select your first FASTPASS via MaxPass. You’ll want to do this for your “party”.
Click “Select All” to build your party. You can add everyone on your list, one person, two, etc.
I selected both of these ticket holders – who are attached to my app to be part of my “party”.
Then, the app will prompt you to choose a park. You may select an attraction from either park via MaxPass.
Step 2 – Choose Your Park
Whether you’re in Disneyland or DCA, you may select a FASTPASS from either park.
Just click on the park you want.
Step 3 – Select Your FASTPASS via MaxPass
We selected Disneyland. And, then, our attraction. After browsing, I chose Haunted Mansion:
Step 4 – Redeem Your FASTPASS via MaxPass
When it’s time to board the attraction, you’ll click on “Redeem” and then scan the barcode for each guest in your party.
At this point, every guest’s barcode must be scanned to enter the attraction. This can all be done via the device the party was built on, but each person must be scanned. Flip through the “party” quickly and scan each barcode before boarding the attraction. There are MaxPass machines at every attraction that you will scan at.
(If you do not want to use your device for scanning at the time of redemption, everyone in your party may use his or her theme park ticket. Again, the barcode that lives on your ticket lives on the app. It’s all the same.)
For example, Disneyland Daily was one of 2 in this party (notice “1 of 2” in this image). We found her and scanned her barcode…….and then went on to Jamie to scan hers.
For each FASTPASS you select via MaxPass, you’ll be given a time to pull your next FASTPASS. Take advantage of that and use as many FASTPASSES as you can throughout your day.
Don’t want to worry about your ticket or annual pass since we finally arrived in the digital world? Use can use only the app. Just be sure to bring at least one backup battery for your device. Or, buy a Fuel Rod and live like royalty. I love these convenient little chargers. Find out all about them and where to find them at Disneyland in this post.
Digital FASTPASS (or “Classic” FASTPASS)
Digital FASTPASS started June 21, 2017 and I was there at opening to figure it out.
Watch this video for how the new system works. It isn’t entirely unlike what you knew before when we used strictly paper FASTPASSES, but there are a few changes.
Watch this video that shows me pulling a FASTPASS from the distribution machine, scanning it upon entering the attraction, scanning it again, and then boarding the attraction.
How to Use Digital FASTPASS
To pull a FASTPASS, enter your theme park ticket or annual pass in the FASTPASS machine near the attraction you want to go on. A “Reminder” pass will be issued to you.
When it’s time to board your attraction, scan your theme park ticket or annual pass. The paper “Reminder” pass is just that – a reminder. You may not scan the Reminder to board the attraction. Your FASTPASS now lives on your theme park ticket or annual pass.
You’ll scan your ticket two times in some lines.
- If you are wanting to use the FASTPASS system, this is your only option now. The old system where you pull a FASTPASS and then scan that to enter the attraction does not work anymore. Every guest will now use Digital FASTPASS.
- You do not need to use a mobile device for Digital FASTPASS. All you need is your theme park ticket or annual pass.
- You are able to use the Disneyland app to scan at each machine – if your annual pass or theme park ticket – is connected to it. Utilize this option instead of pulling out your annual pass or theme park ticket at each scanner if you wish.
- Regardless of where you purchase park tickets from, every guest is issued a Disneyland park ticket before entering the park. You will use this ticket to pull FASTPASSES as described in this post. Discounted tickets can be found here.
- Every Disneyland ticket has a barcode to scan at FASTPASS distribution machines. Whether paper or plastic, you will have a barcode to scan. The SoCal City Pass will work just like a park ticket.
- If you are concerned with kids losing their annual passes or park tickets, I recommend purchasing a lanyard and using them all the time. Less fumbling through bags and room for error. Lanyards can be purchased on site if they’re not bought before you arrive. Save money by purchasing at this link. (They’re $10+ in the parks.) Your theme park ticket or annual pass will scan through the plastic sleeve at the end of your lanyard.
- Guests using the DAS system will continue using it as before. The DAS system will work separately from the Digital FASTPASS option.
- Keep your FASTPASS Reminder until it’s time to return to the attraction. If machines go down, you have a backup proof of FASTPASS. You will have the option to recycle your Reminder after you scan your ticket the first time at some attractions. There are containers to take your Reminders right after the first scanner machine.
- The same rules that you know now for FASTPASSES apply to this new system.
- World of Color and Fantasmic! will continue with paper FASTPASSES. They will be pulled as they were before – using your theme park ticket or annual pass – but will not be scanned to enter your viewing section. So, hold onto those!
How Digital FASTPASS Works, in Photos
Arrive at the FASTPASS distribution machines just like before.
Put your theme park ticket or annual pass into the machine and receive a FASTPASS Reminder for when to return to the attraction to use your FASTPASS. This Reminder will only be used to remind you of your return time. You will scan your theme park ticket or annual pass to confirm your FASTPASS.
It looks like this:
Keep your FASTPASS Reminder until it’s time to redeem your FASTPASS. If machines go down, you’ll want that back up.
When it’s time to use your FASTPASS, enter the FASTPASS line and instead of handing your FASTPASS Reminder to a cast member, scan your theme park ticket or annual pass at a machine like this:
After that first scan, you can recycle your FASTPASS Reminder. There’s a container to collect them right after that first scanner machine at most attractions. It looks like this:
Continue on through the line.
At some attractions, there will be a second place to stop. Scan your theme park ticket or annual pass – at a machine just like the first – but much closer to actually boarding the attraction.
And, now you’re done. Enjoy the attraction.
Single Rider Lines
FASTPASSES work well for groups, but if you’re OK with riding separately, consider the Single Rider option. This works well if you have one person in your group who wants to ride and you don’t want to wait the standard time for the attraction. Single riders must meet attraction height requirements and be at least 7 years of age.
*Matterhorn Single Rider line is incorporated into the FASTPASS line for the attraction. Enter there to ride as a Single Rider.
Rider Switch (or Rider Swap or Child Swap) might work for you. Here’s how it works: As you approach the line, let a cast member know you’d like to do a Rider Switch. Everyone (adults and children) will then stand in line together. When it’s your turn, one adult will ride (with or without an eligible child) and the other adult will stay with the remaining child or children. Then, the other adult will receive a pass to return to ride without having to wait in line all over again. This means the eligible child can ride twice!
Since Digital FASTPASS and MaxPass have launched, Rider Switch is no longer on paper and is instead added to your theme park ticket or app, depending on which program you’re using. Up to three guests can have a “Rider Switch Pass” scanned onto their ticket or app.
With the new systems, there is a limit of 3 people per Rider Switch. Also, there is now a 1 hour time period for you to return to use those return passes. And, you may only hold one Rider Switch pass at a time.
Disney explains it here:
To Use Rider Switch:
1. First check with a Cast Member to see if Rider Switch is offered at the attraction you’d like to experience.
2. Upon arriving at the selected attraction, approach the greeting Cast Member with your entire group. Members will be divided into 2 parties—“Party 1” includes those riding the attraction first, while “Party 2” consists of non-riders and their supervising Guests.
3. The supervising Guests of Party 2—which can include a maximum of 3 people— will have their admission media/tickets scanned and must wait in the designated area—usually outside the attraction—while Party 1 waits in line to experience the attraction.
4. After Party 1 experiences the attraction, they’ll assume supervision of the non-riding Guests.
5. The supervising Guests of Party 2 should then return to the appropriate attraction entrance (e.g., FASTPASS queue or attraction exit) to have their admission media/tickets re-scanned by a Cast Member for the Rider Switch entitlement. At this point, Party 2 may enter the appropriate attraction return line and board without waiting in the regular queue.
Note: The #3 in this description above provided by Disney is a bit confusing. I have never seen guests told to wait in a designated area.
Rider Switch is available at these attractions in Disneyland:
Big Thunder Mountain (Frontierland)
Gadget’s Go Coaster (Toontown)
Indiana Jones (Adventureland)
Space Mountain (Tomorrowland)
Splash Mountain (Critter Country)
Star Tours (Tomorrowland)
Rider Switch is available at these attractions in California Adventure:
California Screamin (Paradise Pier)
Goofy’s Sky Skool (Paradise Pier)
Grizzly River Run (Grizzly Peak)
Guardians of the Galaxy – MISSION: Breakout!
Radiator Springs Racers (Cars Land)
Silly Symphony Swings – tandem or single (Paradise Pier)
Soarin’ Around the World (Grizzly Peak)
Tuck and Roll’s Drive ‘Em Buggies (a bug’s land)
***To maximize your day with young children, use FASTPASSES along with Rider Switch. Have each adult grab a *different* FASTPASS and then use Rider Switch on each. You’ll be holding two FASTPASSES at once, essentially, doubling your ability to enjoy attractions.
I spend a lot of time creating, testing and perfecting strategies for each park that will allow you to move in the most efficient manner through each attraction.
Visit this post for how to start your day at each park. A good plan can make all the difference in the success of your day.