Updated October 14, 2017
***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
- 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.
- Is a MaxPass FASTPASS different from a Digital FASTPASS? 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.
- How do FASTPASSES work? Via an actual machine near attractions (Digital FASTPASS) or the Disneyland app (MaxPass), you can pull FASTPASSES. Each FASTPASS will allow you to bypass many park guests in the standby line to get on the attraction quicker.
- 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.
- How long does a FASTPASS line take? Most often, it will only take around 10 minutes to board the attraction.
- 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.
- 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. There are a few exceptions, listed below.
- 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.)
- Can I schedule FASTPASSES for the entire day at once? No. Most often, you cannot hold more than one FASTPASS at a time.
- Are there exceptions? Yes. If you have plans to see World of Color at California Adventure, absolutely grab this FASTPASS upon entering. The World of Color FASTPASS gives you priority viewing for the show that arrives much later in the day. (This FASTPASS is distributed to the right of Ariel’s Undersea Adventure.) Holding this pass will not stop you from retrieving other FASTPASSES. The Fantasmic! FASTPASS is another priority seating pass that will not stop you from retrieving other FASTPASSES. (This FASTPASS is distributed along Big Thunder Trail in front of the Golden Horseshoe Saloon.)
- Are there any other exceptions? Kind of. Each FASTPASS you pull – via MaxPass or Digital FASTPASS – will give you a time that you can pull your nextFASTPASS. Pay attention to that time and utilize it to get the most out of your day.
Disneyland FASTPASS Attractions
- Fantasmic! (distributed across from the Golden Horseshoe Saloon) – disconnected – grab this whenever you want!
- Big Thunder Mountain
- Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters
- Haunted Mansion
- Indiana Jones Adventure
- Roger Rabbit’s Car Toon Spin
- Space Mountain – with the Hyperspace Overlay
- Splash Mountain
- Star Tours (distributed next to Buzz Light Year’s distribution point)
- Note: beginning 3.2.2017, Buzz Lightyear’s Astro Blasters is not “disconnected”.
California Adventure FASTPASS Attractions
- World of Color (distributed to the right of Ariel’s Undersea Adventure) – disconnected – grab this whenever you want!
- California Screamin’
- Goofy’s Sky School
- Grizzly River Run
- Radiator Springs Racers (distributed near It’s Tough to Be a Bug)
- Soarin’ Around the World
- Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: BREAKOUT!
- Toy Story Midway Mania (New! As of 4.6.2017)
***What does ‘disconnected’ mean? If a FASTPASS is disconnected, you are permitted to grab another FASTPASS while holding the one that is disconnected. Otherwise, you may only hold one pass at a time.
FASTPASS Details for 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 weakening the guest experience. 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. Disney used to be flexible on this, but they have grown strict with the rules.
- Here is the scoop on the Multiple Attractions FASTPASS: When Splash Mountain didn’t open within its time frame, this Multiple Experiences FASTPASS was automatically loaded into my app. I was across the park, near Jungle Cruise when I realized it. 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.
Digital FASTPASS (Classic FASTPASS) vs MaxPass
When you visit Disneyland Resort, you have two options now for FASTPASSES.
You can choose Digital FASTPASS, which is the free, old school FASTPASS system we have known for years, but only recently is attached 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.
Beginning, 7.19.2017, MaxPass became an optional purchase for all park guests. Disneyland shares lots of info directly on their website at this link.
I was honored to be asked by Disney to partner with them prior to the launch in hopes I could learn the system and effectively explain it to everyone. Let’s see what I know:
The 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.
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.
Watch this video for what MaxPass will look like.
I have tested out MaxPass in both parks with huge success with each attempt. For all the details on my visits – with descriptions on how to best use MaxPass – review these posts:
- 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.
- MaxPass will pop up on your Disneyland app as an optional purchase when you open it. This will happen after you enter the main gate and open the 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, Guest Services Desks at Resort Hotels, Disney Desks at 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. Once you open the app after going through the gates (and having your tickets scanned as entered into the park) a pop up will arrive as soon as you open the app.
- 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 pull. 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 – everyone 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 your 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.
- Select FASTPASSES on the MaxPass portion of the Disneyland app are available during Extra Magic Hour and Magic Morning, just as Classic FASTPASSES were. And just like they were prior to MaxPass launching, not every attraction will be available during EMH/MM.
- You may hold more that one FASTPASS at a time using MaxPass, just as you were able to with the regular system. Look for when your FASTPASS confirmation tells you that you’re eligible to pull your next FASTPASS and take advantage of that. There is no two hour rule. You do not have to wait until you ride the attraction that you pulled that first FASTPASS for. Simply go by the time that Disney provides on your confirmation to know when you can select your next FASTPASS.
- 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.
- If you do break up to ride separate attractions, and have only one device managing MaxPass, a guest within your party may use his or her own app to scan entry into the attraction once the return time arrives. Or, a paper theme park ticket will suffice, too. All of this to say – the barcode that lives on your app is the same that you will find on your theme park ticket or annual pass. It’s all the same code and holds all of the same information.
- 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.
- Fantasmic! and World of Color FASTPASSES will remain on paper.
- All FASTPASSES – pulled at the machine or selected with the MaxPass portion of your app – will come from the same inventory. There isn’t a set number held for one option or the other. MaxPasses and FASTPASSES all come from the same pool of passes.
- PhotoPass is included in your $10 MaxPass purchase. It entitles you to all images from around the park, including attractions and character meals. (No prints, however.) You can easily find this feature on your app by scrolling down below the “See All Plans” portion. I share more on how PhotoPass works, in general, here. 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 MaxPass. So, technically, a group of 12 people could enjoy the perks of PhotoPass by having one person purchase MaxPass.
- 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. You may add the $75 MaxPass onto your account by visiting the gazebo shaped building to the left of City Hall in Disneyland. This building is where guests meet for tours. Cast members are present most of the day to assist with adding the MaxPass option to your annual pass. That line will be much shorter in most cases compared to the ticket booths.
- DAS will continue to work as is and works separately from MaxPass.
- Children age 2 and under do not need MaxPass, as they won’t have a theme park ticket to attach to the app for FASTPASSES.
How to Use MaxPass
Step 1 – Link Your Theme Park Tickets or Annual Pass
(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 and 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:
Step 2 – Buy MaxPass
Since you have your tickets loaded onto your mobile device, 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’s a few second process to purchase MaxPass. You can do this for you and all of the other ticket holders that you added to your device.
Step 3 – Build Your Party
Once you add everyone’s theme park ticket to your device, you’ll be prepared to pull your first FASTPASS via MaxPass. You’ll want to do this for your “party”. It looks like this.
Click “Select All” and that creates 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 (because I added them at some point) to be part of my “party”. Next, pull our first FASTPASS for our party. First, the app will prompt you to choose a park. Yes! You can select an attraction from either park via MaxPass.
Step 4 – Choose Your Park
Whether you’re in Disneyland or DCA, you may pull a FASTPASS from either park.
Step 5 – Pull Your FASTPASS
We selected Disneyland. And, then, our attraction. After browsing, I chose Haunted Mansion:
Step 6 – Redeem Your FASTPASS
When it’s time to board the attraction, you’ll click on “Redeem” and then scan the barcode for each guest in your party.
When it comes time to board the attraction, 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.
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 pull 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.
Digital FASTPASS (or “Classic FASTPASS)
Digital FASTPASS started June 21, 2017 and I was there at opening to figure it out. Check out this video on Facebook that walks you through the process.
Here’s the basic info to know:
+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 ride your attraction, scan your theme park ticket or annual pass. The paper “reminder” pass is just that – a reminder. Your FASTPASS now lives on your theme park ticket or annual pass.
+You’ll scan your ticket two times. Once, as your entering the line. Then, again, as you near boarding the attraction.
- Magic Bands are not used at Disneyland. They may arrive one day in the future, but for now, they do not work at Disneyland.
- You will still walk to retrieve all FASTPASSES. You cannot grab them from your app at this point. You can still have a very successful visit using Digital FASTPASS. Don’t stress if you don’t want to invest in MaxPass.
- Scanners will scan your theme park ticket or annual pass up to 5 minutes prior to your FASTPASS return time.
- If you are wanting to use the FASTPASS system, this is your only option. Every guest will now use Digital FASTPASS. This is free to every park guest.
- Standby lines are available and still work like normal.
- You do not need to use a mobile device at this point. All you need is your theme park ticket or annual pass.
- You are be 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 are using the app, turn your brightness up for quicker scanning.
- You will scan your theme park ticket or annual pass twice just as you did with paper FASTPASSES for most attractionns. You showed it once upon entering the line and then again shortly before boarding the attraction. Same goes for Digitial FASTPASSES. There is a cast member stationed at each scanner. Scanning twice keeps guests from 1) Entering and going through the wrong line and 2) Hopping from the standby line to the FASTPASS line after that first scan at the front of the line.
- Some attractions will only include one scanner. Some will have two.
- 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. Visit a guest relations kiosk to schedule a return time for your next attraction using your annual pass or theme park ticket. The DAS system will work separately from the Digital FASTPASS option on your ticket or pass, allowing you to use both options. (Spoiler alert – any previous DAS guest who used the system when it was (is) tied to your theme park ticket: We were the guinea pigs for this new Digital FASTPASS system – at least the basis of it. Think about how it all works. And, we knew it first. Of course they would choose us!
- 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 should apply to this new system. You still must use your FASTPASS during the block of time given. You will be able to pull your next FASTPASS as soon as the time for your current one arrives (and as the FASTPASS Reminder ticket states). There is no reason you should have to use/scan the first FASTPASS to pull the next. You will be able to pull subsequent FASTPASSES if your timing is 2+ hours out after that 2 hour mark.
- 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!
Here are some images, too:
Arrive at the FASTPASS distribution machines just like before. They’re all in the same places.
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.
And, just like before, 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 can’t think of many reasons why you shouldn’t pull a FASTPASS if it’s available. If there’s a short wait time or you’re leaving the park early and can’t wait for the next available time, go to the Standby Entrance. Otherwise, grab the FASTPASS and plan around it.
And, as with any crowded day at Disneyland, follow these three rules for the best results:
1. Arrive at least 30 minutes before the park opens and have a strategy in place for your day. Take a look at my post on how to start your day.
2. Use FASTPASSES – via MaxPass or old school Digital FASTPASS.
3. Take a break mid-day and return after a few hours.
No need to mingle during the meltdown hours with kids (and parents) falling apart. Go back to your hotel for a swim or a shower and return refreshed for the evening.