Who doesn't love Disneyland? Time for you to plan your extraordinary journey into this exceptional retreat.
The Happiest Place on Earth
Going to Disneyland is a truly magical experience. Even as an adult, it makes me feel like I'm in a special place whenever I venture through the main gate. However it is an incredibly popular tourist attraction, and no matter what time of year you visit, you will always encounter one of the most annoying—but avoidable—walls standing between you and your attraction: lines.
Wait times at Disneyland can range from the brisk 5-minute walk-on to the unendurable 2- to 3-hour lines. Fortunately, there are several ways to steer away from these inconveniences, with the most notable one being the infamous Fast-Pass. If you are waiting in a normal standby queue, you will hate it. That's where the Fast-Pass comes in.
You see, Disneyland cast-members (employees) always place the Fast-Pass line at a higher priority, frequently taking more people from this line. This makes it frustrating to wait in standby lines and is one of the many factors that contribute to Disneyland's long wait times.
Disneyland visitors are always trying to find a way to gather the most fast-passes. Luckily, there are several tactics you can combine to, in theory, gain unlimited fast passes in the Disneyland Resort.
What Is a Disneyland Fastpass?
When using a Fast-Pass at Disneyland, it enables you to hop into a separate queue which moves substantially faster than the standby one. When in this line, you can expect to get on any ride in a few minutes.
Fast-Passes are not purchased at Disneyland, unlike a standard theme-park. Instead, every Disneyland visitor is given the ability to obtain them.
By scanning your ticket at Fast-Pass distribution stations located near their respective rides across the park, you can get a Fast-Pass which is able to be redeemed during a certain hour for the ride you chose. The hours printed on your Fast-Pass are the time-frame you are supposed to return to that ride, and it cannot be redeemed if not in between the two times you are given.
Fast-Passes are only distributed in select amounts per hour, and they can run out. This is why we suggest grabbing Fast-Passes for the most popular rides first (most of the time), as distribution can be closed at early times in the day.
MaxPass is an upgrade that you can purchase for your Disneyland ticket for an extra $15 USD per day. Even though you may be trying to save money on your trip, we highly recommend grabbing this upgrade for several reasons. For example, it allows you to get Fast-Passes on your phone, while not in the park. This is the primary reason we suggest you get MaxPass, but it also offers other perks such as the ability to get photos taken by professional photographers stationed throughout the park.
For this guide we will be using MaxPass, and even though you could accomplish everything without it, it will highly increase effectiveness of this strategy.
How to Get Unlimited Fastpasses
Finally, the actual strategy for getting unlimited Fast-Passes in Disneyland.
The way the Fast-Pass system works, is you are only allowed 1 Fast-Pass every 90 minutes (hour and a half). Or alternatively, you can get another Fast-Pass if you got a Fast-Pass with a return time before the 90-minute mark.
As an example, it is currently 1:00 PM. I just got a Fast-Pass for a ride at 2:00 PM. I can get a new Fast-Pass at 2:00 PM because the return time was before the 90-minute mark. (otherwise, I would have been able to get a new one at 2:30 PM). However, there is a minimum of 30 minutes until your next Fast-Pass.
So using this exploit, we introduce Fast-Pass hopping. You see, many rides at Disneyland—even popular rides at select times—you can get a Fast-Pass for and use it almost instantaneously. Allowing you to get a new Fast-Pass in only 30 minutes! Fast-Pass hopping simply involves keeping an eye on Fast-Pass return times, and choosing ones that are within 5–10 minutes.
The 30-minute window then gives you time to walk to the attraction and actually ride it. Usually, this window of time is just enough, but in the odd scenario where you have a few extra minutes, why not get some pictures taken with your new MaxPass?
The unanswered question here is: "How will I get Fast-Passes for the popular rides while also Fast-Pass hopping?" The answer is, save all of the popular rides to the last minute. This is fine if you are staying late at the park, however even if you weren't planning on it, it is almost imperative you do. Visiting the park at night offers a completely separate experience than the day, and allows for you to view the spectacular lighting and shows that take place during the evening (and shorter wait times!). Another benefit we found from visiting the park later in the day was it enabled us to avoid the gruesome heat waves on the hot summer days in Anaheim.
Other Fast-Pass Tips
We have decided to come up with some other Fast-Pass tips to help you get the most out of your trip:
- Try to keep Fast-Passes with times close to each other within the same park. This can save you walking and the unfortunate feeling of missing one.
- Attend the park at early and late hours. The wait times are much shorter during these times, and this allows you to pick up Fast-Passes for popular rides later in the day, so you can Fast-Pass hop during busy hours.
- While outside of the park during the day, frequently check the Disneyland app and book fast-passes while eating lunch or dinner with MaxPass.
That Sums It Up!
Thank you for reading our guide to getting unlimited Fast-Passes. Please let us know what you thought in the comments!
I hope our tips will improve your next trip!
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
Questions & Answers
Question: Can you purchase MaxPass when you get to Disneyland after you purchase your tickets?
Answer: Yes! They can be purchased from the Disneyland app anytime.
Question: Arriving in March to Disneyland, do I have to wait until I activate my ticket to purchase MaxPass?
Answer: It depends. If you've already purchased your tickets, then you must enter the park and activate them before MaxPass can be loaded onto your ticket. However, if you haven't purchased them yet, you can purchase tickets with MaxPass pre-loaded on them.
© 2019 Jeremy Carefoot
Liz Westwood from UK on July 29, 2019:
This is a helpful and detailed guide for anyone planning a Disney trip.