Disneyland just rolled out their new MaxPass system and while some details are still yet to be released, it seems like a good time to talk about all the FastPasses you should avoid. Not all fastpasses are created equal and often times there’s a better way to get in and out of all the rides on your to-do list. And then there are some lines that are part of the experience and can’t be missed! The new MaxPass system is a great addition to the FastPass program as it allows you to eliminate a lot of extra walking or the need to have a group runner. But any system is only as useful as the user is knowledgeable, so let’s take a look at all the FastPass or MaxPasses you should avoid!
Let’s start off with a list of the FP’s that are available at Disneyland, these are:
• Big Thunder Mountain
• Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters
• Haunted Mansion
• Indiana Jones Adventure
• Jungle Cruise
• Roger Rabbit’s Car Toon Spin
• Space Mountain
• Splash Mountain
• Star Tours
Rides with Short Lines
You probably don’t want to go on any of these anyway, right? No? oh…. Ok, well first let’s knock out the rides that rarely even have lines, there’s 4 of them. Can you guess which they are? Haunted Mansion, Roger Rabbit’s Cartoon Spin, Jungle Cruise, and Buzz Lightyear’s Astro Blasters.
First off, Haunted Mansion’s FastPass is only open seasonally when the Nightmare Before Christmas Overlay is in place. True the line can get catastrophically long during the last few months of the year, but even then it’s pretty quick due to the conveyor like track.
The line for Buzz Lightyear’s Astro Blasters moves really quick too, and I’ve never seen the wait longer than 20 minutes. It takes longer than that to get a corn dog sometimes! Roger Rabbit and Jungle Cruise are the same case, the lineis usually short and moves fast.
Rides with Single Rider Option
Next let’s talk about the Single Rider Strategy. There are a lot of rides with large vehicles that aren’t easily filled by one family alone. Rather than leaving empty seats and allowing the standby line to stack up, Disney introduced the single rider line. SR is not available on all rides, and it’s utility really depends on your party’s needs. If you are visiting with small children, this may not be the best bet. I also would shy away from recommending this to first timers. Whenever I take someone new to DLR I like to ride everything together once. After that, things get crazy and we’ll hit all the SR we can. Keep in mind if several people from your party use the SR line they may not ride together. If you do end up in the same car, you almost certainly won’t be sitting together.
Matterhorn, Splash Mountain, and Indiana Jones all have single rider lines. Using the SR you can easily walk onto to these rides in a matter of minutes. My cousin and I visited together a few years back and she had ZERO intention of riding Splash Mountain, so I discovered the SR line. It’s been a secret until now but I rode 3 times in a row within 20 minutes, and she never knew. Sorry Cuz! 🙂
There are some ride queues that look like they were never designed to hold the millions of people that pass through them each year, and as a result have expanded into areas of unbearable misery. Space Mountain is one of the worst offenders. With a line that easily topples 60 minutes every day and leaves you standing on the roof of a building in the boiling mid-day heat, this is one to avoid at all costs. However, there are others that seem like a walk in the park in comparison.
The majority of the Star Tours queue is housed inside the ride’s main building, which is pumped with AC. That’s a line I can wait in all day! My recommendation here is to grab a snack and enjoy the break. Big Thunder Mountain isn’t quite as plush, but it does offer a LOT of shade and the occasional splash of water from the end of the ride.
• World of Color
• California Screamin’
• Goofy’s Sky School
• Grizzly River Run
• Soarin Around the World
• Guardians of the Galaxy
• Toy Story Midway Mania
Single Rider Lines
California Adventures was built much later than Disneyland which gave the builders insight into the volume of visitors each year and thus what was needed to manage it all. Both the FastPass and Single Rider systems were carried over into the new park, and are essential to getting everything done in a day. Let’s narrow down the FP choices here.
California Screamin’ is one of the worst rides to use a FP on. Not only is the standby line seldom longer than 30 minutes, the Single Rider line is rarely more than 5. Now, the SR for this ride has grown in popularity as more people learn about it – which I’m not really helping with right now. Hmm, maybe I should re-think this “sharing my knowledge” thing… ANYWAY, don’t waste a FP on this
I’m kind of surprised by the lines that I’ve witnessed at Goofy’s Sky School. When CA first opened this was one of the least popular rides, a walk-on at nearly any point in the day. Lately though, it can stack up pretty quickly and 45 minute+ wait times are not uncommon. The SR line for this brings back the ability to walk-on and hurry off. Even though the vehicles only hold four people each, it’s not uncommon to see a family of 3 or 5 and then they’ll need some SRs to fill the rest. This is one of my favorite rides and I love that it’s a quick and easy item to check off the to-do list.
If you thought waiting in line at Space Mountain was terrible, I bring you Grizzly River Run. This ride is a great way to beat the summer heat, except you’ll be forced to stand in line for 2+ hours in said summer heat first. Fun. While the SR line for this can get a little longer during the summer months, its still usually 15 minutes or less – most of which is in the shade. Also, the ride vehicles are circular and seat 8 so it’s REALLY common to end up riding with at least 1 other member from your party.
Soarin’ has the longest SR line of all rides in both parks, but compared to the standby line it’s still a breeze. The ride vehicles for this are a little unconventional and can seat a ton of people at once, because of this the seats left empty by one party are usually filled by another. That causes the SR line to back up a bit, but the longest I’ve seen is 20 minutes.
So What DO You Use FastPasses For!?
I know, it probably seems like I’ve knocked out every FastPass. And it’s true that most of the FP rides have alternatives that work just as well or sometimes better. The rides below however are the ugly few that are unbeatable when it comes to work arounds. Here are they are in order of priority
• Toy Story Midway Mania ( CA)
• Space Mountain (DL)
• Guardians of the Galaxy (CA)
These rides offer no SR lines and can rack up wait times in excess of 3 hours. Midway Mania and Space Mountain take precedence over Guardians, which might be a bit surprising sine GoG is brand new and one of the most popular rides right now. However, GOG is much closer to the entrance of the park and thus easier to get to as a rope drop ride if needed. Both Midway Mania and Space Mountain are pretty well hidden in the back of their respective parks, so the FPs are considerably more valuable.