Disneyland launches new MaxPass system

    Are you planning a trip to Disneyland before school starts? The Anaheim, California theme park introduced its new $10 MaxPass system for speedier access to major attractions on Wednesday, July 19. The free FastPass system will remain in place at more than a dozen rides in the Disneyland and California Adventure theme parks.

    The free-with-admission FastPass system can cut long wait times on popular rides to about 20 minutes or less when you insert your park ticket into a FastPass machine and return at the designated hour-long time slot printed on the pass. The system takes awhile to understand, from knowing which rides actually offer them to finding FastPass dispensers near the attractions.

    For $10 per day (or $75 per year for annual pass holders), the new MaxPass system lets you download all PhotoPass pictures taken in the park and lets you pre-schedule rides via the free Disneyland app once you’ve entered the park.

    Whether or not you buy MaxPass, all Disneyland visitors should download the free Disneyland app, which gives updated wait times for rides, helps you find hard-to-spot restrooms and gives daily schedules for parades, shows and fireworks and even times and places to find Disney characters. You can also make dining reservations and preview PhotoPass pictures.

    This week, Disney also announced the new Star Wars attraction under construction is called Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge. In the 14-acre land, visitors can pilot the Millennium Falcon on a secret mission or be in the middle of a battle between the First Order and the Resistance. Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge will open in 2019 — first at Disneyland followed by Disney’s Hollywood Studios in Orlando, Florida.

    More tips for visiting Disneyland this summer

    Save on parking by staying at a nearby hotel. “Find a hotel that either has a free shuttle near the (Anaheim) Convention Center or is within in walking distance (to Disneyland) to avoid paying extra for parking,” advises Shana O’Mara, whose Pixie Planner company plans Disney vacations for metro Phoenix families.

    Do some research. Disneyland and neighboring Disney California Adventure can be overwhelming if you don’t have some idea of what you want to ride or see. Disney princess fans should stop by the Fantasy Faire at Royal Hall for (free) princess visits. Fans of this summer’s “Cars 3” movie will love Radiator Springs Racers in DCA’s Cars Land, and Star Wars fans can battle Darth Vader at Jedi Training in Tomorrowland. Disneyland’s nightly fireworks are worth braving the crowds, and for fans of those sisters from Arendelle, the hourlong “Frozen — Live at the Hyperion” show is a must.

    Bring a stroller. If you have younger kids, a stroller is a lifeline for long days and also offers a convenient place for souvenirs and water bottles. (Staying hydrated is important.) Stroller parking is located near every attraction. Decorate yours with something to make it stand out, or you’ll waste valuable time looking for it in a sea of similar wheels.

    Stock up on cheaper souvenirs and necessities. Stores like Dollar Tree are great for affordable Disney-themed kids items from stickers to notebooks, which may help you avoid too many pricey park souvenirs. They’re also great for necessities such as ponchos. “Always pack ponchos, because Southern California can get rainy,” says O’Mara. “They’re also great for water rides — walking around the park in wet clothes for the rest of the day is no good.”