On our recent trip to Disneyland, I knew that we were going to use two of Disneyland’s offerings to make it easier for our family: MaxPass and Rider Switch. But when I was doing research, I didn’t find a lot of information about how to use the two congruently in the most effective manner. Now that I’ve used both together during our two-day trip, I’m here to tell you how it works and how to get the most out of using both together.
What is Rider Switch?
Walt Disney wanted families to enjoy Disneyland together. But as the park has grown, and the importance of ride safety has come more to light, not everyone is able to ride the rides at Disneyland due to height restrictions that some rides have.
Since the park still wants everyone to that can ride a ride, be able to ride, and not have to wait in the long lines twice, they have Rider Switch available.
Rider Switch is only available on those rides that have a height restriction, so if your little one doesn’t want to ride a ride like Pirates of the Caribbean, Rider Switch isn’t available because they could still ride that ride if they wanted to.
How Rider Switch works is you get a Rider Switch pass (which acts like a FastPass, that the family member who stays with the kids can use to ride the ride after you have gone and ridden it.
What is MaxPass?
MaxPass is Disneyland’s paid FastPass service that allows you to make your FastPass selections on your phone without having to run to the ride to get your FastPass return time.
It’s different from Walt Disney World’s FastPass+ because you don’t make the selections months or days before your trip. You can only purchase MaxPass once your park ticket has been scanned at the park gate for the day. But luckily, once you’ve been scanned into one park, you can make selections for both parks!
You can change your MaxPasses on the fly, in case you get stuck somewhere and can’t make a MaxPass time that you have scheduled. You also still have to wait to make another MaxPass selection until you’ve either ridden that ride and used up the MaxPass or a designated time. We never waited more than an hour to make another MaxPass selection. And since we could do it on our phone, I didn’t have to run to the ride I wanted to FastPass for.
Another thing that’s great, and remember this for when I explain how to use MaxPass and Rider Switch together, is you can make the MaxPass selection for the whole group, or you can do separate selections for each party in your group! There were times my husband didn’t want to ride a ride and vice versa.
Oh, and one more tip for MaxPass, it includes PhotoPass downloads! So at $10 a day per person, it’s kind of a steal since you can download any and all PhotoPass photos you got for the day! We definitely took advantage of that!
How to use MaxPass and Rider Switch together?
Okay, so first things first, make sure you have the Disneyland App downloaded and that all tickets are linked to your account. You can do this ahead of time, even if you haven’t gone into the parks yet. I found it best to do it ahead of time so I wasn’t scrambling to add them after getting into the account because some of those MaxPass times go fast!
Another thing I recommend doing is adding your credit card to your account beforehand because it makes buying the MaxPass easier (and remember you DO need to buy MaxPass for all members of your party who are going to be using it).
Now that you’ve got that taken care of, you’re in the park, and you’ve bought your MaxPasses, you’re going to make your MaxPass selections. Remember how I said you could make different selections for the members of your party? That’s what you’ll want to do!
So assuming you’re a small party of 2 adults and a young child (or two) who have height restrictions on them for rides, you’ll want to make one MaxPass for one ride, and another MaxPass for another ride. We tried to keep our MaxPass selections near each other if the times were close, but remember you do have an hour timeframe and you’re using the FastPass line so you don’t have to feel like you’re in too much of a hurry.
Once you’re done making your selections and it’s time for you to use your first MaxPass, head for the ride! You can take either the phone that has the Disneyland App with you or you can take your ticket that has the MaxPass loaded on it since the ticket is associated with you and your MaxPass is attached to that ticket, either of them works.
You want to also bring the ticket for the other member of your party that’s staying behind since the Cast Member at the ride will load the Rider Switch ticket onto it.
Okay, so head to the FastPass line, tickets in hand, and give the cast member at the front your ticket or phone first. Once they’ve scanned your ticket, tell them you need a Rider Switch on the other ticket and hand it to them. You should hear a nice little sound that it’s been added.
Head through the line, ride the ride, and meet up with your party afterward!
Give the pass back to the other member of your party. You’ll stay with the kids and they’ll go to the FastPass line and give them their ticket and the Cast Member will scan it like it’s a regular FastPass.
Now you might be thinking, “Wait, you’re using the FastPass line, doesn’t the other person in your party already have a FastPass from using MaxPass? Thus preventing them from getting another one?”
Well, you’re right that they DO have another MaxPass waiting for them to use, but the great thing about Rider Switch passes is they don’t take up another spot for a FastPass! The Rider Switch pass just acts like a FastPass because the guest can use the FastPass line and they also have an hour time limit to use it.
Once you’ve used the MaxPass and Rider Switch for that first ride, head to the second ride (if the return time is already up and available), and repeat the steps! You can also make another MaxPass selection for the ride you just went on.
Now, it may feel like it’s playing the system using both MaxPass and Rider Switch at the same time, but honestly, I didn’t think it gave us an advantage over other guests at the park. While it’s great being able to make two different MaxPass selections at a time, it takes twice as long for both riders to ride each ride. And if you make a MaxPass selection for a ride that the whole family can ride, there’s no Rider Switch to take advantage of either.
While we absolutely loved using both MaxPass and Rider Switch together, we did run into a couple of issues. We had one time where I heard the Rider Switch pass being added to my husband Sean’s pass, but when he went to use it, the Cast Member couldn’t see it as a selection. It was unfortunately for Indiana Jones, which the FastPass line still has a long wait, so we just did a MaxPass selection the next day for my husband.
We also had an issue where we made MaxPass selections for Toy Story Mania, but the ride was down for some time when our MaxPasses were supposed to be used. They automatically switched the MaxPasses to be able to be used at some other select rides at any time during the day. But when I went to use my MaxPass I’d made for Soarin’, the Cast Member used up that MaxPass from Toy Story instead of the one for Soarin’ and didn’t properly add the Rider Switch for my husband to use afterward. I was admittedly a bit shaken up because she wouldn’t let me talk to her about what happened.
Thankfully, we weren’t planning on going back to Toy Story Mania, so Sean used my original Soarin’ MaxPass and we went about our day. But please, if you don’t think something worked right, please calmly ask the Cast Member to check what happened and make sure it was added and used correctly! Not being able to use MaxPass and Rider Switch correctly really can add time to your day that you otherwise might not have.
Hopefully, you’re feeling less overwhelmed now that you understand how to use MaxPass and Rider Switch both together! Using both MaxPass and Rider Switch together can help your vacation go more smoothly so that all of you can have a great time while riding the rides that you want to ride (without feeling left out).
And of course, if you’re wanting to get even more out of your trip to Disneyland, I highly recommend booking through Get Away Today! Use my code TwoGeeks to get $10 off your Southern California vacation package! That would pay for one of your MaxPasses for the day!