Road Trips: The Highs and NO’S!! part 1

This years trip has been full of some great things and some not so great things.

We started out with a little hiccup. We made a pitstop that was in the opposite direction from where we really planned on travelling and turned it into a longer stop than we should have. We had to travel back close to home so we actually went home and started again the next day. Why pay for a place to sleep when we were so close to out own beds. Needless to say the kids were shocked to see us return.  So this was somewhere between a high and NO. It was fun to see the kids faces but I dont think it was one of our best thought out plans.

Ok, hiccup out of the way, we started our trip again on 7/9.

Travelling south down through California on I-5 we made it down to Santa Monica Pier. We parked a couple blocks away in a parking structure and to our surprise it was free to park for 4 hours since it was a week day. Free Parking….High! Keep this in mind when you go because we watched tourists sitting in their cars in the heat to park at the pier and pay too! It was bumper to bumper just to avoid a few blocks. That is a huge NO!

We jumped into our truck after a short walk around. I guess when you live so close to Pier 39 in San Francisco this is not that impressive. I am glad we went since it is the end of Route 66. The meant the beginning of our adventure this year.

Continuing south our next stop was….. yes Disneyland! My all time High of every road trip. Remember this is a no kids road trip so getting to leisurely wander around Mickey’s home is completely different. We have annual passes and that changes the atmosphere too. No rushing, no stress, no worrying about getting on every ride.

This Disneyland High was riding Pirates of the Caribbean. They just updated it changing the brides auction to make it more politically correct. The Redhead is now a pirate instead of being auctioned off. The  “rounder” lady is holding a chicken on the platform now and they are selling the chicken eggs. This part was a new NO in my opinion. The redhead is still the beautiful, strong woman but really, selling chicken eggs to the pirates. NO! They made up for it by changing the tunnel to the cannon fire entrance back to the way the ride used to be. Dead Men Tell No Tales. It made me smile. High!

The Next day we went into the part for just a bit and then started off to find Route 66. This is not an easy task since a lot of Route 66 has been destroyed and lost over the years. Finally getting on the historic route we traveled east towards Arizona.

To be continued


Disneyland Fastpass and the new Maxpass

On our recent trip to Disneyland snd California Adventure we were introduced to a new feature called Maxpass. It’s an option available for purchase which allows you to use your smart phone to book your ride fastpass from anywhere on the property. Actually I found out the app worked even when I was at my hotel over a mile away from the park. I’m curious now what the limitations really are? I do know that if you do not use your ticket to enter Disneyland or California Adventure you will not be able to use this feature. Since you don’t use your ticket to leave this allows you to still book fastpasses, like I did from my hotel. 

I’ll start at the basics for those readers who aren’t as current on the Disney ins and outs. When the lines for favorite tides were becoming too long, Disney introduced a ticketed reservation type system to save you some time. Rather than wait in line for 2 hours or more for rides like Space Mountain or Radiator Springs Racers, you use your admission ticket to come back to the line at a later time. The fastpass line is considerably shorter than the standby line. I always wonder why everyone does not use the fastpass system. I guess some people don’t know how it works or just don’t mind waiting, I loathe waiting in long lines. The fastpass was ingenious. You just walk to the ride you wish to get a fastpass for, insert your ticket and a fastpass would be issued with a time to return. 

Pictured a fastpass kiosk from Ca Adv park

Pictured- old fastpass ticket with return time and barcode 

Rules for the fastpass system and some downsides:

  • Each person needs a fastpass and you have to have each persons admission tickets to get all of your passes. Each person must be in the park you are trying to get the fastpass for. Example. You can’t be in Ca Adv and have a friend run to get your tickets in Disneyland for Space Mt. 
  • you can get a new fastpass every 2 hours or after your fastpass is used. 
  • You cannot have more than one active fastpass for a specific ride at s time
  • Sometimes the fastpasses for the most sought after rides run out. In other words they have a set number of passes and once they are gone they stop issuing anymore that day. (A little hint- late at night the lines tend to be much shorter for those rides, be patient)

The worst part was running around both parks, back and forth to get the fastpasses. It created a lot more walking. Also since the fastpass is a ticket with a barcode you give to the cast member, these passes were transferable. I’ve given tickets to strangers if I was leaving the park. I’ve been given tickets as well. Well you can’t do that anymore. Fastpasses are now directly linked to your admission ticket or annual pass. The paper ticket that comes out at the fastpass kiosk is only a reminder of your return time. No bar code any longer. Keep your ticket or annual pass handy when you get to the fastpass line. 

New fastpass return time reminder, no barcode

When returning during your fastpass reservation time (1 hour window) you will scan your annual pass/park admission ticket. Sometimes st the beginning of the line and then closer to the ride to keep line jumpers from doing the wrong thing I’m guessing. The fastpass is loaded onto your admission ticket. See, no more passing off your fastpasses. I observed people trying to get in line without scanning,  or scanned wrong ride, no pass at all, wrong return time etc, but the cast members are on top of their game. This new process seemed to work really well. Now onto the next phase and advancement in the fastpass world. 


This option is part of the Disneyland App download here, The app allows you to basically manage your entire trip. You must pay to activate it before you can use it. 

The Disneyland app and the MAXPASS option require cellular connection and a smartphone. Hubby refuses to upgrade from his flip phone so he’ll be at my mercy for this time saving convenience. For others who don’t have smartphones or who do not wish to use their cellular data they still can use the kiosk fastpass system which is free. 

MAXPASS is not free. 

MAXPASS requires each ticket holder to pay an additional fee. It is new and at the time of this post it was an additional $10 per person per day. The MAXPASS feature allows you to get your fastpass easily without running around to each kiosk. The same fastpass restrictions apply like the 2 hour wait etc. everything else is exactly the same as using the walk up kiosk. It’s purely the convenience of using your phone to get your fastpass instead of running around between the 2 amusement parks. A time and feet saver. Worth the $20 bucks I spent without question. I’ll forgo the churro and Mickey pretzel to pay for this treat. 

Holy shmoly! This is the greatest advancement since the fastpass itself. I was on the new Guardians of the Galaxy ride, in California Adventure, and reserved my fastpass for The Haunted Mansion without leaving the line. Do you get it? I did not have to walk all the way across the property just to find out I’m going to have to wait 3 more hours before I can get on anyway. This was huge! 

 The MAXPASS also tells you how long the current standby wait is and what time the next fastpass is for. If you are really savy you can plan your day out in a very efficient way. 

We were able to go on 14 rides within 11 hours that day. Granted it was a Tuesday which was a bit lower attendance. However we did not wait longer than 20 minutes per ride. Those 11 hours included ordering our food and eating, riding the train around the park twice, bathroom breaks, and some people watching. We did not rush at all. If you’ve attended Disneyland before you know 14 rides in 11 hours is an amazing feat. 

An additional advantage is all photopass pictures are free to download with your MAXPASS. 

I am certain the fees and the structure of the MAXPASS will change since this is advertised right now as introductory. It will be very interesting to see how Disney rolls the MAXPASS option out completely. 

I can highly recommend making the extra purchase assuming it stays reasonably priced. Experienced Disney addicts like myself will really work it to their advantage but even the novice will benefit greatly. 

Well that just my opinion. I don’t get anything out of sharing my thoughts from Disney or any of their affiliates. 

Again, I’ll be clear that I am not opposed to any offerings which may be available to me. Blogging is fun and all, but if I can get a little something to help with my Disney and travel addiction I will gladly discuss those options with you. Any incentives are greatly welcome. See my contact page if you would like to get in touch. You have to start somewhere and this is my beginning. 

Come join me on my adventure!