by: LiEr Hanson
When I think of Disneyland, happy images of Cinderella's castle, Mickey, and big smiles gradually fade into long lines and whiny, tired kids. Last October, when our family visited Disneyland, we had just ONE day at the “Happiest Place on Earth”. For a whooping $68 per adult, spending over an hour waiting with young children to enjoy Splash Mountain and the Matterhorn was not our idea of fun.
After some research, we found RideMax – a software that promises “More Magic, Less Wait”. With a little help from RideMax, our three kids went on 25 rides (including all the popular ones) and even managed to catch two shows and some street entertainment with ample time for meals. At 8 o’clock that night, our kids fell asleep in the car on the way home dreaming about all the happy memories from the day.
How to RideMax to the Max
RideMax (www.ridemax.com) is a powerful tool that generates custom itineraries for the Disney parks which minimize waiting times based on 6 years of historical wait time data. You tell the program which rides you would like to visit on a particular date, input your start time and leaving times and even a specific rest period if desired and viola! The program generates a custom itinerary based on the rides chosen and your criteria. The reviews for this product have been overwhelmingly positive. In the 25 rides we were on, our party of 7 (4 adults, 3 kids ages 4, 5 and 8) never waited longer than 25 minutes for the most popular rides and mostly not more than 15.
A 90-day subscription costs $14.95 (at the time of publication) for both Disneyland and Disney California Adventure. A separate subscription of $16.95 is also available for Walt Disney World. One year subscriptions are also available. The cost is a worthwhile investment in reducing your entire family's time in line so you can do more or save by possibly visiting for fewer days. The app is now available as a desktop application, as an app for the iPad or iPhone, and on Andriod devices.
A side benefit for us being first time visitors to Disneyland was having a detailed plan. It took the guesswork out of what to do next which was especially valuable since we had only one day to see the park. RideMax also provides a lot of useful tips that would have required a lot more trawling on the internet to dig up. This is not a tool for families who are frequent visitors or prefer more spontaneity.
Should you decide to invest in a RideMax subscription, here are some tips to make full use of it.
1) List out the rides your family wants
Prioritize these rides into Have Tos, Nice-to-Haves and Take- It-Or-Leave-It. Take note of the height restrictions on some of the wilder rides. Detailed ride reviews of each ride written with the toddlers and pre-schoolers in mind are available at
2) Purchase your tickets in advance
Buying your tickets online or elsewhere eliminates the first line you encounter at the park - ticket purchases.
3) Get to the park as early
Getting families out the door in the morning is quite tough. If you can manage it, your family can be the first in line for a ride. the early mornings are often the quietest. The day we went, we were at the gates 45 minutes before they opened, tickets in hand. Check and see if your ticket gives you access to the Magic Morning. This allows you into the park an hour before the gates open to the public. Currently, Disney Resort guests and the 3, 4, 5 day Park Hopper tickets give you that option.
4) Generate more than one itinerary
Depending on your park arrival time, your itinerary will change. Just in case you arrive late or you get off schedule, you might want to have a handy back-up plan.
5) Family pow-wow
Brief your family, especially the kids about the RideMax strategy. Everyone needs to understand that the plan trades spontaneity for less waiting and more fun.
Note: Realize that the mornings are rather hectic according to the RideMax schedules. If you are more inclined to go-with-the-flow and let things happen, then RideMax may not be for you.
Other useful tips in planning:
• Try to go during the off-peak seasons. The parks are busiest during the summer and the Christmas holidays. Weekends are also busier than the weekdays. For more specifics on busy times of the year, go to http://www.mousesavers.com/dlfaq.html#busy.
• Eating for cheap. My personal philosophy about meals at Disney is that one should pay for an experience, but avoid paying resort prices for refueling. So, one could start the day before arriving at the park with a substantial breakfast, pack some PBJs and fruit for lunch/snack and splurge on a character meal or dinner at the Blue Bayou.
• Other useful websites to check out
For discounts and tips, go to www.mousesavers.com and www.disneymouselinks.com. Mouseplanet (mousepad.mouseplanet.com) is a site with a large and regularly contributing community which also had some useful information.
Put RideMax to the test and avoid all those lines. More Disney. Less Waiting. Happy Kids.
Other Disney Resources On Trekaroo:
Disney Resources Outside Trekaroo:
In addtion to the official Disney websites, there is a myriad of other websites, blogs, books, and apps that give you additional information, tips, tricks, and discounts.