Disneyland MaxPass

If you’re a Disney World fan and have never been to Disneyland, one nuance that may throw you for a loop is the difference in their FastPass system.

You know that if you’re a guest staying on Walt Disney World property that you can begin scheduling your FastPasses up to 60 days in advance! I mean, this is some serious planning involved! You need to know what park you’re going to, on what day, and be ready to book those FastPasses, especially if you plan on riding some of the most popular attractions, like the new Flight of Passage in Pandora at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. If you’re a guest not staying on Disney property, you are able to book your fast passes 30 days in advance, which still takes planning, and you go in knowing that some of the most popular experiences may already be completely booked. Disney World has had the “My Disney Experience” and the Magic Band system in place since 2013, this is not the case at the original – Disneyland.

Despite the success of the “My Disney Experience” and magic bands at Walt Disney World, Disneyland has stuck by the original paper FastPass system, where you have to go to a kiosk, insert your park ticket, and then it spits out a ticket with a return time. Disneyland has stuck to this more traditional experience because of their traffic. While Disneyland is a very busy attraction in Southern California, guests don’t plan for a trip to Disneyland in the same way that they do for a trip to Walt Disney World. Disneyland is a trip that many make in a day, and there are many annual pass holders. These day trippers, and annual pass holders may visit the park on a whim, or decide a week to a month in advance to travel, so booking FastPasses a month, or 2 months in advance just doesn’t make sense.

With that being said, let’s talk about the Disneyland MaxPass that was introduced in June of 2017. MaxPass is different than the WDW “My Disney Experience” in a few ways.

1) There is a cost associated with it. At WDW the MDE is included in your ticket price, Disneyland’s MaxPass is $10 per day per guest.

2) You cannot purchase the MaxPass until you’re in the park with your ticket scanned, where as with MDE as stated earlier you can begin scheduling your FastPasses 30 days in advance for off property guests, and 60 days for on property guests.

3) You are able to schedule one fast pass at a time. MDE allows you to schedule up to 3 FastPasses per day when you initially book.

4) MaxPass includes your PhotoPass photos, as well as the booking the FastPasses on the app. At WDW you’re able to purchase individual shots that are loaded onto your magic band, or you can purchase the Memory Maker plan for an additional $169.00 that includes all of your PhotoPass shots.

5) With MaxPass you can schedule FastPasses between the different parks if you have a park hopper ticket. If you’re at WDW you have to schedule your original 3 FastPasses all in the same park.

Those are some of the biggest differences, here is where it is similar

1) You use an app on your phone while in the park to schedule FastPasses. The app for both parks is very user friendly

2) After you’ve used your first FastPass on the app, you can immediately go in and schedule the next one, much in the same way as scheduling your next FastPass at WDW after using your original 3.

3) The app is very user friendly 😃

Would I recommend MaxPass?

DEFINITELY! To me it was absolutely worth the money. With that being said, there were only two of us, and we were there for one day, so it was only a $20 purchase. For a larger family planning a multi day stay, it would be more expensive, but I would absolutely plan on building it into your budget. It will save you time, and a lot of footsteps from traveling from paper FastPass kiosk to kiosk.

Have you used MaxPass? What do you think?

Planning a trip to WDW or DL? Be sure to contact Ashley at Charming Travels by texting the number above or emailing ashley@charmingtravelsllc.com

She is a Disney expert, and her booking and planning services are free of charge to her clients!


Fun Fact Friday- Take a Walk in the Park Day!

Today is Fun Fact Friday, but also a unique holiday!  Last week was “make up your holiday-day” and today is national- “Take a walk in the park day.”  Now to a “normal” non disney obsessed person… they would probably assume that taking a walk in the park would mean going to the park around the corner, or visiting your nearest national or metro park (we have a ton of GREAT parks near our home.) To this mouskaholic though, the words “Take a Walk in the Park” immediately makes me think DISNEY parks 🙂 . So for fun fact friday today we will look at the mileage involved in walking through each of the Walt Disney World and Disneyland parks.

Magic Kingdom- If you went all the way around the park with minimal doubling back you’re looking at a minimum of walking 1.85 miles.  That does not include the walk to and from the transportation areas, that is simply in the park-

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Walking map of Magic Kingdom park if you were to do a single loop of the park- 1.85 miles

Now Epcot is significantly larger than Magic Kingdom.  Just to walk around the World Showcase Lagoon in itself is 1.2 miles, and when you add Future World in you’re looking at a minimum of 2.64 miles.

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With all of the construction at Hollywood Studios, and it being one of the smaller parks anyway, you’re looking at a much shorter walking distance (again these are just if you were to walk to all the attractions, no going in, waiting in line, no doubling back) . So at Hollywood studios pre-toy story land and pre-Star Wars land you’re looking at approximately a 1.4 mile walk total.

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Your second to longest walk comes in around 2.45 miles at Disney’s Animal Kingdom.  This is the largest park in square mileage at Disney, but luckily to explore some of the areas you get special transportation… like the safari area you need to be in the safari cars, and to get to Rafiki’s planet watch you take a train to get out there.  This has the potential to be a LOT of walking depending on how you’ve planned your day!

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Now let’s head to the park where it all started!  Disneyland in Anaheim California!

Disneyland is physically a smaller park, you’re looking at the same amount of walking at you would at Disney’s Magic Kingdom… 1.85 miles, and that is mostly because Toon Town is a little farther out of the way

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One of my favorite things that makes Disneyland different than WDW is that you can walk in between the two parks, where the WDW property is so spread out, it makes it nearly impossible (you can walk between Epcot and Hollywood Studios).  So let’s take a walk across the esplanade over to Disney’s California Adventure park 🙂

I’m always amazed at how many awesome things they can pack into 1.4 miles, but they’ve definitely managed at DCA 🙂 . Things to keep in mind about walking at Disneyland is the you can walk from your hotel, and you’ll walk through Disney Springs or the main gate to get to either park.  While the parks are a little one the smaller side in comparison to WDW, the walking potential is still quite high.

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While what I mapped above is just a simple route around each park, there is the potential of doing MANY more miles while you’re there.  Make sure you have good walking shoes!  Mr. Mouskaholic and I average around 7-9 miles per day when we go! So who is ready to take a walk in your favorite Disney parks?


Ready to take your own walk in the park?  Be sure to contact Ashley@charmingtravelsllc.com for your FREE no obligation quote!  All of her planning and booking services are 100% free of charge to you!

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Episode 3 is now available on YouTube

Mr. Mouskaholic and I had a blast recording Episode 3 for our YouTube Channel this past week!!!  The episode is now available to watch on YouTube!

Topics include-

  1. Disney News – Pandora opening, “Happily Ever After” at Magic Kingdom, and Miss Adventure Falls at Typhoon Lagoon
  2. Mr. Mouskaholic’s Favorite Ride at Magic Kingdom- Pirates of the Caribbean
  3. Viewer Questions- We respond to a viewer’s question about Guardians of the Galaxy taking over Tower of Terror at Disney’s California Adventure!
  4. Travel Tips- Taking an Uber! (you can also check out my past “Tuesday’s Tip on this subject here)

Don’t forget to check out out on all social media, and subscribe to our YouTube channel to stay up date!




California Here I Come- Day 1in review

Alright, after a long day at work for both my husband and myself we boarded a plan in Ohio and headed to Los Angeles for RunDisney’s Avenger’s Half Marathon Weekend!!!

The first thing that I learned on this trip is that flying after work is exhausting, especially when it is a 7 + hours in the air kind of trip. When I originally planned the trip in my mind it was going to be WAY better to fly out on a Thursday after work so that we could hit the race expo AND enjoy more park time on Friday.  I still think this was the right choice, but eeesh with the 3 hour time difference and waking up at my normal Ohio time, I’m pooped and the day hasn’t even begun.

All flights went smoothly AND we got a fun bonus… as we were eating our dinner waiting for our first flight, a man asked if anyone was flying southwest (which we were) and handed me 4 drink vouchers to use on the plane!!!  SCORE!  What a nice way to start the trip and take the edge off on a long trip!


We got into LAX at 11:20pm California time, so 2:20am Ohio time… LONG day!!!  After getting our bags we were ready to hit the road by 11:45 or so.  When I booked our trip I had purchased round trip transport on the Disneyland Express.  Much to my dismay when our travel documents arrived I realized that our flight was coming in far to late to use this bus service and that it was non-refundable.  Lesson learned.  There are other shuttle services that run 24 hours, but after having so much fun and success with Uber on or Disney World trip we decided well in advance that we would just take Uber to our hotel in Anaheim.

I won’t call using Uber for our hotel ride a mistake per say, BUT at midnight there were absolutely no Uber X drivers at LAX (I don’t know if that was the time of day or if that is standard practice for Uber out here), so we had to take “Uber Select” which is considerably more expensive.  The reason that I won’t call it a mistake, is that after 7+ hours on a plan with VERY little leg room, riding in the back seat of a BMV 7 series with leather interior and dual climate control was a DREAM!!!  But for a nearly 40 minute car ride from LAX to anaheim it was WAY more expensive than I care to admit that I paid for a car ride.

We got checked into the beautiful Best Western Stovall’s Inn around 12:30 pm and hit the hay!  I am excited for Day 2 of our adventure because that’s where the fun is!!!  Day 2 will be in the parks, race expo at the Disneyland Hotel, (hopefully a nap), hanging out with friends that live out here, and a drink at Trader Sam’s Enchanted Tiki Bar!!!  Have a great Friday mouskaholics

30 Day Disney Challenge- Day 26 “Favorite Thing at California Adventure Park”

Confessions of a Mouskaholic's 30 Day Disney Challenge

Confessions of a Mouskaholic’s 30 Day Disney Challenge

California Adventure Park is the second park at Disneyland.  This park is absolutely fantastic with lots to see and do!  My favorite part is hands down “Carsland.”  When you turn the corner you feel as if you’ve stepped right into Radiator Springs.

Radiator Springs

This themed area opened during the summer of 2012 and is home to the popular ride “Radiator Springs Racers” and also my all time favorite Quick Service meal that I’ve ever consumed at “Flo’s V-8” cafe.

I think my favorite detail that I noticed when in Radiator Springs was the traffic light… every third blink really was slower 🙂


Interested in planning your own trip to Disneyland in California?  Be sure to contact Ashley@charmintravelsllc.com for your free quote!  She is experienced with planning trips to Walt Disney World and Disneyland!



Differences between the Disney Parks- Walt Disney World vs. Disneyland

If you have never been to either WDW or DL I suggest reading the entire note… if you’ve been to WDW but never to DL You may want to just skip down to the DL section, as I go rather in depth with each park.

I will be using the following abbreviations in this note

DL- Disneyland Park

CAP- California Adventure Park

WDW- Walt Disney World

MK- Magic Kingdom

AK- Animal Kingdom

HS- Hollywood Studios

EP- Epcot

Theme Parks

WDW is HUGE property that includes 4 theme parks, 2 water parks, ESPN’s wide world of sports, and a HUGE shopping and restaurant district referred to as “Downtown Disney.”  The four theme parks are Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Hollywood Studios, and Animal Kingdom (abbreviations will be used from here forward).  Each park has it’s own flavor and is completely unique.

Magic Kingdom is your family friend park that is a MUST do if you have small children.  There are many characters out and about throughout the park.  There are parades, night shows, and rides.  The rides at MK are fairly slow and kid friendly.  There are a few higher impact rides like Thunder Railroad, Space Mountain, and Splash Mountain that are geared more towards adults and older kids.

MK is also home to Cinderella’s Castle.  You can seen Cinderella’s Castle as soon as you walk in the park and it is absolutely breathtaking.  The castle is basically a walk through however it is also home to a restaurant where you can have a “royal” dining experience and some one on one time with Cinderella at your table.  I believe there also contests where you can win a nights stay in Cinderella’s castle, so I would imagine that would mean there is also a hotel suite in the castle.

MK is also divided into different “lands”- Main Street USA,  Tomorrowland, Fantasyland (which just underwent a HUGE expansion), Adventureland, Frontierland, Liberty Square

MK has a few things that happen at night.  Usually there is a night time parade it alternates between the Spectromagic parade and the Electric light parade.  The last few times I’ve seen it it’s been electric light parade.  The second I believe happens right after the parade.  “Celebrate the Magic” is a musical show that is projected on Cinderella’s Castle.   There are also nightly fireworks called “Wishes” and you’ll be able to see Tinker Bell make her nightly flight from the top of the castle!

Epcot (my FAVORITE park)-  Epcot has two sections.  The front half is Future World and has several pavilions- The Seas, The Land, Innoventions,  Mission Space, Universe of Energy, Imagination and Test Track.   The back half of EP is called the world showcase.  There within about ¾ of a mile you will travel to 11 different countries.  In the countries you can briefly experience the culture of the different countries through the food, beverages, shopping, and rides and videos.  Also a little tid bit- the employees in each country are from that specific country.

While this park is more educational than ride based, there is still plenty to do for the older kids… I would probably wait until the kids are at least 7 or 8 to take them here.  Much younger than that they may be bored (If you’ve taken younger and had a good experience please let me know… I don’t have kids so I’m not definite on this point) If you go you MUST stop at “Soarin” in the land pavilion.  I’ve been to all 6 disney theme parks in the US, and this my absolute favorite ride at any of the parks!

The night time show at EP is called “Illuminations”  This takes place on the lagoon in the center of the world showcase.  It is filled with lasers, lights, and projection.  It’s an exciting show and I would recommend seeing it at least once if you’ve never seen it.

Hollywood Studios- Hollywood studios takes you back to an old time Hollywood feel.  Most of the park is themed for the movies.  You will encounter the muppets in their 3D movie, go to a galaxy far far away with Star Tours, the Twilight Zone with Tower of Terror, Hang out with Aerosmith on the Rockin Roller Coaster, and take a tour of Andy’s Room in Toy Story Midway Mania.   There are a lot of great rides and live shows in this park and you get a good “Hollywood” experience.

The night show at HS is one of my all time favorites called “Fantasmic.”  It takes you on a journey with Mickey and is filled with action, and your favorite charcters.  It features live characters as well as ones projected via lasers and lights.  It is a must see when you are at HS.  It is only on select nights so do your research when planning this trip so you can see it.  There are usually two showings of this show on the nights when it plays, but whatever time you decide to see it get in line early because it will fill up.

Animal Kingdom- The Animal Kingdom is probably my least favorite Disney park, and when I go on a trip to Disney I generally only spend about ½ a day in this park… 5 hours tops.  It is basically a small zoo with mostly African animals and a few rides.  There is a safari where the animals can come up to your safari car which is cool, a coaster called “Expedition Everest,” and some rides for the kiddies in Dino Land, USA.  The live shows are definitely a must at the AK.  I’ve seen the Lion King show there and it is FANTASTIC.  I’ve heard that the Finding Nemo show is also spectacular but I’ve not seen it as of yet (Next time for sure).  There is a daily parade in this park, but no night show as fireworks, lasers, and pyrotechnics would scare the animals.  This park closes early and I recommend getting there when it first opens,  that is when the animals are most active.

Overall  WDW is a trip that could be spread out over a week.  Craig and I have spent as much as 9 days at Disney (not in the parks everyday), and as little as 2 days at Disney.  There is certainly tons to see and do.

Disneyland- The appeal to the Disneyland park for me was the historical nature.  This is the only Disney park where Walt Disney actually set foot after it opened.  (He purchased the property and had ideas for what was going to happen in Florida, at least for MK and EP) but never saw them come to fruition.  DL and the MK are similar in many ways. You will find main street USA, tomorrowland, adventureland, frontierland, and fantasy land.  There is no Liberty square at DL, however you will instead find New Orleans Square, Mickey’s Toon Town and Critter county. New Orleans Square if really neat, and after traveling to New Orleans this summer I think I had a better appreciation for this section of DL.  While it may sound like this park has more areas (because technically it does) I believe it is actually a little smaller.  Because of the limited property area everything is fairly close together.


There are many of the same rides and some different ones as well.  My first observation regarding the rides at DL overall is that many more of them are outdoors and have outdoor waiting areas.  I believe this is due to the fact that it is not as rainy in Southern California as it is in Florida.  At WDW always carry an umbrella because it rains almost everyday… sometimes for only 10 minutes, other times for an hour.  But no worries…most of your wait time is indoors and AIRCONDITIONED!  Even the ride “It’s a Small World” has it entire line outdoors and the ride starts outdoors.  (Which btw Small World has recently been updated at DL and it is kinda cooler that at MK!  The ride now includes different characters from the movies.  It was like a new scavenger hunt looking for the characters and kinda helped me ignore having to listen to the same song for 10 mintues!)

IMG_0608 it's a small world boats - Disneyland Part 4

Rides that are in common with MK- AstroOrbiter (which is not high off the ground like the one at MK), Space Mountain, Small World, Dumbo, The Carousel, Snow White’s Scary Adventure, Flight of Peter Pan, Big Thunder Mountain, Spash mountain, Winnie the Pooh, pirates of the carribean, Haunted Mansion, Jungle Cruise, and Tiki Room.  There are also a few attractions that are at DL that are in common with other WDW parks, like Star Tours (also at HS), Captain EO (also at EP)  and Innoventions (also at EP)

Some rides and attractions that are unique to DL include- The Matterhorn (kinda jerky… not sure that I’d ride it again),  Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride (used to be at  MK but was replaced by Winnie the Pooh), and the Finding Nemo Submarine Ride (Used to be at MK as  20,000 leagues under the sea)

The most noticeable difference as you walk into the park is the Castle.  Cinderella does not reside in southern California.  DL is home to Sleeping Beauty’s castle.  Her castle is MUCH smaller than Cinderella’s.  Perhaps Prince Charming is over compensating for something and Prince Phillip didn’t feel the need to.  You can walk through the castle here but there is no restaurant or hotel suite inside.  After being to MK the castle at DL is less impressive, but still beautiful in it’s own way.

Sleeping Beauty's Castle (left) and Cinderella Castle (right)

Sleeping Beauty Castle (left) and Cinderella Castle (right)

Craig showing us how small the Castle is!

Craig showing us how small the Castle is!

There are night shows at DL that can be seen in parks at WDW.  Fantasmic is featured here, I didn’t get the chance to see it (silly early bed time for race morning!) but I would imagine it is very similar to the one at HS (someone correct me if I’m wrong).  You can also catch the show “The Magic, The Memories, and You” however it is projected on “It’s a Small World” rather than the castle, I’m guess for two reasons… first the castle is pink not white like Cinderella’s, and second again the castle is MUCH smaller.

I will once again bring up the historical nature of this park… in no other Disney park throughout the world can you say that you are walking where Walt Disney himself once walked.  Walt actually had an apartment built for himself above the fire station on main street USA so that he could keep an eye on the park.  For an additional fee you can take a guided tour where you walk in Walt’s foot steps.  On that tour you get to see the apartment where he stayed while in the park.  (I also know some neat tidbits about this too if anyone is interested feel free to message me).

Despite the differences between DL and MK this is the park where the magic began.

Walt Disney in front of Sleeping Beauty's Castle

Walt Disney in front of Sleeping Beauty’s Castle

California Adventure Park- This park is rather new in DL history. (From what I hear it used to be a parking lot for DL) This park is not a bus ride away like at WDW… you can walk straight across a large sidewalk from one park to the other.  Having been to WDW first CAP in my opinion combines my favorite rides and attractions from HS and EP, plus some of course that are unique to CAP.

Let’s start with the cross overs

CAP                                                                         Also at…

Muppet’s 3D                                                              HS

Tower of Terror                                                         HS

Toy Story Midway Mania                                        HS

Soarin’                                                                         EP

These cross overs for me were exciting because these are some of my favorite attractions at WDW.  They are not 100% the same though.  At Toy Story Midway Mania you do not have the illusion of waiting in Andy’s room among his toys,  you’re under a shaded area, but not completely inside while you wait.

Soarin’ is officially called “Soarin’ Over California” at CAP.  The line for this ride at EP is once again completely inside because it is part of “The Land” pavilion.  At EP while you wait it is whimsical and you hear light music that reminds you of flying (I always love it when I hear the music from the Rocketeer).  At CAP when you do get inside as you closer to the ride the theme is based on aviation history.  The music while you wait is more like marches and military music.  The décor is all photos of famous planes built in Califoria and a hall of fame to famous aviators.  The ride itself is completely the same and WONDERFUL J.

I must go on to the sections of CAP that differ from other Disney Parks.  The first is “A Bug’s Land”  this area has rides geared more for younger park goes, but is neat because everything is larger than life and give you the impression that you are the size of a bug.

Paradise Pier gives the feeling of an old school theme park along a boardwalk near the Pacific Ocean.  You travel down a midway as you catch an awesome roller coaster (California Screamin’), a Giant Ferris Wheel, swings, and midway type games (this is also where you will find the afore mentioned Toy Story Midway Mania… makes sense why its called that now, huh?!?)


Now to my two FAVORITE things from CAP, and quite possibly any Disney Park I’ve visited.

Of all of the “lands” at WDW and DL “Carsland” is the newest (just opened in June or July of 2012) and it is certainly my favorite.  I felt immersed in Radiator Springs.  The detail put into this new land is like nothing I’ve ever seen!  All of your favorites from the movie are there… Fillmore’s Organic Fuel, Doc Hudson’s, Flo’s V-8 Café (which was quite possibly the best quick service meal I’ve ever had at Disney!), Luigi’s Casa de Tires, the Cozy Cone Motel, Ramone’s Body Shop, The Curio store… it was all there!)  Even the yellow blinking light that Fillmore says “I’m telling you man, every third blink is slower” is there, and the 3rd blink is slower… yes, I’m the nerd that checked.  The “Radiator Springs” racers ride was incredible.  I thoroughly enjoyed everything in Carsland.  Also if you go during the day awesome, but make sure you check it out at night as well… all of the neon lights look incredible!

Craig and I at Radiator Springs - September 2012

Craig and I at Radiator Springs – September 2012

Last but not least I have a new favorite night show.  Disney’s “World of Color” was a fantastic water show.  It basically takes you on a journey of color with clips from your favorite Disney films.  Lights, pyrotechnics, lasers, color and shooting water… this show has it all!

World of Color

World of Color