I had the glorious chance to go to Orlando, Florida and do the whole amusement parks tour that is routinely done by a lot of tourists. Routinely done, yes but it feels far like a routine. I had the chance to go to Wet N' Wild, Universal Studios (Universal Studios and Islands of Adventures), and Disney World. Now, Disney is the happiest place on Earth and I've always loved to go there and admire how they have everything done to perfection. I attended back in 2013 and a year later today I found out that they've changed some things up for the better and I checked them out.
Latest additions? A Disney app and electronic cards that make everything much easier.
This chance made my trip to Disney much easier and better to control everything that I wanted to see that day, especially the beautiful firework display that Disney beautifully showcases every day. I went to Magic Kingdom and only Magic Kingdom this time though (bit of a bummer since Frozen Anna and Elsa weren't in there but in Epcot and they were whom I was really ecstatic to see). So now, let's see what the app offers, shall we?
It's rather easy entering the magical realm and possibilities of this app. You open the app and it opens into home where you're given the option to sign in if you have an existing account or create one. Perks are that if you don't want to create an account, you can still use the baggage of help this app offers but I highly recommend to create an account and you'll soon see why.
I have an account on this app and it helped me with my visit. It has a fast access bar at the top left so you can access what you're looking for faster than scrolling through everything offered in the home screen.
Here is my profile where you're given the options to update your information, the people with you in this trip, your magic band if you happen to have one (sold around the park), contact information and settings. A really neat trick that I thought this had was the option to choose a profile photo as one of the Disney characters. I choose bold and independent Merida as my choice but switched onto Mulan as you guys will see throughout this post.
Here I am in the Family & Friends section of my profile (see last photo), and as you can see, I have added all the people that were with me during the day to book restaurants and Fast Passes easier than each one of us doing it separately.
The steps for this were really easy. All I did was add their names and information, link their electronic cards with the code they have in the back of the card and ta-da!
You can also add a friend from your profile Family & Friend settings by clicking 'Add New Guest' and filling out their information. It's really easy, which I give props to Disney for with the amount of people that use it, which I'm sure some adults may be technologically slow.
After you're done, your friend will appear and you guys will now be linked and able to reserve places together in one touch of a button. How cool, huh? If a friend happens to ditch you or fly off a roller coaster, whichever it may be, you have the option to take them off your party. (see next photo)
To remove a friend just click on said friend's name, click edit and this screen will show on your phone. Scroll all the way to the bottom and click Remove Friend. They are now not part of your cool gang.
Now, let's see what the app offers. Head to home and next to your profile picture you can check what is available in the park. At the very bottom of the screen, you can click in what park of Disney you are, be it one of the four parks, or the resorts, or the water parks. In the Attraction section, you can see all the Attractions in Magic Kingdom and their current wait time in line. Note that in the attraction It's A Small World, in the bottom right it has a circle with 'FP+', this means that you can reserve a Fast Pass entrance to this ride and skip the line.
To get a Fast Pass for, let's say Space Mountain, click Space Mountain and on the bottom it'll say "Get Fast Pass". Click it and this screen will appear. If you have no new Fast Pass entries done yet, click "Choose New FastPass+ Experiences" but if you already do have some, you can click the step below it and modify your times reserved or rides that you have chosen to another one. If you have any questions, Disney offers help by just clicking the blue "Learn more About Disney FastPass+ Service >" link.
Here, it is very obvious as to what to click (another prop for making this app so easy to use) wether you have your card linked with a Disney Resort hotel reservation or not.
Here you choose who's going with you into the Fast Pass reservations for the ride and this is the other option to add the guests with you other than in your profile's Friends & Family settings.
Here you choose who's going to reserve the fast pass with you and then proceed to choose what park you are in and when to reserve your spots for. Be it tomorrow or a week from now. (As you can see, you can reserve spots for rides a month before you head to Disney in the comfort of your couch, isn't' that amazing?)
Heading on from Attractions, it's Characters! Oh joy! This came in handy with my friend Melissa, who was very excited to meet Tinker Bell. I had no clue where she was and this app saved me glorious time. I told her to hold on while I checked Tinker Bell in the app and got her location and the time she was available. Isn't that great?
Here is Tinkerbell's information but as you can see, the location is Tinker Bell's Magical Nook... Where in the world is that?! Thanks to another great help of this app, you can click on map and surely, a map will open up and show you just where Tinker Bell is. It will also show your location to see where you are and how far away it is that you have to walk to meet Tinker Bell. Neat, huh? There's more.
The next option shows Dining. If you have the Meal Pass included in your package in the visit to Disney, it will give you certain restaurants the pass will work in. As we were checking what restaurant to go into, we checked the app to see which was the closest one to us and what they offered to eat. Saved us a whole lot of running around.
The next section is Restrooms. This may be the simplest thing ever but it saves a lot of time that would be spent looking for them. My friend Sandy owns those metabolisms that are always working and she always has to go to a restroom and clear out her system, so this became very efficient for us to look for a restroom in the nearest place that we were in.
Next section is Entertainment. This was great considering I was really interested in knowing the time and place to see the firework display know in Disney as "Celebrate The Magic." I chose to save this to my plans so that every time I opened the Disney app I was reminded that at such hours I was to go check out this beautiful event.
To add this to your plans is rather easy, you click on the event you want to see and click the "Add To My Plans" button then you choose the time and date and then you choose the people that will go and see said event with you. After doing this, the plan you saved a spot for in your time will pop out in your Home area in the app to remind you every time you open the app.
Now as you can see, the event Celebrate The Magic is now on my plans for 8:45 P.M with me and all my friends, can I get a heck yeah?!
The section after Entertainment is Events & Tours, but since me and my friends were just interested in rides and some of the shows that Magic Kingdom had to offer, we didn't really check these out. Next section, though, came very helpful to me and it's the Guest Services one.
I brought a card with me in this trip to Disney and I was afraid that in a store it wouldn't go through so this part of the app was very helpful in helping me locate the nearest ATM store so I can still have cash with me. It was the last thing I would think to be included in the app but there it was and it came very, very handy to me.
The next section is Shopping and this also came in handy for obvious reasons: I'm a tourist! Being a tourist means that souvenirs must be bought so this was obviously the best help of all. With this app I found the biggest souvenir shop in the park that was in the entrance, so that I could go and shop in it before I left Disney.
The app also has a search option which is very useful if you're looking for something in the parks but don't know where in the app to look for it. Example would be Frozen. I am in love with that movie and going to Disney would mean that I would get to meet Anna and Elsa so I looked them up with this option.
As you can see, it shows you everything in relation with the movie Frozen (no clue why Anna and Elsa aren't in the top search but come in second), they even have Anaheim Produce, that's so cute! Unfortunately, this was all located in Epcot so I didn't have the chance to meet them. Bummer.
The app even has all the hours of the parks so you could know when to go in and at what time to wrap up all your stuff to leave. (Even though sometimes some rides and shows might still be happening until every person on the park leaves.)
It also has the waiting time list of all the attractions from least amount of time waiting in line to the most amount of time which I think is exquisite for people that want to go do stuff but hate waiting in line.
Things that can make the app better: The Disney World app is almost done to perfection but there are only two things that I would've added to the app if given the chance.
1.) When scrolling through the options of Attractions, Shopping, Restaurants, etc. the famous silhouette of Mickey and his ears is at the top, and the option of clicking this icon to go back to home would save time, even if it's 2 seconds. I found myself clicking this button a lot, to go back home instead of scrolling and thought it would be a nice addition to the app. The greatest things in apps are the smallest of details and I think this addition would make an improvement, even if it's a slight one.
2.) Offer an alarm, Disney! I went through the trouble of reserving Fast Passes to the rides I wanted to get on the most and link it with my friends Fast Passes as well just to find out that in the midst of the excitement of being around the park and being in other attractions, we missed two reservations. Now, the reservations show up in your plans in the home page, but I think it would be a greater help to the person if given the choice to put an alarm on your phone ten minutes prior of the reservations you made so that you don't miss them. Disney has to remember that their parks are amazing and full of so many stuff to do and see so the tracking of time can go very well unattended for quite some time so I think the addition of adding an alarm with your reservation would be such a great thing to the app users with reservations that are in wonder with all the park and lose track of time...
Other than that, this app is so user-friendly, easy to use, saves a lot of time, and makes each and every person at Disney's experience much better and much more enjoyable. To anyone who is going to Disney soon or is thinking about it, get this app! Get this app and create an account and have the best time of your life at Disney!!