These days, almost every group of people has at least one person with a smart phone and more often than not, these phones go wherever their users go – including a Disney trip.
Many of us use our phones more than we would like to admit and I have heard more than one family in line having an argument about putting the phone away and just being there with everyone else. While it is true that phones can isolate members of your party during your Disney experience, they can also help you to have a more convenient way to plan your day. Instead of you going through all the apps available on your phone and trying to decide, as I did, which sounded like it would be “the best” I figured I would take a little bit of the work out and give you a quick review of the different apps that I have tried over my past couple of trips.
Before I begin reviewing, please note that I own an iPhone 5S and that some of the apps I am reviewing may function differently or not be available on other devices.
Disneyland MouseWait Social Wait Times Free
What I like: By far the most useful feature of this app is the wait time listings for different rides throughout the park. As far as apps go, MouseWait generally has one of the most accurate current wait times listed (probably due to the popularity of the app itself) and will let you know what time of day each ride’s information was last updated. For example, if I was looking at waits at 11:30 it might say “Peter Pan’s Flight, 30 min wait as of 10:57 am”. This helps me to gauge how accurate the listed wait time might be. hey also list wait times for popular eateries in the park like Dole Whips, because if you’ve learned nothing else about me from this blog, you need to know Dole Whips are very important to my trip. Another useful feature, especially for anyone going on a longer trip or with an annual pass, is that it also lists which rides are closed for refurbishment along with the park hours AND crowd index for each park. Astonishingly – the crowd index (which is basically a percentage of how full the park will be) is pretty accurate. Their “lounge” area is also very up-to-date on big events in the park because it constantly has users, who are Disney geeks, chatting and updating. You can be sure you are always up on the latest events happening at Disney!
What I don’t like: Aside from the features listed above, I don’t particularly find any of the other information available to be well-organized or easy to find. Surely, some probably like the layout, but for me it doesn’t really scream “user friendly”. In my opinion, this is one of the less convenient apps in regards to where to find things within the park. And, even though this is one of the more accurate apps for wait times, relies on its users to keep it updated. This might mean that a ride goes several hours without an updated wait time, or that information could be a little misleading if someone inputs an incorrect time.
What I like: This is the only app that is created by Disney that I have found that actually has something to do with the parks. You can tell it is a Disney product from how clean and put together it is. And it’s cute? If you are looking to plan a vacation and have never been, are trying to entertain your children and give them a vacation like experience, or are missing the park this is a cute app. You can play some games relating to certain areas, listen to cute background music, and look at pictures of different rides and attractions. Probably the best for littles or extreme Disney nerds!
What I don’t like: Literally all you do is look at pictures. I understand why the app is popular and it can definitely help curb my Disney withdrawals, but I find it to be kind of a silly use of the space on my phone.
What I like: This is probably my favorite of the apps because it definitely has the most information and one of the best presentations of that information. If you allow it to connect your location it will plop a big arrow wherever you are in the park – definitely great for a newbie. You can also customize what pops up on your park map by choosing from the categories: shops, rides, dining, did it, and itinerary. You can choose up to 4 of these categories to appear on your map at one time. Then, when your map appears you can click on any location and get more information. If you choose to display rides, the current wait time will pop up right there. It makes finding information pretty easy. One of my favorite aspects of this app is when you click on a ride to get more information. The app will give you general ride information, a back story about the ride, height requirement info, what an average wait time for the ride might be, information about whether or not it is a “tummy twister” and so much more. Seriously, it is so cool! You can also create an itinerary in the app and then check off what you have done! You can also get all of this information in a simple list form if the map idea is just too much. One last feature that I really like is that the app has a built-in timer for wait times, so you don’t have to worry about guessing. In addition, this app has a calendar feature giving you important information for your stay, a direct link to buying tickets for other SoCal attractions, and so much more.
What I don’t like: This app can freeze or run slowly occasionally, especially if you decide to open a lot. And, like other apps, it relies on users to update wait times which can lead to incorrect times being posted. In addition, it may take a little playing around with to really see what all you can do with the app, but I was always amazed (in a good way) the more I played around.
Disney Magic Guide
What I like: You can literally search for food items and it will tell you where you can find that food in the park. Maybe that’s just the fat kid inside of me coming out, but it is pretty amazing. No more having to go from place to place searching for a corn dog. Like the Walkee iGuide app, this lets you look at wait times and attractions on a park map so you can get a better idea of where you are going. While you are in the map, you can click on attractions to get a photograph of what the building looks like to make sure you are actually in the right spot, and can turn the map to orient yourself in the park. This app gives you up to 2 months of calendar events, which can help with your planning before you even go on your trip. Also, I LOVE that the creators of this app have free apps which can give you just one feature of this all-inclusive app. For example, there is just an app for wait times from them if that is all you are interested in and it is free. Pretty great to me!
What I don’t like: During my usage this app has crashed more frequently than any other and I don’t know why. This can be frustrating if you are trying to use it in the park. In addition features like the calendar and food portions of the app are wonderful, but aren’t updated frequently enough to always be up-to-date with information and events. This is not really something users can do anything about, so you are kind of left waiting around for those who run the app to update. Lastly, like the other apps, it relies on users to update wait times leading to some inaccurate information.
In conclusion, all of these apps have their pros and cons. You have to decide what is the most important feature for your trip before deciding on which app works for you. For more frequent visitors it might be something simpler, like just downloading the free “Wait Times” app, while for others it may be just taking some time to explore those maps. Whatever the case, there is something that works for each and every Disney fan. Also, I just really wish that Disney would take the time to come out with a Wait Time app that is ran by park employees so that wait times are pretty much guaranteed to be as accurate as possible… Hopefully that is coming in the future!
Happy travels and have a magical day!
– Melissa H.
Categories: Vacation Tips