In our 21st century world of smart phones and easy access to information you can hardly take a vacation from your devices. And now with the My Magic+ technology that Disney introduced to integrate all of the elements of your vacation it is really necessary to take your smart phone with you in the parks. There are lots of apps that can assist you on your vacation, and I like to put all of my “Disney” apps on one screen so I can easily find them when walking through the parks. Here is a peek at my Disney screen:
10. Travel Apps
These apps will help you as you get to Walt Disney World (and sadly as you return home). If you are flying down you will want to download an app to track your flight status. FlightAware Flight Tracker and TripTracker are both free apps that give you real time flight status reports. Gate Guru is another good app for air travel. This app gives you more information including where to check-in, airport amenities and estimated security wait times. Many people use I-95 as their road to Disney, I-95 Road Conditions and Traffic Cameras or I95 Traffic Conditions are good options for traffic conditions. There is also an I-95 Exit Guide to help you navigate.
The Lines app from TouringPlans.com is a good non-Disney alternative to finding all kinds of information once you are in the parks. Without a subscription you can only access a bit of information, but if you subscribe you get touring plans, crowd calendars and current (and predicted future) wait times. One of my favorite features is the browse and search menus function.
This local Orlando weather app is great—especially if you allow the push notifications. If a thunderstorm is on its way and a warning or watch has been issued it will pop up on your phone to alert you.
There are various versions of this app that you can use depending on your investment. I don’t do it every day of our trip, but some days I like to trace our path and know how far we walked that day. Using your phone’s GPS, MapMyRun will show you where you walked, how far, and other information from your day. Only warning, it can contribute to your phone’s battery running down.
6. Photo Editing Apps
We all take tons of photos on our vacation and in this day and age we are quick to share them on all types of social media (make sure you have those Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. apps loaded too). There are millions of photo editing apps out there, some free, some paid. My current favorites are PicStitch and PicCollage to make collages out of multiple photos. FontCandy or PicLab to add text directly to the photo. RetroCamera is a fun one for retro effects. I also like Camera+ for basic editing.
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5. WDW Dining
Although a paid subscription to Lines gets you the menus, I also like WDW Dining. It gives you all of the parks, resorts, Disney Springs and Waterpark menus. There is a search feature for restaurant or food. I love this when I want something specific and I’m not sure where to find it—it will tell me the closest snack place to get a churro. There is a tab with the numbers you will need for dining reservations at various locations and the ability to call them from the app. You can add restaurants to your dining schedule, and favorite locations too.
4. Sleeping/Waking Apps
These can be helpful wherever you travel. If you have a hard time sleeping in hotels and need “white noise” I like the Rain app that gives you 20 options for different types of rainfall on the free app. And we all need to wake up early at Disney to hit the parks. There are several alarm apps, but I think Wake Up! adds some fun to your Disney vacation since Donald Duck is the alarm—and you can play with him too choosing different costumes and making him react to situations (fun for toddlers while you are getting ready).
3. Weather Apps
In Central Florida you need to stay aware of the weather around you, especially in the summer. In addition to the Fox 35 app (which I really only use for the push notifications) I have a few favorite weather apps. I like MyRadar and Intellicast for their radar, and Intellicast has a nice forecast feature too. RainAware is a great app that I’ve found to be pretty accurate. It will tell you when the rain is coming (like it will rain in 6 minutes) and how long the rain will last. This is good to know to decide if you want to duck into a store and wait it out, or if you need to pack it in and head for cover long term.
These apps are great for keeping you and your children entertained while waiting in line or waiting for dinner. My favorite is the Hidden Mickeys app. It gives you hints (and more) to help you find all of the cleverly hidden Mickey shapes in the parks and resorts. There is also a game you can play with it. WDW Trivia is a good one for waiting times, and the whole family can interact and play together. Other fun ones are Where in WDW? and Ride Counter (where you can keep track of how many times you ride each attraction and even mode of transportation during your vacation).
1. My Disney Experience
With the My Magic+ technology, you really must download this official free app. It will help you keep track of all of your plans including FastPass+, Dining reservations (along with allowing you to make changes to those), Mobile Ordering, Online Check-In, etc. It gives you wait times, character meet and greet locations and more. If you only add one app to your phone for your vacation, this is it.
Since Disney provides free wireless in the parks and resorts it is easier than ever to utilize our phones to help us on our vacations. You can even use a wireless only device to do this. One thing you will notice is that your battery drains quickly—there are charging stations in some areas, but you may want to invest in a good portable charger so you can keep going while you are charging your device. Also—even though these apps are great and helpful, don’t forget to put the phone in your pocket or bag and interact with the people around you.
What is your favorite app for your Disney vacation?