For years, United States citizens have dreaded the 15th day of April for years, as the Internal Revenue Service uses the date as the annual deadline for filing income tax returns. But this year, Americans will share those feelings of fear, dread, and angst with Disney World fans across the globe as the Central Florida parks have issued a deadline of their own, effective April 15.
The general public probably never expected to read a news article–or any type of article, for that matter–in which the topics are Disney World and the United States Internal Revenue Service. And to be totally transparent, this writer never thought she’d be writing such a piece. But I also never thought Disney World would make the move it has reportedly made. But here we are.
Guests who’ve visited the Walt Disney World Resort at all over the last few years know that a successful, enjoyable trip to any one of the four theme parks at Disney World is largely impossible without the use of a smartphone. Whether the visit is to Magic Kingdom, EPCOT, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Disney’s Animal Kingdom, or Disney Springs, having a smartphone is a necessity. On the one hand, it’s great because Guests always have a camera at the ready when those unexpected magical moments happen. On the other hand, having to look at a smartphone throughout the day at Disney World can lead to missed magical moments.
But Guests need their phones to book Genie+ and Lightning Lane passes–and to make certain ride reservations. Checking in for dining reservations would be impossible without a smartphone. All of these tasks happen in the My Disney Experience app, which requires a smartphone and a wi-fi connection, the latter of which Disney World is only too happy to provide at no cost. Complimentary wi-fi is one of the best perks to have while visiting a Disney World theme park.
Beginning April 15, Disney World will charge Guests for access to its internet service in the parks. And, like other things inside Disney Parks, they’ve got Guests over a barrel, as so many services and perks in the parks must be accessed via smartphone and My Disney Experience app, and therefore, a wi-fi connection is an absolute must. And as of mid-April 2023, Guests will be charged a minimum of $25 per day for that connection.
And this applies no matter where Guests are located on Disney property, meaning that Guests at any Disney World Resort Hotel, such as Disney’s Riviera Resort, must have a Disney wi-fi connection, as will Guests at either of Disney World’s water parks, Blizzard Beach and Typhoon Lagoon.
Standard wi-fi in the parks will cost Guests $25 per day of access. Guests who prefer a “premium” wi-fi experience will be charged $50 per day of access.
And it’s worth disclosing now: the charges are per Guest, per day–not per traveling party, but not everyone in a group or family will be required to purchase access.
And for Guests thinking they’ll just use their own smartphone hot spots, Disney’s already ahead of you. As the Parks begin to charge for access, they will also begin to throttle the Disney World service for cell providers. In other words, AT&T’s 5G will be virtually useless while Guests are on Disney World property. Disney is also implementing smartphone “jammers” designed to interfere with cellular connections on Disney’s property.
For Guests wondering whether such practices are illegal, the answer is no, Disney’s decision to jam your smartphone’s cellular connection while you’re on the property is not illegal.
And neither is sharing this post on April Fools Day.
But neglecting to tell you that this story is merely an April Fool’s prank would be unkind, so this writer won’t do that.
Now, aren’t you glad to know you won’t have to pay a per day, per-user access fee for Mickey’s wi-fi service in the parks? Me too. But we still have to file our tax returns by April 15, and that, dear friends, is not a joke.