Thursday, May 24, 2012

Disney Smartphone Apps

After many trips to Disney throughout my life, it was only the most recent trip that I took where I was able to approach the park as a modern tourist with a smartphone.  I had been to Walt Disney World and Disneyland and witnessed the phenomenon but I had never been able to participate.  I had very mixed feelings about whether the use of a smartphone would be worth using while in the park or something that would be a true distraction. 

My children who were four and six at the time had been intrigued by the use of the phone on a previous trip to a town that had an outdoor sculpture festival.  Each work of art had a plaque in front of it naming the work of art and a QR code.  The kids were able to scan the QR code with the phone and learn more about the artwork and artist.  This was a great way to spend an afternoon with two young children.  I think that it was the idea of scanning the information rather than the information itself that provided the entertainment.

Anyone who has been to Walt Disney World or Disneyland would know that a four and a six year old do not need any additional methods to find entertainment anywhere on property.  For the most part, we moved through the parks in the same manner that I had traditionally used even with a phone.  There would be different points while in the park that we needed to determine a general direction and we would use a wait time application for the phone. 

I tried several different applications while in Walt Disney World to compare the features.  I did like the idea of being able to check the menus at the counter service restaurants.  I have found that the choices really vary from place to place and each only offers about four to six adult options and two to three children’s options.  When travelling with a picky child, this feature does save the time of walking to a counter service that doesn’t have something of interest. 

The map features would be helpful to someone new to the park.  The ride wait times were only as accurate as the users of the app were.  If it was updated regularly it was much more helpful.  This is where I found the applications that I had heard of before travelling particularly helpful.  I think that many of the features were helpful overall but it is important to put down the phone and make memories.

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