I don’t know how many of you out there have been tapping the power of your smartphones for Disney use but I am guessing the numbers are pretty high. This spring and summer as I prepared for my recent visit to Walt Disney World I began to search the App Market (Applications) for products that might help or enhance my vacation. I have an Android powered phone and we can debate which platform is the best, iPhone vs. Android, but that is not my intention in this post. I did however come across several apps that claimed to aid you in the determination of wait times in the various parks. I know from past experience how frustrating it can be to walk across a park for your favorite ride only to discover that they wait time is extremely long or go looking for a FastPass that is no where to be found. I settled on an app from TouringPlans.com that uses not only a long history of park visits to determine wait times but also utilizes real time user updates to wait times. This combination of resources seemed to me to be a solid way to determine the usefulness of the application.
Not all applications seemed to me to have a basis for wait times other than users in the parks signing in and posting wait times they see or experience. This obviously can be effective but if the application did not have many users or people in the parks then the times posted were relatively useless. I also found that there were in many apps where no updates would be made for sometime and so that did not interest me. The Wait Times app in the Android Market I found was not only user updated but also was updated by TouringPlans.com employees of the company that were in the parks. When I entered the park you would open the app and the screen showing the parks would appear and show their hours for the day as well as extra magic hours each park may have. When you pick your park you then see a list of all the rides, shows, and character wait times. Each ride displays the information of wait time as well as the FastPass time that it is currently distributing. This was extremely helpful for me as in many cases this determined what ride I would even attempt to get in line for. I was glad to find that in most cases the time listed in the app was correct and if incorrect if was only off by a few minutes. The app showed when the various parades, music shows and firework displays would be showing. This allowed us to not only determine what route to take but also to make sure we did not miss shows we really wanted to see. Now I know the times guide also displays the show times but the app is more convenient and much easier to access.
Another part of the app that I enjoyed was posting the times for myself. When you selected a ride or show it gave the you the option to post the wait time you see or to start a timer and post the time when you reached the front of the line. The more posts you made the rewards you earned. This was a great way to pass the time while in line and the app also provided a chat option where you could chat with people in and out of the park. In the end the most important thing that you want from any of these apps is the that they are as accurate as possible and easy to interface with. The more I used the app (I did the entire trip) the more confidence I gained that in 9 out of 10 cases the times listed were completely accurate. I would personally recommend this app to any traveler to Walt Disney World and they even have an app for Disneyland as well. The resource this can certainly save you some time and frustration for those who are in the parks. I hope this was helpful and would love to hear of any other apps of this nature that you have used and why you found them to useful. Also I failed to mention that the app was free so find one that works for you and have a great time on your next vacation.