With so many things to see and do, planning a visit to Walt Disney World can overwhelm even the bravest soul. From making FastPass+ selections to just finding the bathrooms, sometimes you need a little help navigating the Most Magical Place on Earth.
As the old commercial said, “There’s an app for that.” Actually, there are three apps for that. And they’re sure to help you experience the fun of a Walt Disney World trip without feeling as panicked as Cinderella at midnight.
My Disney Experience – The Park Planner in Your Pocket
First things first: Let’s get your My Disney Experience account up and running. You’ll need it to unlock the functionality of the apps.
Go to disneyworld.com and click on “My Disney Experience.” If you don’t already have one, create a free account. Next, download the My Disney Experience mobile app from the App Store or Google Play, sign in using the account you created, and uh…fly!
Now let’s get planning! There are lots of things you can do in the My Disney Experience app before you even set foot in the parks.
- Buy park tickets
- Link Friends & Family to schedule shared activities
- Make FastPass+ selections
- Make dining reservations
- Check out park maps and get driving directions
That looks like a plan! And don’t worry if you need to make changes. You can always modify your plans on-the-go in the app.
Once you’ve arrived at the parks, the My Disney Experience app becomes a navigation tool in addition to keeping your plans organized.
- GPS-enabled maps with walking directions (never wonder where the nearest restroom is again!)
- Up-to-the-minute attraction wait times
- Park hours and showtimes so you never miss the 3:00 parade
- Say “cheese” and view your Disney PhotoPass Photos
Plus, there are a couple of new features that will save you a ton of time:
– Mobile ordering at select quick-service dining spots lets you place your lunch order in the app, pick it up at the counter and chow down. No more waiting in long lines to order and pay.
– If you’re staying at a Walt Disney World Resort hotel, you can now see bus arrival and departure times in the My Disney Experience app. Did I say game-changer? This new feature is it! If you’ve ever had to run for a bus before it pulls away from your hotel for the parks, you know why.
Play Disney Parks Makes Waiting in Line Fun
Long lines for attractions at Walt Disney World are just part of the deal. The new Play Disney Parks app turns the wait into part of your experience – and it really is fun.
The app is chock-full of activities and games that are park-specific. For instance, while you’re waiting to ride Space Mountain, you can play a number of hilarious games that help you “upgrade” a virtual spaceship that you can then race against other guests in line. Plus, codes posted around the queue give your ship additional boosts. My son and I had a blast playing this one.
Another fun feature of the Play Disney Parks app is the music playlists. From Disney movie songs to park background music to attraction theme songs, there’s a plethora of tunes to make your drive to Disney even more fun. (You’ll need a subscription to Apple Music to play the full songs.)
Find the Perfect Souvenirs with the Shop Disney Parks app
Looking for a set of mouse ears that you saw someone sporting on Instagram? Fire up the Shop Disney Parks app and search for an item, and you’ll be able to see exactly which stores in the parks and/or resorts have it. Then be sure to go grab it before the ‘grammers buy them all up.
If you meant to pick up that perfect piece of merch but didn’t have a chance, “Hakuna matata,” as my friends Timon and Pumbaa would say. You can order anything in stock directly from the app once you get home, and relive the magic of your Walt Disney World visit.
Kathy Karalekas is a past Panelist on the Disney Parks Moms Panel, an online forum where guests can have their Disney vacation planning questions answered by a group of everyday moms and dads who are seasoned Disney travelers. Currently, Kathy is a contributing writer for the Tampa Bay Moms Blog and appears on MouseLife, a Disney-fan podcast. She’s also a frequent visitor to Walt Disney World with her husband and 8-year-old son.