Gone are the days where you could be tech free at a Disney Park. I know that going on vacation is often a place to unplug and take a break from tech, but there is a place for it in the parks (within reason). Disney has put in some pretty awesome new tech to help make life easier. From Mobile Ordering to Genie+, we’ve got you covered! Now, that being said, I did find that I had to make a couple of mistakes along the way. Never fear! Keep reading so that you don’t make the same mistakes that I did!
One of my goals this trip was to see how well I could navigate in the parks without a Cell plan or data. We’re Canadian, and sure, there may be plans where you can pay a little extra to use your phone in the States, but I wanted to see save the money.
There was WiFi all throughout the parks themselves, as well as in most of Downtown Disney. In my day to day I use WhatsApp, which really paid off, because I was able to text family at home (when on W-iFi) and stay in contact with my husband and family at home.
The Wi-Fi was strong enough to be able to accept phone calls through Messenger or WhatsApp, and was more than enough for what I needed throughout the day. I would not pay extra for roaming based on my experience. Sure, I didn’t have service when I was walking to the parks, but had it been an emergency, I could have flipped off Airplane mode pretty fast.
Note that you do need to sign in to the Wi-Fi about once a day. If you’re finding that it isn’t working, you may just need to return to your settings and accept their terms and conditions again. I did find that once I did that, I was good for the day. I received notifications when our food window had arrived, or messages from various apps no problem.
With the addition of Genie+ and the need to use it for your phone, there are times (or sections of the Park) where the signal isn’t as strong. If you do have a cell plan already, skip the Wi-Fi completely to make room for those that need it!
The Disneyland app is an absolute must-have. Prior to leaving, load up your app with your tickets. When I was a senior in high school, we came to Disneyland with the band. We had had a performance and a workshop, so I had my ticket in my back pocket of my uniform. However, when I changed, I’d left it in my pocket. I was denied entrance without my ticket and only a hand stamp to DCA. So I ran back to the hotel with a friend, but in my frenzy, I missed finding my ticket. I remember sitting outside DCA waiting for my friends to return with my McDonalds for dinner.
With the app, you don’t have to worry about losing your ticket. They’re all right there, in all of their digital glory. Note that you also need to have a payment connected to the app in order to use the Mobile Food Ordering feature.
This may have been my very favourite new feature. I heart online ordering food. However, there were a couple things to note.
Firstly, watch out for the stores that are online ordering only. This means that you cannot order at the window. This includes Edelweiss snacks, the Milk Stand in Galaxy’s Edge, Pacific Wharf Distribution Co. and the Red Rose Tavern. Here is a list of restaurants that are available for mobile ordering.
Another thing to note is that when you order, you order in a time window. I know it’s difficult, but think about eating BEFORE you’re starving. If you typically eat lunch around noon, look at the app at about 11:30 (or even earlier than that! You can order Dinner in the morning, for instance). You can pick thirty minute windows, but if it’s a busy time, the restaurant where you may want to eat may not have a time for another 45 minutes. Now, if they have a window to order at, never fear, order at the window. However, like I mentioned, some restaurants don’t have the option.
Moving your wait time
The other nice thing is that you can move your window. Obviously there is a point of no return, but if you’re before that line, you can adjust your pick up time. So for example, we were in line for a ride that ended up being shorter than we were expecting. I was able to move up my pick up time so that it was after the ride. You do have to be at the food location and say “I’m here” for them to start making your food. So make sure you know where you’re ordering so that you aren’t volunteering someone in your party to hoof it across the parks so that they can start making your food.
Remember that loooooooong dole whip line up that would stretch from the Tiki room allll the way through Adventureland? Thing of the past. Dole Whip can be mobile ordered! We mobile ordered our treat, and received it before the people standing in line (sorry, not sorry).
The Genie Pass is Disney’s new system that has replaced the Fastpass system. There is a lot to it, so go ahead and read our blog post here if you’d like more details. Everything you need to know about using Genie+ can be found in that guide.
Essentially, its purpose is to help direct you around the park. It will make suggestions based on where you are, and what other ride times are like. You are also able to purchase “Lightning Passes” (read: shorter line ups) per ride, or for the whole day.
Must have Apps
There are a few apps that are a great idea to have loaded on your phone for those long mid-day line ups. Heads Up is a great game that most kids can play. It’s pretty easy to move through the line while playing. There is a Disney deck, but you have to pay extra.
The Disneyland App is an obvious one, for the above mentioned reasons. Another helpful feature is that you can also see ride wait times in the app, which can be really helpful to inform where your next ride is.
If you’re still into Pokemon Go (guilty) there are tons of gyms and pokestops around the park to keep you occupied while in line, and hatch a few eggs while walking those 28K steps a day!
Bring a portable charger with you. Park days are long, and mobile ordering is convenient. A charger helps bring peace of mind that you can keep snapping those photos and ordering that coffee without worrying that you’ll be out of juice by the end of the day. You also don’t want it to die when you are needing to access your tickets or something else equally important. We like one like this with multiple ports for charging. If you forget, they do have rentable portable chargers at stations throughout the park for a fee so that you aren’t left stranded.
Thanks for coming to my Tech Talk!
Have a magical day,
Elisia ,Erica, and Danielle
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