Wednesday, February 29, 2012

100. Disney Mobile Magic

I have been away on vacation so it has been several weeks since my last "modern technology" posting. Also, this being my 100th article, I decided to feature a significant app put out by Disney Parks themselves. There are many great mobile phone apps available related to Walt Disney World. I have reviewed many of them here on this blog. You can find everything from wait times, to attraction descriptions, to dining information across several different phone platforms. As great as some of these apps are, most of them are "unofficial" and are not affiliated with the Disney Company. However, Disney has thrown its hat into the smartphone arena and has created a very useful tool for your handheld device.

Disney Mobile Magic is the "official" Disney Parks app. Although it was just released last week, it really isn't fair to say that it is new. There was an earlier version available to Verizon customers on a limited number of cell phone models, including Androids. This new version was created for the iPhone, and is now available to all iPhone and Android users. However, due to its partnership with Verizon, customers of that provider have access to some premium videos and games within the app.

So, what does Disney Mobile Magic offer to us smartphone users? Simply put, it provides us with "official" Disney parks information at our fingertips. First and foremost, it gives us official attraction wait times and FASTPASS return times that come from the same system that provides this information in the parks. This is an amazing advantage over other wait time apps. Although many third party apps give accurate info, they rely on historical data and "user reported" times from within the parks. For this reason, other apps can only give estimated wait times. One interesting note about Disney Mobile Magic is that to get the specific times, you need to physically be in that park (verified by your GPS). If you access this section of the app from outside a park, you get general descriptions like: See Now, Moderate, or High Demand. 

In addition to wait times, Disney Mobile Magic gives complete descriptions of each attraction, as well as their locations on an interactive map. This section also allows you to filter the attractions by categories, such as thrills, FASTPASS available, and character experiences. Of course, you will also find park hours and entertainment schedules as well. With a tap of the "set reminder" button, you can tell the app to alert you one hour prior to a show or parade that you might want to attend. You can also set "favorites" by simply tapping the star button next to an item. This way you can be sure that you don't miss any of your "must do" attractions. 

A unique area of the Disney Mobile Magic app falls under the the "Characters" tab. This section tells the story of each character that can be found in the parks. It includes a button that links that character to his or her "friends." There are several category tabs to find your favorites, or you can simply type the character's name in the search window. Finally, there is a button for "Today's Character Greetings" to let you know times and places to find them in the parks on that day. 

For those of us who love to eat our way around Walt Disney World, we certainly like to have restaurant info readily available. When it comes to dining, the Disney Mobile Magic app doesn't disappoint. It includes descriptions of every food location on property. You can also tap a button to see the location on an interactive map. In addition to general information, may of the restaurants list price ranges and even menu items. The best part of this section, however, is the ability to make a dining reservation (ADR) right from the app itself. This is a great feature, especially to check for last minute availability without having to make a phone call. 

The final area in the Mobile Magic app is labeled "More." This has to be one of the most comprehensive "More" sections that I've ever seen in an iPhone app. It starts out with a "Weather" tab that gives you current conditions and the five day forecast for the area. The next tab brings you to the "Shopping" section and gives you detailed descriptions and map locations for all of the stores in that park (my wife's favorite part of the app). After shopping, you will find the "Games" tab. This brings you to the Disney Parks Trivia Game which allows you to compete against other Disney fans to see how much you know. Warning: this game can be addictive! The next tab shows the locations of guest services, such as restrooms and baby care centers, on a map. Although it is nearly hidden towards the bottom of the "More" section, the "Transportation" tab is one of the most useful areas of this app. You can enter two locations anywhere on property, and this section will tell you the best way to travel between them. This is particularly helpful when traveling from one hotel to another. Finally, the last tab is the "My Vacation Details" tab which allows you to store your personal trip info like dates, hotels and reminders. 

Needless to say, all smartphone users should download the Disney Mobile Magic app immediately. It combines information that you would previously need three or four different apps to obtain. It is all "official" information and this one app contains both Walt Disney World and Disneyland. Oh, and I should probably also mention that it is completely FREE!

Have a Disneyriffic Day and remember to keep moving forward. See ya real soon!

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