Disney Parks Mobile Magic by Disney and Verizon is the only official mobile application for Walt Disney World and it is completely free. It is now available for Apple iPhone (but not iPod Touch), Android smart phones and some other Verizon phones but strangely it is only available in the US app stores. This is probably a legacy of the tie in with Verizon and in fact some features are only available to Verizon customers.
The Disney Parks Mobile Magic app has been discontinued and replaced by the Disney My Experience app
It covers both of the US Disney parks so when you start it up you have a choice between the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida and the Disneyland Resort in California.
Having selected the Walt Disney World Resort you then get to choose between the fourth theme parks (Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Disney’s Animal Kingdom), the two water parks (Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard Beach), Downtown Disney, ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex or any one of the Walt Disney World Resort hotels, villas and campsites plus an overall Recreation Guide. For each of the parks, today’s opening times are noted along with any Extra Magic Hours.
Throughout the Disney Parks Mobile Magic app, you can flag/mark any item by clicking on the star icon to mark it as a favourite. You can also set reminders for things like show times, parades and dinner reservations so you never miss anything.
Extended In-Park information
This app is GPS enabled and a pop-up reminds you that there is Extended In-Park information which is unlocked when you’re actually in the park itself. It will show you where you are on the map, prioritise attractions based on what is closest to you and give you access to wait times and fast pass return times. In some ways this is the apps biggest weakness.
It actually withholds useful information if you are not physically in the park. So for example, it will not show you wait times on the map and might describe a wait time of an attraction as ‘moderate’ when you are not in the park whereas when you are in the park it gives you the actual wait time in minutes and shows it on the park map.
Whilst some features clearly are meaningless if you are not in the park, others are still completely valid and ideally should not be blocked. For example, if you are planning on visiting the park right now or in the next few hours then this sort of information would be really useful before you decide whether to go to the park or not.
Walt Disney World Resort Parks
Each park screen is split in two with a list of upcoming events, a mini guide map and a series of menu options at the bottom.
The top of the screen shows a list of upcoming events and shows times etc. By default it shows you today’s events but you can also look up to 4 days in advance. By clicking on an event, you can get more details and set reminders but there is no link back to the map to show where the event is taking place.
Clicking on the mini map brings up a beautiful full colour map (similar to the printed maps you get when you enter the mark) with pinch and zoom and lots of detail including the parade route. You can filter what shows on the map by type of attraction.
However each attraction is only shown by a small teardrop icon but with no caption. If you are in the park then the icon shows the wait time in minutes but you have to click on the icon to find out what it actually is. If you are unfamiliar with the park then this is a big disadvantage. Other apps like Disney World Wait Times, Hours, Maps and Dining show you the names of all the attractions on the map by default.
Buttons along the bottom give you access to a list of attractions, characters, dining, favourites and more (further options).
The Attractions button gives you a list of all the attractions either by name, by wait time or by FASTPASS, with any notes about being closed. You can also see them on the map though the same comments apply regarding captions.
If you click on an attraction then you can see a picture, details about wait times, a brief summary, whether FASTPASS is available, and then anything like minimum height restrictions or disabled access etc. Clicking the star icon adds it to your favourites which can then be called back up at a later date.
Buttons at the bottom link to a map or sometimes a video (available to Verizon customers only).
The Character button takes you to a list of all the Disney characters with brief bios. A Today’s Character Greetings button shows you who, where and when you can see characters and you can also do a search.
Park Dining Guide
The Dining Guide button lets you browse all the restaurants in the current park with opening times. The Walt Disney World Dining Guide allows you to search by mealtime, location, type of cuisine, type of dining and price range across all Disney properties.
You can also make a reservation; specifying location, date, time, party size, cuisine or experience. You can also only show those participating in the Disney dining plan.
The Favourites button gives you access to all the things that you have starred.
As well as the features mentioned above, the More button opens up a host of other options:
- Weather shows you the current weather/temperature plus a five day forecast.
- Shopping lists all the gift shops with opening times. Clicking on a shop gives more details on what they sell and a link to the map.
- Games is a built-in Disney parks set of games including a “Pirates” trivia game, Disney Character Puzzle and Disney Character Quiz (only available to Verizon customers).
- Guest Services highlights all the services on the map with different icons for things like Kodak Pictures Spot, parade viewing, designated smoking areas, restrooms etc. Clicking on an icon shows you the details.
- Transportation gives details of all Disney’s transportation options including ground transportation, water transportation, monorail and the option to get directions between parks.
- My Vacation Details is the place to store your vacation dates, hotel details and view all your reminders.
- Help provides help on using the app, frequently asked questions and other useful information.
Walt Disney World Resorts
The navigation in the resorts part of Disney Parks Mobile Magic is similar to that of the parks. You get a list of recreations and a resort map with a similar set of options along the bottom of the screen.
Disney Parks Mobile Magic Summary
Whilst Disney Parks Mobile Magic is free, it does lack some features found in other applications and it is slow to load and change screens at times. It is also slightly buggy, sometimes the screen locks or goes blank and you have to restart the application.
It seems odd to withhold information like wait times if you are not actually in the park and so limits its use as a planning tool.
It also has not been designed for the iOS platform in that you have to drill down and then drill all the way back up again. You cannot jump around or go back to the home page, you must keep clicking Back; it is more like browsing a mobile web site than running a native iOS mobile app.
That said, the Disney Parks Mobile Magic app does provide a lot of useful information, particularly if you are in the park; for example opening times for gift shops and restaurants, FASTPASS return times and of course the elusive wait times.