Welcome to my follow up post about our 2013 trip to Disney World! My first post was about how our trip didn’t go according to plan and while it wasn’t our best trip, it was definitely redeemed by the fabulous Cast Members. Now I want to focus on the tech. I didn’t get all the pics I wanted, but I was paying close attention to the newest technologies Disney had implemented.
Let’s start with the RFID cards. They may or may not still be available after the introduction of the MyMagic+ system, possibly as an alternative for anyone that doesn’t want a Magic Band (what?!). But for now, many visitors are using the RFID cards to get into their rooms, pay for food and souvenirs, and entering the parks. RFID stands for radio-frequency identification and it’s a wireless method of transferring data by placing a tag within the proximity of a reader. While many have privacy concerns over the technology, I’m definitely more excited by the possibilities it brings.
Our experience with the cards was very positive. We only had to place our wallets up to our door to get in our room, which was a welcome relief while lugging tired children and multiple packages. We almost never had to take the card out. We did for purchases and entrance to the parks, but that was to avoid any problems while keeping the lines moving along. We liked that the park tickets get linked via finger print (they have this for paper tickets too), preventing someone else from using your ticket if you were to lose it.
The park Wi-Fi wasn’t as nice as an experience with spotty coverage being a prominent problem. I don’t know how it is set up, but it felt like there are various hotspots and I couldn’t stay on any one network for long as I walked the parks. Be careful here when you go, because with your phone searching for BOTH Wi-Fi networks and phone networks, your battery will drain VERY quickly. My solution for this was to turn off mobile data and just use Wi-Fi and voice/text when I needed to. I believe there’s a rumor floating around that Disney will add phone charging stations, but I don’t have any details on that.
Lastly, the main reason I needed Wi-Fi was to use the My Disney Experience app. I LOVE what Disney has done with this app and the corresponding website. Again, it’s going to make a lot of people nervous to have so much information about themselves out there. But with all the advancing technologies and people blogging about their lives, it seems like a natural progression for companies to go in the über personalized direction.
I was able to view all of our trip details at any moment, including check-in/out dates and times, make meal reservations and add special occasions to them, and plan out some special experiences that required appointments. Using the app in the park was AWESOME. Want to see what’s going on around your location? Open the app and click “Here & Now”. We were able to be the first in line for a few character meet and greets, cutting our wait times and making us feel “in the know”.
We could check park closing times, parade and firework times, and when certain shows started. When you have small kids, you don’t get to do everything in the park but you can pick what to do when with the help of the app making the most of your time. Checking wait times on rides from across the park? Incredible! AND no more paper maps. I really recommend playing around with this app before and during your trip!
If you’re heading to Disney this year, enjoy your trip! And report back with any updates!