08 Jul What is the My Disney Experience App?
Visiting Disney Parks has become quite the experience to navigate. At around 27,000 acres, there’s a lot to explore at Walt Disney World Resort. Guests can visit four different theme parks, two water parks, more than thirty resorts and a massive shopping and dining district. On any given day there are shows times, nighttime spectaculars, park hours and more details to be aware of and keep track of. Some of these overlap and you don’t want to miss the things you’re most excited for. And so, the My Disney Experience app is here to help.
What is the My Disney Experience App?
The My Disney Experience mobile app is an official planning tool from The Walt Disney Company. It helps guests plan some aspects of visits to Walt Disney World Resort before arriving but much more during park days. My Disney Experience is of the most use during a visit to the most magical place on earth.
Things You Can Do Using the My Disney Experience App
Make Advance Dining Reservations
Making dining reservations is certainly one of the most important things you can do in the My Disney Experience app. Disney food is an attraction in itself and a highlight for many who visit. If you’re planning your trip without a travel planner, advance dining reservations are probably one of the most exciting parts. On the main screen, users can tap the plus symbol and click on Check Dining Availability. You can use your party size and potential date of the dining experience to see what’s available. At this time, dining reservations open up 60 days out.
Mobile Order Your Food
Mobile ordering food has also become a way of life at Disney Parks. If you’re getting a quick service meal, you can place your order ahead of time, instead of waiting in line to order, and pick it up at the mobile order pick up counter when the app tells you it’s ready. This can be done hours in advance or when you’re ready to eat. Note that at busy times there can be a delay so if anyone in your party is prone to get hangry, think about ordering well before hunger strikes.
See a Live Map with Wait Times
My personal favorite feature of the app is the overhead map with wait times. You can pinch and zoom to see different parks and lands and how long the current waits are for certain attractions. This feature is simple, easy to use and great for those looking for a little spontaneity but also a little wait.
Use Disney Genie, Disney Genie+, Lightning Lanes and Virtual Queues
Disney Genie and Disney Genie+ services are also controlled in the app. These day planning services can help you plan your itinerary for the day, see current wait times and more. Disney Genie is free. Disney Genie+ is purchased the day of the visit and gives you access to Lightning Lanes which are the replacement for FastPass+. It’s also possible to purchase individual Lightning Lanes for some attractions. All of this is done the day of. Disney Genie+ becomes available for purchase at midnight on the day of your visit. You can then start selecting Lightning Lane times for attractions at 7:00 a.m. This is the current operating procedure but it has changed multiple times in the first few months of launching. Check for the specifics before your visit.
Guests also use the app to join virtual queues. This is typically done at certain times throughout the day. For example, upon opening, Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind opens the first virtual queue at 7:00 a.m. The park isn’t open at the time so being in the park is not required. However, for the next virtual queue sign up, you and your ticket need to be tapped into the park to sign up in the app.
In Disney Genie, you’ll also find the Tip Board. This used to be an in park physical board with wait times on it. You may still find those around the parks but having the wait times in your pocket can be very helpful. Click within an attraction and you can also see the Forecasted Wait Times for the day, showing you the anticipated best time to ride an attraction.
Download Disney PhotoPass Photos
Disney PhotoPass photos are stored and viewed in the My Disney Experience app. Tap your MagicBand or ticket before taking your photos. Then they usually appear in the app in minutes! If you’ve purchased Disney’s Memory Maker or have photos included with your Annual Pass, you can download your photos right away.
There’s Even More Magic
Another neat thing you can do with the app is write and send a cast compliment. There’s more than everything mentioned here and Disney continues to add functions and features. Note that there is also a lot of content in the app. It can be a bit overwhelming if you start scrolling down the main screen. Using the plus sign icon or hamburger/three lines icon can get you to direct actions you may be looking for. It’s recommended to download the app before your visit, log in and connect all tickets and reservations. You should absolutely explore the app as well, as most of the features work no matter where you are.
Do I Need the My Disney Experience App?
Even if you’re just going for a quick visit, it can be difficult to experience a day in the parks without it. If you’re not tech savvy, passing through town and going on a whim or just not interested in screen time on vacation, it is possible to enjoy a day at the parks without using the My Disney Experience app. You can use a paper map found at the park entrances. In the past, Disney also provided a times guide. This slip of paper had times for shows, parades, nighttime spectaculars, refurbishments and other offerings throughout the day. The times can change for these regularly, hence, the times guide being separate from the map. Unfortunately it seems these paper times guides with valuable information to help you enjoy all there is at the parks may now be available in digital form only. You can still find this information online without downloading the app though. A couple of screenshots and you can have that information easily accessible in your photos for the day. If you’re truly trying to avoid screen time or worried about your phone battery, you could print out Disney World day calendars from the website. There will be some features, like Disney Genie and all of those related offerings, that you won’t have access to without the My Disney Experience app.
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