Best Apps for Walt Disney World
If it has been a long time since you were at Disney World, you might be very surprised how things have changed on the technology front. Long gone are the days of walking into one of the theme parks with a paper map cut out of a Disney World tour book, or even grabbing one of the park maps as you come through the gate and walking around.
Our dad Dave, (the Dave of Disney With Dave’s Daughters) lived by the books and paper maps for years! Over time we (the daughters) have brought him, sometimes kicking and screaming, into this new word where technology can remarkably benefit anyone who’s heading to Walt Disney World.
Now Dave is a firm believer in using various apps to help make the Disney World experience as good as it can be. The top apps that can help you on your vacation are:
- My Disney Experience
- The Weather Channel
- Lyft and Uber
- Play Disney Parks
- Locator App
- Countdown to the Mouse
- Kenny The Pirate Character Locator
The Best Apps For Walt Disney World
As you will see, some apps are more important than others. Each app has a function that can help make your Disney World vacation easier and run smoother. After all, isn’t that the most important thing about using an app? Having a less stressful experience?
Another great thing is that most of our app recommendations are a free! Of course you get free wifi throughout all of Disney World. In a nutshell, these useful apps can make your vacation more magical than ever! Check ’em out.
The official Walt Disney World App
This is the holy grail of Disney World apps! This is Disney’s official app and it assists you before, during and even after your Disney vacation. It is the only “must have” app when you are heading to Walt Disney World.
In fact, if you are planning a Disney trip right now and are reading this but don’t have the My Disney Experience app on your phone, stop reading now and go download it. We will wait for you.
Why is the My Disney Experience App so great? Let’s break down what it can do before your trip, during and after.
Before Your Trip
- Purchase all your park tickets
- Make all your hotel reservations if you are staying at any of the Walt Disney World Resort Hotels
- Make your advanced dining reservations, up to 60 days before your trip
- Purchase any Enchanting Extras you might want to do on your Disney World trip
- Purchase Memory Maker for all your photopass photos before you leave so it’s ready to go when you arrive
- One thing we love is to look at the park layout (map view) with real time wait times in the theme parks. This assists us in our planning and park strategy, not to mention it’s fun to get the kids involved in where we are going.
During Your Trip
- Theme park tickets are in your app
- Genie+ can be added
- Ride wait times in real time to help avoid long lines
- Disney App will open your Disney hotel room
- Check your Photos from Memory Maker in real time
- Quick-service mobile ordering so your food is ready when you arrive. Great time saver!
- GPS interactive maps help you navigate the Disney Parks
- Stage shows, parades, Character meet and greets and many other attractions are listed on the app
- Bus stops, wait times, saving parking locations and other transportation related items are in your app
After Your Trip
- Memory Maker photos are available to download
2. The Weather Channel (or you favorite weather app)
The weather in Florida is pretty wild. It can get quite hot and storms can come up out of nowhere, hit and then immediately turn sunny and hot again. A good weather app is important so you can be as prepared as possible and dress accordingly.
One thing we like about the Weather Channel app is it not only has hour by hour temperature readings and rain probability, but it also has a radar so you can check out what’s coming in real time.
Disney World does a good job of getting you and the members of your party around the parks and resorts with a wonderful mix of transportation options. However, sometimes the Disney transportation can be a bit unpredictable and though you may not want to use a ride share service a lot, it’s good to know it’s there and can be accessed if you have the app ready on your phone.
Disney has brought back the ever popular Minnie Van service that is on your Lyft app. Not only are these cars cute, but they are driven by Disney Cast Members. Again, you may not use it much or even at all but we feel it’s a great option to have in your back pocket if you decide you want to use it.
On our last trip we would check both Uber and Lyft to see if it was worth the price (and time) of getting a driver. Often one service was significantly cheaper than the other, so be sure to check both.
We need to confess right from the get go that we have mixed feelings about this app. We absolutely love the idea, the concept, the design and feel that some of you will tell us it should be second on our “must have” list next to My Disney Experience App.
So, why the hesitancy from us? The only reason is because we dislike being on our phones so much during our vacation when we should be interacting with each other. Especially at Disney World!
That being said, this is a very cool app and used in the right way, can be super fun. We must admit, sometimes the waits in the queues can be long and this is just the ticket. So what is it?
Disney has made this app primarily to be used while you are waiting in line for an attraction while at Disney World. Many of the games are interactive so you can play with others in your travel party as opposed to one person staring at their phone (which we like)!
Some games actually interact with things in the queue line and others, like the Toy Story Mania Playset Party, allow you to play games similar to what you will be playing in the ride itself.
Though for most of the games you will need to actually be on the Disney property, there is a feature you can use at home for Disney trivia, Disney World history, films, characters and other cool stuff. Feel free to download it and check it out before you do a park experience.
5. Locator App
Cost: Free and up
Depending on who you will be with when you are Disney World, a great locator app can be invaluable. When touring with a large group who might split up for a period of time and then meet at certain locations or families that have older children it’s nice to have a real time way to see exactly where the person/party is.
The solution is putting a location app like Family Locator by Life 360 or Find My Friends into each phone and you are good to go. Even iPhones have a built in solution where you can see other iPhones, tracking exactly where they are. Having a handy app like one of these on your phone ready to go before you arrive at one of Disney’s theme parks will be most helpful.
There are quite a few Countdown Apps available which are not only fun but can be very helpful in planning your magical Disney vacation! Some of the features you can get with these apps are helpful reminders of when different things are due or available.
For example, 60 days before your trip is an important time because you are able to make dining reservations. This is a great tool to alert you when it’s time to book them. You will also find practical things like packing lists as well as fun things like trivia games and fun Disney World facts and history.
Any countdown app will work! We like Countdown to the Mouse because we like to support smaller businesses whenever we can. Countdown For Disney is also a great app!
First, this is actually a subscription based website that is similar to an app but it’s not an app. There is also a cost involved. However, this is a super cool way to stay on top of exactly where and when all the Disney Characters will be available around the Disney parks.
This includes all the Character meals. If you have family members who are obsessed with different Disney Characters and this is a big reason you are going to Disney World, this is an app you should definitely consider.
Downloading one – or all – of these apps will help you save time and stress while you are in the Disney Parks! Be sure to grab a portable charger to bring with you. We also recommend purchasing the Unofficial Guide to Disney World. We have used this book for decades and love it! You can find it on our list of recommended books here.