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July 23, 2014

Review: 3 iPhone Apps to Help You Navigate Walt Disney World

Walt Disney World Pro

Walt Disney World Pro

There are a lot of iPhone apps out there to help you manage a trip to Walt Disney World, whether you want to see full-size park maps, decide where to eat or keep track of all your trip details, like hotel confirmation numbers, dining reservations and flights. For me, I wanted to find a real-time app to help guide me and my family through the parks while I’m there on vacation.

I took at look at three popular iPhone apps that have been written up in various media as great apps for exploring the parks. Take a look at my reviews of each app.

Walt Disney World Pro ($3.99): This app got great reviews from USA Today and AppAdvice, so I had high expectations. The app breaks out Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Animal Kingdom and Hollywood Studios. From there, the app details each ride by section of the park (e.g., Fantasyland, Liberty Square, etc.) with up-to-the-minute wait times, pictures, ride times and strategies to reduce time spent in line. Just press the star button on the upper left-hand corner of each detail page to favorite the attraction.

If you’re planning to eat in any of the parks, the app shares cuisine types, prices and reviews for all the on-property restaurants. It provides a direct link to call those that take reservations, though it would have been nice if it connected to the online dining reservations system. For trip planning purposes, the app has details on Disney resorts, but no actual customer reviews. Rating: B+

Disney World Wait Times, Dining and Maps (Free): This is the first app I downloaded and I was very happy with my experience. Just like other apps, it breaks out each park individually, but what I love is that on the first screen it not only lists the hours, but also gives each park a red, yellow or green “crowd forecast” rating to help you decide which one to go to for the day. It’s nice to be able to check each day to help determine the best days to go to which park.

Like other apps, it also features ride wait times, but this app not only lists wait times, but shades in red those with long wait times, yellow for average wait times and green for short wait times. This made it easy to quickly see which had the shortest lines. The app lists times for parades, musical events and fireworks shows, letting you set alerts too. While this app is free, you can also pay $3.99 for the ad-free version. Rating: A-

Walt Disney World Guide ($2.99): I was probably most disappointed by this app. While it got great reviews from TUAW and CNET, I thought the app was pretty blah. I tried to look past the fact that the first three screens you see are completely black and white, but even once I got to the individual attraction pages, each of which features a photo, I still wasn’t impressed, especially since I paid $3.

The app is not organized very well, so it takes a while to find anything, whether attraction details, dining options or resort information. It lists out parades, but not parade times, which wasn’t especially useful, and no ride wait times at all. It has some great information, like vacation planning tips and tips on where to find characters around the parks, but it was buried in an otherwise unexciting app. Rating: C

Do you have any favorite go-to apps for exploring or planning a trip to Walt Disney World? I’d love to hear any new suggestions you may have.


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