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Recommendation for smart phones and battery recharging

Discussion in 'WDW Trip Planning' started by gregorynbaker, May 11, 2017.

  1. gregorynbaker

    gregorynbaker Member

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    Hello all,

    I am heading out for my demidecennary trip to the World on and after July 4. The crowds will hopefully be less than over Christmas on my "It's the End of the World as We Know It" trip in December of 2012, but I am, as always, a bit anxious. I have been a huge fan of the Unofficial Guide series, its touringplans.com website and Lines app, and try to maximize them to make the most of my planning and touring.

    In the parks five years ago, I noted that wi-fi/cell coverage was spotty. I had a 3G phone at the time and was annoyed by the inability to access Lines and other websites while in the park. I figure things MIGHT be better, but I still worry about smart phone batteries. My wife has an old Android phone with a bad battery. I have a middle aged iPhone 6 with a mediocre battery. My 11 year old has a new Android phone and my 9 year old (will be 10 on the trip) has no phone. I have sworn NOT to waste battery life and time in the park surfing the web and playing games on the phone (like in line, etc. instead talking and enjoying the queue ambience). STILL I am worried that 1 PM will roll around and all the phones will be dead, meaning that we can't easily get new FP+, can't check Lines, etc.

    Therefore, I have the following questions:
    1. Is the Disney fuel rod program still in use? Is it a good use of money to rent the rod, use it, deposit it and grab another?
    2. Is it better to buy a battery charger and carry it in my bag to recharge the phone(s) while not in use (recharging the charger back at the hotel). If so, do you have any recommendations for which brand, capacity, etc., I should use. As it will be the height of July, will heat be a problem?
    3. If smart phone use is as problematic (i.e. wi-fi sucks, cell service sucks, etc.) as it was last time, are there strategies for using kiosks, etc., of which I should take advantage?
    4. Does my daughter need a phone? She has a MagicBand and I can access that from my app, but I was wondering in case of her getting lost, etc., that a phone might be useful to call and or track her. CAN you track someone via phone in the park or is it too small to pinpoint via satellite? If you think a phone is a good idea, is there a cheap "burner phone" that you could recommend?

    Thanks for sharing your wisdom and care!

    Sincerely,
    Gregory N. Baker
     
  2. DisAl

    DisAl Well-Known Member

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    When we went last June the wifi coverage was much better than on previous trips and did not have any problems connecting. However, your phone still uses up a lot of battery capacity trying to stay connected all the time because your are often at the limits of coverage causing your wifi to operate at full transmit power.
    Here are some tips: If your phone has a battery saving mode make sure you have it activated. Unless you need access MDE, turn wifi off, and just turn it back on when you need it. That can just about double your battery life in the park. (You can also access MDE with wifi off but you will be "burning" your cellular data.)
    We also carry a couple of the "fuel rod" style battery/chargers with us just in case we completely run out before the end of the day. I don't know if they are still doing the fuel rod program, but I prefer just to have my own anyway.
    The quality of your cell service will depend on who your carrier is. We had no problems with Verizon, but I think the official carrier for WDW is somebody else.
     
  3. DisneyJoe

    DisneyJoe Well-Known Member

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    Take screenshots of your MDE/FP+/ADR plans and save them on your phone so you don't always need to refer to the app - or print them out.

    The parks do still have the fuel rod kiosks in all parks
     
    DisneyPrincess5 likes this.
  4. NeedMoreMickey

    NeedMoreMickey Well-Known Member

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    How old is your daughter? If she is old enough to go thru the park without you probably old enough for a phone. I know iPhone has the find other phones option on the same plan because we use it when we separate and are supposed to meet up. We used it when my niece left her phone on a counter. For chargers we carry them with us you can't always find someplace to plug in.

    I could be wrong but I thought July 4th was always one of the busy days of the year.
     
  5. J_Krafty24

    J_Krafty24 Active Member

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    Anker is a well known and proven brand of external battery. My husband and I each used about 16000 mAh worth of external battery power a day on our last trip with near constant use of our phones (while not on rides or in shows) for augment reality games.

    Things to watch for when buying a battery pack . . .
    - rounded edges and corners so they don't stab you when they are in your pocket
    - more than one USB port
    - amps per USB port (aim for one with a port that can put out 2 amps)
    - if going with an unknown brand read the reviews. Many boast huge mAh numbers but reviews state only an hour or two of actual power.
    - uses a standard USB cable to charge and not a custom wall outlet unit.

    Also bring extra charging cables I like the 3ft monoprice premium cables. Long enough to keep the battery in any pocket while using the phone without too much extra slack.
     
  6. ninjaprincesst

    ninjaprincesst Well-Known Member

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    My tips are stay off of your phone as much as possible, no texting, facebook, twitter, phone games, all these battery drainers seem to drain twice as fast at Disney. Also bring at least one actual plug in charger, there are several places you can actually plug in your phone. I also bring at least one fully charged power bank and charging cable per person.
     
  7. CaptainAmerica

    CaptainAmerica Well-Known Member

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    It should be less bad on a Tuesday this year than if it were Friday, Saturday, Sunday, or Monday, but yes. It'll be insane. Not Christmas insane, but peak-summer insane.
     
  8. disneygeek90

    disneygeek90 Well-Known Member

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    I've had this thing over 3 years and it's almost the best purchase I've ever made. It lasts forever. I usually can get at least 4 full charges from a dead battery. It has two ports, and I've never had any issues with it in the heat. If I'm ever going to the parks for more than a couple hours, I have it with me.
    Link
     
  9. CaptainAmerica

    CaptainAmerica Well-Known Member

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    Your phone dies four times a day?

    If I'm in the parks open to close, I'll probably leave with something like 60% battery remaining.
     
  10. disneygeek90

    disneygeek90 Well-Known Member

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    No, I'm saying I can get about 4 full phone charges from it without the battery pack dying. Plus, my brother is usually looking for it by mid-day to charge during lunch. :rolleyes:
     
  11. Jamie77

    Jamie77 Member

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    I put all my plans on Google Drive. Once I've opened the page, I take a screenshot and I put my phone on airplane mode.
     
  12. Master Yoda

    Master Yoda Pro Star Wars geek. Premium Member

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    I can help with the phone battery part.

    The wife and I have been doing the PokemonGo thing since launch and it will drain the battery of even the best phone in a heartbeat making a portable battery a necessity.

    We have picked a few of the bargain basement ones and have found their performance to max out at adequate at best. While many do have the juice to recharge your average smart phone several times, the speed at which they do it is far to slow. They will generally maintain a battery if it is plugged in all the time, but that is about it. They will do in a pinch, but there are better options.

    If size is not an issue and you want something that will be a one stop shop for all of your phones, the RavPower Power bank is a great option. While more bulky than most backup batteries, it is not overly cumbersome for its capacity and the thing is a power beast. You can charge multiple phones at the same time and it supports Qualcomm Quick Charge 3.0. On average, you can charge a smart phone 6-8 times on a single charge from this thing.
     
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  13. Rob562

    Rob562 Well-Known Member

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    An alternative to a screenshot, you can mark individual files as "available offline" and it will save the file locally.

    My Android phone also has a "Battery Saver" feature. It will turn on automatically when the battery drops to 15%, but I can turn it on manually. Battery Saver lessens the maximum brightness of the screen (which might be a drawback if you're in the full sun), but it also disables a lot of the background processes that the phone performs when it sees that it's on wifi (checking for app updates, backing up Google photos, looking for updates on Facebook and other apps, etc). I was able to go just about a full day on just one charge that way. (I think I ran into an issue one day with a late Evening EMH)

    -Rob
     
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  14. Jamie77

    Jamie77 Member

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    Thanks! I never knew about the offline option. I'm definitely going to do this.:inlove:
     
  15. SAV

    SAV Well-Known Member

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    Am I the only one wondering about the word "demidecennary"? I read the whole post, but keep going back to that word!

    I know google is my friend, but have never seen that word before.

    Now back to you regularly scheduled thread.
     
  16. DizArielFan

    DizArielFan Member

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    I recommend a good battery pack, I use an Anker 10,000mAh with two ports. I actually use my phone at the parks a lot and amazingly I leave the parks with my battery level higher than what I went in with.
     
  17. 21stamps

    21stamps Well-Known Member

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    What??? How?



    OP- I LOVE the Fuel Rod!!!! I exchanged mine several times.. and plenty twice in 1 day.lol.
     
  18. maxime29

    maxime29 Premium Member

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    I'm a fan of Anker powerbanks sold on Amazon. If you are looking for a device that can charge your phone and is ultra portable then I suggest this model: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01CU1EC6Y?ref=emc_b_5_t

    It's 5,000mAh, about the size of lipstick, and charges your phone at 2A (higher = faster charge). Anker is pretty good quality too. There are other brands on Amazon like Aukey and RAVPower that sell pretty much the same things and are fine as well.
     
  19. jaklgreen

    jaklgreen Well-Known Member

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    I did get the fuel rod on my last trip and love it. I also had an old android phone that ate through the battery and I exchanged it twice a day. I think for your family that has so many phones, the fuel rod is the way to go. We will be bringing ours back this trip. And wi-fi is much better then it was a couple of years ago.
     
  20. CaptainAmerica

    CaptainAmerica Well-Known Member

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    I'm at Disney World! What the heck do I need a phone for?
     
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