Are smart phones essential at the parks?

Goofyernmost

Well-Known Member
You can also use a kindle for MDE; I did. Also for photos I use this device called a camera. I am not a cellphone person, I admit, - I have literally gone months without using mine - and don't have a clue why people need to know what everyone else is doing in live time, or let everyone know.
I don't always embrace technology, but I do accept the reality of the 21st Century. I went to WDW for years with no cell phone, primarily because they didn't exist. However, even then when we didn't know the difference staying in communication with everyone was a major hassle. With a family you always had to establish a meeting point if you wanted to get back together with your party should you get separated. I owned a business and needed to check in a few times a day in the event of a problem. That meant finding a pay phone and calling collect to locations. If you had an emergency on the road or anywhere you had to rely on strangers to get some help. There was no FP so that wasn't a problem nor 6 months in advance dining reservations. Disney always had a plethora of electronic devices in the parks where you could call, even as little as 30 minutes ahead to make a "sit down" lunch or dinner reservation.

On rare occasions I have used my iPhone to make a dining reservation while onsite, but since I don't ever sequester myself to Disney's luxury prison, I don't need to make massive numbers of dining reservations a full six months before I even have the slightest idea what I am going to be in the mood for. I find a nice hotel (offsite) and reserve sometimes as little as a week before I am actually going to be there. There are (or at least were, pre-pandemic) massive numbers of places to have a very nice meal for half what I would need to pay onsite with absolutely NO reservations required. However, all that said it is necessary now, with no real exceptions, to decide what park you want to be in, on what day just to buy a ticket. You don't have too, but you will be at a disadvantage if you don't. And all that connects in with what FP's you are able to get in each park in each different day you are going to be there. Gone are the days when you could go to a park one day and then the next decide over breakfast which one, if any you are going to visit that day. So the degree of planning and commitment that was supposed to be eased by the invention of instant vocal and internet connection totally outweighs the advantages in my mind. Again because of modern technology, there are some areas where you have no choice if you want to see anything worth seeing than to use a smart phone, but to me the desire is just growing smaller and smaller. So for me, after I have decided what day, a couple of months out that I want to attend on what day I can make some FP reservations. Surprisingly, I have always gotten to see the attractions I wanted to see by luck and sometimes in park crowd planning to get to things when others were watching parades or fireworks.

One time I had just used up my three Epcot FP's and used my phone to set up a FP for the Mine Train in MK. One was available, I accepted it and it registered on my phone as being set. I spent another hour or so in Epcot and headed over to MK on the Monorail. During the ride I checked again to remind me of the window time for it and it was gone. No explanation just gone. When if got off the monorail I immediately headed for guest services to find out what happened. Here's a little tip for those with short fuses, I did not go storming in screaming and cursing and making like the CM there at the desk was totally responsible for anything like that happening. I quietly asked if I had done something wrong to make that happen. I immediately made friends with the young lady at the desk because I didn't make an a$$ of myself and make her day more difficult. She looked up on her magic computer and said it showed that I had a confirmed FP and that it was currently gone, but she didn't know why. She then made a few more key strokes and I had two "anytime" "any attraction" FP's on my Magic Park Pass. I left happy, she avoided yet another ulcer and the need for the phone became massively evident to me.
 

MickeyLuv'r

Well-Known Member
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But you do have to still organise it all on MDE? Don’t you look on your phone for updates? Are you still doing it the old fashioned way by looking at information screens. I hate the thought of constantly checking a phone 🤯

I'll make one more pitch for a phone...Again, you don't HAVE to do this, but it sure saved me quite a bit of time, at least in the before times.

As we were on our way to the park (and getting close), I used the moment to double check our FP; I already had them semi-memorized, but I checked to make sure I had them correct.

Lo and behold, our 1st FP time window was about to start, and the attraction went down. It was BTMRR. Since it was down during our FP window = automatic anytime FP.

That immediately saved me from walking to the back of the park, let me know that I had an anytime FP available for use*, and I was able to book a new FP.

Was it essential? No, but it saved me a good deal of effort.


* I tend to use anytime FP a little later in the day, but it was helpful to know I could use it at any time.
 

dave&di

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
I'll make one more pitch for a phone...Again, you don't HAVE to do this, but it sure saved me quite a bit of time, at least in the before times.

As we were on our way to the park (and getting close), I used the moment to double check our FP; I already had them semi-memorized, but I checked to make sure I had them correct.

Lo and behold, our 1st FP time window was about to start, and the attraction went down. It was BTMRR. Since it was down during our FP window = automatic anytime FP.

That immediately saved me from walking to the back of the park, let me know that I had an anytime FP available for use*, and I was able to book a new FP.

Was it essential? No, but it saved me a good deal of effort.


* I tend to use anytime FP a little later in the day, but it was helpful to know I could use it at any time.
I see your point, it’s not essential but convenient. I‘ve been reading trip reports so I’m seeing how they’re being used generally around the parks and I’m adapting to the idea (possibly! 🙄). I think my main issue is travelling from the UK and and using a phone abroad and what that incurs, I’ve never taken a phone before
 

unmitigated disaster

Well-Known Member
I see your point, it’s not essential but convenient. I‘ve been reading trip reports so I’m seeing how they’re being used generally around the parks and I’m adapting to the idea (possibly! 🙄). I think my main issue is travelling from the UK and and using a phone abroad and what that incurs, I’ve never taken a phone before
As I said I took my kindle. That uses Wi-Fi so you should be able to switch your phone to Wi-Fi to save money.
 

MickeyLuv'r

Well-Known Member
I see your point, it’s not essential but convenient. I‘ve been reading trip reports so I’m seeing how they’re being used generally around the parks and I’m adapting to the idea (possibly! 🙄). I think my main issue is travelling from the UK and and using a phone abroad and what that incurs, I’ve never taken a phone before

Yes, I understand. traveling outside your home country makes a big difference. Generally, I'd skip the phone as well for international travel, or at least be tempted to skip it, unless it was a long trip. I apologize if I came off as trying to say you had to get one.
 

jaklgreen

Well-Known Member
Sorry, I missed that. I will research a kindle, is that the same as an iPod?

A kindle is just an android tablet that is sold by Amazon with their digital book app as the main focus. Just like Barnes and Noble have the NOOK. You can use any tablet, but using wifi on your phone is the same thing. The ways I use my smart phone are to make/check/change my FPs, look up what the weather is going to be(mainly checking the radar to see how much longer the storm will last), booking last minute dining. I don't usually book my dining months out but look the evening before or that morning to check to see what has cancellations. I usually can get into most restaurants that day. I also travel solo most trips and I use my Nook app to read while I am in line or dining. I also use the mobile ordering for quick service restaurants. I have also had to look up an email with confirmation numbers a couple of times when their system had a glitch and I had to prove that I had a reservation. On my last trip, someone accidentally checked me out of my hotel a couple of days in. I had to go to guest services to set things back up and I would not have known if they could not contact me. A smart phone is a convenience, you can live without it, but why should you? I would look into getting a sim card when you get here like many do when they travel. Have a great trip.
 

dave&di

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Yes, I understand. traveling outside your home country makes a big difference. Generally, I'd skip the phone as well for international travel, or at least be tempted to skip it, unless it was a long trip. I apologize if I came off as trying to say you had to get one.
No I didn’t think you saying I had to get one 😁 When I started my post, the whole system concerned me, I am now getting used to the idea technology is needed, it’s now the effort of working out international charges etc. I am thinking of getting a tablet instead, hopefully it’ll do the job?!? 🤔
 

dave&di

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
A kindle is just an android tablet that is sold by Amazon with their digital book app as the main focus. Just like Barnes and Noble have the NOOK. You can use any tablet, but using wifi on your phone is the same thing. The ways I use my smart phone are to make/check/change my FPs, look up what the weather is going to be(mainly checking the radar to see how much longer the storm will last), booking last minute dining. I don't usually book my dining months out but look the evening before or that morning to check to see what has cancellations. I usually can get into most restaurants that day. I also travel solo most trips and I use my Nook app to read while I am in line or dining. I also use the mobile ordering for quick service restaurants. I have also had to look up an email with confirmation numbers a couple of times when their system had a glitch and I had to prove that I had a reservation. On my last trip, someone accidentally checked me out of my hotel a couple of days in. I had to go to guest services to set things back up and I would not have known if they could not contact me. A smart phone is a convenience, you can live without it, but why should you? I would look into getting a sim card when you get here like many do when they travel. Have a great trip.
I’m totally on board with the whole idea of using technology in the parks now, I just don’t want to bring a phone from the UK. I am thinking of getting a Fire 7 tablet which I’m hoping is good enough?!
 

MickeyLuv'r

Well-Known Member
Most likely (to the general idea of a tablet). Personally, I wouldn't want to carry a tablet in the parks, but other folks have done it. Then again, I usually try hard to strictly limit what I carry around all day.

Everything's a trade off.
 

jaklgreen

Well-Known Member
I’m totally on board with the whole idea of using technology in the parks now, I just don’t want to bring a phone from the UK. I am thinking of getting a Fire 7 tablet which I’m hoping is good enough?!

Have you talked to your phone provider about international costs? A lot of the newer phones let you use wifi internationally without any additional costs. So as long as you can get on to Disney Wifi, you would have access to the internet for free. I would do some research to your options on your existing phone before spending hundreds of dollars on a tablet that you might not use often. It might be much cheaper to just use your phone.
 
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britdaw

Well-Known Member
I definitely say they are. My Disney Experience is a lifesaver to help keep track of all your reservations and things, so I would say yes.
 

NelleBelle

Well-Known Member
Yes, and yes, as I am sure you have seen, to have a good time in Disney you need a celular connected device, be tablet or phone. Plus not to mention like 2 battery packs/chargers. An iPhone will last me about half a day with videos/pictures nonstop. the two battery packs cover me for the rest of the entire day. On top of taking pictures you also need a celular device to keep up to changes on rides, fast passes, reservations and any information you might need like for example parade times Or firework Information. The app is kind of your personal concierge To an extent. Turn on notifications with the app so you can notices if a fastpass you have changes it’s status. Everytime I go it never fails for a ride to breakdown with a fastpass hour attached to it, and it’s always the tier 1 rides for me and if you are lucky you get that magical fastpass ticket that can help walk into any ride.

Anything arises with your trip you can always talk to a park concierge and they can hook up with unlimited fastpasses for your trip(when rise of the resistance broke down for 6 hours, they gave me like 5 fast passes for the rest of the day, went on every single ride afterwards
Wow! This seems like overkill for someone who isn't even sure she wants to even bring a phone! Unless one keeps their phone constantly in use "nonstop", 2 battery packs/chargers is not something that is an absolute need. Parade times are listed online for the specific week leading up to a trip as are any shows. Reservations/information can be written down *gasp* the old fashioned way, with a pen and paper!

@dave&di, when the last time we went to WDW, no one in our family took any extra battery packs/chargers for our phones--we used them to take pictures/some video, play a few trivia games in line, book/rebook fast passes, look up menu items, ordered mobile food...essentially we used our phones a fair amount for things but in no way needed extra batteries to get through the day. And if you DID run low on battery juice, Disney has a vending machine that dispenses a small charger that will recharge your phone (complete with cords) that you can return for a new one once purchased (forget the name of it). But you will be fine if you go the phone route! 😉
 

dave&di

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Have you talked to your phone provider about international costs? A lot of the newer phones let you use wifi internationally without any additional costs. So as long as you can get on to Disney Wifi, you would have access to the internet for free. I would do some research to your options on your existing phone before spending hundreds of dollars on a table that you might not use often. It might be much cheaper to just use your phone.
My phone is on a contact with my fathers phone so I‘m not the one who would be dealing with it, I could ask him to find out but not sure he’d get the right info 🙄. Regarding a tablet, from the research I’ve done I can get a small one for £49.00. I would only want it for Disney World.
 

dave&di

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Most likely (to the general idea of a tablet). Personally, I wouldn't want to carry a tablet in the parks, but other folks have done it. Then again, I usually try hard to strictly limit what I carry around all day.

Everything's a trade off.
I wouldn’t ideally want to carry one either, I can get one that 7 inches, I’d rather a tablet than a phone, but then I don’t want to carry either! 😂
 

dave&di

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Wow! This seems like overkill for someone who isn't even sure she wants to even bring a phone! Unless one keeps their phone constantly in use "nonstop", 2 battery packs/chargers is not something that is an absolute need. Parade times are listed online for the specific week leading up to a trip as are any shows. Reservations/information can be written down *gasp* the old fashioned way, with a pen and paper!

@dave&di, when the last time we went to WDW, no one in our family took any extra battery packs/chargers for our phones--we used them to take pictures/some video, play a few trivia games in line, book/rebook fast passes, look up menu items, ordered mobile food...essentially we used our phones a fair amount for things but in no way needed extra batteries to get through the day. And if you DID run low on battery juice, Disney has a vending machine that dispenses a small charger that will recharge your phone (complete with cords) that you can return for a new one once purchased (forget the name of it). But you will be fine if you go the phone route! 😉
Thanks for the advice. I’d use a phone as little as possible! I’d have to use it for RotR 🙄and FP’s. I would probably do everything else the old fashioned way, not particularly by choice but by habit! I don’t use my phone for anything except calls/texts in everyday life, I don’t want to be tied down to technology, especially at WDW!
 

Jon81uk

Well-Known Member
I see your point, it’s not essential but convenient. I‘ve been reading trip reports so I’m seeing how they’re being used generally around the parks and I’m adapting to the idea (possibly! 🙄). I think my main issue is travelling from the UK and and using a phone abroad and what that incurs, I’ve never taken a phone before

Just turn off mobile data and then use Disney's WiFi. Unless you are on the Three UK network.

Here is how to turn if off
 

lazyboy97o

Well-Known Member
Any tablets MDE do work on?
An iPad is the simplest answer. For Android you’ll need one that meets the system requirements and has access to the Google Play store. You’re safe bets would be things like a more expensive Samsung Galaxy Tab and not necessarily something cheap like a Fire.
 
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