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Disney's Over-Reliance on Smartphones

Is Disney relying too much on smartphones

  • Yes

    Votes: 90 80.4%
  • No

    Votes: 22 19.6%

  • Total voters
    112

CaptinEO

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
I am a young person, I work in tech, I can operate a smart phone. For my wife and I the smartphone usage is just overwhelming now for Disneyland.

Here are all the park experiences that require cell phone or website usage these days:

Park Reservation
Virtual Annual Passes
Virtual Tickets
Creating a Party
Joining a Virtual Queue
Reserving Dining
Mobile Order (some restaurants are now strictly mobile order)
Redeeming Virtual Queue Passes
Genie + Reservations
Redeeming Genie + Reservations
Photo Pass

I was in the parks about a month ago and the day before we went was explaining the process to my relatives about how to go on "the new star wars ride".

We had to call Disney IT to get their tickets purchased on their account onto my account with my ticket in order to make sure we could play a lottery the next day for a chance to go on a ride.

This same day my cousin went to the Tiki Bar to get Dole Whip and was told "we're mobile order only, but mobile order has been down for 2 hours now, so you have to go to Tropical Hide Away" (which had a massive line).

So you're telling me even when Disney has a fully functioning food location, they stop serving people if the mobile order service isn't working?

I like Smartphones. I like the ability to have information and see things like ride wait times, or to have a duplicate copy of my ticket in digital form, but beyond that, everything else seems like more trouble than it's worth.

How is a system where someone can only order a corndog to eat 4 hours in the future better than a standby line of customers?

Why do I need to be on my cell phone while driving a car frantically refreshing in order to go on a ride?

Is Disney relying too much on smartphones?
 
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waltography

Well-Known Member
I see it both ways. I think in defense of smartphones, when we go to the parks, we're necessarily consuming a fire hose of information; wait times, reservations, show times, prices, etc. It goes on and on. Having that information readily available means we're gonna be checking on it frequently to optimize our day. I would argue that if you take smartphones out of the equation at the parks you're gonna end up much more miserable because it would be a return to the paucity of info in the 2000s but with the crowd levels of the 2020s.

At the same time, the fact that my power bank has become a parks essential does point to the fact that we're really spending a lot of time on our phones while at the parks.
 

TP2000

Well-Known Member
This is a great topic! And is so important.

I'm old, but I love my iPhone. I upgrade it every time Apple comes out with a new one (my new 13Pro arrives November 23rd!). It's paired to everything in my home and my cars. I love talking to the kind and knowledgeable kids at the Genius Bar.

But I HATE how dependent everything at Disneyland is now on your phone! It's just no fun. It's not novel, it's not unique, and it does nothing to make the Disneyland experience better. All it does is drag you out of the story and the lovely environment and pulls you right back into 2020's America and it's grind and it's problems. This is NOT why I go to Disneyland, or go on vacation in general.

Create an environment where I do NOT have to use my phone to have fun. There's a way to make your product unique and immersive!
 

Sailor310

Well-Known Member
My friends and I went to a ticket booth and picked up paper tickets for our annual passes (no charge). We use them to get into the parks and get our discounts on food. Several less times a day to have to pull out a phone and find that stupid QR code for the pass.
 

Smooch

Well-Known Member
This is a great topic! And is so important.

I'm old, but I love my iPhone. I upgrade it every time Apple comes out with a new one (my new 13Pro arrives November 23rd!). It's paired to everything in my home and my cars. I love talking to the kind and knowledgeable kids at the Genius Bar.

But I HATE how dependent everything at Disneyland is now on your phone! It's just no fun. It's not novel, it's not unique, and it does nothing to make the Disneyland experience better. All it does is drag you out of the story and the lovely environment and pulls you right back into 2020's America and it's grind and it's problems. This is NOT why I go to Disneyland, or go on vacation in general.

Create an environment where I do NOT have to use my phone to have fun. There's a way to make your product unique and immersive!
Congrats on the new phone, what color did you end up getting? I'm hoping to upgrade my 3 year old iPhone XS to a 13 Pro soon because my phone overheats extremely easily and has major connectivity issues, randomly lose connection til I enable then disable Airplane Mode to reset the wifi / cell connections, very very annoying stuff.

Anyways, I haven't been to the parks since the pandemic but I figured it would be best for Disney to offer both options, let people mobile order in advance but also let people walk up and order their food and wait for it there, like normal. Fastpass systems are fine in my opinion making reservations on a phone but I always loved collecting fastpass tickets for my Disney Parks collection at home. I've spoken on how awful I think the lottery system of boarding groups is already so I won't talk about all that again. I guess with the reservation system it makes sense to be online since it wouldn't work requiring people to reserve physically in person before their park day however many days later. Still seems like the reservation system adds another step in the process without any benefits like we hoped like reducing capacity for a better experience, at least from what I've heard here and from friends down in Anaheim.

I have noticed over the years having to use my phone more and more at the parks, I used to only use it to check wait times while in the park (before they had the official app and I used MouseWait I think the name was) and would just enjoy everything in front of me. I get the world is increasingly reliant on smartphones but I think we should have traditional options along with the digital forms of everything listed in the previous post.
 

waltography

Well-Known Member
I think having a park map, show times, and wait times (how the app was a couple years back) is a great thing.

All those things were also available by looking at park maps in the front or information boards.

What bothers me is the necessity for smart phone usage to do many things now.
Fair. I personally think the benefits outweigh the disadvantages here (walk-up lists to popular TSRs are so much more convenient on the phone, for example), but I agree that there's a lot of things that could and should be offered outside of interacting with a smartphone (like having physical passes again).

I also wonder if it's not a question of the "having to interact with a smartphone at all?" and moreso a question of "what is the quality of that smartphone interaction?". As a UX designer I dislike a whole lot of the Disneyland app right now specifically because the UI can be so unintuitive or unclear, and so the cognitive load of all those bad interactions just weigh people down during the trip.
 
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Dear Prudence

Well-Known Member
I am a young person, I work in tech, I can operate a smart phone. For my wife and I the smartphone usage is just overwhelming now for Disneyland.

Here are all the park experiences that require cell phone or website usage these days:

Park Reservation
Virtual Annual Passes
Virtual Tickets
Creating a Party
Joining a Virtual Queue
Reserving Dining
Mobile Order (some restaurants are now strictly mobile order)
Redeeming Virtual Queue Passes
Genie + Reservations
Redeeming Genie + Reservations
Photo Pass

I was in the parks about a month ago and the day before we went was explaining the process to my relatives about how to go on "the new star wars ride".

We had to call Disney IT to get their tickets purchased on their account onto my account with my ticket in order to make sure we could play a lottery the next day for a chance to go on a ride.

This same day my cousin went to the Tiki Bar to get Dole Whip and was told "we're mobile order only, but mobile order has been down for 2 hours now, so you have to go to Tropical Hide Away" (which had a massive line).

So you're telling me even when Disney has a fully functioning food location, they stop serving people if the mobile order service isn't working?

I like Smartphones. I like the ability to have information and see things like ride wait times, or to have a duplicate copy of my ticket in digital form, but beyond that, everything else seems like more trouble than it's worth.

How is a system where someone can only order a corndog to eat 4 hours in the future better than a standby line of customers?

Why do I need to be on my cell phone while driving a car frantically refreshing in order to go on a ride?

Is Disney relying too much on smartphones?
My phone didn't work the ENTIRE Disneyland trip last month until the last day It only worked in the hotel. There were so many people using their phones that no one could use their phones. I absolutely hate being on my phone, especially AT Disneyland. The reliance on cell phones at Disney is out of control.
 

TP2000

Well-Known Member
Congrats on the new phone, what color did you end up getting?

Graphite. It's boring, but I like to accesorize it with covers. And Graphite works best for that, at least for my color palette.

I'm rarely fanatical about companies (he says on a Disneyland fan board :rolleyes:) and I don't consider myself an Apple fanatic, but I just really like their products and services thus far. Very classy outfit they have, and the phones are fabulous.

I get the world is increasingly reliant on smartphones but I think we should have traditional options along with the digital forms of everything listed in the previous post.

Agreed. It doesn't seem like the people Disney has employed in their IT groups know a thing about the parks or storytelling or why people visit the parks. It's not so we can poke at our phones to try and get a corn dog.

I absolutely hate being on my phone, especially AT Disneyland. The reliance on cell phones at Disney is out of control.

It's just gotten out of hand. You can tell there's a corporate expectation that you have to be on your phone constantly while at Disneyland. Nothing they do has a real-world option, there is no paper anything or real-world human interaction option. It's all App, all the time. It stinks.

Being dependent on an App to be at Disneyland is not what I call relaxing or fun or unique; it's like picking up my dry cleaning and checking traffic on the freeway. :(

The Walt quote in my signature line below has never been more apt.
 

Smooch

Well-Known Member
Graphite. It's boring, but I like to accesorize it with covers. And Graphite works best for that, at least for my color palette.

I'm rarely fanatical about companies (he says on a Disneyland fan board :rolleyes:) and I don't consider myself an Apple fanatic, but I just really like their products and services thus far. Very classy outfit they have, and the phones are fabulous.
I've switched between iPhone and Android a few times but have stuck on iPhones since the iPhone 5S, at this point I'm so invested in iPhone cause of the apps I use and my AirPods and Apple Watch that I just stick with them. I always get the black phone so I'm gonna end up going Graphite also, I agree it looks best with cases.

It always takes forever for a Disney app page to load on my phone (android).
I have this problem with connection in any crowded area, the cell towers just get overloaded. I can't remember how bad my connection is at Disneyland specifically but I know in big crowds I can barely ever connect to anything, the music festival I was at last month I couldn't connect to even receive text messages for 2/3 of the day I was there.
 

TP2000

Well-Known Member
One of the biggest companies in the world requiring phones for almost every facet of their theme parks is not a positive.

Someone must have told them they have to do this to make more money, or cut labor costs. Or both.

But apparently there is no one high enough up the food chain that could say "Uh, guys, I think we've gone overboard here. Let's dial it back down. These people are supposed to be on vacation."

I swear, if I see one more QR code some cheap-*** restaurant wants me to scan instead of handing me a proper menu, I'm going to lose it. 👿
 

Figments Friend

Well-Known Member
As one of the 5% of Theme Parks Guests who do not use or even own a smartphone / cell phone...YES, I agree there is too much focus on using it while in the Parks.

It sucked being shut out of some 'virtual queue' Attractions ( 'Rise at Dawn...er...Rise of The Resistance') and the difficultly of getting food ( mobile only ordering from most counter service locations ).
I survived...but the over-reliance and Disney's recent over-focus on 'forcing' its Guests to use it for multiple tasks realted to a day in the Park seems to me to encroach on something Disneyland in particular excels at :
Spontaneous enjoyment.

-
 

TP2000

Well-Known Member
As one of the 5% of Theme Parks Guests who do not use or even own a smartphone / cell phone...YES, I agree there is too much focus on using it while in the Parks.

It sucked being shut out of some 'virtual queue' Attractions ( 'Rise at Dawn...er...Rise of The Resistance') and the difficultly of getting food ( mobile only ordering from most counter service locations ).
I survived...but the over-reliance and Disney's recent over-focus on 'forcing' its Guests to use it for multiple tasks realted to a day in the Park seems to me to encroach on something Disneyland in particular excels at :
Spontaneous enjoyment.

-

Pre-Covid, I would often only use my phone to summon and pay for an Uber to/from the park.

During Rise Before Dawn mania I did use the phone inside the park, by climbing up to the train station above the maddening crowds and pointing my phone directly at Telstar to get a strong enough signal to get a boarding time. But once that was done, I enjoyed not staring at my phone when I was supposed to be staring at Disneyland.

The people in charge now don't seem to get that. They think people want to pay big bucks to go to Disneyland so they can stare at their phone all day???

Another example of how clueless the people running Disney theme parks have become. They don't get the product, and they don't know how to use it. And their "new ideas" only seem to make things worse and more frustrating for people who do get the product and know how to use it.

Running a theme park is not rocket science. So stop pretending that it is.
 
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DrAlice

Well-Known Member
The inability to just get a coffee or iced tea at a walk-up counter made for some miserable moments in our last trip. Mobile order was consistently an hour out. My poor husband: "I just want a freakin coffee!!" We figured out by day 3 to just order everything for the day early on, including the afternoon coffee and a snack break. But that's no way to be on vacation. Doesn't Disney WANT the impulse buys of churros and ice cream?

I think (HOPE) that this has relaxed somewhat since when we went in early June. Please tell me this has relaxed somewhat....

P.S. Stupid mobile order kept us from getting Dole Whips, too. I was looking forward to checking out the new-to-us Tropical Hideaway. It was not to be.
 

el_super

Well-Known Member
P.S. Stupid mobile order kept us from getting Dole Whips, too. I was looking forward to checking out the new-to-us Tropical Hideaway. It was not to be.

Tropical Hideaway doesn't offer mobile order. The Tiki Juice Bar does and has been mobile-only since before the pandemic. But you can get the same plain Dole whips at Tropical Hideaway as theu serve at the juice bar.
 

DrAlice

Well-Known Member
Tropical Hideaway doesn't offer mobile order. The Tiki Juice Bar does and has been mobile-only since before the pandemic. But you can get the same plain Dole whips at Tropical Hideaway as theu serve at the juice bar.
I know, but at the time we went mobile orders were filled up and there was a 2 hour wait to get into hideaway.
 

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