Have you gotten your smartphone ready for your next Disneyland trip? Having the right Disneyland apps on your devices can make a world of difference for having a successful vacation. Apps do it all these days – give accurate wait times, provide maps, help you find characters, and make sure you don’t miss that parade or show that you and your kids are dying to see.
Over the years, I’ve tried a lot of apps while in Disney parks. Here are my top 7 favorites that are always on my phone ready and waiting for my next trip to Anaheim.
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Top 7 Disneyland Apps
1. Disneyland Resort Official App
If you haven’t been to Disneyland in the last few months, you might not know that Disneyland FINALLY has an official app of its own, released in August 2015. The app includes wait times, park maps, and more.
My family used the official Disneyland app extensively during our most recent fall trip for Halloween Time and found it worked quite well. Wait times were pretty accurate with the exception of the few minutes after rope drop when lines build super-quickly for a few key attractions like Peter Pan.
The only caveat I can offer is that data service within Disneyland is notoriously unreliable. Disneyland does not yet offer WiFi service within the parks. So the information is only as good as your data connection. I found that I needed to force refresh the app on occasion and sometimes I simply couldn’t get the data service to do so. But when service worked, this app was my go-to for checking information many times during the day.
2. Disneyland Lines from Touring Plans
Touring Plans is the gold standard for Disney planning geeks, but it comes at a price. The Lines app, though, is totally worth it. It predicts wait times based on a combination of historical wait time data and real-time user reporting. It also gives you crowd predictors 10 days in advance, restaurant menus, and personalized touring plans. The only things missing from Lines are an integrated park map and character meet-and-greet information, but the very accurate wait time estimator makes this a super-valuable app to have.
MouseWait has been around a long time and has a devoted user base which makes it valuable. It’s part wait time monitor and part social media platform; there’s a social aspect to sharing your own personal wait times to help your fellow MouseWait user. When there are a lot of active users in the park, it works well, but I’ve personally seen some inaccurate wait estimates when there simply isn’t enough user data being reported.
One feature I really like is the “INSTANT” option that shows you what is nearby as you walk through the parks if you turn on location services. Another feature “UPNEXT” shows you what shows are coming up soon so you can plan your next move while you wait in line.
The user interface is a little busy, so it is kind of hard on the eyes. But you can trust the information, and that is all that matters.
4. Virtual Plaid
COST: Free | DEVICES: iOS
The folks behind MouseWait JUST released a related app called “Virtual Plaid” that acts as your own personal tour guide or assistant while in the parks. You can set the app to remind you of your Fastpass return times, ping you when a show or parade is about to start, or to browse menus to select your next dining stop. It also notifies you when wait times for rides you select drop below a threshold you set. Since it’s so new, I’ve not yet had a chance to test it in the parks, but the reviews so far are amazing and it looks great from the thorough walk-through I gave it at home. Worth a download for sure!
COST: $14.95 for 90 days; $24.95 annual membership | DEVICES: Mobile Web access
RideMax isn’t technically an app – it is a software program originally built for PCs many, many years before anyone had ever dreamed up a the idea of a smartphone (much less an app for it!). And I’ve used RideMax that long so I can say I’ve truly put it to the test. I’ve been a huge fan for more than a decade and have probably saved hundreds of hours of my life not waiting in Disney lines because of it. RideMax launched a web-based version a few years ago meaning you can now use it on smartphones wherever you are.
RideMax works by generating a customized itinerary for your Disneyland day that minimizes wait times based on historical wait time data. Select the rides and attractions you want to visit and the program generates a schedule for you to follow. RideMax works best if you tinker with it a bit to see how many attractions you can reasonably fit into your day, so I recommend using it before your trip rather than on the fly. That said, it does work in a pinch within the park if you find your day has gone awry thanks to changed plans or a ride closure.
RideMax does have one major limitation and that is that it does not provide information for Sunday visits. The makers recommend using Saturday data to approximate but I’ve found that this process is complicated. The effect of Extra Magic Hours as well as different park opening hours on some Saturdays and Sundays means that the user must do a not-insignificant amount of manual adjustment.
6. Disneyland Inside Out
Another well-known app that has stood the test of time is Disneyland Inside Out. It includes wait times, park schedules, maps, and links to the app’s Facebook and Twitter feeds where even more information is shared. The user interface is well designed and clean, making it easy to spot the information you need. And the price is certainly right, so this is one that is totally worth a download.
7. Hidden Mickeys: Disneyland
COST: $5.99 | DEVICES: iOS
A list of best Disneyland apps can’t be all trip planning and logistics (although I do love logistics). The final app to make the list is pure Disney fun – a guide to all the Hidden Mickeys to be found throughout the two Disneyland parks and all over Disneyland property.
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