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Testing New Features On The My Disney Experience App

October 4, 2018

As Guests are becoming more and more reliant on their phones, it makes sense that Disney would add additional features to the My Disney Experience App.

But, before recommending these features to my clients, I wanted to know how useful these new features are. And how much more will my phone’s battery drain while using these features?

Testing New Features on the My Disney Experience App

Mobile Ordering

Beginning in 2017, this “new” feature is the oldest on this list. But, before it’s more recent update, you were only able to use Mobile Ordering with a credit card. Using your Disney Dining Plan credits wasn’t an option.

My family tends to travel during the famed Free Dining Promotion, so we didn’t test this feature out before now. Why pay for food when you have an abundance of Meal and Snack Credits to use?

So, I was more than excited when using Disney Dining Plan credits were added as a payment option.

While we are happy to see the addition of the Dining Plan, Gift Cards are not yet accepted. Since we do not always get the Dining Plan, this addition would make a great addition even better.

Raspberry Lunch Box Tart from Woody's Lunch Box

What We Thought About Mobile Ordering

Simply put, if you have the opportunity to use Mobile Ordering, do it! It was 100% worth it!

Since Toy Story Land had just opened, I took this as the perfect opportunity to test this feature out.

Woody’s Lunch Box was crowded. And considering it was fairly new, the Cast Members were still learning everything. So, if there was going to be a significant difference in how long it would take to receive our food, this would be the place.

Since my parents aren’t “tech” people, they waited in the regular queue the same time I used Mobile Ordering. Not only did I have my order before they did, we were done eating before my parents even make it to the table.

Door Unlocked Screen as your phone magically opens your door on the My Disney Experience App

Opening your door with your phone

Why would you need this feature when you have your MagicBand on your wrist?

Let’s say that you left your Resort for a minute and forgot to grab your MagicBand before leaving. This is why you need this feature.

Aside from the fact that I just thought it would be fun, I was more curious to see how well it actually worked.

Disney wifi isn’t exactly known for it’s speed and reliability. And the My Disney Experience App is known to have some glitches. So, I wanted to know if it would actually work if I needed it.

What We Thought About This Feature

With my phone in my hand, I opened up the My Disney Experience App and pressed the “Open door” button. As soon as I pressed my phone against the Mickey Symbol on the door, I heard the door unlock.

I tested it multiple times and it worked perfectly every time. It even had sounds to let you know that your door has “magically” been unlocked.

Is using your MagicBand easier? Of course… But, I love knowing that if I ever do forget my MagicBand, I won’t be locked out.

Bus stop at Disney's Caribbean Beach Resort

Bus Times

How many times have you gotten to the Bus Stop just as the bus is pulling away? I don’t think there’s anything more excruciating than waiting 20 minutes for another bus to come.

There are screens at the Bus Stops to tell you what time the next bus is arriving. But, you have to already be at the bus stop before you could see what time the next bus was arriving.

This new addition lets you know when the buses will arrive before you get to the bus stop. If the next bus isn’t arriving for another 20 minutes, you can enjoy the AC in your room for a few more minutes before venturing over to the bus stop.

Disney Transportation arriving to pick up Guests

What We Thought About This Feature

As much as we enjoyed using this feature at Pop Century, we found it most useful when we were leaving the Parks

The App clearly states that bus times from the Theme Parks to your Resort isn’t available yet.

But, since you board the same bus that Guests from your Resort exit, we just checked what time a bus left our Resort. We used that to estimate what time the next bus would be arriving to the Parks.

And since the times were updated in real time, we found that to be accurate.

Endcap with Disney Merchandise

Shop Merchandise

Admittedly, this was the feature I was least excited about testing. To stay on budget, I place whatever dollar amount I save up for souvenirs on a Disney Gift Card.

As much as I love Disney merch, I don’t always do a lot of shopping on vacation. We only have so much room in our suitcases to hold all those goodies.

The Shop Merchandise feature connects directly to Shop Disney. So, if space in your suitcase is an issue, see if it’s online before making the decision to buy it there.

Merchandice Scanning in the My Disney Experience App

What We Thought About Shop Merchandise

Honestly, I ended up using this addition more than I expected.

There are many items around Walt Disney World that use a color coded system instead of a sticker that tells us exactly what the item costs. While I don’t necessarily have an issue with this system, it’s just frustrating when there is no sign around to tell us what these colors mean.

Over the course of a week, we found a number of items that had no signage.

So, we used the scanner in the App to find the prices. Some of the stores were busy, so it was nice to not have to bother Cast Members for price checks.

We weren’t able to find the price for everything we were looking at. But, I will definitely be using the scanning part of the My Disney Experience App on future trips.

Play Disney Achievements

Play Disney Parks App

I had high hopes for the Play Disney Parks App. Lets face it, waiting in lines can get boring.

And since we weren’t able to grab a FastPass for Slinky Dog Dash, I was anticipating a long wait to ride. Although I had planned on using it around all the Theme Parks, this was going to be the perfect time to give this app a fair trial.

Play games on the Play Disney App

What We Thought About the Play Disney App

To be honest, we found this addition to be underwhelming.

We played a few trivia games. We were even able to turn my son into a couple animals from a game in Animal Kingdom. But in the end, it didn’t really capture our attention.

I did earn some “achievements.” But, this was mainly from keeping the app open than actually playing the games.

In fact, most of the time, I simply forgot about the App altogether.

The achievements are adorably cute. And I do look forward to using it within Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, where it can actually interact with the land.

But, other than that, I don’t see myself using this addition too much.

Woman looking at her phone

How Did Using These Features Affect My Battery?

Between the heat and constantly opening up the My Disney Experience App, I expected to be constantly recharging my phone. I came prepared with a bunch of extra external chargers.

I was pleasantly surprised to see that my phone didn’t drain any faster using these additions that a normal day in the Parks. So, all I really needed was my Fuel Rod.

Low Battery Mode Setting

Whenever I’m in the Parks, the first thing I do is put my phone on the Low Battery Setting. It makes a huge difference in the life of my battery.

I was taking lots of  pictures and testing out the new features all day. But, because my phone was in Low Battery Mode, it didn’t lose power as quickly as I thought it would.

While my mom and I didn’t do any sort of official testing of this method, I did see a huge difference in how our phones held a charge over the week.

Although I used my phone significantly more than she did, her phone drained 2 to 3 times faster than mine, despite us having almost identical phones.

A FuelRod charger and charging cord sitting on a desk

Fuel Rod

Secondly, I owe a lot to the Fuel Rod (not an affiliate link!)

After debating whether or not to purchase one, I finally gave in and purchased a Fuel Rod online prior to this trip. Even with the shipping cost, it was still less than what Disney charges.

Honestly, I don’t know why it took me so long. Not only is it a lot smaller than my other chargers, there are Fuel Rod machines in all the Parks and Resorts.

Although I had unlimited Swaps, I only really needed to swap it out in the morning. Between Low Battery mode and the Fuel Rod, I had all the power I needed all day long.

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Hawaii Destination Specialist

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