The My Disney Experience App is Disney’s free mobile app that is a one-stop shop for resources helpful for planning your trip, making reservations, and navigating the parks. Since it does so many different things, it can also be a bit confusing. This article will give you a rundown of the important features of the app and how you can best utilize the My Disney Experience App to make your vacation a little better!
How to Get the My Disney Experience App
The first thing you need to be careful of is downloading the correct app for the right park. Disneyland in California and Disney World in Florida each have different apps, so be sure to get the Disney World one for your Orlando trip.
You can search for the app directly in the App Store from your iPhone or Google Play from your Android phone. Once you find the app, simply download it for easy access! It will prompt you to create an account if you haven’t already done so, and all of your information and planning will be stored with your account.
The My Disney Experience app has multiple features that can help you plan your vacation, including buying tickets, making park pass reservations, and resort accommodation information. Though these are all nice to have during your trip, I recommend completing the initial stages of planning via a computer. It’s much easier to see all of the available options, input your payment information, and ensure all the boxes are checked regarding your vacation. The same My Disney Experience Login will work for the mobile app and Disney’s website, so the two are interchangeable.
During Your Trip
There are tons of useful resources to use while actively engaged in your Disney World trip. The following is a summary of most pertinent features, and advice on how to effectively use them to make the most of your time.
Park Information, Hours, Maps, Showtimes, and Wait Times
During your trip, you’ll need to keep a close eye on the My Disney Experience App to ensure you’re navigating the parks effectively. To start, you should be checking the app to make sure you know when the parks are opening and closing.
Park Hours – can be found if you scroll down a bit on the homepage of the app. Keep in mind that if you get in line for a ride 1 minute before park closing, you’ll still be allowed on!
Maps – are extremely useful in helping you navigate the park. Though the layout of the parks is mostly straightforward, there can be some nooks and crannies that you won’t want to miss out on. The app also has a feature that allows you to select where you want to go, and it will give you directions from your current location (and an estimated time to get there). You can pull up the map in the app by selecting the little location indicator that looks like an upside-down water droplet. Be sure to filter the map if it’s too zoomed out by either scrolling along the map to where you’re at or using the criteria at the top of the screen to filter the map to your location. Maps can show rides, shows, bathrooms, restaurants, and anything else you might need in the parks!
Show Times – are listed on the home page of the app after selecting which park you want to see information for on the bottom of the screen. They can also be found when looking through the map section of the app after applying a filter to see where the shows are located.
Using the app to align show times with your trip around the park is extremely important. It can help you save a lot of time by avoiding waiting around! Most large shows run every hour to hour and a half, though certain things like the Magic Kingdom Festival of Fantasy Parade usually only happens once a day.
Wait Times – Checking wait times on the My Disney Experience App is likely the thing you’ll be using the app for most often. Being aware of wait times can ensure you have realistic expectations of how long you will be waiting, and should be used to plan on where you want to move next in the park. Even though the parks are big, it’s often worth taking a 5 to 10 minute walk across the park for a 20 to 30 minute shorter wait attraction.
A major thing to keep in mind is that the app only showcases the posted wait time, which is not always accurate. Disney likes to adjust the wait times a bit to ensure they can manipulate crowd flow to their liking. As a rule of thumb, you can expect most wait times to be about 20% shorter than the posted wait time. Every now and then they’ll be longer than posted, but that’s not all that common. The over-inflated posted wait times are particularly true right at park opening and at night. In the morning, there is barely anyone in the park yet, so there won’t be much of a wait for anything. The same is true at night, where less guests in the park means lower wait times. Disney sometimes keeps the posted wait times high on the big attractions to keep lots of guests from trying to squeeze in one more ride to keep the cast members from working late.
Disney Genie+ is a new feature of the app that is marketed as a means to provide guests planning advice and help organizing their day. However, I strongly believe that the Genie+ feature is only a way for Disney to move guests where they want them to go, instead of what the guests might actually want to do. Chances are, if you’re reading this article, you’re planning your own day out in a way that will work best for your group. Therefore, you won’t need Disney’s suggestions.
Lightning Lane and Individual Lightning Lane
Lightning Lane is Disney’s replacement to the old Fastpass system. Alas, the service is no longer free, and is now a paid ticket add-on for your family. It works mostly the same way as Fastpass+ did, where you can select an attraction and reserve a return window of time. After you arrive at the attraction for your reservation, you will be able to skip most of the line and ride with little or no waiting.
As the system works now, you can log into the My Disney Experience App in the morning and be ready to make your first reservation at exactly 7am. You are allowed to make a new reservation after using the first one, or 2 hours after making the first reservation, whichever is earlier. Using the My Disney Experience App to check for Lightning Lane options is another important use of the system.
The same applies to Individual Lightning Lane selections, which are add-on, single use “buy your way onto the ride” reservations for each park’s most popular attraction. You can access Lightning Lane options from the Lightning Lane section of the app, or select an attraction on the map to view its Lightning Lane options.
The cost for regular Lightning Lane access is usually about $20 per person, and Individual Lightning Lanes are around $15. These prices fluctuate throughout the year.
The My Disney Experience App also allows you to access virtual queues for select attractions. These virtual queues are the only way to ensure a free visit to Disney’s newest rides, and currently covers Epcot’s Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind and Magic Kingdom’s Tron: Lightcycle/Run Roller Coaster (opening in early April 2023). You’ll have to wake up right at 7am and navigate to the virtual queue section of the app. Once 7am hits, you can reserve a spot and you’ll be given an estimated return time when you can ride. Be warned- these reservations can be gone in minutes.
From the app, you can also look up which restaurants have availability, filtering by location and time of visit. Its best to make dining reservations as soon as they’re available 60 days in advance of your trip, but you can always see what’s available the day of by constantly refreshing the page on the app. To get to this section, hit the big plus sign on the bottom and then “reserve dining.”
Mobile Ordering Food
For quick service restaurants, you can utilize mobile ordering to avoid waiting in line to order your meal. This can be very useful to save time and ensure everyone has time to think about what they want! Again, navigate to this section using the plus sign on the bottom of the screen, or click on a restaurant in the map section and click “Mobile order.” Viewing menus on the app is also a great use of time.
Using the My Disney Experience App Effectively
In summary, the App is a great way you keep track of everything during your trip. Be sure to poke around on the app during down times in the park like when you’re waiting in line and have nothing better to do. That way, you can make a plan and stick to it instead of wasting time when you could be on the move! Be sure not to spend the entire vacation looking at your phone!