It wasn’t that long ago when I would go to Walt Disney World and leave my cell phone locked in the vault of my resort room. I didn’t want my office calling me while I’m on vacation and my camera took much better pictures than my phone. The only time I would take my cell phone into a Disney park was if I thought it would be needed to contact a family member or friend. I just didn’t see the point of risking getting it wet or damaged. Well, all that has changed with the advent of smartphones.
We all have our lists of what we must absolutely bring into the parks and among the most important items are suntan lotion, bottles of water, a camera, and rain ponchos. I would bet that if most of you put together a top ten list of items you must bring into the parks a smartphone wouldn’t even be on the list. That’s because the smartphone has become so vital to our daily communication we consider it a part of us and we assume it goes where we go.
With the arrival of social media our circle of friends has greatly expanded through the use of Twitter and Facebook. Now, communicating with friends and family with our smartphones is instantaneous. When you’re spending a day in a Disney park you can tweet out your exact location and let everyone know where you are and what you’re doing. With your smartphone you can upload really good quality pictures to Twitter or Facebook in a short period of time. You can access the internet, broadcast through Ustream, and place video calls with Skype. There are hundreds of apps you can download to your smartphone like Touring Plans which will provide you with up to the minute wait times for each attraction. Let’s not forget Gowalla or Farmville which are also popular with many smartphone owners.
I believe bringing a smartphone wherever we go on Disney property can and has changed the way most of us tour the parks. How many of you have seen people walking around a Disney park with their head down because they’re texting or tweeting and how many have you done that? I know I have. While it’s great to meet up with friends who are also visiting the parks and staying in touch with others who are not there it can also become an annoyance to some or all of your traveling party. I know for some this is easier said than done but try to limit the number of tweets you send out. After all this is your vacation and you want to enjoy it and get the most out of it.
If you bring your smartphone into a Disney park please keep in mind there are no charging stations in the theme parks. If there were you would probably need a fast pass to use the charging station as I imagine there would be long lines and wait times for them. There are electric outlets scattered throughout the parks but I do not recommend using any of them without permission from a cast member. If you have a smartphone that allows you to change batteries then bring extra ones. As a precaution I always carry two extra batteries for my Droid.
This past February I had the good fortune of being on Lou Mongello’s “Epic” WDW Radio Dream Cruise. Most of us on the cruise turned off our smartphones and cell phones to avoid incurring high roaming fees. I admit it was an adjustment not being able to communicate with my twitter friends but a very short adjustment at that. It was nice to be able to enjoy the cruise and everything it had to offer. So, maybe we should all try touring the parks “old school” and leave our smartphones in our resort room? Yeah right! Like that will ever happen.
If you’re going to Walt Disney World be smart and keep in touch.Share