There is so much to do when you’re prepping for a Disney trip! Packing, dining reservations, earning a master’s degree in Genie+ (Lightening Lanes, Individual Lightening Lanes, and Virtual queues – oh my!). Researching resorts and reading about rides can be a fun part of the experience. But there’s probably something you’re forgetting to prep.
Your phone! Yes, that’s right. If you’re headed to Disney, you’re going to want to do a few things to get your phone ready. Not to worry, we here at The Pixie Dusted Planner have got you covered. From which apps to download, to where to charge your phone in the parks.
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Make Room for Memories
You’re going to be taking a lot of pictures at Disney. Meeting characters, watching parades, and don’t forget those bubblegum wall selfies. You might find yourself running out of room on your phone for photos and videos.
Even if you have a camera, know that you are going to take pictures on your phone. It’s a habit, it’s convenient and it’s going to happen. You may even decide your camera isn’t worth carrying around the parks all day! It’s better to be prepared than miss that perfect parade pic! So, here are few things to clear off your phone before going on your trip.
- Move photos to a computer or cloud drive
- Delete text messages (I’m so bad about this one!)
- Clear your browser cache (I’m sorry, you’ll have to Google how based on your phone model)
- Apps you don’t use
- Music you don’t listen too
- Movies and videos you’ve already watched
- Some phones allow you to easily add (or swap) an SD card for extra storage. Check with the manufacturer for your model, and stock up if this is an option.
As a Disney blogger and social media addict, my worst nightmare is my phone dying while I’m at Disney. But with Genie+ even the casual park visitor needs to think about their phone’s battery. A lot of the Disney experience has become dependent on using your tech devices; booking lightening lanes, looking up wait times, finding character meet and greets, deciding where to eat, aaaaaand now your battery is dead at 1:00 pm.
Fuel Rods are small portable chargers available online and throughout the parks. The costs vary but these are normally around $30. Fuel rods are compact and light weight, but will only provide an extra hour or two of battery life.
The big draw for these is the ability to swap a depleted Rod for a fresh, fully charged, one. There are locations throughout the Disney parks, and around the country outside of the parks. Inside of Disney you can swap for free, but outside of the parks there is a small fee. Usually $1-$3.
We like these for days when you’re packing light for the parks, but they’re not our top choice.
Alternative Battery Packs
The Fuel Rods are great for their size and price point, but having to swap them out multiple times per day is a major downfall. You’re going to spend half of your day looking for locations to swap instead of enjoying the parks. Which is why we prefer a full size battery bank.
Power banks are larger and heavier, but the right one can keep your phone charged all day.
Anker Portable Charger
The Anker 20K Battery Pack is my go-to power bank. The .75lb weight and 6″ by 3″ design can fully charge a phone 4-5 times, depending on the model. It’s got two USB outputs allowing you to charge multiple devices, and can be charged with a USB B or C cable.
I take this power bank with me everywhere, not just Disney. It’s in my purse anytime I leave the house, because you just never know. I travel a lot and tend to use this as my primary charger (when I’m not at Disney). I’ve gone about 8 days just charging my phone on this battery pack, without recharging the pack itself.
While not as small as Fuel Rods, the Anker 20K Battery Pack is still relatively lightweight and will keep you charged on the go all day.
OtterBox Premium Power Bank
Another great option for phone charging on the go is the OtterBox Premium Power Bank. This heavy duty option weighs just a bit more than the Anker version but is nearly identical in size. OtterBox is known for sturdy phone cases that protect your tech from drops, and this power bank is no different.
My favorite thing about this power bank is the two charging ports, one USB and one USB-C. Any new electronic item I’ve bought in the last few years has come with a USB-C charging cable. And of course nothing comes with the wall blocks anymore. So I found myself relying on this Otterbox Premium Power Bank to charge things like my smartwatch.
I did eventually buy the USB-C wall block, begrudgingly. But more and more companies are moving to the USB C cable. With the OtterBox Premium Power Bank you can use these cables to charge your tech, or even the battery pack itself. This is a big upgrade from the Anker version for me.
You’ll also get the same 4-5 full charges, and it comes with OtterBox’s lifetime warranty.
Protect Your Purchase
Running out of memory or power on your phone are scary thoughts, but can you imagine losing it all together? Between rides that bounce you around, and the hustle and bustle around the parks. It just makes sense to pack a drop resistant case.
And don’t forget the water rides. Splash Mountain may be gone but Tiana’s Bayou Adventure will be here in the blink of an eye, and you’re gonna get wet. I’ve always packed a few ziplocs in my daily park bag. But I’ve picked up paddleboarding since living in Hawaii and it’s made a big fan of these waterproof phone pouches.
It’s probably more than you need in the parks, but it’s really useful at the hotel pool (and beaches).
Download These Apps
And last but not least, now that your phone is prepped, primed, and protected – you can add some useful stuff! These are our favorite apps for planning a trip, traveling to get there, and of course making the most of the parks.
Apps for Planning Your Disney Trip
How did we ever survive before the internet, let alone vacation? You can research, plan, and book your entire Disney vacation right from your phone.
Planes, trains, and automobile all have their own apps these days. Adding them to your phone and signing in, before you need them, can make your trip through the airport as smooth as butter.
I also like to use Kayak to help keep track of my itinerary. You can allow Kayak access to your inbox so it may compile your confirmation emails all in one place. Quickly see your flight, rental, and hotel details all on one screen. Bliss.
Accessible by app or directly online, Mouse Dining helps you snag hard to get dining reservations. This is one of my favorite Disney hack apps and has helped me book some of the most in demand restaurants.
Set up an alert for the date and restaurant you’d like to book. Then if someone cancels or new reservations open up, you’ll receive an alert to book directly through Disney. You can create up to 5 alerts for free, or sign up for more.
Apps for Inside the Disney Parks
Once you’ve safely arrived and made it to the resorts, you’ll be glad to have these useful apps at hand.
My Disney Experience
There are two Disney Experience apps available in most major app stores, one for Disneyland and one for Disney World. There are some minor differences between the two but they let you accomplish the same things. You’ll need the app to join virtual queues, purchase and use Genie+, check wait times, find characters, and mobile order. Even your park tickets can be found on the app now!
With so much to see and do at Disney parks, your group will probably split up at some point. If you’re trying to regroup but someone isn’t answering, you’ll be able to quickly track them down with a locator app. You’ll only be able to see group members who opt in and also download the app, so talk this through with everyone first.
If you’re staying on property at Disney World you’ll have access to free transportation between the parks. But if you’re off property, at Disneyland, or just need to get somewhere in a hurry – you’ll be glad to have a rideshare app.
Minnie Vans, the adorable red and white polka dot vans, are provided by Lyft at Disney World.
I absolutely love how much thought and detail Disney puts into their parks. They’ve realized that no one enjoys waiting in line for over an hour, and made a few changes to improve the experience. My favorite update is the Dumbo queue at Magic Kingdom, where kids can rollick around an indoor play area until it’s their turn.
But Disney Play is unparalleled. It’s an app that allows you to interact with the park. Scanning hidden clues and messages, playing immersive games, and more. This is a sure fire way to keep little ones (or ones with little patience, like me) entertained through the day. Just make sure to pack a battery pack.