I’ve compiled some tips I have used on my recent trips to Walt Disney World and Universal Orlando to share with you! Enjoy these easy ways to make your smartphone work for you and keep you organized (and happy) on your next vacation.
Tips Before You Go:
1. Save important phone numbers in your phone like your insurance company, airline, travel agent, emergency contacts, etc.
2. Delete unnecessary apps and then backup and delete old photos. You will need all the room you can get for pictures!
3. Buy and bring an external battery charger with you. Phone batteries are drained in public places, I’m not a tech expert but I think, for me, it was because my phone was constantly searching for the Wi-Fi. Disney and Universal have free Wi-Fi almost everywhere…and, every time I have been to either place, my phone is constantly searching and connecting to it. By lunchtime, I have to charge it again and an external charger has saved me multiple times!
4. Turn off notifications. You are on vacation-don’t be distracted by emails, news alerts, and other notifications. In fact, turn your phone on airplane mode and just use your phone for pictures and alarms and logging into Wi-Fi only when you need to do something on your theme park app or to share your great pictures on social media or text to friends and family.
5. Take a picture of each insurance card for each member of the family so you don’t have to carry them around and you have them if you need them.
6. Take a photo of each of your children every morning. If you get separated from you will have a photo of what they are wearing that day and it can help you and the cast members find them quickly. (on a side note; teach your children to look for the first person they see wearing one of the Disney name tags if they get separated from you- the Cast Members are trained to help in these situations)
8. If you are at Universal, take a photo of each ticket, express pass, and dining pass. They are small paper tickets and can get lost (or wet in the rain) easily. Again, having a photo allows Guest Relations to help you much quicker.
9. Take a picture of where you parked (if you drive to the parks). You WILL need that by the end of the day.
10.Take a picture of your resort room #. If your kids have a phone or digital camera with them, have them do the same. All rooms start to look alike the further down the hall you get!
11. Check your pictures at the end of the day. Are you eyes closed in front of the Castle? Did someone walk in front of your family picture at EPCOT? Going through your pictures at the end of each day will help you know what pictures to do-over and it might also help you put the camera down! If you take a ton of pictures in the beginning of the trip, you can put the camera down later on and enjoy being truly present and not behind the screen of your phone the whole time.
12. Create an itinerary for each day (let your travel agent help!) then take a picture or screen shot of each day and set that day’s schedule as your lock screen. Include Fast Passes, Park Hours, fireworks, parades, show times, and Advanced Dining Reservations.
13. Download the My Disney Experience app for Walt Disney World, or the Universal Orlando app to keep track of wait times and to find your way around the resort and park without having to carry a paper map. If you have a Park Hopper (Walt Disney World) or a Park to Park ticket (Universal Orlando), you can see how the crowds/wait times are at other locations and hop to another park if it’s too crowded where you are. You can also view menus for restaurants around you to help you decide what to get…very helpful when you are tired and hungry.
14. Set an alarm on your phone to remind you about FastPasses, Advanced Dining Reservations, and scheduled events like shows and fireworks that you don’t want to miss. Set alarms for dining reservations 1.5 hours ahead of the reservation time in case you need to get from your resort or another park to your dining location. This gives you plenty of time to get the transportation you need and get to where you need to go. Trust me, it’s easy to forget what you had planned…and we all know time flies when you are having FUN!
I hope these tips help you plan for your next Disney or Universal trip! A Smartphone is something you are probably going to have with you anyway…so make it work for you and have a stress-free vacation!
Aleshia Sokoloski, Travel Planner affiliated with Travel with the Magic
Specializing in Universal Resorts and Disney Vacations including Disneyland, Walt Disney World, Adventures by Disney, and Disney Cruise Line.