A few good apps can be a big help at Disneyland, but it's hard to evaluate them when you aren't in the park yet. That's where this guide comes in. You can use it to find out which ones are best and easiest to use, so you're ready to go when you arrive.
The first thing you need to know: Some Disneyland apps are travel guides intended for trip planning. If you're planning and reading general information about Disneyland, it's much easier to do that using a traditional web browser than in an app. For that reason, this list does not include the Disneyland travel guide type of apps.
Others apps are for use at the park. The most common types of apps are wait time or daily schedule apps, but you can also get apps that take you on a treasure hunt or keep you entertained when standing in line.
Signal Strength Issues
Before you think about using your mobile device at Disneyland, you should know about signals and reception. Cell phone signal strength and data availability have improved inside Disneyland over the past few years, but it's still possible that your Disneyland app or mobile browser-based product might not be available when you need it most. To help prevent that, take screenshots that you can refer to.
Disneyland now offers free WiFi in the parks, and you can find the hotspots on a park map or use the Disneyland app. The network is called “Disney-Guest.”
Best Itinerary App: Ridemax
Far too many Disneyland guests make a colossal mistake by not using the best tool available for reducing the time spent in line and organizing your day. In fact, RideMax should be an essential part of any busy visitor's day.
RideMax Mobile creates a customized daily schedule for you that keeps you out of line and lets you have fun instead. It's not technically an app, but a web-based product that can run on any smartphone.
Best Disneyland Wait Time Apps
Mouse Wait: Besides providing lots of Disneyland information, Mouse Wait is also a social media app, linked to Twitter and Facebook and with the self-proclaimed "largest real-time Disneyland discussion in the world."
- Price: Free
- Pros: Lots of users, which yields up-to-date wait time data. Lots of fun information that includes a Hidden Mickey Checklist, places to eat, live webcams, and more. It also has WHAT NEXT Advisor which suggests rides to try next based on wait times. MouseWait is easy to use for finding rides with short lines. However, on a less busy day, they may substitute average waits for real-time data.
- Cons: Navigation is sometimes slightly confusing. This free app is supported by advertisements, which means no annoying In-App purchases but the ads take up a small section of the screen and are sometimes annoying themselves. If you don't care to join their community, MouseWait can make you feel a little like an outsider.
- Don't ignore the (Resources) link at the bottom of the screen. It links to a Disneyland Character Finder, list of coin presses, rides listed by height, music, and a phone list along with tips to improve your Toy Story Mania score and a decoder for the hieroglyphics in the Indiana Jones queue.
Disneyland App: This app's strength is that it's connected to Disney's wait time database.
- Price: Free
- Pros: It's direct from Disney and uses the same graphics as you see online or in the parks. Wait shown superimposed over the park map, or you can see it in list form. You can also use it to check out where the characters are and who's out greeting guests. It also shows current return times for FASTPASSES. You can order tickets through the app and have your barcode at the gate on your phone. And it's GPS-enabled so it can help you navigate. On less-busy days when MouseWait doesn't have enough people in the park to report wait times, the ones you find on the Disneyland app may be more accurate. This app is also best for finding the closest restroom to your location.
- Cons: You can't see everything on the same map or list. If you're trying to balance wait time for lunch with wait time for a ride, it will be harder with this app.
Best Disneyland Convenience Apps
Shop Disney Parks: Do you love that Disney souvenir gear you just saw someone wearing? Don't waste time trekking around to every store in the park to find it. And don't buy it and carry it around with you all day, either. Just look things up on the Shop Parks app, and you can order them to be delivered to your home. Or if you can't wait and need it right now, the app can also tell you where to find it at the Disneyland Resort.
Starbucks App: Starbucks is the coffee provider of choice at the Disneyland Resort. You can't use their app's line-bypassing pre-ordering feature inside the parks, but it can help you when you're on the way in at the two Starbucks in Downtown Disney. Starbucks Downtown Disney is closest to the security gates, and the East location is near the Disneyland Hotel.
In-Park Entertainment Apps for Disneyland
These apps are intended just for fun.
Even with the best wait time apps and strategies, you may still find yourself standing in the occasional line or staking out your spot to watch the evening parade and fireworks a long time before they start.
Heads Up! Created by talk show host Ellen Degeneres, this charades-style game has a Disney Parks-themed deck. After purchasing the app, guests visiting Disneyland Resort can unlock the Disney Parks themed deck for free. It's a great way to pass the time while standing in line.
Hidden Mickeys can keep you busy looking for every single hidden set of mouse ears in the park, but it's pricey and might get even more so when you make in-app purchases. A cheaper option would be to buy a digital version of the book.
You might not think of an app as a money-saving tool, using Spot Hero, you can reserve a parking space at a local hotel for less than you would pay for the official Disney parking lots.
And some of the places are close enough to walk to the gate, eliminating the long bus ride you’d otherwise have to take.
More Apps You May Need
Find Your Car with AR: If you're walking to Disneyland from your hotel, you won't need this. But if you end up in the Toy Story Lot, that place is enormous. It's far too easy to lose to track of where you parked, and things look different at night than they did in the morning.
All you have to do to take care of that problem is turn the app on before you walk away from your vehicle, click, and it marks your parking spot. On the way back, it leads you to your starting point using a friendly arrow that points the way.
Yelp: You may also need to find something in the area that isn't on the Disneyland map, like a grocery store, a Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf shop or a pharmacy. Yelp is good for more than just ratings and has a good local area search function that can help you with that.