Made with Magic light ears

How to Tech Up For Your Next WDW Vacation

Jeffrey Poe

By Jeffrey Poe, Aug 16, 2016

WDWMAGIC Contributor

A vacation at Walt Disney World is filled with excitement, adventure and moments you won’t want to miss because of a dead battery or heat wave. Whether you’re going for the first time or a seasoned veteran, you’ll want to make sure you tech-up to you’re ready for whatever comes your way. Here are some tech-tastic ideas to help you and your lost-boys, or girls, get the best out of your next trip.

Camera

The first thing you’re going to need is a good camera. While this is a topic all to itself, we’ll focus on keeping it light by learning about some new products and a few of the built in features on your mobile smart phone. If you really want to WOW your friends check out the new Ricoh Theta 360 camera/video recorder. This handy little camera shoots full 360 photos and videos. Plus, it connects to your smart phone so you can view and even share your photos and videos instantly. We recently took one of these to Magic Kingdom and snapped about 80 photos a day and still had half the battery left. It’s a unique way to capture some of those fun moments.

If 360 photos and videos aren’t your thing, a trusty GoPro is another great choice. The compact design and versatile fisheye lens will give you wide angle to simply point and shoot, ensuring you capture some mega-cool selfies! Both the Ricoh Theta and GoPro are ideal for the bright daylight, but if you are looking to shoot some awesome pics of the fireworks and projection shows, you are going to need something with a bit more versatility. While you can certainly bring a DSLR camera with you, you may be surprised to know that your android or iOS devices can do a really great job if you know how to use them. So here is my mobile-photo tip of the week: For the best fireworks shots, use “burst” mode to capture sequential images. The rapid-fire shutter will result in better exposure for night with minimal streaking or blurs. Plus it makes for a pretty cool effect when you cycle through them or use an app like Burstio to stitch the pics together for an animated video or gif.?

My Disney Experience App

From Dining Reservations and FastPass+, to mapping your way around the parks, the My Disney Experience App is your WDW-BFF!

My Disney Experience

No matter if you are a professional Disney vacationer or a newbie, this is a must have tool that will help you customize and organize your vacation experience. Here are some important numbers or you to remember. 120, 60, 30, 3. Use your My Disney Experience App to book your dining reservations 120 days out from your vacation. If you are staying on property at one of the fabulous resorts you can snag your Fastpasses 60 days out from your first vacation day and 30 days out if you are staying off property. Finally, you can book up to 3 FastPass+ per day.

TECHTIP: Try to book all your FastPass+ selections for the mornings. Once those are used up, you can use your My Disney Experience app to grab additional FastPasses throughout the day, one at a time, as many as you want!?

Check out our Disney World Dining and FastPass+ Reservation Calculator to find out exactly when you can start making those reservations.

Backup Batteries

Whether you are snapping photos with your camera or updating your Facebook status after every ride, #Letitgo, chances are you’re going to need some extra juice to keep your devices powered up until the final “Kiss, Goodnight.” I recommend a battery that can charge multiple devices, such as the Amazon Basics Portable Power Bank. For less than $30 (free shipping for Amazon Prime members) you can have a 16,000mAh charger good enough to fully charge most mobile phones and cameras 2-3 times! If you are looking for something a bit more streamline, try a Mophie Juice Pack, which doubles as a rugged case.

FuelRod kiosk at Disney Springs

Disney recently added the FuelRod power solution to their parks. Now you can get an instant charging pack for $30 by going to one of the FuelRod kiosks located in all the parks and around various resort locations including Disney Springs. For more information click here to read our FuelRods article.

Stay Cool

Disney sells a host of products in their parks to help you keep your temperature down during the hot summer days. However, if you are looking for something that packs easily and is reusable, consider buying a few Frog Togg Chilly Pads. Made of a chamois-like material, simply run cool water over the Frog Togg and wrap it around your neck or head. Voilà, you’ll stay cool for a few hours. We like to take ours inside the air-conditioned shows at the parks, and when we come out it’s like an ice cold blast of relief from the Florida sun. Each pad is around $12 and they come in a variety of colors.

It’s also important to keep your toddler and infants cool. Try the Cool On The Go Clip Fan $39.99. This high performance battery powered tunnel fan clips onto your child’s stroller or even hangs around your neck, and it really works! You may also want to pick up a Cool Mee cooling-gel stroller-insert. These are great for keeping your little one cool on those long days in the Florida sun.

Step Tracker

If you are like me, you always want to know how far you actually walked while in the parks. So, make sure you bring a FitBit or Apple Watch with you so you can track those miles. If you don’t have one, you can download one of the many apps for your phone, such as Runtastic or Stepper. While these aren’t as accurate, they do give you a good idea of how far you traveled throughout the day. It’s also a fun way to see how many times you passed by the castle or crossed over your own path. On our last three-day trip we walked over 15 miles! Of course, we also ate a giant candy apple, 3 bags of popcorn, 2 mickey bars and a delicious grasshopper float (one pint of Guinness with a scoop of mint chocolate chip ice cream) from Beaches and Cream. We earned every calorie.

Parking Assistant

For many people, parking at Walt Disney World is an event unto itself. This may seem like a no brainer but I have to say, we have forgotten where we parked more times than I like to admit. Never fear, there is an App for that. Check out your Android or Apple app store and you’ll find lots of apps to help you keep track of your transportation. Find My Car is the app we prefer. It not only lets you “pin” where you parked, but it also lets you put pins for other important locations too, like your bus pickup spot and even your hotel room. Now there is no need to remember if you parked in Grumpy 116 or Ursula 94.

Rain Gear

If you are visiting Disney World, chances are you are going to experience a little wet weather. Here’s a cool idea for a super space-saving way to stay dry. The ultra-compact umbrella. Prices vary on these from $12 - $49. I have found that top tier Davek Mini is one of the best ones on the market. It’s small enough to fit in your back pocket yet, at over 3 feet in diameter when opened; it’s large enough to keep you dry. Ponchos are great too but they can get a bit uncomfortable after a while with the Florida humidity. Of course, nothing is more hi-tech than a Lightsaber Umbrella! It not only keeps you dry, but you can also use it to fend off the dark side (or light side, whichever you favor.)

Phone Games

No matter what time of year you got to Disney World, you are bound to wait in line for your favorite attractions. So why not have a little fun?! Time to break out the game apps, but don’t go it alone. Why not play with your friends and family? There are lots of great real-time multi-device or single-device games out there. UNO is always fun, and then there is Monopoly or you can try your hand at some Disney trivia with QuizUp. We like to challenge each other to a friendly game of Words with Friends while waiting in the longer lines. If you want to put down the tech for a while, see who can spot all the hidden mickeys while in line. They are everywhere! Whatever you choose, do it together and have fun.

Night Time Glow Tech

If you are going to be at Disney for the night shows, you’ll want to show off your Disney spirit. For my money, nothing is cooler than Disney’s Made with Magic wearables. It’s a fun way to be a part of the magical night shows and there are offerings for all ages. Mickey and Minnie Mouse Ears, Mickey Mouse Gloves and even a Sorcerers Wand, all programed to synchronize with the music and lights of shows like Illuminations, Fantasmic, and Wishes Nighttime Spectacular fireworks.

However, if you are looking for something just as fun without breaking the bank, run down to your local dollar store and pickup some glow sticks. They come in all kinds of fun sizes and shapes and there are even necklaces too. And if you really want to go all out, you can decorate your stroller for the holidays. We put holiday lights on our daughter’s stroller and she loves it. Many light kits can be purchased on Amazon and come with battery or solar power supplies.

So there you have it, technology can help you organize, have fun and stay comfortable on your next Walt Disney World Vacation. Take it from me, these small items can make a big difference and keep you and your WDW compadres happy. After all, that is the goal of any vacation. If you don’t come back with a huge smile on your face, turn around and do it again! Of course, if you’ve got any tech ideas to pass along to our readers, feel free to comment. Have a stellar trip to mouse land everyone!

Jeffrey Poe

Jeffrey Poe

Jeffrey is an industry leading Creative Director working with various types of visual and interactive technologies. Growing up in Ohio he moved to South Florida where he met his wife. She introduced him to the world of Disney and he became mesmerized by the vast technological wonders that lay within. He visits WDW monthly with his family and is always on the look out for imaginative experiences. His favorite attraction is Carousel of Progress, go figure.
Articles written by contributors represent the author's own view and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of WDWMAGIC or its editors.