Currently I live in Boston, land of the Red Sox, Hahvahd Yahd, and baked beans, but once upon a time, I grew up in sunny Southern California, where at least once a year, I would visit Disneyland with my family. I’m not quite as Disney-obsessed as my sister with her annual pass, but I’m definitely a hardened Disney veteran who knows her way around Disneyland and Disney’s California Adventure.
Normally, I scarcely bother to look at a map, but this summer was my first time visiting Disneyland and California Adventure with an iPhone, so I figured I would try out one of the Disney park apps, in this case, Disneyland Wait Times, and see if it made a difference.
Surprisingly, it did. Although I can’t see the app being much use to iPod Touch users, given the extremely spotty wifi availability at the parks, the 3G network definitely made it easy to glance over the list of times and decide how long we wanted to commit ourselves to waiting in line.
The app relies on user-submitted data to function, so it can be a bit hit or miss, depending on how many iPhone-wielding Good Samaritans are around, but on a busy summer weekend, I had very good luck with the times displayed. It was especially helpful for staying on top of closed rides, although it’s unclear how useful it is for mechanically fussy rides like the Matterhorn and Pirates of the Caribbean that occasionally have a tendency to close and reopen throughout the day.
One thing it doesn’t do, which would have made this much more useful, is track Fastpass availability, as there are rides which I would never dream of waiting in the regular line for. (Pro-tip: if this is your first time at Disneyland, definitely make use of those Fastpasses for popular attractions.)
Disneyland Wait Times won’t be quite as useful for first-timers, just because it’s a lot harder to judge what is worthwhile based solely on the wait time. For example, you don’t want to wait 20 minutes for the Enchanted Tiki Room, even if it takes 40 minutes to get into Indiana Jones, but it might actually be worth waiting 30 minutes for Soarin’ Over California instead of 10 minutes for Flik’s Flyers. Veteran Disneyland and DCA visitors will have a much better sense of the appeal of certain attractions and the general flow of the parks.
Disneyland Wait Times is a pretty bare bones app, and it’s certainly not perfect, since there’s no incentive to sending in updates and you have to hope people are feeling generous, but when the community is functioning, it’s a very useful app to have on hand when you’re wandering around the parks.