Disney EchoEar Grand Mouseter
Joined: April 1992
||Posted: April 20, 2010, 7:13 am
Read this article, and take a look at comments at the link, then feel free to vote in the Poll and discuss and offer your experiences and solutions.
Quoting "Mom and the Mouse" from the Daily Disney blog at the OrlandoSentinel.com. Read reader comments at the link, too.
How do you keep smartphones charged at Disney theme parks?
A MOM AND THE MOUSE, FEATURED, KRISTIN FORD — BY KRISTIN FORD ON APRIL 19, 2010 AT 11:13 AM
The Mobile Magic app gives Disney guests real-time updates inside the parks. (Walt Disney World photo)
On a recent family vacation, I found myself looking for electrical outlets to recharge my iPhone whenever we stopped at restaurants. The experience made me wonder if Walt Disney World has plans to accommodate the growing number of people who carry — and rely on — smartphones.
Currently, there are no charging stations in the Disney parks. I have seen a few desperate folks parked by random plugs, but Disney doesn’t condone that and some cast members will ask guests to remove their electronics.
With other portable devices, such as cameras, guests can purchase extra batteries, or even disposable versions, if needed in the theme parks. Not so with smartphones — plugging into an outlet is the only viable option at Disney World if all power is gone. (Reusable batteries for smart phones are sold elsewhere and must be charged for hours before they can be used, so they are not a last-minute option.)
On the surface, the solution might seem obvious — put away the phone when you’re on vacation. But, especially at Disney World, smartphones can be valuable: Taking and uploading photos, checking wait times through various apps and playing games during long lines (or keeping your sanity by allowing your kids to play games). And let’s not forget checking email, Facebook and Twitter and texting other members of your party. All these activities drain batteries quickly and can leave guests with dead phones halfway through a long day at Disney.
Wouldn’t it be great if there were a recharging station in each park? It could be as simple as a strip of chairs with outlets, as we see in airport terminals, or as fun as a coffee bar. Yes, building and staffing the area would have a price tag, but it seems as if it would be easy to recoup the costs in fancy lattes and outlet-time fees.
Charging stations almost certainly would increase costumer satisfaction.
What would you like to see?
Until our wishes come true, guests must plan ahead — carry external batteries, recharge at their hotels and turn off certain settings and applications to make their smart phones last longer.
End of quoted article.
A lot of airports offer charging stations, very nice! The difference between an airport charging station and one at a theme park would be at some point those using an airport charging station actually leave it because they have to board their flight. I would think a theme park charging station might be crowded by people wanting to stay 'til their device is fully re-charged, and that sometimes all the plugs are taken, and you spend your time wandering around looking for plugs or power stations rather than enjoying the parks.
In 2008 we'd owned our first generation iPhones (2007 initial rollout models) for less than a year and we visited Disneyland at Easter. We ran out of power and looked for wall plugs all the time. We found some in Innoventions and Tomorrowland, and at a merchandise store in ToonTown. Best wall plug is in an ice cream restaurant along Main Street, our table has bench seating and right there in the wall next to the tables on either side: Wall plugs! Eat lunch, and your iPhone joins you for lunch! You can sit, dine, power up and also watch 3 PM parade from the spot, and order ice cream fountain desserts, too, so you have happy tummy, a seat in a real chair for the parade rather than stand or sit on curb, and can spend even more time plugging in and powering up!
Disneyland's solution is to go to that theme park's main camera-photography store and ask the Cast Members behind the counter to power up your mobile smartphone or electronic device for you. We've never had a problem with this once we learned about it, except of course you're without your electronic buddy for a few hours. If you use your device to take photos, then you might miss some photo opportunities while it's charging up, but at least it's charging up and it's safe and secure. It's the retail store in each theme park where you deal with PhotoPass transactions, if you have a professional photographer take your picture with a Disney character or in front of a major building or structure the photographer says you can view the photo there if you use this receipt, etc. and you can buy frames, photo albums, etc. there. Each theme park has one of these, WDW's big four as well as Disneyland and California Adventure. They do this at Disneyland, I don't know if the Florida counterpart four parks do.
Rich my husband has some tips: Set the visual display brightness level lower, that extends battery life a lot. Wait 'til you're in Wi-Fi to send pictures to others or posting pictures to websites...just the sending eats up battery life if you're in regular network territory vs. WiFi. Bring extra rechargeable, and fully charged, batteries or for iPhone the Mophie Juice Pack Air device is a sweet thing: It's an entire iPhone case that is a battery pack with hours of extra life. Recharge these things overnight or during your midday session of returning to your room for that siesta, swim, or nap. Always bring your power cord with you to the parks, hope for the best re: exposed wall plugs you can use.
Think ahead of time about how you will, and will not, use your smartphone or electronic device in the parks. Even extra batteries or battery extenders such as, for the iPhone, the Mophie Juice Pack Air aren't perfect and they too will run out of power, and probably run out of power before you want them to. What will you do? You might have to invest for a lot of extra batteries, or more than one equivalent of the Mophie Juice Pack Air, if you are a very dedicated sun up 'til wee hours theme park trooper with a mobile hand held device or other small electronic device. As you plan your trip, think ahead of time about your electronic devices you bring with you and how to keep their power levels going so they don't conk out on you too early.
Also, the memories are made by actually doing things and experiencing that with those you love and are fond of in your travel party. Indeed, at some point, keep the electronics at bay and experience real life "behind the berm" !
What think you?