I just spent a week in Walt Disney World with six apps. This is the fourth in a serious survey of the apps, what they can do for you and deciding on the best ones to load onto your iPhone or iPod touch to make the most out your visit to see the mouse.
The Disney World Maps & More Box Set, US$1.99 from UPinPoint, is a universal app looking fine on the iPhone and looking tremendous on an iPad. It seemed that it would be a wondrous and full featured app. it has colorful maps of all the parks and resorts, a GPS locator so you’ll know where you are, wait times, descriptions of rides, restaurants with menus and the ability to add your photos to places you’ve been, and all for two bucks. What more could you want?
Dinsney World Maps and More Box Set
Accuracy for one, and the ability to, while you’re in a park, choose an attraction and have it guide you there from where you’re standing for another.
I really wanted to like this app since it looked so good and did so many things, but it really didn’t do many of them well. As the iTunes reviewers said, the wait times had little to do with reality. The map, in Epcot, though nicely drawn, gives you no ability to tap on a country pavilion. You can tap on restaurants, bathrooms, places for alcohol, smoking areas and character greetings, but just try and find the Italy pavilion if you don’t want to eat.
It would have been easy enough to just put words on the pavilions, but no. Instead the app shows waiting time numbers in minutes without telling you, at a glance, what the thing is. If numbers aren’t shown, an attraction is just designated by the letter “A” which is not helpful. If you click on the wait number or “A”, you’ll find out the name of the attraction, height requirements, the ability to prioritize it for your trip, and whether or not it offers a Fast Pass. You can also tap on a button to get a scrolling list of the wait times for the attractions by name. I didn’t find the times to be close to accurate. Nor did I find the “A”s too accurate. one “A” in Epcot displayed Caribbean, another displayed: Greece. Neither exist.
A nicety of the app is that it offers maps for not only the four parks, but for 15 of the 21 resorts. If your resort isn’t covered, you’re out of luck. There are also maps for the two Disney water parks, the Orlando airport, the two parks at Universal Studios, Busch Gardens in Tampa, and Seaworld. No wait times are available for attractions in other parks, but they were’n’t too accurate in the Disney parks, so that might be a good thing.
The attraction text does give you an idea of what to expect, but the descriptions of the restaurants need some proofing. Here’s a description of the Riverside Mill: “Food Court with cajon style scenery serving up family favorites like pizza, roast beef and fish.” Cajun, not cajon, is not a style of scenery it’s a community in the bayou of southern Louisiana, and pizza, roast beef and fish are most assuredly not Cajun. Okay, even if we let that go, I checked the menu at the Port Orleans - Riverside food court and the fare listed in the app was less than correct. The price at the Liberty Tree Tavern for the all-you-care-to-eat meal was shown to be $14.99 when, once again, it was really over $30.
The Disney World Maps & More Box set had some things right, but this is a reference app, and if it’s not totally dependable, it’s not worth much. Not even $1.99
Pros: Lots of maps very nicely drawn; an overview of attractions, whether a Fast Pass is employed, the ability to enable or disable attractions, restaurants, character greetings, restrooms, etc.
Cons: Very little accuracy, a useless GPS feature, inaccurate wait times, not being able to know names of attractions at a glance, misleading information, long out of date restaurant menus and prices.
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