Best Strategies to Keep Your Phone Charged at Disney
My Disney Experience is the dominant app during a Disney theme park visit. You’ll use this program for everything from meal orders to wait time information to directions to the nearest park bathroom. And you’ll have your phone in your hand for plenty of other stuff, too.
You’ll text your friends, take pictures and videos, and surf the web for extra Disney details. In other words, your phone will work overtime while you’re at Disney. You need to keep it juiced. Otherwise, you’ll lose access to everything. Here are a few handy suggestions to keep your phone charged at Disney.
These are Disney’s preferred choice. They’re tiny rechargeable batteries that you can swap in and out at designated Fuel Rod stations. The kiosks are easy to operate, enabling you to grab a new battery easily. For a fee of $30, you’ll gain access to all Fuel Rod locations across the Disney campus.
Paying $30 for a single battery sounds expensive. There’s a catch, though. It’s a one-time fee. Once you buy a Fuel Rod, you gain the ability to use batteries until they’re empty and then switch them for working ones. You can do this as much as you want. Residents of Anaheim and Orlando should buy these as a form of insurance. Whenever you run out of a charge, you can grab a Fuel Rod. It’s quick and painless. The kiosk even distributes a charging cable in case you don’t have one of your own.
For everyone else, Fuel Rods are up for debate. You will almost certainly bring your own charger with you when you travel to a Disney theme park. That makes the Fuel Rod a bit superfluous. Also, these batteries are small in storage capacity. Disney lists that they hold a charge time of 4-8 hours, but frequent users report that those numbers are optimistic.
Should you use a Fuel Rod? Here’s my suggestion. When you’re traveling into Orlando International Airport, look for the Fuel Rod station there. This display charges only $20, but it includes the same privileges as a Walt Disney World purchase.
For $20, I think the service is worth the security. For Disneyland guests, the situation is more nuanced. Cellphone towers there have notoriously lousy signals. You’ll want to use your phone, and the prolonged issues counterintuitively mean that you will use your phone more. So, you may want to pay the $30, but you should accept going in that the situation won’t be perfect. That’s no fault of the Fuel Rod system, though.
This is my preferred choice. Bringing my own USB charger is something that I view as basic travel strategy today. I generally carry at least two batteries with me on Disney vacations. I wander the parks with one, while letting the other one charge back at the hotel. By doing so, I guarantee that one of my mega-batteries is at optimal capacity throughout the day. Since my family tends to have 16-hour days at Walt Disney World, it’s an important tactic.
Which charger do I prefer? I’ve used Anker since its earliest days, when it was an unknown company that couldn’t guarantee immediate product delivery. I’ve watched with admiration as their business has evolved into a force in the industry. Today, they garner glowing headlines like “How Anker Is Beating Apple and Samsung at Their Own Accessory Game.”
What differentiates Anker is bang for the buck. While several other manufacturers went small, Anker adopted the strategy of “go big or go home.” Their most popular device is 20,100 mAh. For perspective, the belief is that Fuel Rods are around 1,400 mAh. We’re talking about almost 20 times as large a charge.
With the right Anker device, my family can power both of our iPhones plus my iPad. And yes, I do sometimes carry a tablet device as I wander the parks. The only downside to this strategy lately is that the most recent line of battery chargers only supports two simultaneous devices. Mine can charge up to four, but I want to point this out before you go shopping for a new battery. Pay attention to the number of USB port slots if you are a power user like me.
Thus far, I’m focused on Anker, but several other manufacturers are worthy of consideration. Tech Radar has compiled a list of the best battery packs on the market. Along with Anker, they recommend Aukey, RAVPower, and iMuto among others. I’ve used RAVPower before and strongly support this brand, too.
As for iMuto, they bear special mention. They sell one of the largest battery chargers available today. It has 30,000 mAh, which is possibly enough to keep your devices charged during an entire Disney trip. The lone caveat is that a larger battery is by nature heavier. A device like a Fuel Rod is the size of a stick of gum and weighs about the same as lipstick. A large battery can feel like an anchor in your purse or pocket. It’s something to consider when you plan what you will carry during a day at the park(s).
Personally, I’ve found that traveling with two 20,000 mAh devices is perfect for my needs. I keep one with me at all times. I must confess that my wife literally does the heavy lifting, though. She carries the battery charger in her purse, and it does seem to bother her sometimes when she’s tired. For this reason, she’s jokingly (?) suggested that I get a…
Many people use backpacks during park visits. By lugging around a backpack, a person gains immediate access to a LOT more stuff. You can bring some bottled water, a few snacks, and several extras like a park, digital camera, and/or book to read. Backpacks are for people who want more control during their Disney visits. They can eat, drink, and be merry on their own terms.
I’ve never been a backpack guy, even when I was in college. I find them inconvenient and kind of annoying. Even so, I’ve looked on in admiration as I’ve seen fellow computer tablet fans beat the system, so to speak. Due to their size, tablets simply aren’t as convenient at Disney parks. Without a backpack, you can’t store them, and they’re more difficult to charge, too. You can put a phone and a charger together in a purse. One will supply juice to the other when you’re not in need of your phone.
With a tablet, the situation is more difficult. You have no place to store the tablet unless you bring a backpack. A solar backpack is even better. It uses the power of the sun to keep your device charged while you’re at the park. You carry the tablet in a backpack slot. Then, you take advantage of the naturally sunny weather in California and Florida to give your tablet some juice.
Disney diehards loooove this solution. You can find a solar backpack for a reasonable price on Amazon, and you’ll keep your devices charged all day…as long as it doesn’t rain. Ergo, solar backpacks are a better idea at Disneyland than Walt Disney World, but they’re generally great at both.
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