Latest My Disney Experience Updates
My Disney Experience is the app that perfects your Walt Disney World vacation. This beautiful piece of software does so many things that we should all feel lucky that it’s a free download. Disney could charge for MDE, and we’d still happily pay. The product is that good…and it just got better! Yes, Disney’s just released the June update for My Disney Experience. Here’s everything you need to know.
You will notice one of the biggest enhancements the first time that you log into MDE. The software allows you to upgrade your admission tickets! Specifically, you can take the tickets that you already own and turn them into annual passes.
This process is easy. As long as you still have at least one valid day of admission – and it can be the current day! – you have the ability to upgrade. This feature saves you the aggravation of standing in line at Guest Services. Plus, it gives you that wonderful opportunity to commit to more time at Walt Disney World. When you upgrade, you immediately receive all of the special passholder benefits, too.
MickeyBlog has previously discussed the pros and cons of an annual pass. The point I’ll make about this new feature is that it’s great for people with extended admission tickets. Should you have admission for four days at Walt Disney World, your tickets have a minimum value of $380 or as much as $480. For $369 more, you can upgrade to a Platinum Annual Pass.
When you upgrade, you won’t be subject to blackouts, you’ll receive complimentary PhotoPass service, and you’ll get 10-20 percent discounts at many restaurants and stores. These discounts will reduce the difference in pricing between your admission ticket and annual pass. So, it’s definitely something that you should consider if you love Disney and can visit regularly.
The New Design
When you load the latest version of MDE, it boldly proclaims the following: “It’s easier than ever to navigate the app, make plans, and find what you’re looking for!”
Is this statement true? Well, I’ve done a significant amount of field testing, and I’m pleased to say that it is. Disney has streamlined the core functionality of the app by implementing five main buttons at the bottom of the screen. They are (from left to right): Home, Map, Add Plans, Search, and Menu. With these buttons, you can do virtually anything in the app after only a few clicks.
The “front page” of the new design is similar to the one we’ve previously discussed. Park Info & Entry is still the first thing that you see, with My Plans directly underneath it. Disney has changed one aspect, as “Order Food” is now one of the six main tabs here. Mobile Ordering wasn’t perfected last time, and so it didn’t have such a strong presence on the front page. Now that it’s a basic part of a Walt Disney World visit, this MDE update has made it easier to use than ever before.
You’ll notice that Disney has added a new Spotlight section under My Plans. Its job is to highlight some special part of the Most Magical Place on Earth. I haven’t had enough time yet to see how often Disney will rotate the Spotlight section. Thus far, it’s been Pandora – The World of Avatar almost exclusively.
The other big changes are My Photos and Shop Disney Parks. Again, Disney’s goal is to place all the most desired features at the top of the app. By positioning My Photos here, you can easily see all your pictures the instant that they’re in your PhotoPass library. Similarly, Disney wants your merchandising money. That’s why they’ve given Shop Disney Parks such prime placement in MDE.
Disney has also improved the mapping functionality in the app. They’ve added more headers so that you can see the information that you need faster than ever before. Simply click the Mapping icon that’s second from the left at the bottom of the screen. You’ll see an expansive image of the Walt Disney World campus. It includes resorts, theme parks, water parks, and even golf courses. It’s basically the Google Maps look at Walt Disney World, only with extra details about attraction wait times, character meetings, and the like.
Since the last time I discussed MDE, Disney hasadded pop-ups for key spots. For example, when you look at an attraction that has an asterisk beside it, you can tap this icon. A pop-up will show what the attraction is and why it has an asterisk. Generally, it’s a sign that a ride is down for maintenance. Otherwise, you’ll see a number by an attraction, and that information is the wait-time. With a quick expansion of a specific park, you can quickly see how long the waits are at all the main attractions. It’s a great way to anticipate your next move at the park.
The Big Addition
Ask any frequent guest at Walt Disney World what the most frustrating aspect is. You’ll receive almost universal consent on this topic. It’s the seemingly inconsistent bus system. Disney has tons of vehicles in the fleet, even more than the entire city of Los Angeles! Somehow, there’s never a Disney bus when you need one, though, and you end up standing in the bus line, feeling frustrated and out of the loop.
In recent years, Disney added a new feature that improved this system. They introduced display monitors at resort bus stops. These devices serve one purpose. They show when the next bus is expected to arrive. Originally added at a few of the most expensive Disney resorts, they’ve since become a staple of most official (possibly all?) hotels in the area.
With the new MDE update, this information is now readily available on your phone! Yes, the most requested MDE feature is finally here! Disney posted a Parks Blog update to trumpet their new feature. They also posted a YouTube video that you can watch to understand the process.
To see the projected bus schedule, all you need to do is load the MDE app. Then, tap your hotel reservation. On the next screen, you’ll see several buttons such as View Charges, See Bus Times, and Get Directions.
When you tap See Bus Times, a new page displays. It’s called Next Bus Times, and it shows expected bus arrivals and departures to all of the various theme parks and Disney Springs. Best of all, it’s location-specific. If you’re at a giant resort with multiple bus stops like Disney’s Old Key West Resort, it has several possible selections such as Miller’s Road and Old Turtle Road. So, you don’t just get the bus information for the main lobby area.
You can see specific times for your stop in the internal route system. For guests at places like Disney’s Port Orleans Resort – Riverside, that’s a huge deal. Wherever you are at your hotel, you’ll know when the bus that you need is coming. As my wife joked the other day, it’s the difference between her drying her hair and putting on her makeup or throwing on a hat and sprinting to the bus stop.
The extra information guarantees that you’ll have a more convenient, less stressful transportation experience. It’s precisely the sort of feature that Disney has needed for a while. The only frustration is that it’s apparently not available at the parks yet, meaning that you’ll be in the dark about bus pick-ups there for a little while longer. As soon as Disney adds that functionality, they will have solved the bus problem entirely!
Give the park planners credit. They’ve gradually improved MDE to the point that it’s almost perfect. This latest update is a vast improvement for an already-terrific piece of software.
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