Recently, I got the chance to review the Walt Disney World Guide Notescast, a great tour guide of Walt Disney World for the iPhone and iPod family. TimeStream Software put together a great product, so naturally I was intrigued to see how their other apps were. This review will be a combination of two Notescasts, Walt Disney World Secrets and Walt Disney World Secrets Gold. As you can tell from their names, the apps are similar in many ways. What differences can you expect? How do the apps hold up when compared to the WDW Guide? How are they overall? Click below to find out!
If you thought $2.99 was a steal for the WDW Guide, you’ll be happy to hear that these are even more competitively priced. The standard WDW Secrets runs only $.99 while the premium WDW Secrets Gold is only one Washington more at $1.99. Why the price difference? Well, the Gold version adds a little bit to the content and a lot to the appearance categories, but we’ll cover that right after we look at navigation.
Navigation is almost identical in the two apps, and if you’ve used a Notescast before (or if you’ve read my other reviews) you probably have a pretty good handle on navigating. Touching a category takes you to the next sub-menu or, in some cases, directly to the content. Scrolling through text or up and down in menus is done by sliding your finger up or down the touch screen. When you’re done reading or want to go back to read from another category, simply touch the “Back” button at the top. You can zoom in or out by “pinching” the screen.
That about covers all of the bases in navigation. Honestly, I don’t have the same concerns about navigation in these apps that I did in the WDW Guide. I think the nature of these apps are different than the WDW Guide, and I think its use case is different. While I could see someone going through the WDW Guide page by page, you may be more likely to use this app as you’re adventuring through the parks. If that’s the case, you’ll probably be going back and forth through this app somewhat haphazardly anyway, so going back to the menu to find what you want is probably the way to go.
So what kind of secrets will you get in the apps? I can’t tell you that – they are secrets, aren’t they?! What I can tell you is that you get over 200 secrets, over 200 fun facts, and an extra 80 hidden Mickey tours. These secrets and facts give you a fun look behind the scenes and really expand your appreciation for what goes on here on a daily basis. According to the App Store descriptions, the number of secrets and such are identical in each of the two apps. Meaning, you won’t get any less information if you choose to download that standard version instead of the Gold version. The real difference is coming up in the next section…
For the most part the content is organized pretty well. The secrets are organized by park, but the sub-menus are a little inconsistent. The Magic Kingdom section is organized by land (Adventureland, Fantasyland, etc.) but the Animal Kingdom and Hollywood Studios are organized into two separate sections. Epcot is split up into an “Epcot Secrets” section (perhaps this should be named Future World, since that’s what it covers?) and two separate World Showcase sections. I’d like to see these organized uniformly across all sections, and I think I prefer the Magic Kingdom method of putting the secrets in order by land. That way I can open up a particular land on my device while I’m touring that same section of the park and read up on my secrets while I’m touring. So, for instance, if I’m in Future World East I can open up that same section in the WDW Secrets or WDW Secrets Gold app and have all of the relevant tips right in front of me.
And now we come to the major difference between WDW Secrets and WDW Secrets Gold. Let’s start with the standard version. The appearance category in this app is extremely basic. In fact, the only thing I can really talk about here is the title screen (seen below). That’s because the standard WDW Secrets doesn’t include images with the text. Part of that is okay, because it actually ends up sending you on a sort of scavenger hunt. If you want to find that little secret you read about, you’ll have to do your own searching. I like that.
Here’s the thing, though: spend the extra one dollar and get the Gold version. When you buy the Gold version, you’ll get the option of completing a WDW Secrets Tour with or without pictures. Essentially, you’re getting everything that the standard WDW Secrets app has to offer plus the option to see pictures while you’re on a Secrets tour.
You may remember that I raved about the quality of the pictures in the WDW Guide Notescast. It’s no different here. According to the App Store description, this app contains 137 photos canvassing the secrets of WDW. A few of these are reused from the WDW Guide, but most of them are unique to this app. They cover the most minute details about the parks, and they’re extremely useful (not to mention extremely high quality). You could even embark on a Walt Disney World Secrets Tour from your couch! The images are what set these two apps apart, and – in my opinion – make the Gold version an absolute no-brainer.
For the extra $1, I can’t think of any reason to pass on the Gold version. It includes everything you’ll get in the standard app, and the pictures are definitely worth the extra money. They really do enhance the app. That’s not to say the standard app is crippled or anything, because I don’t believe that it is. It’s just that the app is that much better with the pictures.
I think the organizational issues I mentioned above are worth looking into. A tighter organizational scheme could make this app better, and maybe more useful when touring the parks. Other than that, the information is worth every penny and the images make it even better.
Overall, this is a fun pair of apps. They’ll only enhance your appreciation of the detail in Disney’s Florida parks, which means a more immersive experience for you. I think you’ll be happy with the $1.99 you spend on the Gold app.