You may have noticed that a new app from TimeStream Software has hit the iTunes App Store – you may have even read the news here on DisTECH. It’s now time to take a closer look at Walt Disney World Pro. How does it do as a planning/tour guide? How does it stack up against the competition? Are the wait times accurate? We’ll take a look at all of that and a little more right after the break!
Navigation and Content
When you fire up Walt Disney World Pro, you’ll be taken to the main menu. The top of the main menu is made up of four globes, each containing a stylized version of Walt Disney World’s park weenies. The bottom has eight smaller square buttons labeled WDW Information, Park Hours & Events, Maps, Dining, Wait Times, Disney Resorts, My Favorites, and TimeStream Software Apps. For now, we’ll leave those sections alone as we continue to look at how you move throughout the app.
When you touch one of the large buttons on the main menu to look at its respective park, you’ll be taken to a list of all the attractions in the park. Any attraction that should have a wait time displayed will have a clock symbol to the left of the attraction’s name. This symbol also has the wait time shown in it. (In the picture below, the screen at the far right shows you what this looks like.) At the top of the screen are two buttons: home and refresh. Home takes you back to the main menu, and refresh will fetch the most updated wait times for each attraction.
If you touch an attraction name, you will get a detailed view of each attraction. This screen shows you the current wait time, whether or not FastPass is available, minimum height requirement, a detailed description of the attraction, tips and strategy for the attraction, and usually multiple photos for each attraction. The top of the screen has a few items to mention. First, there is a button labeled attractions that takes you back to the previous screen. The button on the right, labeled map, will show you the attraction on the respective park map. Finally, there’s a star in the upper left that turns to a heart when you touch it. This will put that attraction in your favorites list.
Back at the main menu, the buttons at the bottom give you access to more of Walt Disney World Pro, some of which isn’t found in the park buttons at the top of the main menu. For example, the first button, WDW Information, gives you a list full of information ranging from annual events at Walt Disney World (holiday parties and festivals like Flower & Garden) to ticket prices (with the latest prices) and vacation planning tips. I’m not going to go into all of the information beyond what I’ve mentioned – you’ll just have to go exploring on your own! What I’ve read, though, seems to be very good. There are tips and facts that make the app interesting for WDW newcomers and veterans.
The next button is Park Hours & Events. It shows you a list of the parks with hours and Extra Magic Hours for any day that you select (with the limitation of published times, obviously). Touching a park shows you any events for that day, including parades and nightly shows. Touching an event gives you a detailed description of that event complete with colorful pictures. Check out the image below (the two screens on the left, specifically) to see the wait times.
Also available from the main menu is the maps section. These are the same maps you can access when you’re looking at the detailed views of each attraction. I think I’m most excited about the maps in this app. They are extremely detailed 2D maps of all four parks. A quick Google Maps search will show you just how accurate these are. It seems that every building and pathway of each park are included, and even tracks for rides are shown. The image below gives you an idea of what the maps look like. The attractions in each park are also tagged and will show you current wait times when applicable.
Next up is Dining, which will show you information on in-park dining options. Prices are shown by the typical Disney dollar sign (1-3 dollar signs representing least to most expensive). You can also view a description, menu (very detailed, I might add), what dining plans are accepted, and reservation information. If a reservation is needed, simply touch the “Call” button to place a call to the restaurant (iPhone only).
I’m going to quickly go through the rest of the buttons on the main menu, just because I want you to do some exploring of your own. The next button is Wait Times, which is a centralized list of the wait time for each attraction (more on this later). Disney Resorts provides a list of available resorts, minus DVC resorts. You’ll find descriptions, lots of pictures, amenities, and room types available. You can also make a call to the resorts. The My Favorites button aggregates any attraction that you’ve favorited in the app. It’s a great, easy way to keep track of the wait times for the attractions you don’t want to miss or the ones you experience most often.
First of all, like its Notescasts predecessors, Walt Disney World Pro is a tour guide at heart. In fact, if you’ve used any of the Notescasts this will feel very familiar to you. Set the wait times, park maps, and park hours aside, and you still have an app with some great information. It isn’t the equivalent of a 300-page park guide, though, so be wary of that. It also isn’t designed to be that way. It’s supposed to be concise, and easy to use on a mobile device. I think it succeeds at that.
One of the main features of the app is the content. There’s a lot of useful tips and tricks for navigating the parks and attractions, and there’s even a pretty complete list of phone numbers for locations across Walt Disney World. That can be invaluable to carry in your pocket. The content also includes the wealth of pictures found in WDW Pro. Each section of the app has a really nice picture to go with it, and most sections have more than 2-3 images. The image below gives you a taste of what you’ll find in the app. You can see that they look like Disney promotional images, and they look better on the iPhone screen.
The maps feature is probably the all-star in this app. As I said above, you get extremely detailed 2D maps of all four theme parks. You can access these maps through the main menu by touching the Maps button, or you can touch the Maps button at the top of the screen when viewing attraction detail. The maps themselves are really detailed. You can seek out the tracks of Big Thunder Mountain Railroad and see the trek your car takes in Kilimanjaro Safaris. You can even see some wakes put off by the Liberty Square Riverboat. They will definitely help you journey through the parks, and they’re even fun if you’re at home on your couch.
Not to be outdone, though, Walt Disney World Pro has a wait time feature that seems pretty effective. I compared the wait times in WDW Pro to other wait time apps I have, and found they were comparable within about 5-10 minutes. I was also lucky enough to have friends and family visiting Walt Disney World when I was reviewing WDW Pro. The wait times that my researchers in the parks returned were close to what the app displayed. For example, the times we found at the Tower of Terror were almost exact. Disney’s posted time was 30 minutes, while the actual wait time and the wait time shown in WDW Pro were both 40 minutes. Other wait times we found were usually within the same 5-10 minute range. TimeStream Software uses its own calculations to come up with wait time predictions, so you can’t submit your own wait times. I understand the reasons to not take user submissions, as it does help eliminate outliers in wait time data. The overall result seems to be an accurate representation of what you’ll wait in the parks.
Also, if you’ve downloaded the app already be sure to download the upgrade to version 1.1. It’s free, and it fixes an issue that was causing wait times to not display. I downloaded my update, and everything is working flawlessly.
I think Walt Disney World Pro is a really good application. In fact, I believe it’s one of the better overall apps I’ve used for Walt Disney World. I haven’t been able to take it with me into the parks, but from what I’ve seen while testing it I’m excited to use it the next time I’m in Orlando. I feel like I’m understating what I feel about the maps, so you’ll have to spend some time with them on your own. And the wait times look like they’re accurate. It’s hard to commit to sending out information like wait times – it takes a lot of data and research, but it looks like it’s paid off here. I suspect they’ll get even more accurate as TimeStream continues to increase its sample size in time. Overall, WDW Pro continues to build upon the great information provided in its Notescasts predecessors while adding interesting and effective new features. It’s a steal for $4.99. You can spend multiple times that amount on other guides and apps, and this does just about everything for a great price.
Head on over to iTunes to buy Walt Disney World Pro. I think you’ll enjoy the features and information you’re getting. The app works on the iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad. You’ll need iOS 4.0 or later.
Any thoughts on the app? Leave a comment below. And be sure to review the app in the App Store. I’m sure TimeStream will appreciate your feedback!