I’ve talked here about the My Disney Experience App and what a useful tool it can be. What if there is a reason why you don’t have the app? Some people feel like there is too much loss of privacy, especially when you walk near a restaurant and receive a notification because of it. Other people have older phones, and My Disney Experience is not available to them. Free space can also be a concern, the My Disney Experience App is fairly large. And, of course, there are people who just don’t want it. You can still have a fantastic time at any of the Walt Disney World theme parks without the app. My best advice is to pick up a Park Guidemap and a current Times Guide as you enter the park. These are both helpful tools.
The Park Guidemap for any park will have plenty of the same elements. The park will be marked off in lands. The lands are color coded, and the highlights are marked by numbers. There are also symbols. Rides don’t have a symbol before the description. A fork and knife mean dining, a magical hat is for a show, and a Mickey profile is a character meeting. There’s also a shopping bag for stores.
With the most rides and some shows there will be a quick list after the description. It will tell you things like if FastPass+ is available at the attraction, height restrictions, and if video captioning is available. Restaurants will have a dollar symbol code to let you know the general cost. The legend can be found at the bottom. It will also tell you the meals (B, L, D) that are served at each place, and if mobile ordering is available.
The Times Guide is a thin sheet of paper that has on it information that is specific for that week. The show times are listed, as well as the length of the show. The back usually features a quick rundown of the characters for the day, and there might be other suggestions such as where to eat.
Even though I use the My Disney Experience App when I am in a park, I will still usually pick up both a Park Guidemap and a Times Guide. It’s easier and faster to pull a paper out of my pocket than it is to keep opening the app on my phone. They also will not drain my battery. Another plus when you’re looking at the map; there is a good chance that someone will come over and ask if you need help. That can make it easier to find where you want to go. In my opinion, the best thing to do is to use a Times Guide and Park Guidemap in conjunction with the My Disney Experience App. Using both can smooth out some potential rough patches on your vacation.