Tech In the Parks

When you are in the parks you don’t want to be bogged down by hardware.  You are unlikely to be carrying around an iPad or laptop in the park. There are a lot of items that will easily fit in your pocket and not to mention making full use of the tools you have on hand to make your day a lot easier. 

Surprise item…

I’m going to start off with probably the #1 useful piece of tech I carry with me during my trips.  This item is specially useful during any of the food festivals I go to.  A pen. Shocking I know.  But you never seem to realize how useful carrying something as simple as this can be.  Writing down a number real quick, a rating for a food object, marking that you did (or want to do) something.  It’s small and simple.  Bring a basic pen with you.  Make it cheap since I’ve often lost them in the parks.  And if you forget to bring one down with you, there is likely one already in the hotel waiting.

Magic Bands

51n+xj74jML._AC_UL260_SR200,260_.jpgOK now to stuff that’s a bit more, expected.  Magic bands.  This isn’t required to enter the parks, but is almost at that point.  Yes you can still use tickets, but for those that are staying at Disney Property, or have booked with Disney online, it’s likely you already have one of these.  My family has a pile of them as you get a new one with each visit unless you opt out.  They let you into the park with a tap of your wrist and press of your finger.  Greatly speeding up the lines at entry.

These neat piece of tech in the parks do more than let you in.  For those that are in a Disney resort, they also double as your hotel charge card.  Accept at almost all the restaurants, kiosk, and stores, this MagicBand allows you to quickly and easily get what you need with a tap and a 4 digit code. For those with kids, don’t worry.  You can say who does and who does not have access to buy things when you check in.

81bokwIGo7L._UX575_.jpg41rCefuSqKL._AC_UL260_SR200,260_Also for the magic Bands, there are a ton of customizable options.  Yes you can go basic, but you can also get diffrent style bands (such as this Mickey one), covers, Magic Band Bandits, and if you want to get really fancy, special limited edition bands (although wow are those limited boxes pricy).


Next up is the your phone.  For most of us, while at the parks it’s not your phone.  It’s primarily a camera/video camera.  Beyond being a camera, yesterday we covered all the apps that are useful to have on there for when you are in the parks.  But there is so much more that it’s useful for:

  • Handy spot for all your reservations: As mentioned yesterday briefly having all your reservations in one place can reduce the amount of stress in your vacation.  Put all your dinning restoration numbers, fast pass info, and anything else you have a set time and information for al in one place on your phone for easy access.  Less stress… Stress less.
  • Organized calendar listings:  If you want to get fancy most phones have calendars on them.  Put all that information into your calendar for easier access.  You can even set reminders for yourself that you need to leave to make sure you get to your ride, attraction or dinner on time.  Both iOS and Android will use your current location and alert you when it estimates the amount of time it will take you to get there.
  • You are Here! Speaking of knowing where you are, if you thought ahead to put the My Disney Experience (Cost: FREE Available: iOS Android) on there, the mapping feature will greatly help you find your destination.  Or perhaps locate the closest bathroom.  But even without that the built in maps can be quite useful using the satellite view to try to figure out where you are.
  • General catch all: And your phone is also useful for just jotting down general notes.  Found something you want to remember to grab on your way out?  Set a reminder.  Saw a item you are sure you could get for cheaper elsewhere?  Jot it down on your phone for checking when you are back at the hotel.
  • Communication device:  No, not talking about it being a phone.  Trust me on this, making phone calls at Disney can be hit or miss even with a  strong signal.  Often i’ve tried calling people in the parks only to get a busy signal.  The network congestion can be quite bad.  But texts, and message clients, and anything data driven often will work without any problems.  A simple text message or chat window will go a lot further than trying to hear a garbled message.

In addition to my phone, I often will cary two phone accessories with me.  The first is a pair a headphones.  Too many times I’ve needed to hear something on my phone and it’s just too noisy.  Having a simple pair of cheap headphones can make a huge difference.  The second is a headphone splitter.  I’ve used this to listen to old version of SpaceShip Earth with my wife, or sharing a videos while in line.  You never know when you might need it.

Charging on the Go

You’ll often find that the phone that lasts you all day at home and work, will quickly go through it’s battery.  This is due to the ton of devices all viying for the same couple cell towers.  And that’s on top of all the extra picture taking and sharing of your vacation.   Yes, you can bring a extra power plug with you and plug into the charging stations listed on the map but it’s often much more convient to bring something to charge your devices will you are walking around the parks or sitting down enjoying a ride or a meal.  So in addition to bringing a single charger plug, I carry 2 battery packs with me.

61OFpnSmEQL._SL1000_.jpgThe primary battery I carry in the parks is the USB C Power Bank RAVPower 20100 Portable Charger.  It has a quick charge and regular USB port, which means that you can keep your own device charged and still have a port available for a friend.  There’s also a USB C for some of those newer devices out there.  It is a bit bulky, but i find that i will often need to charge my devices (and those around me) more often than the smaller models allow for.  The model I have will charge up my phone at least 5-6 times.  More than enough to last through the long Disney Days.  if you want something a bit smaller and lighter there is the Quick Charge 3.0 RAVPower 10000mAh Portable Charger, although you lose about half the charing ability and a USB C port.

You will also want to remember to bring along some cables.  Remember that each of your devices will often use different ports.  I’m luckily enough that everyone is an iOS member in our family, but that is usually not the case.  Make sure you have the right cables for the right devices.

61jSb-+FH1L._SL1256_I mentioned I carry 2 battery packs with me.  Sometimes you find yourself taking way more videos than normal.  Or perhaps the parks are just extra crowded or you forgot to charge up the main battery pack.  That’s why I keep a very small power pack with me as well.  These often aren’t good enough for more than a single charge, but when it’s late at night and you need to do something one your phone… it can be a life saver.  The one I carry around is just a cheap one I got at a store, but the best compact charger I could find was the Jackery Bolt 6000 mAh Portable Charger.  At 6000mAh it would charge my phone basically twice (vs the almost once that mine does).  And the built in cables that means even if you forget, the Jackery Bolt won’t leave you without the right connections.

Beyond the Basics

61ysfuicvl-_sl1440_.jpgThis trip I’m going a little bit further than the basic videos with a smart phone.  I am taking a GoPro HERO5 Session camera to record both my food reviews for Flower & Garden, as well as some of the attractions.  The Session series is really small (1.5″ cubed) and light (fly 4.5 ounces).  and the bonus is that it uses USB C to charge so I can finally use that extra spot on my battery pack.  This little camera can do 4k, and a number of different sense angles.  The battery works for 2 hours.  It saves images straight to a microSD card that you must buy separately.


I’ll be using the GoPro Shorty (a short tripod) for it for recording my food reviews.  Given that it has no screen, I will be watching a preview via my phone.  This camera uses a WiFi connection to let you see what you are recording.  But this means you won’t be able to get online.  Which means this is not the solution for live streaming.  But great for lining up your shot and making sure you are getting everything.

The tripod also folds down to a  little grip handle, for those more mobile recording sessions.  For the more active recording sessions I have a Chest Mount Harness.  But given how bulky it is, unless I’m recording one of the Rollercoasters, I’m not sure how much use I’ll get out of it.

Another item that is under the “neat” category is a step tracker.  I’ve used two over my time at Disney World, and you’d be amazed how far you actually walk.  I first use a simple Withings Pulse O2 which they sadly don’t really make anymore.  You can find similar ones out there in the same $50-$100 price range however.  I currently use a AppleWatch (Series2) for my steps, among other things.


So that’s what tech I bring with me in the parks.  it’s not a lot of items, but I try to use what i have to it’s fullest.  Did I miss your favorite tech gadget you like to bring and use in the Disney Parks?  Leave a comment below!  

And Check out the other articles from this week’s series:

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Categories: Disney w/Tasel - Planning, Disney with TaselTags: ,


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