Disney’s Animal Kingdom now has free guest Wi-Fi, making it the last of the four theme parks at Walt Disney World to offer the service. Guests can access complimentary Wi-Fi in any of the four parks, both water parks, and all guest resorts and Downtown Disney is expected to come on-line by the end of the year.
What does this mean? In addition to connectivity for guests, it means that Disney is gearing up for infusion of Next Gen offerings via internet. Guests can already access their dining reservations on-line, along with their resort reservation. Imagine being able to select Fastpasses and load them electronically to your account for designated return times! Ah, the planners dream come true!
It also means more guests trying to walk and access tiny screens while at the parks. Since this is a park peeve of mine, I hope Disney does some guest training by suggesting that guests trying to read and walk (sort of like drive and text) move to the side allowing other guests to pass. It also means more dark attractions lit up by illuminated screens! And, as always, I am amazed by the number of people with gadgets in front of them during any Wishes display watching this amazing delight through a view finder or tiny screen. Folks, there are plenty of YouTube videos of the same thing available, watch one of them when you get home as chances are you’re not going to watch what you recorded anyway! Instead, enjoy the splendor and wonder of the marvelous fireworks display without the tiny screen AND put it away, so it isn’t distracting my view! If it is photographs you want, pre-order Photopass Plus and take advantage of the 400 images Disney will give you with the purchase—there are bound to be fireworks photos in the package. . . trust me!
What does all of this mean for the Williams Family? Well, I may be thrust into 2013 with the acquisition of a smartphone. The family ventured to our cell phone carrier the other day to get a case for the husband’s phone, as his clip on case had broken (I had already checked on-line with no luck). While he isn’t due for a new phone for another month or so, the clerk took one look at his phone and immediately told us that there were no cases available, with a sort of “your phone is antiquated look.” Luckily, there were clip on cases available for mine. Whew! Which brought me to my next query. Could we upgrade the husband’s phone, when it was time, to a smartphone, but switch the numbers giving me the smartphone and the husband my phone? Yes! Alrighty then. With only one activation fee? Yes, again! The adding of a data plan wasn’t as costly as I had thought it was going to be, so we are leaning more towards this plan. The bonus was we could get the clip on phone case with reward points.
Eek! If we go this route and add a smartphone to our Disney park touring bag, I will make it my mission to model appropriate guest etiquette while using the phone throughout the parks and resort.
Disney continues to gear up the infrastructure to handle Next Gen initiatives throughout the parks and resorts as a leader in applying innovative technology to industry. Now, we just have to grow with them.