Smartphones in Theme Parks

| June 6, 2012 | 2 Replies

With so many pathways, lines, and spaces at Walt Disney World it’s very easy to come into close contact with several other guests.  Heck!  It’s become common to simply bump into other people.  An accidental bump is understandable, but what if the person you run into has their head buried in their iPhone or other smart device?  Disney World’s theme parks are always crowded, so walking and texting or walking and surfing can be hazardous to you and guests around you.  Continue through the page break and let’s take a look at why smart devices have become so popular in the parks and how they can be a hazard to guests.

As you stroll through a Disney World theme park the odds of someone walking right at you, behind you, or in front of you is as good as the sun setting in the west.  It’s bound to happen at some point.  However, what you don’t want to see is that same person interacting with their smartphone.  In a number of cases that could put you on a collision course with technology, but certainly not in a good way.  It’s simple to understand why so many guests have smartphones in the parks, but let’s discuss why so many guests use them in the wrong manner and how it’s become an annoyance to guests.

Smartphone Popularity

The need to know right now!  Instant information!  Our desire for theme park updates.  Remember the days of taking a photo with a real camera, taking it home, getting it developed, and sharing it with your family and friends?  Well, fast forward about 20 years and now those steps can happen in an instant.  We’ve become accustomed to getting information on the fly thanks to smartphones in the theme parks.  If a ride or an attraction is down we can report it quickly via our smartphones, wireless networks, and discussion forums.  Even photos and videos can be posted within minutes.  Technology is evolving to the point where live video streams can be accomplished inside the theme parks.  As bandwidth becomes more readily available, guests are finding more creative ways to fill it.  Facebook and Twitter accounts are abuzz with status updates, photos and videos from the parks.  The possibilities are endless.

I’ll admit I use my smartphone in the theme parks a lot.  Mostly to keep up to date with family and friends, especially friends who are not at the parks.  Like me, they want to know what’s going on when they are not there.  Is it crowded?  Are there any attractions down?  What’s the weather like today?  It’s all about satisfying people’s curiosity in an age when information is easy and simple to deliver.

Smartphone Manners

It’s easy to get engrossed in your smartphone.  Text messages, photo uploads, Twitter updates, etc, etc are all available to you with a smart device in your hands.  But, what’s not smart is walking along congested pathways while trying to type an update or read a text message.  Oh!  And don’t just stop in your tracks because the person behind you may get a little too familiar with you.  It’s always a good idea when using your smart device to step aside, take a seat, or stand out of the flow of traffic so you don’t cause a ten-person guest pile-up.

Also, don’t forget to listen up!  Smartphones are a lot of fun to the user, but when your family or friends are talking to you and you are so engrossed in your technology that you don’t even hear them that can cause problems.  It’s very obvious to the speaker when they talk to you and you are not paying attention because of your smartphone.  It’s frustrating to have to repeat yourself because the smartphone has all of your attention, especially when it’s 104 degrees outside.  It’s not that you shouldn’t use your smartphone in the theme parks, you just don’t want it to monopolize your entire visit.  Trust me, your family and friends won’t appreciate it.

Smartphone Hazards

You may be guilty of it.  I know I am.  You’re typing away on your smartphone while you’re walking and suddenly……BLAM!  You smack right into someone.  Who knows what direction they came from or what direction you were walking, but you hit somebody.  You sort of lost your sense of direction.  Not only does it hurt physically, but it probably hurts your pride too.  Walking through a crowded theme park while typing or even reading on your smartphone can be a dangerous proposition not only for you, but guests who are in your path.  Keep everyone safe by stopping, taking a seat, or standing out of the way of foot traffic to type or read your messages.  Sure, it may slow you and your travel companions down, but for the safety of everyone take the extra couple of minutes and move aside.

What about waiting in a long attraction line?  Standing in line for 30 or 45 minutes can seem like forever.  A smartphone is a great way to pass the time, but if you are shuffling through the line and you are reading or texting you could embarrass yourself.  Bumping right into someone while the line is stopped can make you look like a klutz.  Don’t forget to say “Oh!  Excuse me.”  Another embarrassing situation is when the line is moving in front of you and you’re not.  A huge gap can form in the line and guests behind you may not be so kind when they say “Hey!  You!  Go! Go!”  Just try and remember not to walk through a line while using your smartphone.  Make sure you are at a complete stop before checking Twitter or Facebook updates and remember to look up every once in a while.

Don’t forget how much your smart device costs!  When you purchased it the cost may not have been too steep thanks to the contract your signed with your carrier.  Just remember, you only get one shot at that smartphone discount until your contract expires.  If you are walking through a theme park, bump into someone, and drop it on the pavement you better hope the case you bought to protect your device is everything it’s “cracked” up to be.  Dropping your device can be scary because you don’t know the outcome until you pick it up and start using it again.  If you are texting and walking through the theme parks your chances of dropping your phone are greater.  Also, what if you drop it in a puddle of water?  Maybe you bump into someone and then SPLASH!!!  Maybe you are leaning over the railing at EPCOT’s World Showcase Lagoon and……Oooops!  AAAHHHH!!!!  SPLASH!!!!   You better hope you purchased the insurance for your smartphone or else the replacement phone is probably going to cost you….Big Time!  All of a sudden, your fantastic vacation has turned into a tragedy of epic proportions.


Smartphones are a lot of fun to have in the theme parks.  It’s a device that can keep you in constant contact with your family and friends.  It can give people you know instant information on topics like the current weather conditions, crowd levels, and attraction updates.  If for anything else the ability to give instant information to a large population can keep theme park operators on their toes.  Since guests have the ability to post pictures and videos in an instant theme park managers need to make sure everything is clean and presentable.  They don’t want guests posting photos of poor or unacceptable conditions.

Do you use your smart device in the theme parks?  Do you have a story to share about an accident due to a smartphone?  Do you get aggravated when you see a lot of people using smartphones or even iPads and tablet devices in the theme parks?  We want to hear your stories.  Leave them in the comments section below or on the official DIS Facebook page.

Enjoying your smartphone in the theme parks is a natural connection.  You have a lot of activity and scenery around you.  Your smartphone camera and other apps are a gateway to your friends, family, and other Disney fans who want to know what you are up to, or what’s going on in the theme parks.  Just remember, smartphones come with a certain level of responsibility.  Be careful around other guests and remember they are on vacation too.  The last thing you want to do is upset someone by bumping into them accidentally and embarrassing yourself at the same time.  Don’t forget your smartphone etiquette and nobody will even know you are on your smart device except your Facebook friends and Twitter followers.

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Category: Disney World

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