[dropcap type=”circle” color=”#ffffff” background=”#ef7f2c”]G[/dropcap]one are the days when simply stating where you are on Twitteror Four Square, etc. is enough social media interaction for most travellers. Those forms are still being utilized of course, but these days Theme Parks and Parent Companies are rolling out their own “apps” and interactions to keep the short attention spans glued to all things IP while the plan, visit and long after they leave a park.
If you check your preferred app store you will see countless programs and apps dedicated to one or many theme parks, installations, and travel. The key IP holders have created a variety of apps and resources to entertain you as you tour their facilities.
As one would expect, Disneyis at the top with an app for most of their theme parks individually with Universal Studios coming in toward the bottom with only the short-lived and rarely used Universal Screenplay app. Other heavy and not so heavyweights have jumped on the wagon and have rolled out both useful and pointless apps as well. From Knott’s Berry Farmto Cedar Pointand Six Flags, theme and amusement parks all over are realising that the public want to interact digitally with their rides as well.
Internationally the same trends seem to persist with destinations like the Sentosa Resortand Alton Towersoffering well thought out exploration and attractions apps.
It will allow you to do the usual:
- See times for shows, parades and renovation closures
- Track wait times for rides and shows
- Get suggestions for rides, meals, etc
- Find bathrooms and facilities
The one advantage that this app has over all others is that it integrates with your online profile and reservation system and allows you to make dining reservations and reserve your spot in the fast pass line. It is a very creative and ambitious undertaking. The experience that the BtT had with it on our last trip was a mixed bag but when it worked it was a great addition. Disney also utilizes apps for delivering information about specific parks in a more traditional app format but quite often in a unique and creative way. The Disneyland Parisapp and the Disneyland ResortExplorer App are both excellent examples of what can be done “outside of the box” visually while still delivering the same content.
While the Cedar Pointand Knott’s Berry Farmapps are nearly identical they deliver the right amount of information and are the perfect format for delivering in park information to you in your smart phone. Most iPhone and Android apps are almost identical in nature with subtle visual changes to keep the viewer interested. Many interactive apps allow you to turn on GPS and it will update you about what is happening wherever you are in the park or make suggestions for rides, food or update wait times for your area, etc. Some even allow you to find your friends or family members while touring, should you become separated.
It used to be that when you saw someone wandering around a park holding out their phone and looking lost, they were actually lost, now they may be following direction or looking for a clue or a scavenger hunt, it is impossible to tell.
While we certainly do not advocate the use of phones on rides (turn off your flash please, you know who you are) it seems that integration of media and smart devices directly linking with the parks is the wave of the future and theme parks are certainly putting serious money behind it. As always should something new develop in this area we will be there to update you.