Home » 4 Smartphone Tips and Tricks You’ll NEED at Walt Disney World

4 Smartphone Tips and Tricks You’ll NEED at Walt Disney World

Mom with kids playing Play Disney app in line

There are few places more inconvenient for your cell phone to die than Walt Disney World. Most Disney regulars have been there. You spend a lively morning taking pictures of the family, perusing digital park maps, managing FastPass+ and dining reservation, fiddling with PlayDisney in line, and surfing social media via Disney’s free Wi-Fi only to realize that your phone is suddenly DEAD as the denizens of the Haunted Mansion. Even if you were smart enough to bring a charging cable, it doesn’t help because you can’t find an outlet anywhere. If you’re a regular user of My Disney Experience, this can seriously frustrate a Walt Disney World day.

Disney knows that cell phones have become an integral part of a visit. Some of their strategies to meet guest demand for cell phone charging have worked while others haven’t. It’s worth noting that two charging solutions from the past are no longer available. The first of these to go were the cell phone charging lockers inside Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Café. More recently, Guest Relations at Disney parks will also no longer charge guest cell phones as February 2018.

If you’re planning an upcoming Walt Disney World trip, don’t take for granted that your cell phone battery will be ready for the strain of a day at the Most Magical Place on Earth. The good news is there are several strategies you can use to prevent an inconvenient dead battery. Even if these plans fail, we gathered some of the best ways we know to keep a cell phone charged at Walt Disney World.

1. Smart usage

Mom with kids playing Play Disney app in line

Image: Disney

There are several reasons phones drain unusually fast at Walt Disney World. Increased usage is the most obvious reason. Frequent use of your camera app, social media, GPS, and especially My Disney Experience and PlayDisney can all substantially increase battery drain. Managing your usage by not leaving these apps on all the time can help, but there’s actually a more significant reason your cell battery drains like Jack Sparrow’s leaky boat in Disney Parks.

The free Wi-Fi.

If you’ve ever visited a mountainous state or gone on a long hike, you may have encountered the phenomenon of a phone quickly losing battery in low signal areas. The phone furiously uses up resources looking for a signal that isn’t there or hopping from one spot with reception to another. Walt Disney World’s free Wi-Fi is a huge boon, but it comes with a cost to your battery. Unless you’re standing in a long, particularly slow line, it’s likely that you’re moving around a lot at a Disney park. This means hopping between Wi-Fi hubs.

If you leave your phone’s Wi-Fi on the entire time you are at a Disney park, your phone will lose battery each time it searches for the next Wi-Fi network. On a normal day, this usage is negligible, but at Disney, you can travel through multiple Wi-Fi hubs just on a ten-minute walk between attractions. For many of our phones, the strain is more than they can bear.

Guest using Magic Band at kiosk

Image: Disney

The first line of defense to keep a cell phone charged at Walt Disney World is be smart about your usage. Only use Disney’s Wi-Fi when you need it, and limit unnecessary apps running in the background. An app like Greenify or Avast Battery Saver, if used correctly, can help significantly reduce unnecessary drain from apps running stealthily in the background (note that battery saving apps are a little harder to come by on iPhones due to restrictions within iOS). Turn off My Disney Experience when you aren’t looking up important information. If you notice your phone starting to lose power fast, see if your phone has a power saving mode. If you really want to slow down the drain, turn on airplane mode. This trick works wonders on hikes and drives in areas that have no service, and it works at Walt Disney World as well! Just turn it off when you need to access Wi-Fi again.

2. Carry your own power

Tronsmart Ppower bank plugged into phone

Image: Tronsmart

The other best way to keep a cell phone charged at Walt Disney World is to carry your own power supply. Paired with careful app usage, a good power bank is usually more than enough to get through a Disney parks day. If it’s an especially good power bank, you probably won’t even have to be as strict watching your Wi-Fi usage.

While you can pick up power banks anywhere from airport gift shops to your local Walmart, choosing a good quality one is key. The $5 keychain power bank we picked up from a Family Dollar failed to keep up with Disney’s crazy battery usage. At the same time, you don’t need a $50 monster that weighs down your purse like a huge brick. Our favorite so far has been the Tronsmart Presto. It’s not their smallest model, but it fits easily enough in my purse or a cargo shorts pocket and is usually more than enough to keep both my and my husband’s phones charged for the entirety of a Disney parks day. The version we use is designed for USB-C phones, but the smaller model is compatible with just about anything, including iPhones.

Play Disney App on Smartphone

Image: Disney

If you find yourself in the parks with a need for a power bank, Disney offers portable cell chargers called FuelRods that can be rented for $30 at kiosks throughout their parks (UPDATE: Previously, we assumed these were $30 a day, but some guests say it is a one time purchase and you replace the rods whenever you return to the parks). Magic Kingdom has locations at Tomorrowland Light and Power Company, Pecos Bill Café, Big Top Souvenirs in Fantasyland, Curtain Call Collectibles, and Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Café. Guests at Epcot can pick them up at the International Gateway, Disney Traders, or the Camera Center towards the front of Future World. Disney’s Hollywood Studios offers locations at Celebrity 5 & 10 as well as Rock around the Shop. Finally, guests at Disney’s Animal Kingdom can find their park’s kiosk at Island Mercantile (that’s the only one at the moment!). You can swap your Fuelrods for fresh ones all day to keep your phone conveniently charged.

While some guests love the FuelRod service and swear by it, I personally think it’s a better investment to just take that $30 and buy your own power bank. Fortunately, if you have the foresight to bring a charging cable and wall plug with you to Walt Disney World, it is still possible to charge your phone the traditional way…

3. Find a power outlet

Power outlet in Pascal's Garden at FantasylandImage: Jett Farrell-Vega

Finding a free power outlet at Walt Disney World might seem easier said than done. Disney seems to have gone out of their way to make sure the parks aren’t filled with power outlets. This is understandable as thousands of guests all charging cell phones would probably result in major electrical costs.

However, Disney hasn’t hidden all of their power outlets. Magic Kingdom actually hosts three different areas full of outlets open to anyone looking to charge a phone. The first can be found near the Tangled section of Fantasyland, smack in the middle of Pascal’s Garden. Take a seat in one of the many benches in this area and charge your cell phone on any of the outlets in the tree-trunks. There is a second one in the tent next to Pete’s Silly Sideshow, and Tomorrowland also hosts a cell phone charging area at the exit of Space Mountain in the arcade.

Friends taking selfie at Epcot Food and Wine Fest

Image: Disney

For the more adventurous, here are a few other spots to find an outlet in Disney parks.

  • Magic Kingdom
    • Columbia Harbor House, where outlets can be found in abundance
    • Throughout Pecos Bill Café
    • Splash Mountain near the bathrooms
    • Tortuga Tavern near the bar stools and the toppings bar
    • Aloha Isle in the gazebo seating area
    • The Locker Rental area at the park entrance
    • The Magic Kingdom Rose Garden
    • Pinocchio Village Haus, especially upstairs
  • Epcot
    • The hallways of Innoventions, particularly near some of the restrooms
    • Inside The Land, in the waiting area next to The Garden Grill
    • The Seas With Nemo and Friends, near the women’s restroom
    • Norway throughout the pavilion
    • Morocco throughout the pavilion
    • Mexico near the outdoor seating for La Cantina De San Angel
    • The American Adventure, outside of the Hops and Barley beer concession stand
  • Animal Kingdom
    • Pizzafari throughout the dining rooms
    • Outside Disney Outfitters
    • A bench near Finding Nemo right next to a hidden outlet
  • Hollywood Studios
    • The courtyard of Star Wars Launch Bay
    • The outdoor seating of the ABC Commissary

Obviously, use common sense when using outlets. Don’t mess with anything you see plugged in already, don’t block traffic (that means queues are a bad idea), and don’t fidget with anything Disney has purposefully locked up. Also proceed with caution on any unusual looking outlets as some, particularly those on light poles, are high voltage and can damage your phone. There are most definitely more outlets hidden throughout Walt Disney World, some which aren’t convenient for charging a phone and others which can do in a pinch. If your phone is already dead and you want a surefire way to charge it…

4. Detour to a Walt Disney World resort

Animal Kingdom Lodge giraffes

Image: Disney

Leaving the parks is not an ideal way to charge a cell phone. However, if all other avenues fail, taking a mid-day break to depart Disney parks isn’t a terrible idea. Many experts actually advocate for it.

Even if you aren’t staying at a Walt Disney World resort, you can visit any of them and hang out in their lobbies or cafes. The Swan and Dolphin near Epcot are especially convenient if you’re looking to charge a cell phone thanks to their myriad eateries, lounges, and cafes (they’re also one of the only places in Walt Disney World to get a decent cup of coffee). If a dead cell phone is driving you nuts and you can’t find a free outlet in the parks or bring yourself to rent a FuelRod, step away for an hour or two to explore Disney’s resorts. Find a comfy spot at The Polynesian, The Contemporary, The Yacht and Beach Club, or Animal Kingdom Lodge to pass some time, take a breather, and let your phone recharge. Once you’ve gotten your charge, head back into the parks refreshed!

What are some other ways you keep a cell phone charged in Walt Disney World? Know of any other great outlet locations?