PlayDisney App on a smartphone

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.


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