Is Your Smart Phone A Vacation Friend or Foe?

Let’s be honest — at this point, your smart phone is basically an extension of your hand. It’s so nifty! From photos to emails and texts to social media, it’s basically impossible not to need your phone at some point throughout the day.

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But is your phone a vacation ruin-er or your BFF?

Let’s take a look at both sides.

Vacation Ruiner

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While it’s awesome that you can capture every moment of your trip with one single device — do you need to? It’s great that you can easily snap a few photos to share with friends and family, but are you spending too much time looking through your lens and not enough time actually enjoying the vacation?

The biggest con of a smart phone is that it’s a slippery slope when it comes to photos and sharing on social media. There’s a fine line between easily captured and shared photos, and obsessing over the perfect photo or filter and forgetting to live in the moment.

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Vacation BFF

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Whether you like it or not, My Disney Experience is here to stay. And having the app on your smart phone makes it incredibly easy to update FastPass+, make dining reservations, and download your PhotoPass photos.

Also, while I don’t suggest going overboard with photos and videos, it’s awesome to be able to take as many as pictures as you’d like, and instantly be able to see if everyone has their eyes open and looking at the camera. No more surprises like the “old” days!

Plus smart phones are great for a whole host of other apps that can help out on vacation — you can check the weather, call a ride share vehicle, or easily text family updates throughout the day if you split up.

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©Disney / Samsung

So the results? It’s both.

Smart phones are an awesome vacation BFF — they provide a lot of apps that can truly make your day easier, or help capture a special moment.

But don’t let it become a vacation ruiner — put the phones down and make sure you live in the moment. Sometimes the best camera is the one in your head!

What do you think — are Smart Phones a vacation friend or foe? Let us know in the comments!


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Molly is a lifelong Disney enthusiast, and former Walt Disney World Guest Relations Cast Member and tour guide. Her Walt Disney World favorites include Festival of the Lion King, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, Fantasmic!, Mickey-shaped pretzels and rice krispie treats, and anything with Buzz Lightyear! She lives in Orlando with her husband (who she met in Guest Relations) and their two rescue dogs, Kronk and Cruella de Vil (Ella for short!)

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9 Replies to “Is Your Smart Phone A Vacation Friend or Foe?”

  1. I’m grown so I don’t grab my phone and post about every meal I have or every move I make because I’m well aware that nobody gives a flying rats behind. Why does everyone on Earth think that anyone is interested in what YOU’RE doing all day long or what your thoughts are on every topic? It’s a world full of self absorbed people these days. Think about it…NO ONE but your grandma is looking at this stuff, it’s all about YOU feeling like what you’re up to is important. Do you go surfing around looking to see what your friends are eating? Nope, you are all about trying to tell people what YOU’RE up to. No one cares at all. Period. But everyone sure thinks they do.

  2. I’m learning to strike that balance between enjoying the convenience of modern technology and also living in the moment without too many phone distractions. I no longer feel the need to document everything I experience, but I sure do love conveniences like Fastpass+ and knowing how long until the next Disney bus comes.

    1. Wouldn’t you love no FastPass at all (thus no need for the phone). No advanced dining reservations (thus no need for that part of the MyDisneyExperience)

      1. No, honestly, I wouldn’t love that at all. It seems to me that no FastPass and no ADRs would just lead to more waiting all around. Long waits for rides are bad enough; I’d prefer to avoid them at restaurants too. Besides, I arrange all my advance FastPasses on a computer at home and only resort to my phone if I need to change them on the go, which is very rare. I tend to hold onto all my FastPasses once I reserve them, making my phone an unnecessary FastPass intermediary once I’m on property, because they’re all stored in my MagicBand anyway.

        In fact, I find MyDisneyExperience useful primarily for advance planning before my trip, and then don’t use it much once I’ve started my vacation. I admit, however, that I’m inclined to use it for bus wait times, for a couple of reasons: 1. It’ll be a new feature for me, so I’m curious just to try it and see if it works effectively, and 2. If it does work, it’ll be nice to know that we have enough time to make it from our room to the bus stop without rushing. That’s a convenience I can get behind.

        Beyond that, I’ll still use my phone for the basics – checking the time, taking pictures & videos, or calling my mother when she goes missing inside one of the gift shops.

  3. I’m a Boomer so it’s never been an extension, and hopefully won’t ever be. I only got one to make my daughters happy, I take solo motorcycle trips almost exclusively on secondary roads and they were worried what might happen if I broke down in the middle of no where. But……I found the MDE app useful on our last trip just to see what the wait times were so we could go to attractions and pretty much get right on. And it was nice to use to get an Uber at park close when there was a 90 minute wait for a bus back to Pop Century.

    1. John, The 2 reasons you give for using your cell phone at WDW are 2 of the many reasons why I’m not going back. Wait times and having to pay for an Uber because the transportation system I’m paying for with my ticket is unavailable. Good grief!

  4. Went to Yellowstone national park a few years ago. No cell service in most of the park. I was in heaven. Many phone zombies were in a state of pure panic. I didn’t watch tv or read a news paper or touch my phone for a week. It was great.

    Ps. You couldn’t pay me to go back WDW the way as it is now. They can take their My Disney experience app and ………………………………..