Disneyland has become more about its mobile app in recent years, so much so that there’s little need for a physical ticket anymore.
But more importantly, the shift by Disneyland is a clear indicator that it is hard to survive the park without a smartphone. Though doable, it makes the experience much harder.
The convenience of using a smartphone is evident well before you arrive at the park as you purchase tickets. Disneyland suggests that guests purchase park tickets on disneyland.com or through its Disneyland mobile app. From there, you can choose to receive a physical ticket or a Disney eTicket.
The eTickets can be delivered as a PDF, which can be opened on mobile and desktop devices and scanned at the theme park entrance. Per Disneyland’s website, “there is no need to print out a paper ticket.” Tickets bought on the app can be scanned directly from the app, according to Disneyland.
“Thanks to Disney eTicket and the Disneyland mobile app, it’s never been easier to save time purchasing tickets. We recommend you take advantage of these convenient options,” the website reads.
So you can clearly get a physical ticket if you want, which helps you avoid using a mobile device when moving through the park. You can enter the park using the physical ticket and have yourself a fun day waiting in standby lines. But otherwise, to really maximize your experience at the park, you’ll have to use a smartphone.
First off, the mobile device is where you can unlock Lightning Lane, which allows you to book rides at different times. Soon, the park will have its new Genie+ service, which will build an itinerary for you throughout the day.
Ordering food is easier with the phone, too. You could wait in every food line for several minutes, or you can book different times for foods through the app. Though easier, there’s a drawback. You need to plan what food you’ll want at different times in order to get it. For example, you should order your ice cream for the afternoon during the morning. You better hope you’ll want to ice cream when you pick it up.
It’s clear that you can visit Disneyland without a mobile device. You can buy your ticket on the computer, print it out and use it to enter the park. You can wait in standby lines for rides and food. But the process moves so much better when you can use the app to book your food and spots in line.
This isn’t an advertisement for the Disneyland mobile app, which has its own bunch of glitches that make it hard to use at points. But there’s a clear indication that Disney — like culture itself — is moving toward the smartphone, making it harder for longtime park visitors to make it through without connecting with their mobile device.