Orlando Vacation Prep – The Digital Essentials

Planning the perfect Orlando vacation is much more than booking flights and accommodations. If you are really a stickler for a game plan, you’re probably also making dining reservations, and even pre-scheduling your appearances at top rides and shows within our theme parks. All of this can sometimes feel like work – paying, booking, timing, confirming – and you tell yourself, “it’s all in the name of good fun”. True… but don’t overlook the FUN part of the planning, too. Next time you call a family meeting to cover the finer points of your trip plan, share this list of top apps, blogs, and Instas for your Orlando vacation. Let’s make trip planning fun again – for the whole family!

Top 10 Apps For Your Orlando Vacation

  • Official Theme Park Apps
    • If a Central Florida theme park is in your travel plans, there is an app for that – and, it’s “official”. Sometimes, third-party developers create apps that (though officially unofficial) are more informative and fun than the apps designed by the parks themselves. However, it’s advisable to download the official versions due to certain very useful features that may only be available in these versions. For example, you can make in-park dining reservations and keep all of your Fastpass times organized with the My Disney Experience app, which also allows you to view and purchase your official park photos, and more! For Universal-goers, there is the Universal Orlando Resort App, while SeaWorld has its Discovery Guide, and Legoland offers Quest to LEGOLAND – a GPS based game designed to use as a road trip companion during your drive to the Winter Haven theme park.
  • Random Ride Picker
    • Random Ride Picker from Chris Cox Media is a no-frills, simple app that is sure to save you time and frustration while adding a dash of fun. If you’re feeling indecisive or adventurous, Random Ride Picker will randomly choose your next ride experience for you. Just select the theme park you are at (RRP is compatible with 75 parks globally, including Orlando’s Universal, SeaWorld, and Walt Disney World) and give your mobile device a little shake to reveal your random destination. Also a great tool to help settle arguments if your family has a clash of objectives along the way.
  • Lots to do in Line/Hidden Mickeys
    • Although we’re big fans of the many free apps out there, sometimes it’s worth paying a nominal fee if an app has something a bit extra. This is the case with two apps that will certainly serve to educate and amuse your family during down times waiting in ride queues or sitting in place to reserve the perfect parade or fireworks viewing spots… Lots to do in Line and Hidden Mickeys. Both of these apps were derived from interactive books of the same names, and both were painstakingly compiled by Disney theme park experts to help you enjoy your theme park experience in a whole new way. The Walt Disney World Resort is covered in little “Easter eggs” – hidden details that many people will overlook. You really do feel kind of exclusive when you spot these crazy little gems, and other guests have no idea what you’re photographing, or staring at in awe. Some who are curious may even wish to chat about your innovative fun. It’s basically a secret society of funseekers! Lots to do in Line and Hidden Mickeys are handy tools that take your theme park visit to the next level. Fun for all ages, and a great way to enhance your visit and make sure you catch all the finer points of the parks.
  • Glympse
    • Theme parks can be a bit overwhelming – especially during peak periods – and when you combine crowds of people and lots of excitement, there is a tendency to forget that things can still go wrong. Eliminate some of that risk with Glympse! This  handy, secure app provides real-time location sharing. Use features and tags in public mode for events that you want to publicize, or set up private info sharing with your selected friends and family – allowing for accurate location and ETA sharing when trying to arrange a group meetup or in the case that a younger member of the family has wandered away from the group.
  • Plug In Orlando
    • Offered by The Orlando Sentinel, Plug In Orlando (iOS / Android) lets you experience Orlando like a local – even if you’re not one. Discover local events, special deals, restaurants, and insider tips that you would typically only know about if you were in the know – ya know? Best of all, you can make plans and share with your friends and family, making collaboration and organization a breeze, even if you are the type to make decisions spontaneously. Discover, read reviews, make reservations, find discounts, buy tickets, and collaborate… it’s the perfect travel guide, for free, right in your pocket.
  • Weather
    • You probably already have some form of weather app on your mobile device. After all, weather happens everywhere, doesn’t it? Depending on what you use, you may want to consider switching to something a bit more Florida-ready temporarily. Florida is a special kind of place, after all, and if your visit (like many) aligns with our hurricane season (June 1 – November 30), it doesn’t hurt to have an extra ounce of precaution in your pocket. There are many weather apps out there, and most are adequate – many free. Our favorites are the diverse options from The Weather Channel, Weather Radar and Alerts (iOS / Android) from the hurricane experts at National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and What the Forecast (iOS / Android) – which combines weather prediction accuracy with snarky wit.
  • Splitwise
    • Traveling with a larger group… or even just another branch of your family tree? Eliminate guesswork, time consuming calculations, or strained misunderstandings with Splitwise – a free app that makes shared expenses hassle-free and painless! They’ve even recently added the Plates app – specifically for splitting restaurant tabs. Share bills, payment plans, and more, even before you’ve departed for your destination. What a handy planning tool!
  • PackPoint
    • We have all been there – arriving for the perfect destination, far from home, when we discover all of the things we forgot, and those we didn’t even think of. PackPoint is a brilliant little tool that understands “vacation brain” and just how easy it is to be caught clueless while away from home. Just enter a few bits of info on your destination, travel dates, travel party, and your planned activities. PackPoint will check the weather forecast, combining it with all of your details to create the perfect packing list. All you need to do is tick the boxes as you pack! Share your PackPoint pack list with others in your travel party, and you will surely be the vacation hero!
  • Camera
    • If there is one thing that you need to be a proper Central Florida tourist, it’s a camera! However, lugging bulky camera equipment and setting up (photo) shop in the Magic Kingdom aren’t necessarily the way you want to capture your memories. From one photog to another… this is not enjoyable, by any stretch of the imagination. With the right mobile app, you can capture breathtaking, pro-level photos without added lenses, tripods, or even a camera! There are so many camera apps out there, and your choice is only limited by your preferences and comfort level. Two that we can recommend for brilliant, high-quality results: Smart HDR for Android and Pro HDR for iOS
  • Orlando City Guide – Trip by Skyscanner
    • A fabulous tool that combines the convenience of a trip planner with the fun of a social experience, Trip by Skyscanner’s Orlando City Guide will help you to  ind great savings and local hot spots, discover your own “tribe” to talk travel with, and even create postcards from your travels to share with loved ones back home!