Mousewait vs. the Official Disneyland App
Guest Post Written By Drew Covert
I am the unofficial “Tech Geek” of the Disneyability crew. I love exploring new gadgets and technology. Of course, this love carries over and merges with my love of Disneyland as well. In the coming months, I’ll be exploring different aspects of tech as they relate to Disneyland and Disney’s California Adventure. In this first article, we’ll look at two apps I use almost every time we’re in the park.
The two leaders in Disneyland apps are Mousewait, and the official Disneyland app. Both have their strengths and weaknesses, but which is best? On our last trip to Disneyland and DCA, I put the two apps to the test head to head. Here are the results of the Test:
Disneyland Official: Free
Mousewait: Free and Paid Version ($9.99)
I use the free version of Mousewait, and from what I can tell, upgrading to the paid version doesn’t offer many benefits other than ad removal. Unlike other apps that offer a pared down free version, Mousewait’s free version is very robust and should suffice for most users.
Both apps offer a wide range of information. They both give blackout dates for annual pass holders, show times, attraction wait times, park restaurant locations and menus, and the ability to make reservations at park restaurants (Mousewait offers a link to the Disney Reservation website, whereas the official Disneyland app allows you to make the reservations’ directly in the app).
So how do they differ? Here are few items that are exclusive to each app:
Disneyland Official: On the official app, your admission is pass available from your phone and can store and present fast passes also from your phone. You will also get a reminder that will pop up when your Fastpass is available to use at an attraction. The app actually displays a map of the park and your current location, which can be helpful for those who aren’t as familiar with the layout of Disneyland or DCA. For those that have paid to add Maxpass, you can obtain Fastpasses directly from the app without having to physically go to the distribution point for that attraction. You can also manage your photo pass from the official app. The official app lists the location of character meet and greets as well. This can be a life saver if your child has their hearts set on meeting certain character and will save you hours of searching the parks trying to get that photo op with Goofy! There is also a “Guest Services” tab that shows you first aid locations, restrooms, service dog relief areas, disability services, EVC rental locations, and even AED (automated external defibrillators) locations.
Mousewait: Mousewait’s key features revolve around your ability to interact with the app and other app users. The attraction wait times are updated by you and other Mousewait users. This can lead to either extremely accurate, or incredibly inaccurate wait times depending on how often they are updated (more on this in the wait time accuracy section). Mousewait offers a couple of simple yet valuable pieces of information, weather forecasts and crowd index. Yes, most people probably have their favorite weather app they will consult for this purpose, but it’s nice to have a reliable forecast directly available in an app. Crowd indexes tell you roughly what percentage of capacity each park is currently at. We use this feature all the time to decide if we want to switch from one park to another. If the other park looks a bit too crowded, we may just decide to stay put and enjoy the park we are currently in rather than fight the crowds at the other park. Mousewait also offers a hidden Mickey checklist (this will save you $$ over buying the hidden Mickey guidebook) and a picture of the card used to decipher the writing on the walls of the Indiana Jones Temple of the Forbidden Eye attraction. It also offers a “Lounge” where you can post and interact with other Mousewait members.
Ride Wait Time Accuracy:
This is most likely the main reason you are using these apps. You want to know how long the line is for Thunder Mountain before you walk all the way to the ride from Tomorrowland. I tested the apps out on three rides, and the results were fairly consistent:
Ride 1: Star Tours
Both Mousewait and the Official Disneyland app listed the wait time as 25 minutes. This was also the time posted outside the ride. Our actual wait time was right at 20 minutes. This was still very early in the day, and I’ve found that wait times are hard to predict because the lines can fluctuate quickly this early. This is a problem for Mousewait. Early mornings and later in the evening, there are less guests updating wait times, so Mousewait becomes less reliable, even though it didn’t play out in this particular test. So, I count this round’s results as a tie.
Ride 2: Pirates of the Caribbean
This was the only ride that the two apps listed different times. Mousewait listed the wait time as 25 Minutes, the official app listed the time as 20 minutes and the posted time at the ride was 30 minutes. Our actual wait time was 23 minutes and 30 seconds. I found it odd that the both official app and the posted time were off by this much, as it is presumably updated by Disneyland cast members. This is where the Mousewait app’s user update format really shines. Mousewait was even more accurate than the posted time of the ride. Mousewait won this round.
Ride 3: Guardians of the Galaxy, Mission Breakout!
Mousewait, the official Disneyland app and the posted time were all the same at 70 minutes. The actual wait time was 67 minutes and 45 seconds. Pretty accurate all around here. This test also resulted in a tie.
Conclusion: Mousewait is extremely accurate during peak times when users are constantly updating the times. Early in the morning, and late in the evening I would stick with the official Disneyland app. I still think the edge here goes to the Mousewait app.
Apple Watch Support:
At this time, only Mousewait offers Apple Watch support. It will give you a home screen with crowd indexes for both Disneyland and DCA, pass holder blackout dates, show times, wait times and will allow you to update wait times for attractions. It was designed pretty well, and is very intuitive to use. I have enjoyed using my Apple Watch rather than picking up my phone all the time, and this app fits the bill for things I expect a watch app to do. Why Disney has overlooked this in their own app is a mystery to me. Having your pass or Fastpass available on the watch would be something I would expect going forward, especially with Disney’s close ties to Apple.
So, which app do I recommend? Both actually. There are features on each app that are not available on the other that I find indispensable. As they are both free, I recommend downloading both. If you find you are not using one of the two, simply delete one and use the other. I you were to force my hand, I would probably pick the official Disneyland app, just for the ability to have all my passes linked to my phone, and for the character meet and greet and disability services listed. The accuracy of the wait times is good enough, although it clearly has some room for improvement. Disney definitely needs to add Apple Watch support, but in the last couple updates they have added a wealth of features that have won me over.
Which app do you use and why? I’d love to hear your thoughts below, especially if you use an app not listed in this review!