On a visit to Disney World, your phone is a trusty companion and My Disney Experience is an incredibly full-featured app. There’s so much there that it’s easy to overlook some handy – but incredibly useful! – features, so I’m here to shine a spotlight on them for you. These deep dive features aren’t really hidden in the sense that you have to press some arcane sequence of buttons to get to them, they’re just harder to find or appreciate.
#1: Car Locator
I admit, the first time I saw the Car Locator in the menu, I thought it was dumb. Really dumb. For years I’d been taking pictures of the ground at the end of the row with the section and row number marked on it, and that was always good enough. This was not something that needed to be in MDE. Right?
I can admit when I’m wrong. I think I was wrong. Here’s what I like about the Car Locator: if you’re riding shotgun you can peek at the row number as you’re turning in, and have your location already set by the time you get out of the car. That removes any possibility of forgetting to take that picture at the end of the row … like I may have done a few times, occasionally. Bonus: I don’t have to remember to delete those pictures if I don’t want them uploaded to iCloud or Google Photos.
How to Use the Car Locator in My Disney Experience
Find the Car Locator by tapping the hamburger menu and scrolling down past the tiles. After clicking “Save Vehicle Location” the app will use GPS to suggest where it thinks your car is. I usually find that it’s off by a row or two and I need to adjust it, even if I’m standing right next to my car. It even works in the Disney Springs garages!
#2: Memberships & Passes
Are you a DVC Member? Got an Annual Pass? Castaway Club member? On my last trip to Disney World, a dining Cast Member showed me the fastest way to bring up these affiliations when needed for discounts or any other reason. Tap the hamburger menu and select your Profile, then tap Memberships & Passes. All your affiliations will appear there. And unlike when you try to bring up your ticket in Tickets & Passes to show it for an Annual Pass discount, yours is guaranteed to be the first one, right on top.
For Annual Passes, you can also see the designation on your MagicMobile card, if you’ve downloaded one to your wallet. But it’s a lot smaller on that screen – the icon in Memberships & Passes is easier for a Cast Member to see quickly.
For DVC Members, this doesn’t necessarily show that you’re a Blue Card member who is eligible for benefits – you’ll need your MagicMobile card for that. But it’s a great way to find your ID number quickly without logging into the Member Services website, and I had no difficulty using it for dining or merchandise discounts. If I had tried to use it to access the DVC Member Lounge at EPCOT it might not have worked as well.
#3: Show Schedules & Park Hours
If you’re old like me, you remember that every day when you went to the park you could pick up both a Park Map and also a Times Guide which had the show schedules for the day. On my last visit to Disney World I was stumped to find that there was no more paper Times Guide and it really took a bit of searching to find where those show times were in MDE.
For some regularly scheduled shows such as Festival of the Lion King or the Frozen Sing-A-Long, you can find the schedule on the Tip Board. For other entertainment like the Eat to the Beat or Garden Rocks Concert Series in EPCOT, you won’t find it there.
Where to Find Show Schedules in My Disney Experience
There are two places to find show schedules in MDE: the Entertainment listing in the Map, and under the Park Hours & Info tile.
To find the Entertainment listing, select the Locator icon on the bottom bar, then tap to bring up the list of items you can show on the mapping. The map view that you’ll get after choosing Entertainment from the list is not useful if you’re looking for a specific listing, so tap on “Show List” to bring up a list that you can scroll through.
To use the Park Hours & Info tile, click on the hamburger menu and select the tile. On the Park Hours side you can see hours for today, or select a different date on the calendar at the top of the page. On the Today side you can see the show schedule.
The Entertainment listing in the Map is far more comprehensive – but it’s also in alphabetical order and can feel jumbled. I like to check under Park Hours & Info first, just because it’s organized by type and listed by park.
You might be thinking that the search is not terribly hidden, and you’d be right – it has its own icon on the bottom bar. What I didn’t realize until the first time I used it was how responsive it is; that’s the part that’s hidden if you’ve never used it before.
It filters as you type, so after only a few characters you’ll usually see the item you’re looking for pop up on the screen. In the example screen below, if I keep typing that list will get shorter with each letter. It feels fast and convenient.
More and more I find myself turning to search as a way to quickly get where I want to go in MDE.
#5: Cast Compliments
Cast Members can really make your trip magical (see what I did there?) and giving them an official compliment can help them get the recognition they deserve from their team. But let’s face it, stopping at Guest Services can eat up a chunk of your vacation, and remembering to write a letter or an email when you get home can also be a pretty big effort. There’s a Cast Compliment feature in MDE that lets you quickly and easily send compliments to a specific Cast Member.
How to Send A Cast Compliment in My Disney Experience
Tap on the hamburger menu and scroll past the tiles to click on Cast Compliment. Select from the dropdowns to indicate what the Cast Member did that you’d like to call out, and the location. Then scroll to the bottom to fill out the Cast Member’s name, hometown, and the date of your interaction. The name, location, and date are all optional, but they help make sure your gratitude gets to the right place and the Cast Member is alerted to it.
Since it’s so easy to send a Cast Compliment in MDE, I did it a lot more on my last trip to Disney World than I ever have before. But there’s a flip side – it’s easier, but less personal too. There’s no way for you to tell how this Cast Member made your trip special other than the item you choose on the pre-selected list.
Most of the time this will be fine, but if you have an interaction that was truly above and beyond I recommend sending your Cast Compliment the old-fashioned way. That way you can give enough detail to help Disney really understand what makes this Cast Member special. Send email to Guest.Services@DisneyWorld.com after you’ve returned home, or write a physical letter and send it via snail mail to Walt Disney World Communications at P.O. Box 10040, Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830.
Did you know about all of these features? What’s your favorite “secret” MDE feature? Let us know in the comments!