There are plenty of apps around these days to help enhance a Walt Disney World vacation. From those officially marketed by Disney like the indispensible MyDisneyExperience to third party apps like the Lines app created by a certain purveyor of theme park Touring Plans. Other popular apps can be benefical or entertaining during a Disney vacation like Google Maps, Twitter, or Instagram. Another popular app with some features that may enhance your trip is Snapchat.
For the uninitiated (or those without kids) Snapchat is a relatively new social media/messaging hybrid that allows for quickly “snapped” pictures to be sent to fellow app users and displayed only for a short number of seconds or to be displayed as part of a day-long running feed. The app has become increasingly popular as celebrities and brands have hopped on to use it as a means of content distribution. More nefariously the app is also a favorite of teenagers, unfaithful partners, and others who want to send photographs and messages without them remaining stored on a phone for the prying eyes of parents, significant others, etc. For less clandestine uses, the app provides a fun platform to share humorous moments, travelogues, and everyday minutia. Two newer features of the app are types of “filters” that can be applied to photographs. Occasionally sponsored by products and upcoming films/television shows, one type of filter edits the users face in photos and videos to appear like anything from dogs and giraffes to pirates, cartoon characters, or even “face swapped” with someone else.
The other type of filter, known as a geofilter, applies a decorative name or logo based on where the photo is taken. These range from a specialized writing of a location’s name (perhaps incorporating a landmark or other recognizable stylization), to a message for a sports team (if taken near a stadium), a cartoon representation of the location, or even a holiday greeting for use on the day the photo is taken.
So you may be asking what any of this has to do with Walt Disney World? Well Snapchat has added specialized location filters throughout Walt Disney World. They range from a generalized (and kind of old school) Walt Disney World logo to specific filters for rides, “lands,” and more.
At the Magic Kingdom are filters for each of the themed lands including New Fantasyland, Adventureland, and Frontierland. If you venture near the turkey leg cart outside of the Country Bear Jamboree, you may even encounter a special turkey leg filter!
The fun thing about geofilters is that you never know when, exactly, you will unlock one as your phone must be in a specific but unspecificed-to-you area in order for the filter to be seen. This could also be considered less fun and more annoying if you are trying to “collect” them all in your Memories (a Snapchat feature where you can store pictures to the app and your phone’s memory). Also, annoyingly, the “geofiltered” area could depend on your phone settings, carrier settings, and a number of other seemingly random factors. It is not uncommon to take a photograph with the geofilter and have the person next to you be unable to unlock the same filter.
Other filters are tied to time. We found one of cartoon fireworks while waiting around the hub for Wishes. Another personal favorite filter of mine is one that can be unlocked near the Haunted Mansion, showing the three famous “hitchhiking ghosts.” You could definitely take advantage of posing with the ghosts or arranging your pictures in a funny manner.
So if you are a Snapchat user now, or download it for the very first time for your vacation, have fun playing along with the Magic Kingdom geofilters. Send some special memories to make your friends at home jealous or store them to your memories for your own personal collection. They offer up an extra bit of unexpected fun during a day in the parks.
If you can’t unlock a fun geofilter, you can still use the always available “current temperature” filter to let everyone know how hot and sweltering it is in the parks that day!
Also please note that Snapchat adds, subtracts, and changes filters all the time. These were all available in Magic Kingdom on a day in May 2016. They may be different today. Also explore the other parks and see what kind of filters you can unlock there.