I had a chance to visit the Magic Kingdom today and log in to the new free WiFi public network in the park. I didn’t do any formal load testing, but the video and photos I took uploaded nicely. I definitely plan to use it going forward.
In theory, free WiFi will help Disney roll out some of the next-gen technologies without guests having to worry about data or roaming charges on their mobile phones. They have just upgraded their iOS based Disney Mobile Magic App (no word if Android will follow soon). I use the current Android version to check for attraction waits, dining availability, and, most importantly, to find what attractions still have Fast Pass availability without having to walk all the way to the attraction to find out.
This will become more important when the number of attractions with Fastpass increase tremendously. Disney will testing out its Fast Pass plus system again soon. As you can see above, they’ve re-installed the RFID scanners and a new terminal.
In order to make FastPass plus seem like a real bonus it will be added to attractions that don’t need it for strict capacity reasons (Haunted Mansion and Pirates to name a few) and even to some dining locations. This means if you’re not playing the system, you’re vacation experience will be affected negatively. With Public Wi-Fi Disney can at least say “hey anyone can us it” with a straight face.
Frankly, Disney (heck all the central Florida parks) should have added public wi-fi significantly earlier. They should be encouraging a little sub-culture of open-source mobile apps created by park visitors for other park visitors.
How will you be using the free wi-fi when it comes to all the Disney theme parks?