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How to Navigate the Ins and Outs of the Disneyland App

by Mommy Frog on September 25, 2022 Los Angeles

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Summary

Oh boy, you're going to Disneyland! But if it’s your first visit or you have not visited in over 10 years, you have some catching up to do before you go. Disneyland sped into the digital age of Tomorrowland by putting useful tools and important information at your fingertips in an app. You're going to get to know the Disneyland app and all the ways you will use it before you even make it to the park. Besides there still being paper park maps, much of the park information has gone digital. If you want to save time, skip the lines, find show times, manage your dining reservations and even manage your reservations to visit the theme park, you're going to need the Disneyland app.

Guide to the Disneyland App - Boy uses app at Disneyland entrance

Overview of the Disneyland App

There is a lot that goes into planning a Disneyland trip, but don’t stress. The Disneyland app is meant to save you time and help guide you through your day. As you begin planning your Disneyland trip by reading all our hopful Disneyland blog posts, you’ll hear us mention the Disneyland app, well, a lot. It's hard to manage your day and maximize time without the Disneyland app. A paper map can't tell you the current wait times, if a ride is temporarily closed or what's on the menu at Jolly Holiday Café. But the Disneyland app can!

This tool will help you link park tickets, book dining reservations, see ride wait times, use Genie+ and more! We'll walk you through everything it's used for, and more importantly, how to use it so that you're an expert by the time you hit the parks. Whether you're a seasoned pro interested in learning more about new features or a total novice looking to learn the ropes, we've got all you need to know about the Disneyland app. Let's jump in!

What Is the Disneyland App?

Guide to the Disneyland App - Family looking at phoneThe Disneyland app is a tool on your smartphone that Disney uses for just about everything. You can download the free app on your smartphone. We highly recommend downloading the app well before your visit so you can link your tickets and get all your reservations in place.

You can see all of your plans in one place, from park tickets and park hours to hotel reservations and Disney Park Passes in the Disneyland app. (And yes, it's compatible with theme park tickets and Disney Resort hotel reservations purchased through Undercover Tourist!) You can Mobile Check-In for restaurants. Disneyland Resort hotel guests can use the Disneyland app as their digital room key if they like.

In the park, you can use the Mobile Ordering service, look up menus so you can find must-try foods, see all of your PhotoPass photos and access the new Disney Genie system. You can check real-time ride wait times, see height requirements and accessibility info and find out if a ride has a single rider line. You can play interactive games based on the queue you're in while in the parks! If, like me, you find yourself a little technologically challenged, have no fear. While we're walking you through each step of the process in this guide, Disney has done a terrific job of making the platform intuitive and user-friendly (so easy a frog could do it!).

How to Set Up Your Disneyland Account

Guide to the Disneyland App - Group using phone in the park

First thing's first: If you haven't already, you'll want to start by making your Disneyland account. You can create this either online at Disneyland.com. or in the Disneyland app itself. While you're thinking of it, it may be a good time to download the app right now from your app store. From there, you'll then:

  • Create your profile. This will include details such as your name, mailing address, the credit card you’d like to use to pay for food, services and maybe even tickets ... and also the Disney character you'd like to represent you in the app! (#MrsIncredible). You'll also set up your username and password. Make this something you can remember as you’ll be asked for it whenever you log in online or in the app.
  • Link park tickets. This is where you'll add any Disneyland tickets you have, along with the tickets of anyone traveling with you. There is no Friends & Family list like there is at Disney World — just individual tickets and Magic Key passes. If you link someone's ticket to your account, you can see their reservations, but they cannot see yours unless you have them link your ticket to their account. Be sure to name each ticket properly when you add them to save yourself headaches later.

Name each new ticket accurately for each user when you link them because the names on tickets cannot be changed. Disneyland does not check the names, but it will be easier for you to select party members in Genie+ if the tickets are named properly. Don't be alarmed, but every time you log into your Disneyland account, you'll likely get an email that says somebody logged into your Disney account. It's a security measure to keep your account safe.

How to Link Park Tickets 

Guide to the Disneyland App - Scanning Physical Ticket to Link to Disneyland App

If you've purchased Disneyland Resort tickets, you'll want to link them in the Disneyland app ASAP so that you can make a park reservation using Disneyland’s new system. (If you have purchased tickets through Disneyland directly, you already made your reservations when you purchased. No more steps are needed unless you need to modify.) If you purchased tickets from Undercover Tourist, you'll want to reserve park passes as soon as you purchase tickets to get the best availability. You can cancel and rebook reservations if your plans change, as long as there's availability.

To enter a theme park, guests need both a ticket and a Disneyland theme park reservation for the same date ... and that reservation can be made, canceled and rebooked through the Disneyland app as well as online. We have a whole post on Disneyland theme park reservations that walks you through how to do this to make things as stress-free as possible (because vacation planning should be fun!). In the meantime, here are two ways you can link your tickets to your Disneyland account. We find the Disneyland app the easiest method because it's quick and easy:

  • To link your tickets in the Disneyland app on your smartphone, click the three horizontal lines in the bottom right-hand corner. You'll then see an option for "Tickets and Passes." Click the blue + in the upper right-hand corner, then "Link Tickets & Passes."
  • Hold your phone over the bar code for each ticket and center the code in the rectangle on the screen. (You can scan the code from a printout of the ticket, scan it from the computer screen or scan the small paper ticket you receive after entering the theme park. You can even scan a ticket from someone else's app.) The camera will capture it and the app may ask you to name the ticket. Once you name it in a Disneyland account, that’s the name on the ticket forever no matter who is going to use it or whose account it gets linked to. So don't mess this up. ;)

Another way is to link tickets online at Disneyland.com.

  • To link your tickets at Disneyland.com in a browser, log in and click "My Disneyland," and navigate to "Link Tickets." Type in the long number under the bar code and name the ticket if asked.

There are a few numbers to have handy if you run into ticket issues. You can reach Undercover Tourist at any time for questions about your confirmation number at 1 (800) 846-1302 (or 1 -386-239-8624 worldwide).

How to Link Hotel Reservations

Guide to the Disneyland App - Disneyland Hotel Lobby

Link your Disneyland Resort hotel reservation on the Disneyland app or online before making theme park reservations to access better theme park reservation availability. There are several ways to do this.

  • At Disneyland.com, click "My Disneyland," and navigate to "My Hotel Reservations.” Enter your reservation or confirmation number, your last name and arrival date. (Undercover Tourist customers can find this information in their confirmation email).
  • To link a hotel reservation in the Disneyland app on your smartphone, click the three horizontal lines in the bottom right-hand corner. Then tap “My Hotel Reservation” and add in the details there.
  • In the Disneyland app, if you tap "Future Plans" and tap on any reservation, you'll be redirected to the Disneyland site to manage your reservations. You can tap "Retrieve Hotel Reservation" and type in the information.

How to Make a Theme Park Reservation

Guide to the Disneyland App - Disneyland Entrance

You cannot modify any theme park reservations at Disneyland. You can cancel and re-book if your plans change. If you want to make, cancel or rebook a theme park reservation, you can start the process through the Disneyland app in two different ways.

  • Tap the "+" sign from the navigation bar and tap "Make a Park Reservation."
  • Tap the three horizontal lines and then "Future Plans." You'll see a limited view of any theme park reservations and starting parks listed. You can tap any one of them to be redirected to the Disneyland site. You'll likely have to log in. You can book a theme park reservation, view your theme park reservations in detail, cancel a reservation (and re-book) or link a hotel stay. You can see all reservations of any tickets you have linked to your account.

Disneyland App Features

There are so many hopful features in the Disneyland app! You'll find that the tools included in the app are informative and can also help you save some time in the parks. It's a great resource to have on hand. Here's what you can do in the Disneyland app in each stage of planning your vacation.

Before You Arrive

Guide to the Disneyland App - Dining Packages Screenshot within AppGuests can make dining and other reservations up to 60 days in advance of their trip. Reservation windows open at 6 a.m. PST … usually. Sometimes they don’t open up right away. Sometimes a restaurant can open reservations earlier at 3 a.m. It's not an exact science.

To make a dining reservation on the Disneyland app, press the "+" button in the bottom navigation bar. From there, select "Check Dining Availability."

On a browser, you'll visit the top navigation bar and hover over "Things to Do," and then select "Make Reservations." If you are looking for a particular restaurant or a dining package, it’s best to look that up by name (using the magnifying glass) and reserve dining for that particular package. Sometimes those packages do not appear on the general reservations list, so it's best to look them up individually.

You'll then select a date, time and party size. We play around with times and party size if we do not initially see anything.

For table-service dining in the theme parks, don't froget that you'll need both valid admission and a theme park reservation for that particular park on that particular day to dine. People with Park Hopper tickets can hop at 1 p.m., so make dining reservations for your second park after 1 p.m. Having a dining reservation without a park reservation will not get you in early.

You can check your daily itinerary at any time under "My Day" the day of or "Future Plans" for future dates. This includes your theme park reservations and dining reservations you have planned.

We highly recommend downloading the app so that you have easy access to use it while in the parks (and be sure to enable location services!). From here on out, you'll likely solely be using the app. With that in mind, we also recommend that you bring a quality portable charger with you to keep your phone fully juiced during a long park day.

Guide to the Disneyland App - Homescreen of AppNavigating the Disneyland App 

Before you visit, get yourself familiar with the app and how to use it to find key information so you will feel comfortable using it in the park.

First of all, you have your home page. The most important part is the navigation bar at the bottom:

  • The home button brings you back to this home page.
  • The teardrop takes you to the park map. It's probably our most-used feature. The default map shows all attractions and wait times. It's very helpful. The map has a pull-down menu at the top that allows you to customize the map so you can look up characters, dining, entertainment, restroom locations and more.
  • The "+" pulls up a menu with choices that allow you to check for dining availability, Mobile Order food, use your app to shop in-store and mobile checkout, link photos, make park reservations and more.
  • The magnifying glass allows you to search for anything you need to know. You can look up restaurants and their menus or to see if there is Walk-Up availability, type in a show name or cavalcade to find out when it plays, or type in a ride to check the hours and Lightning Lane availability or height requirements.
  • The three horizontal lines bring up another important menu that you'll likely access several times a day. This menu is where you will locate the Tip Board, My Genie Day (plans for that day), Tickets and Passes (where you will link tickets), Future Plans (beyond today), Virtual Queues, Mobile Food Orders, Photos, Hotel Reservations, Park Hours & Info, Play Disney Parks, shopDisney, a chat feature and Disability Access Service if someone in your party uses it.

On the home page itself is a lot of information, much of which is not critical. But you can browse through it at home to learn more. Check out the Food & Merchandise box as it can point out new foods, seasonal treats and other themed food and merchandise. There is a Virtual Queues box if you are interested in joining a virtual queue.

Using the Disneyland App at Hotels

Guide to the Disneyland App - QR Code

Prior to arriving, you can start the hotel check-in process. At this point, if you haven't already, it's a good idea to set up your preferred payment method, not only for incidentals but also for any mobile food ordering or in-app purchases you'd like to do.

On check-in day, you'll receive a text or notification notifying you when your room is ready — online check-in for the win! This allows guests to bypass the Front Desk unless they have specific questions or concerns or if they want a key card.

Once you've found your room, get ready for the magic! You can use the Disneyland app as a digital key to unlock your door. (The tadpoles are definitely going to want to give it a try or 10!) Likewise, check-out is fully digital at this time, so no need to stop by the Front Desk. You'll be emailed your guest folio on check-out day, or you can view a copy at the Front Desk.

The app is also your best source for news or updated policies, including a health acknowledgment, park health and safety policies and property news. If you have questions at any time, there's also an online chat feature.

You can use the app to check into hotel dining or Mobile Order food at select locations. Keep an eye out for QR codes around the hotel that take you to features that allow you to order food to be delivered to the lobby from Downtown Disney restaurants. You can use QR codes to access information on fitness classes and other fun activities. You might have a QR code on your table for menu items.

A Note About QR Codes

OK, confession time. While we feel like we are Disneyland app pros by now, there was one little technological trick that left Leap and me scratching our heads: QR codes. You'll find that digital menus and guides (and occasionally virtual lines at stores) can be accessed in the app by scanning a QR code. But how exactly do you scan a QR code? All you have to do is open your smartphone's camera to scan the code and a notification should pop up for you to tap to access the information in the Disneyland app. (Thanks, Tad!)

If an English and Spanish option are offered next to each other, cover the one you don't want to scan. I once accidentally scanned a Spanish menu QR code and it changed my entire Disneyland app to the Spanish language for the day and I could not change it back! ¡Dios mío! (Once again, Tad came to my rescue!)

Find Your Car

How to Navigate the Ins and Outs of the Disneyland App-Parking structure signsWhen you arrive at Disneyland, you may be so excited that you don't pay attention to where you park. At the end of the night, panic sets in. Not anymore. There's an app for that: The Disneyland app! As of October 2022, a car locator feature is a free feature that helps you find and save parking information. You'll want to enable location services, Bluetooth technology and notifications on your phone. If you don’t have location services on, manually enter your parking details.

Using the Disneyland App When Dining

Guide to the Disneyland App - Monte Cristo

By this point, you've made your dining reservations in the parks, hotels or Downtown Disney through the Disneyland app. Or maybe you could not score a reservation you wanted. The Disneyland app to the rescue! When you are in a restaurant’s vicinity, you can look for Walk-Up Availability in the app. Look up the name of the restaurant and tap “Join Walk-Up List.” We have had great luck with this feature. If you do have reservations, you can use the app to use mobile check-in, add or subtract a party member, note any allergies or special occasions and more. You’ll receive a notification when it’s time to check in and again when your table is ready.

Of course, there are times when an unplanned meal or snack pops up; your dining reservations likely don't account for all of your meals. The app can help with food-time features such as using the Mobile Order service, finding online menus, and searching for seasonal offerings.

Guide to the Disneyland App - Walk-Up ListIf you didn't snag a dining reservation you wanted, we always recommend continuing to check back leading up to and throughout your trip in case that particular restaurant has availability — guests can and do cancel their reservations! Also, try to join those Walk-Up Lists. Mobile Order service enables you to order ahead at your favorite quick-service restaurants. You'll order, customize and pay for your meal in the app, then pick it up in the designated window at the specified arrival time — easy as pie (so to speak ... or should we say Dole Whip)! In the app, select the "+" icon, then "Order Food." You'll then select an arrival window at the restaurant you're looking for. If you'd rather sort by what's around you, select the map pin icon to the bottom right of this list to see nearby options. You can order ahead a few hours if you like to plan.

Guide to the Disneyland App - Mobile Order

Once you've picked your arrival time, it's time to get to the good stuff — pick your fave! You can sort by category (including Kids Meals, Plant-based, Dessert, and, in parks that serve alcohol, Alcoholic Beverages). You'll then be prompted to make it your own, customizing and choosing sides, if applicable. Once that's done, click "Add." (If you find that the "Add" button isn't available, double-check that you've filled out all of the selections.)

You can continue this until your order is ready, then click the "View My Order" button at the bottom of the page. You'll see a summary of your order, where you can either go back and modify or review. Once you're ready to review, you then have the option to continue to check out (with a credit card) or type in a gift card. The final step is to show up at the restaurant within your specified timeframe, select "I'm Here" and pick up your food! It sounds like a lot of instructions, but really, we've found that the app does a great job of walking you through each step. You'll be a pro in no time!

You can also view menus digitally in the Disneyland app. Use the map to find restaurants and Mobile Order locations. It's an easy way to see which restaurants near you offer Mobile Order. At the pull-down menu at the top of the map, press on "Dining." You'll see a map (based on where you are) and different icons; the icon that looks like a smartphone with a fork and knife represents a restaurant offering Mobile Order service, while the fork and knife icon is generally for restaurants without Mobile Order. You can select any icon for more information, including hours, type of cuisine, price range and menu. You'll also have the option to Mobile Order (where applicable) and Join Walk-Up-List (if offered t a table-service location).

Using the Disneyland App at the Theme Parks

Now for the good stuff. You are mostly going to use the Disneyland app in the theme park for information and to utilize certain tools to make your day easier and save time. To learn more about the Genie features, which can be a big part of your in-park app usage, hop down to the next section.

You may be pulling up the Disneyland app at the park turnstiles to enter the theme park. You'll find all your park tickets under Tickets and Passes. What's nice about having your park tickets in the app is that you do not have to worry about losing them. Usually, the first time you enter the park, the cast member will hand you a paper ticket. You can use that or the ticket in the app for park entry.

Finding Important Information

On your home screen, you'll find a box with all hours for the parks and Downtown Disney, along with “Today’s Showtimes.” The showtimes are not a complete list of all performances, so if you don’t see a must-see show listed, type the show name with the magnifier to see the remaining show times. You can add your favorite shows to your Genie plans for the day and the upcoming show times will appear on your Tip Board.

Hop back to that map in the app. You can use the pull-down menu to find attractions with wait times, characters, entertainment, PhotoPass stops, restrooms, Guest Services, services for guests with disabilities, shops and more. Use the filter to customize or the list feature to show it in a list format.

The Guest Services filter also includes the locations of Wi-Fi, AEDs, service animal relief areas, drinking fountains, portable charger swaps, ATMs, package pickup, rider switch, portable phone charging system kiosks and more.

Wi-Fi

We need to have a word about Wi-Fi. It can be spotty in the parks. We generally turn the Wi-Fi off when we are in the park to improve our signal, but that might not work for you. International travelers and people with limited data may depend on Wi-Fi more than others. You can type in "Wi-Fi" in the app and see where all the locations are on the map where you'll get the strongest signal. Try to do important tasks such as booking Genie+ or joining virtual queues outside and near these areas.

Virtual Queues

Guide to the Disneyland App - World of Color

At times, a show or attraction may utilize a virtual queue. You will join virtual queues using the Disneyland app. We have a whole post on joining virtual queues at Disneyland. Hop there for the most up-to-date tips and details about virtual queues.

More Uses for the Disneyland App

Guide to the Disneyland App - Water Refill Stations in MapIn addition to these hopful in-park features, there are some other conveniences and fun built into the app! Some which can be enjoyed at home. You can:

  • Use Mobile Checkout — Is there a long line for the register? Select stores offer Mobile Checkout. Tap the "+" sign and "Shop in Store." You can scan items and check them out all on your phone! You need a good phone signal for this to work.
  • Access Audio Tales for behind-the-scene clips (you can do this at home).
  • Watch fun videos inspired by the parks, or access at-home crafts or activities.
  • Connect to trivia games through the Play Disney Parks app.
  • Connect to a Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge Datapad through Play Disney Parks app.
  • Check attraction hours — some attractions close early, such as Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance. Check the hours in the app by typing in the name of the attraction.
  • Access features through a QR code.
  • Check out the Food & Merchandise tab on the home page for the latest in new or seasonal foods and items for sale.
  • Look at restaurant menus up to a few days before attending an After Dark event to see special food offerings and merchandise.
  • You can search for drinking fountains on the map and you can tap individual fountains to find locations with water bottle fill stations.

Play Disney Parks and Datapad

Guide to the Disneyland App - Play Disney Parks app

The Disneyland app is mostly about function. There is another app you might want to get for use in the parks. The Play Disney Parks app has games you can play in line or at home, music and more. What's most frogciting for Tad, our tween and Star Wars padawan-in-training, is that the app turns into a Datapad when you enter Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge. Download the latest version at home and get it set up before you go to the park.

Disney Genie

Guide to the Disneyland App - Phone and Castle

Disney Genie is a service in the Disneyland app that is used in the theme park. Genie and its related options launched in Dec. 2021. Genie+ is a replacement for FASTPASS and MaxPass. There are three components to the new planning system — the free Genie planning tool, the optional paid Genie+ service to make ride reservations and the individual Lightning Lane selections for a few select in-demand rides not included in Genie+. Depending on your interests, Genie and Genie+ can mean using the Disneyland app a lot in the parks throughout the day. But it's all optional!

Guide to the Disneyland App - Scanning Phone

Genie+ or pay-per-ride individual selections allow you to save time and enter attractions through the Lightning Lanes. That's the former FASTPASS Return entrance. At Disneyland, Genie+ costs $25 (Magic Key holders get a 20% discount) for per day per person and allows you to book arrival windows throughout the day to up to 20 attractions. Many rides in the park are not included. A few select high-demand rides are excluded from Genie+ and are additional costs to access the Lightning Lane.

A newly added feature to the app for Genie+ users is augmented reality PhotoPass lens filters. Add a Disney or Star Wars character or magical setting to your park selfies and photos!

You can add Genie+ to your trip in two ways:

  • Before Your Visit — You can purchase Disneyland tickets preloaded with Genie+. If you want to purchase in advance, buy a ticket with Genie+. Undercover Tourist is now selling discount multi-day tickets with Genie+.
  • Same Day of Your Visit — Ticket holders and annual passholders may purchase Genie+ each day through the Disneyland app after entering a theme park each day. This is the route you would take if you only want to use Genie+ for certain days but not the entire trip, or as a last-minute decision.

The Disney Genie system is fully integrated into the Disneyland app so all of your planning is in one place! In the app, use the three horizontal lines to access My Genie Day  — where you can get started in planning each day of your trip — and the Tip Board —  where you can make Lightning Lane selections.

Guide to the Disneyland App - Buying Genie+ in appPeople new to Disneyland may enjoy the free Genie planning feature in the Disneyland app. It creates an itinerary of your day based on the attractions, entertainment and dining most important to you. It helps guide you to these rides and restaurants when waits are the lowest. If you want to use this free planning feature in the app, you'll want to put in each date you plan to visit and Genie will ask you to select your top attractions, shows and interests. Then, when you are in the park, Genie will make suggestions on when to visit.

The planning tool can be accessed from the top of the home page or by clicking the three lines in the bottom right corner and selecting "My Genie Day" then "My Day." Once there, you can utilize the free planning portion by telling Genie your interests and the app will create a customized plan for your day based on the shortest wait times. If you purchased Genie+ or individual Lightning Lane selections, you will be able to see your selections here and make new ones under the Tip Board. We go over more details on this new service in our full Disneyland Genie guide.

In addition to Lightning Lane and Genie+, if you are utilizing Disney Disability Access Service (DAS) or Rider Switch, you'll find information about your service's return times in the app, as well.

Disneyland App Tips

Here are our most hopful tips for navigating the Disneyland app:

  • Bring a portable charger.
  • Use the park map in the app (it's the teardrop at the bottom of the home screen) to check wait times and identify any attractions that are temporarily closed.
  • Use the Character feature on the map. Tap on the pull-down menu on the map to find characters in the park.
  • Use Mobile Order when available.
  • Don't give up on dining reservations if you cannot get the one you want. Reservations usually open at 6 a.m. 60 days in advance but keep checking as they can drop later. If you can't get a reservation, join the Walk -Up List in the app for a restaurant. You have to be in the general area to join.
  • Turn off Wi-Fi if you can.
  • Look up individual shows for show times if you don't see them listed.
  • If someone in your party uses Disability Access Service (DAS), you can make return times in the app.
  • Read up on Genie+ and Individual Lightning Lanes before you visit.
  • As much as the app is helpful, be sure to use it only when necessary and keep your head out of your phone as much as possible while in the park so you don't miss any fun in the park.
  • Magic Key holders can find special offerings in the Disneyland app on the home page. You can enter the portal there.

What questions do you have about the Disneyland app? What tips or tricks do you have to share? Be sure to share with us in the comments below! If you are looking to save money on Disneyland Resort tickets, either with or without Genie+, your favorite froggy friends can help you save some green! Keep in mind that we have our own free Undercover Tourist Theme Park Plans — SoCal app with touring plans, ride videos and more!

Related: Answering Your Disneyland Genie Plus Frequently Asked Questions

Related: Tips to Maximize Your Time at Disneyland

Hoppy planning!

Keep hopping, Mommy Frog!
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