07.11.2013Personal Tech

Apps for Disney World and Great Michigan Destinations

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Recently, my family and I enjoyed a five-night trip to Disney World in Orlando, Florida. During our vacation, we relied on a couple of apps to help us navigate around the parks. These apps for Disney World fun helped us avoid the guess-work and make the most of our 'magical' adventure:

  • Disney World Wait Times (free in iTunes and Google Play): We used this app to check wait times for rides and events as well as to determine what was nearby. A few times, it was beneficial to go get a fast pass for a ride with a long wait because of our proximity to the attraction. Then, we headed to another part of the park where rides had shorter waits.
  • Disney World Wait Times, Dining and Maps (free in iTunes and Google Play): In addition to crosschecking wait times with the previous app, this one gave us the ability to determine where and what we wanted to eat. Also, the interactive maps made it easy to find our way around the parks.

Both of these apps for Disney World offered many similar features, including the ability to submit wait times to enhance the accuracy for others. While there are plenty more Disney-related apps from which to choose, these two served our family needs very well and come highly recommended..

Even if you’re not headed to visit Minnie and Mickey this summer, it’s worth spending a few minutes researching what useful apps might be available for your upcoming vacation. Most of the popular theme parks, such as Busch Gardens, Cedar Point, Kings Island, Sea World and Six Flags, to name a few, offer free apps rich with features to help you get the most out of your visit. There are apps galore, however, for numerous other popular vacation spots.

Don't need apps for Disney World but, instead, for exploring the wonders Michigan has to offer? In my search, I found a few that apps I plan to try out the next time I visit these Michigan destinations:

  • Up North! Grand Traverse (free in iTunes; $2.99 in Google Play): This app covers everything you need to know about northwest Michigan from where to stay (bed & breakfasts, quiet lakeside inns, excellent campgrounds); where to eat and how much you'll spend (with recommendations); farm markets, specialty foods and great local snacks; trails for hiking and biking; rivers for fishing and paddling; beaches for sunning and swimming. You can also pull up wineries on the map and find the best route for a personalized wine tour.
  • Birch Run (free in iTunes and Google Play): This app lists everywhere to shop, eat, play and stay. It offers daily deals, QR coupons and loyalty programs as well as periodic contests from Birch Run businesses. Of course, it’s got GPS mapping to find your way around.
  • Sleeping Bear Trails: Aunt Jane's Trail Guide to Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore (free in iTunes and Google Play): Hike, bike, snowshoe, cross-country ski, and even ride your horse on designated trails through the dunes and woods. This app offers detailed descriptions and maps of each trail, routing from your current location to the trailhead.
  • myBeachCast (free in Google Play): Get real-time information on beach water quality advisories, weather and water conditions for beaches in the eight Great Lake states of Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Indiana, Illinois, Ohio, Pennsylvania and New York. The app also features real-time and forecasted weather and lake conditions (e.g., water temperature, wave heights, wind speed/direction) and near shore marine forecasts. myBeachCast allows users to discover local beaches based on the user’s location, view beaches and their status on a map, save favorite beaches and get driving directions.

What apps do you rely on most during vacation?

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