Welcome to Theme Park Insider! Join the community or log in
Theme Park Insider
Facebook Twitter YouTube Email Newsletter

Universal Orlando joins SeaWorld in offering an official mobile app

Written by
Published: June 22, 2011 at 10:39 AM

Universal Orlando resort debuted its official iPhone and Android mobile apps today. Developed in partnership with Geodelic, the "Universal Orlando Resort Guide" (search for that term in the App Store) includes park maps, attraction details, restaurant menus (though not prices) and all the information about visitors services that you'd find in a park guidemap, but with a handy GPS feature that tells you exactly where in the park you are. While there's a listing for the Wait Time Display Board in the app, I couldn't find how to access current wait times for any of the attractions within the app. (To be fair, I accessed the app from my home in California, so if there are features that activate only inside the park, I could not see them.)

Universal Orlando app

The app also integrates with Facebook for check-ins and Open Table for restaurant reservations. App users who check in to a specific number of locations currently can get a Universal Orlando savings guide.

Universal Orlando joins SeaWorld in offering official mobile apps. SeaWorld's app offers several other neat features, including a "car finder" (accessible under "More") that allows you to drop a pin when you leave your car in the morning, allowing you easy GPS directions back to it at the end of the day. The SeaWorld app defaults to the SeaWorld park nearest you, using your phone;'s GPS feature. (That's why you're seeing San Diego.)

SeaWorld iPhone app

The SeaWorld app also includes maps, show times, a restroom locator, local weather and facts about the various species of animals in the park. Just search for "SeaWorld" in the App Store.

Disney has yet to offer an official mobile app for anyone other than Verizon customers (*corrected, see comment), though it has partnered with Gowalla as its official check-in app.

Disneyland Gowalla page

(*I'm on AT&T so I can't see or use Disney's app, so I'd appreciate thoughts on that in the comments.)

Of course, there are a slew of unofficial apps offering park maps, directories and attempts at estimating wait times. Search for a park name in the App Store and I'm sure you can find whatever's available.

Readers' Opinions

From Jack Curley on June 22, 2011 at 10:50 AM
Disney has a mobile app, but it's only available on Verizon Wireless. I found that out when I was planning my WDW trip last year right after switching to T-Mobile.

http://disneyparks.disney.go.com/blog/2009/11/mobile-magic-%E2%80%93-first-disney-parks-mobile-app-now-available/

From Michael Owen on June 22, 2011 at 10:56 AM
I like the Universal app, an incredibly handy tool to have when in the park, especially with the wait times, which will undoubtedly make park hopping a lot easier.

For Disney, I personally love the 'Lines' wait time app from the guys who produce the Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World, it's a great app which saves a lot of time in the parks.

From 206.248.107.44 on June 22, 2011 at 10:57 AM
That's great! I just hope it evolves to a point when we can see updates of wait times with about 10-15 minute intervals.

I'm interested in reading reviews for these two...

-Francisco

From Terri Pierce on June 22, 2011 at 11:12 AM
This is very exciting. All the more reason for me to get a new phone upgrade. I used the Disney app from Verizon last year when I went with my family and it was extremely helpful. We were able to plan out our plan of action during my parents smoke breaks without spending weeks ahead of time doing it. Was very please and am looking forward to getting to use the Universal app.
From 206.248.107.44 on June 22, 2011 at 11:26 AM
@Micheal- Do you have to subscribe to "touringplans" to use the "Lines" app?

-Francisco

From Michael Owen on June 22, 2011 at 1:03 PM
Francisco: There are some times for attraction wait times free to view, but yes for the full service you have to subscribe to Touring Plans.
From Adam Dodds on June 22, 2011 at 1:03 PM
I simply would like to have the parks place more "tip boards" around, like Epcot has but all over the park. It is an interesting challenge to have them fit into all the different theming found in the parks, but ever since parks started timing lines, I expected at some point that that information would be displayed around the parks. I know at Disney you can just ask about wait times, but I think people would love boards in every land to display wait times. That way no one needs a phone app. Before I had my phone, I felt disenfranchised every time there was an App for something that I wanted, especially for Disney.
From 206.248.107.44 on June 22, 2011 at 1:30 PM
@Michael Owen - Thanks! I thought so. It's still good to know, and who knows may be I will...

Robert Niles - Thanks for the App post, I appreciate it. I'm always curious to see the new Theme Park Apps and which ones work best. I'm really interested in seeing comments about this.

-Francisco

From David Eggert on June 22, 2011 at 1:33 PM
The app looks interesting, but for some reason it's region locked, at least on Android. It's not available to anyone in Canada (and I assume most/all other international countries). This is likely due to the fact that it appears to be built on the Geodelic system, which is similarly locked.

Geoblocking videos and other content on the web has never made sense to me, since it doesn't stop people from accessing the content, just from doing so legally. Geoblocking an app to be used at an international travel destination seems completely counter-intuitive.

From Tom Rigg on June 22, 2011 at 2:08 PM
I bought the Verizon Walt Disney World App in anticipation of my trip to WDW last week. I actually really enjoyed several features on the app. There is a games section on the app that contains a Disney Parks Trivia game which is a lot of fun and has some pretty tough questions. The feature I found most interesting and could totally see a use for is the dining reservations feature. In real time it gives you any seating available at the restaurants across the resort. I was amazed at how much was available and could see this being a real pinch hitter for people who want to eat a t a table service and don't have reservations.
From Dominick D on June 22, 2011 at 7:03 PM
AWESOME! I just got a droid today, but its charging now. Im gonna download these. Are they free?
From chris cona on June 22, 2011 at 8:02 PM
Yeah it does suck Rob I have at@t too and would love to have the app just like verizon.
From Rob Owens on June 24, 2011 at 7:24 AM
It looks like its only available to US customers which is a shame. Do you think Universal will open it up to the international market in the future?
From Mark Fairleigh on June 26, 2011 at 2:01 PM
WHERE'S ET?? Is Universal trying to tell us something?

This article has been archived and is no longer accepting comments.

Previous article: What's new on the discussion board: Mummy vs Everest, and Express Pass or no?



Enter the Wizarding World of Harry Potter

Harry Potter

Insider's Pick: There's only one place in America to where you can enter the world of Harry Potter: the Universal Orlando Resort. With Universal Orlando 2014: The Ultimate Guide to the Ultimate Theme Park Adventure, you'll learn everything you need to know to save money and time while enjoying Harry Potter and all the other world-class attractions at Universal Orlando.

Get it! In paperback | For Kindle | For iBooks