If you’re under 18, get your parent’s permission first. It reads at the bottom of a brief statement on the company blog for Walt Disney World theme parks. The company today is releasing screen shots of their new Smart Phone application. It will initially be – bringing attraction wait times, FASTPASS return times, extensive information on character locations and more for Walt Disney World and Disneyland theme parks to your Verizon Wireless phone.
Other funcationality of note will be rich GPS enabled maps of the parks. Based on what I can see there's nothing new to this content that's not being done in a mapping capacity. The power will be the integration within their queue-line setup to determine and dynamically feed wait-times.
Here's the knife in the devil's throat: "If you are not a Verizon Wireless subscriber, you can still use your mobile phone to access select information via text and on the Disney Parks Mobile Web site. It’s just better from our friends at Verizon Wireless." Nothing cracks me up more than Thomas Smith, Social Media Director, Disney Parks giving a wink to the vendor, while Steve Jobs sits on the steering committee at Pixar. Seconds after the post to be followed by these comments:
For Disney's sake I hope they're listening. I'm an iPhone/Apple/Beer/... snob. Additionally, I love the brand! I'm like most everyone in Orlando, I love all the parks! Especially as a new father I can actually see what joy they can bring. Even with that said it's simply beyond shortsighted for them to overlook such a appropriate demographic as iPhone users. Bare in mind there are other mobile apps, released prior that is making Disney now fight for the "me too" spot.
The icing on the top of the capitalistic cake however is this: I was told this mobile application is available for download and purchase beginning in November for $9.99 for six months of service! YAY! While most apps are a couple of bucks and updates are free, Disney is herding you into the Cool-aid line for cash? It's IMHO that they just go this one wrong. There's plenty of time to fix the "ID-10-T" error here, a one time app charge will fix this issue.
I see pay website content coming for Disney's future and I think it's fine. Taking on the Club Penguin genre with a monthly subscription fee for a safe place for our children to have fun online – I'm a believer. With that said you cannot just break the mold for mobile applications and expect zero backlash. Maybe Disney's brand can afford the impact, but I cannot see why you'd be willing to take the hit when you don't have to.