As I began writing this article on the road I thought, “What better topic for today than keeping the Disney brand front and center with mobile technology?” Having decided, then, let’s talk about a few tips and tricks for how to do just that. Some of these may be painfully obvious, but I hope I can help at least one or two of you fine neurotic Disney folk find a little extra magic between trips to the property.
As anyone with a “smart phone” can tell you, these things might as well be called computers-that-call-people. What this means is that we have access to a world of mobile Pixie Dust options on a range of phone models, from basic to NASA-certified.
Let’s start things off simply with a common customization: ringtones. Last night I got a text message while visiting with my parents, and my Mom instantly recognized the “alert” tone — the “bing-bong” sound of the monorail doors! I then had to play each of the Disney-related files I have on my phone, from the resort TV tip break to the Cinderella Castle Medley for my lovely wife’s calls.
Then I spent 30 more minutes moving everything to her phone and setting up HER ringtones, as that’s what any good son — so it was implied — would do….
There are myriad options and tools for getting Disney tracks on your phone. In many cases, you can just copy an MP3 to your phone and set it as the tone. In some cases, like my “bing-bong,” you’ll have to either luck out and find the exact sound you want or edit it yourself, which is fairly simple these days (and some phones even have ringtone editors built in, or at least an “app for that”).
Aside from ringtones, most phones can play MP3s from a playlist (just like an iPod) — why not copy the tracks from your favorite Disney Parks CD (legally, of course — no illegal filesharing, NDPeople — Walt would not approve). Now you have a mobile playlist for car rides, walks through town, potty breaks at work, etc. that can immerse you in the magic of the Parks.
For the iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch crowd, you can also download the Sorcerer Radio app and listen all day to Parks music, ride-throughs, and commentary from Disney folk like us. For our Android readers, sorry! We’re out of luck for the moment on the radio front, at least for easy, native apps on the phone (unless one of you knows something I don’t).
Next we have podcasts, covering a range of Disney-related topics and themes. Our own JL, John, and Scott host the InnerMouse podcast each Tuesday, and you can get the audio on your Android or iPhone (and probably others) quite easily! There are literally hundreds of Disney-themed podcasts out there, but let’s stick to the InnerMouse for now because — you know — I have to have something to write about later.
For Android, download the Google Listen app from the marketplace (it’s free), then start it up, go to the subscriptions page, and tap Add a Subscription. Then type in the InnerMouse feed URL (http://feeds.feedburner.com/innermouse/audio) and save it. Now you have the full list (which will auto-update) of InnerMouse episodes to listen to on the go!
iTunes offers a very easy way to subscribe, too (which will enable syncing to your iDevice). Just open iTunes up, click the Advanced menu, then Subscribe to Podcast. Paste in the same URL as above, save it, and iTunes will start downloading the latest episode.
I think we’ve got sound covered… what’s next?…. Wallpaper! Most phones allow you to specify an image as your background, just as you would on your computer. For years my blackberry displayed the image of Monorail Yellow departing the Contemporary on one of our trips. Knowing I had been standing there to take the photo reminded me of the magic each time I placed a call, sent a text, or simply needed a “fix,” and this is an ultra easy customization.
If your phone has a YouTube app or can browse the mobile internet, you can find ride-throughs and general park goodness with a few key presses. If you want to check up on the latest wait times — for strategic purposes, of course — try the Lines app from Touring Plans (access to all the wait times will cost a meager $10.95 a year).
Now some of these tips, as mentioned, have been rather obvious, but I hope I was able to share something with you to help you get your Disney fix while on the go. In a future post, we’ll talk about doing the same thing in the home and office. In the meantime, what are YOUR mobile Disney tech tips?
Contributed by: John DeLancey (NDH#48). John is the Technology and Gaming Blogger.