Vacation Kingdom Know-How: Planning Apps

Sometimes, time is money. I know I have promised to give hints and tips to save time and money at Disney, but this week’s column involves dropping a little cash to save time.  When you are planing a trip to Disney World, there is the My Disney Experience (MDE) app that is used to make dining reservations (ADRs), fast passes and also track attraction wait times and more, but there are apps out there to help planning your trip. Besides MDE, I’ve tried other apps to help plan out our visits and schedule in the parks. Using these apps, we have saved some time and have been able to accomplish much more when we’re in the parks. So without further ado, here’s my picks for trip planning apps for Walt Disney World. 

Kenny the Pirate 

Kenny the Pirate

Kenny the Pirate is a hero. He spends a ton of time in the parks and does the hard work for you. Our last trip to the parks, I invested in the Character locator app and met so many characters with minimal waits.  Despite the name, the app also includes attraction and touring plan information. 

Being silly with Dug and Russell

My favorite day that we used the Kenny the Pirate app was in Animal Kingdom. We arrived for morning extra magic hours and, following the touring plan, rode all the rides we were interested in and met almost all of the characters in the park that were out that morning within 3-4 hours, all with minimal waiting. The thing that made it work well is Kenny the Pirate’s schedule has many of the meet & greets scheduled for early in the day or when the characters first arrive for the day.  One of my favorites was being 3rd or 4th in line for Dug and Russell and getting to spend a few good  minutes with them since the line was minimal at that point. This trip was the last week of June, aka the peak season, so that should show you how much the schedules can help save time. 


Lines by Touring Plans

 Touring Plans has been around for forever. They constantly test and update their data and plans and have great wait times integrated into their app, Lines (I don’t need to tell you that the My Disney Experience app isn’t always perfect, do I?).  

I’ve used Lines a little less than I have Kenny the Pirate’s app, but I really like the crowd calendars that are a 1-10 scale that are broke down for each park, daily.

I would even say that if you aren’t set on a paper guidebook (it’s ok, I usually am), using these apps and forgoing the guidebooks would be sufficient. These apps have so much information available on them that you wouldn’t be missing out anything. If you really do some digging, you could learn even more than the paper books can offer pretty quickly.

So what do you prefer? Books or apps? If apps, which one do you like to use?


Jenny Buchanan is JLB Nerdy. She writes on her blog,, is a member of the cast on Tom Morrow’s Mouse, a Disney podcast and loves cats but refuses to own one personally. She currently lives in Tennessee but a large portion of her heart is in Orlando, where she and her husband are moving in 2018. Besides Disney, she enjoys coffee, writing, being silly with her husband, Losson, and nerding out over random things.

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