But indeed, Disney World maps are still TOTALLY useful, and in fact, filled with things you didn’t realize they could help you find!
Sure, the My Disney Experience app makes it SUPER convenient and easy to do and find almost everything in Disney World — the keyword being “almost.”
Sometimes, though, it helps to have a handy dandy printed map, and in Disney World, you’d be surprised to learn these park maps can take you well beyond the familiar rides and restaurants! Not to mention, that these are handy for any guest who doesn’t have a smartphone, or perhaps a kiddo who wants to be a part of the planning action, but isn’t old enough for a phone yet. Or maybe you just want to save some of your battery life. Whatever the reason, these cartographical works of art can come in handy!
Let’s face it: technology is great and all, but there are just some things it can’t do as well as print. For instance, shortcuts and pro tips can be found ALL over Disney World’s park maps!
When navigating your way around the parks, rather than zoom in and squint at your phone screen, trying to maneuver through the cluster of text, you can unfold a map and easily trace your own path from point A to point B!
The maps help you pinpoint unexpected routes and shortcuts that’ll ultimately save you a ton of time and cut down on all that walking so you can focus on what really matters: magical fun!
Walkway to Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa
Speaking of walking, it’s now possible to do a lot more of it thanks to the paved walkway linking Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa with Magic Kingdom! But how do you find this weirdly discreet route? A map helps!
The app doesn’t really make it clear where the walkway is, or how to get to it from Magic Kingdom (or vice versa if you’re trying to get to the park), but a printed map makes it easy to point out and access!
Animal Highlights in Animal Kingdom
One map feature that’s totally unique to Animal Kingdom (which isn’t even featured on the app), is its animal highlights, spotlighting the different areas where you can spot certain animals in the park!
It’s nice to have a guide showing us which animals are where.
So whether you NEED to see gorillas, otters, or a crocodile right away, you’ll know EXACTLY where to go!
Restrooms in Disney World are pretty easy to find — they’re everywhere! But if you’re in need of a restroom that’s specifically accessible, you may need some extra guidance.
Rather than wander around, hoping you find a handicap-accessible bathroom, unfurl your park map to find the closest accessible option to you, conveniently noted and clearly marked throughout the parks!
Baby Care Centers
Another important spot for families on vacation is a baby care center. Especially for those traveling with infants, it’ll feel pretty crucial that you know precisely where to go when that moment comes… .
Fortunately, Disney’s park maps denote baby care centers with a little blue pacifier marker.
Wheelchair and Stroller Rentals
And speaking of accessibility and baby care, all the parks offer both wheelchair and stroller rentals!
The maps are helpful tools for where to find them!
Service Animal Relief Areas
For those traveling with service animals, one thing that’s probably ALWAYS on your mind is “where do I take my dog when he needs to use the doggy restroom?”
You’d be surprised to learn that the parks actually have kind of a lot of service animal relief areas! And the park maps will show you exactly where to take your helper when the time comes!
Let’s say you’re in the parks and you want to take out some cash to use as spending money for the day, rather than endlessly charge your card. The maps can help you do that!
Look for the little ATM symbols on the maps, denoted by a dollar bill coming out of a machine (pretty on the nose), and you’ll know where to go to make a withdrawal!
PhotoPass Photographer Spots
Last but not least, it’s always nice to have a souvenir photo taken by an actual professional, right?!
Rather than mosey around aimlessly, hoping you stumble across someone with an actual camera, park maps point out where you can go to find a PhotoPass Photographer spot, in order to capture JUST the right angle!
As you can see, there’s A LOT to discover and utilize on Disney World’s park maps, not to mention, they make a great little free momento from your trip. The app is great and all, but sometimes you just need to unfold a piece of paper, ya know!?
Well, friends, now that’s you’ve read through this whole post and listened to us wax poetic about the joys of a physical park map, here’s a little secret for you die-hard app-users. If you’re in the map feature of the My Disney Experience App, it will default to show you the map of the park (usually the one you’re currently in) and display the Wait Times. BUT if you use the selection dropdown menu next to the Wait Time function, you can select any number of categories to review for more options and see all the parks have to offer. Selecting the Guest Services category will provide a ton of insights you might’ve never been aware of (like where to find a FuelRod station or a Penny Press machine)!
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What’s your favorite thing about Disney World’s park maps? Let us know in the comments!