Take a ‘Google Field Trip’ to Disneyland thanks to Yesterland

Credit: Yesterland.com and Google

On Thursday, Google launched a new app for Android smartphones called Field Trip – an app that’s a mixture of hyper-local discovery and a city guidebook.

Field Trip grabs your location via cell tower, Wi-Fi or GPS and displays nearby points of interest including restaurants, parks, art shows and historical facts.

The app is designed for those touring and will act as a personal tour guide. It runs in the background and will notify you via push notification or audible sound when you’re close to a location with historical information. No click is required. If you have a headset or bluetooth connected, it can even read the info to you.

Yesterland, an incredible website that profiles discontinued Disneyland attractions, revealed on Thursday it was chosen by Google to provide historical data for Disneyland, Disney California Adventure and the Disneyland Hotel.

Credit: Yesterland.com and Google (Composite image: Hand and phone © Google; Tobacco Shop, Robert Demoss, 1987; Main Street, Werner Weiss, 2007.)

The composite image to the right shows Disneyland’s now defunct Tobacco Shop in front of a more recent view of Main Street. The composite photo is designed to show you the experience of using the Field Trip app while touring Disneyland.

“As Field Trip users walk through the Disneyland Resort, the app will pop up a card when they get near locations of “Yester” landmarks. Each card has one photo, a brief excerpt from the matching Yesterland article, and a link to the full article,” according to Yesterland.com.

The app is currently only available in the Google Play Store, however an iOS version is expected soon. You can sign-up here to be notified when the iOS version becomes available.

I’ll be visiting Walt Disney World this weekend and will be using the Field Trip app. Expect a review next week.


Report: Disney the most engaging brand in social media

In an article posted on Monday, DigiDay named Disney the most engaging brand in social media.

The results come from an analysis done by Track Social, a company that offers social media analytics for smart marketing.

According to the article, Disney had 26.7 million interactions in one year to brand posts.

“The secret to Disney’s success in social media is that it places a tremendous emphasis on pictures that every American can feel nostalgic about. One example would be a photo of Cinderella walking down the master staircase in the palace on the way to meet her prince for the very first time.”

Disney was also listed as the #5 most engaging company on Twitter and #3 on Facebook.

On Twitter, Disney had 3.6 million interactions in the last year.

“Its posts are mainly photos that pull at followers’ heartstrings.”

On Facebook, Disney had just under 24 million interactions in August.

“Its posts consist mainly of pictures that pull at fans’ heart strings. The most popular Disney post in August was an image of Arielle and Eric from “The Little Mermaid,” holding hands in a canoe while Sebastian sings, “Kiss the Girl.” The result: 268,000 likes, 4,400 comments and 25,300 shares.”

Here’s the rest of the top 10 most engaging brands in social media:

#1 Disney
#2 Publix
#3 Bud Light
#4 Fox News
#5 Budweiser
#6 Harley-Davidson
#7  NBC Sports
#8 Huffington Post
#9 CouponCabin
#10 G4 Media

Imagineers reveal new details about Seven Dwarfs coaster during Hangout

During a Google+ Hangout hosted by the Maker Camp education program, Walt Disney Imagineering revealed some new details about the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train Coaster being built in the new Fantasyland.

Maker Camp is a virtual summer camp for teens hosted on Google+. During the Hangout, WDI Industrial Concept Designer Derek Howard talked about how Imagineers tested the new ride vehicles, technology used to design the ride layout and other tests conducted during the development phase.

While it appears some of the segments with Imagineers were pre-recorded, this Hangout is a great example how Disney can reach out to fans and interact. The Disney Parks Blog has used Cover It Live in the past to do live interactive chats, but a Google+ Hangout would be a great new way to show off details about a project (Mine Coaster, New Fantasyland, etc.).

The entire Hangout is posted below. Howard’s discussion about the new Seven Dwarfs Mine Train Coaster starts at 19:30. Most of the drawings and video have been shown previously, however there were a few new artist renderings.

‘Mobile Magic’ app now includes mobile chat with Cast Members

Those still using ‘Mobile Magic‘ can now interact with Cast Members using a mobile chat feature that was added to the app this week.

According to Disney, in version 3.1.7, guests using the app while at Walt Disney World will “have the opportunity to pilot a new mobile chat feature and communicate with a Disney Cast Member daily from 10:00am to 7:00pm ET.”

Disney describes the mobile chat feature as a “pilot program.” I’m assuming if the feature is a success, this will eventually be added to the new My Disney Experience app.

This is type of guest interaction is exactly what I mentioned in a blog post earlier this week when I talked about the success of @DCAToday at Disney California Adventure. It should be interesting to see if this pilot program works and is a success for Disney.

Also this week, Disney updated the My Disney Experience to support the iPhone5, display park hours information up to 90 days out and increased the frequency of wait time updates.

‘My Disney Experience’ app a game changer for Disney

The new My Disney Experience app introduced last month is without a doubt a game changer for Disney.

Similar to the Mobile Magic app that was poorly received primarily because it was not smartphone-friendly, the new app allows guests to check wait times, browse maps, make dining reservations and eventually reserve Fastpass times – all part of the NextGen project.

The app is available on iPhone / iPod Touch, iPad and Android (via Google Play).

Unlike the Mobile Magic app, you can view wait times and Fastpass information when outside the theme park. Also, Disney will have Wi-Fi in all four major theme parks by the end of October, which will make accessing the mobile app much easier when touring the parks.

I have played around with the mobile app some but I’m looking forward to hands-on testing when I visit Orlando for Epcot’s 30th in two weeks. I can’t wait to test the Wi-Fi at the Magic Kingdom and see how often I use the new app to check wait times and Fastpass times.

I’ll post a follow-up review after we celebrate 30 years of Epcot.