It took me a few days longer than most to jump on the PokeWagon, but I must admit that the game is fun. I’m mostly fascinated by how quickly the game exploded all over social media and how popular it has become in such a short period of time, with such a very wide demographic of players.
If you have no idea what Pokemon Go is, there is a great article on MousePlanet by Disney blogger Katie Metzger for how to get started, and the basics of gameplay.
The augmented reality concept is really interesting, combining real world locations and experiences with a virtual mobile app. The possibilities for this kind of technology is exciting. After I started learning about how the game worked, I was already brainstorming other applications. Can you imagine how much fun it would be to find virtual Hidden Mickeys in the parks? A new mobile device add-on to the Sorcerer’s of Magic Kingdom game? Virtual interaction for rides and attractions right on your phone?
Things like this are already starting to happen at Walt Disney World with MagicBand technology, with interactive goodies popping up in rides like Haunted Mansion and Small World. I hope that Disney is paying attention and taking notes. This augmented reality cellphone thing could be huge.
With every new fad comes some good and some bad. I’ve heard a number of great stories about kids getting outside with their parents to take long walks … to catch Pokemon! Families getting outside and interacting with each other and with nature is a great thing, even if it takes a new craze mobile video game to make that happen. Just a spoonful of sugar!
Unfortunately there are a lot of reports of Pokemon Go players exhibiting really inconsiderate and rude behavior, and also dangerous things happening to Pokemon Go players. I have seen news reports of people playing in places where it’s just not appropriate, such as the Holocaust Museum and Arlington National Cemetary. There are reports of trespassing, robberies, people getting mugged or stabbed, folks playing while driving and crashing their cars, people walking out into traffic, falling off cliffs … I am not making this stuff up.
Despite these alarming news reports, you can play Pokemon Go safely, and have a great time. Doing so just requires a bit of caution and common sense.
So let’s talk about playing Pokemon Go while you’re on vacation at a Disney resort or park. First and foremost, remember why you’re at Disney, and how much money you spent to get there. You are there to create amazing vacation memories with your family or friends. Think of Pokemon Go as an add-on to your vacation, not the main event. Pokemon Go can be a great diversion for times when parks are busy and attraction lines are long. When you’ve spent several days in the parks from open to close and you need to slow down a bit, Pokemon Go can be a nice excuse to take a walk around your resort or Disney Springs.
When you pull out your phone to play, here are some tips on playing the game with courtesy and respect for other Disney guests.
- Pay attention to where you’re going. Disney parks are often crowded, and if you’re staring at your phone while you walk, you’re going to run into things.
- Be mindful of who is around you, and be courteous to other guests. If you need to pause at a PokeStop or to catch a Pokemon, take a quick glance around you and step to the side. Two or three steps out of other guests’ way isn’t likely going to cost you a catch.
- If there is a guest who is standing right where your potential Pokemon is, wait until the guest has moved on. Don’t stand there in front of a total stranger and hold your phone up in front of them. It’s rude at best, and at worst makes you look like a freaky stalker who is taking their picture without their consent.
- Don’t catch Pokemon while you’re on a ride or in one of the many shows at Disney. This is incredibly distracting to other guests who are trying to enjoy the experience of the ride or show.
- During a live event such as a parade or fireworks show, don’t walk in front of people who are trying to watch the show.
- Don’t cut in front of people in line for an attraction or get in the way of guests taking photos.
- Don’t trespass. If there is an area of the park that guests are not allowed to go, don’t go there.
- If you are Poke Hunting around your resort late at night, be safe and go in pairs. Keep the noise down outside of other guest rooms as well.
Playing at Disney Springs
Are you an Orlando area resident and don’t want to head to the parks? There are gobs of PokeStops and Pokemon reported at Disney Springs! Check out this video by Orlando Sentinel for the scoop!
One last suggestion: External battery packs for your phone. This is a must-have for any vacation, but absolutely essential when you’re playing a battery-sucking game like Pokemon Go. You can pick up inexpensive battery packs on Amazon for under $10.00. Watch sales ads at Target or Wal-Mart as well. On the bright side, developers and cellular providers are reporting that the game is not eating up your data. Players only use on average between 2MB to 8MB of data per hour playing Pokemon Go.
Be safe, be smart, and go forth to catch Pokemon!