Monday, 29 November 2010

Gowalla and Enhancing the Disney Experience

Gowalla's eye-popping logo
Gowalla has been popping up all over in my Google News alerts recently, as the Disney parks have paired up with the location based social network app for smart phones. Disney officially submitted "spots" to Gowalla, meaning when you're at either Disneyland or Walt Disney World, you can "check in" to whatever ride, restaurant, parade or show you're at, and an official digital badge will be yours on your Gowalla account. Through Gowalla, you can announce where you are via Twitter, or through Facebook's new places app, which syncs to Gowalla. There are certain "trips" you can complete on Gowalla, like the "Season's Greetings" trip at Disneyland, which includes the Holiday fireworks show and "it's a small world holiday."

On my recent trip, I checked in as often as I possibly could, completed every "trip" and used the Disney/Gowalla integration to its full potential. I thought it was great how the different rides had their own specific badges that I could collect on my trip.

It was also very fun letting my Twitter followers know exactly what I was doing during my trip at Disneyland, though some may have thought the constant updating was a little much. Overall, it was a great way to integrate my trip with my social media outlets.

The location-based badges from Disney
At each destination, Disney has supplied descriptions with the badges, so you read up on each ride when you're there. Also, if you have a lot of friends on Gowalla, you can see what they're doing at the parks if they're there at the same time.

I had a great time accomplishing all the trips Disney provided, like "Thrill Seekers Unite," for the more intense rides like "Indiana Jones" and "Space Mountain" and the "Entertainment Park Hopper" which included different entertainment options in both parks. With each trip I completed, I received a specific badge for that trip.

Another great aspect of the Disney/Gowalla integration is that I can look back on my trip and have it completely documented. Gowalla lets me view my history, and since I so thoroughly documented my trip with the app, I can look back and see what Idid within every hour of everyday. There are also user-submitted pictures at each destination, so I can take a look at those to refresh my memory.

Overall, I thought it was great that Disney is taking advantage of social networking, and in turn giving their smart-phone clad guests a special thing to do in the parks. Using the Gowalla app enhanced my trip, connecting me closer to the parks by offering me an official way to document my trip.


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