Issue 005: Disneyland
Welcome to the 5th issue of my newsletter! It's great to have you.
If you're interested in the first four, here are the links:
The week before last, I took my girlfriend to Disneyland park in Los Angeles for 3 days. We went to get out of the Bay Area, to have some good wholesome fun, and take a trip before she started her new job.
We hit all the major rides across Disneyland proper and California Adventure, had some nice relaxing meals, and specifically went on the Matterhorn five times because we enjoyed it so much.
Throughout the trip, I took the opportunity to observe the ways we were utilizing technology to help us out, including things like the Disneyland app, both our Apple Watches, or shooting videos to create memories.
Here are some of my observations and reflections, with the typical technology twist:
- All three days we walked 10 miles, burned about 1.2K+ kcal of active energy, and tripled our exercise goals on Apple Watch. I bought good walking shoes just before this trip, used some foot lotion and then foot powder the next morning when one of them was feeling raw, and we took the train one day just to sit and relax.
- FastPass is critical to having a good time and not spending the entire day in line. You have to be checked into the park, so get there early and immediately pick a destination from the app. Then, once you’ve selected it, they tell you the time when you can choose another – for every one of these, we used Siri to set an alarm and then immediately chose another when it went off. This worked very, very well – we never waited more than 30 minutes.
- California Adventure is fun, but it can be done in one day – just remember the rides close at 8pm before the show, unlike Disney at 9pm. You can buy drinks and walk around there, which is great. The last day we went on Roger Rabbit’s Wild Ride after no more than two drinks (hi dad!) and boy did that make it more fun.
- I kept my devices in Do Not Disturb and Low Power Mode all day long. DND because there’s almost no reason to be on your phone at Disneyland, and Low Power Mode because the only reasons I had were staying in contact and shooting video – everything else can stay inactive.
- Speaking of videos, I shot too many of those, but for a purpose. I am obsessed with the Photos app’s Memories feature and shooting video specifically for the machine learning-enchanted edit the phone does with my footage.
I first discovered this shooting some test videos last summer, where Photos perfectly captured a day trip at Alcatraz in an entire instant edited video – something that’d take me hours to make on my own. I have footage from all three day and have it saved into the short, medium, and long versions of each – I’m making a YouTube video on the results soon.
- If you’re using an Apple Watch, it’s probably smart to turn it on Theater Mode when you’re on a ride – I noticed often I’d be gripping the bar in front of me and turning my wrist so the screen lights up. This is distracting as you’re doing loop-de-loops on a rollercoaster, and also fairly rude in the dark of Pirates of the Caribbean.
- Plus, if you’re a dude and own a Xs Max that you keep in your pocket, take it out for every ride. I noticed that many bars coming down press right on the spot where my phone rests, and I was also often worried the angles would make it slide out when I least expected it.
- I wanted to do an Apple Watch workout on all of the big Disney rides, but for the first two days I chose to not be a chore to my girlfriend – we were there to enjoy it after all. And when I went to capture them on the last day, I almost always forgot – I’d be ready to activate it, then hop in the ride and it’d promptly slip my mind. Then again I was having lots of fun, so I guess it worked out okay.
Overall, that last sentiment I something I kept with me – at least this time, trying to build a bunch of shortcuts and optimize our days wasn’t worth the limited time we had, or the distraction it’d present.
I can build some that will be useful next time I go to Disneyland and for others to use, but you can optimize something before you’re tried it once, and you shouldn’t bear costs to automate for the sake of automation.
That being said, I’ll totally go back when the Star Wars extension rolls out.
Since it’s late Sunday, I’ll add my recent links to next week’s newsletter, and that one really cool quote tweet that I don’t think I’ve fully processed as having happened to me.
I just finished up a 5,000 word piece coming soon, and I’ve been holed up building some new production routines.
I’m scheduling these newsletters to go out Sunday mornings in the future – they’ll arrive in your inbox when you’ll hopefully have some time to play around with the Shortcuts app, and maybe build a shortcut to use for the next week.
For this week, I have a challenge: use the Show Result action to make your own custom shortcut, and add it to Siri.
When you speak your phrase to Siri, she’ll speak back whatever you put in that text field – it’s great for pranks.
And if you’ve never even downloaded the Shortcuts app yet, click the link below and get it from the App Store already, dangit!