We are going to WDW the end of April. I am planning our schedule at the different parks. For those of you who have already used the "optimized" touring plans, how accurate are the wait times/daily schedule? I have been looking on the WDW Lines app in the mornings and throughout the day the last few weeks and watching the posted wait line times and they seem to be a lot higher than what is predicted on my optimized plans thru Touringplans.com. Can anyone shed some light on this or tell me your experiences with using the plans?
In my experience the plans have been pretty accurate overall - some gains here and some losses there, but the total time was very close. On one day they were almost spot on, which was pretty spooky.
However, that important thing here is that TPs are just that, plans. There are many things beyond the programmers' control that can totally mess up the wait times - for example, if a popular high-capacity attraction goes off-line, then all those people are going to overwhelm other attractions and the wait time predictions are hosed. However, since on the day the TP wait time projections are updated based on real-time conditions, when things are starting to go off-track you can re-optimize and get a more accurate plan for the rest of the day.
If the crowd levels are accurate, the wait times are pretty amazingly on point. The software will also outsmart conventional wisdom at times - again, if the crowd level predictions are accurate. I'll agree with brklink in saying that they can be spooky at times, but in a good way.
I was at MK last Friday and the TP times missed the mark. The park was a lot more crowded than TP predicted so the wait times were longer. Use TP to make a good plan but then stay flexible and be ready to make to make adjustments once you're there. We still had a fantastic day even though the crowd level was up to 8 or even 9 we hardly noticed and didn't really stand in any long lines thanks to TP and good use of fast passes.
Thank you all for your info and input. We will go into it with flexibility, but I am hoping to be spooked by the accuracy!!!
Overall, as others have said, if the CL has been correctly predicted, the touring plan estimate should come pretty close. I found that most of my touring plans were off consistently from 5-20 minutes depending on the ride, but this seems to be because of under-predicting the crowds.
I was there March 16-22. March 11-March 18 saw this board explode with complaints about enormous crowds - which is something I have to say I kind of expected. We just moved to Iowa, and most of the state of Iowa was on spring break that week, if not much of the rest of the upper Midwest,too, and I'm not sure if that was accounted for in the CL predictions. Luckily we just caught the tail end of that week before most of those crowds went back home while we remained for a few more days.
Some other thoughts:
There were definite rides that I KNEW the plan was undervaluing the wait due to checking into the Lines app at the same time the week before. I've mentioned several times before that Dinosaur was supposed to be a 6 min wait at 10 am on a Saturday with EMH in AK, but it was more like 30.
Test Track was supposed to be a 37 min wait and it wound up being 85.
Astro Orbiter / Magic Carpets were supposed to be around 15 minute waits and were more in the 25-30 min vicinity.
The child swap option doesn't add near enough time into the plan for the extra wait for the second person going back through.
Overall the software is fantastic, it's a huge help, and there were many occasions when the predictions were dead on, but planning in random 30 minute breaks every 3 hours might be a good strategy cause we always found we were inevitably about that far behind.
On a similar thread, how often do the crowd levels get reevaluated? We're going the week after Easter which is still being estimated at 6s and 7s. But I've been expecting 9's since I bought the tickets. Oddly enough, when I logged into TP the first time, in January I think, the CLs were 8s and 9s and then got revised down several weeks later.
I think it depends on East Coast spring breaks (maybe other parts of the country too, I can only speak to where I've lived). Since moving to the Midwest, I haven't kept up with when East Coast spring break is this year, but it's always tied to Easter, either the week before or the week after. CLs will no doubt be greatly affected by when this occurs.
This might play into why the March CL projections were off - sometimes when Easter is earlier the East Coast spring break lines up with the Midwest spring break. But this year, Easter is so late - the Midwest spring break remained in March, but the East Coast spring break is weeks later.
Yes, we're coming from NC and that is our spring break week, after Easter.
I would expect huge crowds, then!
I definitely am expecting a crushing sea of humanity. I was just surprised that TP is not. (At the moment anyway - plenty of time for that to change.)
I felt the same surprise in preparation for my trip - and they never made any adjustments. You'll still have a great trip if you RD, take advantage of getting as much done in the morning as you can, make smart FPP choices, pick up more FPPs in the park as you go, save afternoons for shows/parades/playgrounds that can handle crowds, and pack your patience! Also try to eat lunch between 11-12 or between 1-2 - that made a huge difference in saving time while we were there.
I had mixed results last week. Several times, the line for FastPasses was as long as the estimated stand by line. Also, it underestimated quite frequently how long we'd spend at an attraction. For example, even with minimal wait to get into Test Track, we still spent an hour exploring.
It's an estimate, and your mileage will vary.
We opted not to do TT last year but I have it in our plans to try this year. What were you exploring for that long? I haven't noticed anyone else indicate to leave extra time to explore there so I am wondering if whatever caught your interest is likely to catch my family's. If so, I need to add some time. Thanks
Our experience last summer was that over the course of the day it was impressively accurate even though the CL ended up higher than projected. It would sometimes be right on, other times a few minutes ahead or behind, but never so off track that the plan wouldn't work. We did make some changes, but always because we wanted to or a storm came through, not ever because the plan wasn't working otherwise. I also set our walking pace slower than I knew we could walk if we needed to which gave us a slight cushion with every step if we needed it. I think that helped, but really their wait times were pretty good and I was very skeptical going in. We found the TP projected wait times were almost always more accurate than the posted wait times were in the park. And I did not optimize in the park. I printed and went with the plans we had in advance.