Booking FPP... early in the day, or when they have the biggest payoff?

I think my point is that the second part is the driving theory. If the TP said to put up if FPs first, that is where they would go. It is always driven by the personalized touring plan and where they will save you the most time for that plan.

Yes, but is that plan giving you the best advice in regards to FPP allotment? None of the following is (imho) a condemnation of TP, I love TP (I’m here, aren’t I?), but there are things the software can do, and things that it cannot. The plan is great at optimizing a schedule based on geography (walking) and predicted wait times sourced from comprehensive historical data.

But how is it arriving at it’s FPP suggestions? Unless I completely misunderstand how it works, what is happening in the background is that the software is optimizing a touring plan. Period. That touring plan is being arrived at divorced from whether you are or aren’t going to use FPP. Then, if you’ve told the software that you are using FPP (and how many), it will make suggestions based on: a) which attractions utilize FPP; and b) which of those that do will save you the most time (and this is key) within the framework of the already generated touring plan, that was generated unaffected by whether you do or do not even have FPPs.

This is useful, but it is NOT the same as it telling you how to tour with FPP, where the potentiality of any and all permutations of using FPP is accounted for in the Optimizing routine. And even more so, what to book and when, when the further opportunity costs are factored in for additional FPP after the first 3 are burned. NONE of that, as far as I know, is within the powers of this software.

And this is where we, the human users, come in. Understanding what the software can and can’t do, it’s strengths AND it’s limitations, is key to squeezing the most time savings out. Since the software doesn’t go that extra level or two into things, we can compensate by factoring that in. My thinking is that, if a FPP at 1pm is great, then a FPP at 10am AND 1pm is even better, so I get my first 3 used up asap so that I can get that 4th at 1pm, and 5th at 2pm, etc.

Can I ask, are you suggesting that it would always be best to use a FP at 9:00 at every park? In AK? I am running my TPs through my mind and I am trying to see how your theory would or would not align (HS- I schedule FPs for when I arrive- AK never in the morning).

[quote=“PrincipalTinker, post:9, topic:20945, full:true”]
In AK? I am running my TPs through my mind and I am trying to see how your theory would or would not align (HS- I schedule FPs for when I arrive- AK never in the morning).
[/quote]I’d have to think on that. I’m not sure how much it matters for the other parks. AK and HS are already half-day parks so you’re probably getting through those FPP quickly theory or no theory (j/k… kind of), and don’t have the crowds of MK or the sheer # of FPP attractions, so it’s not nearly as critical to “maximize” your FPP benefit.

Likewise for Epcot, by the time you’re ready for WS (and to eat!), you’re probably done with FPP anyway… if you’ve even needed to use all 3. Even if you’ve used all 3 by noon, #4s for TT and Soarin are not happening, so it doesn’t matter much anymore. Personally, I’m not rushing to get to #4, #5, #6 FPP so I can do Figment over and over again.

So it’s MK where it really matters.

[quote=“PrincipalTinker, post:9, topic:20945, full:true”]
Can I ask, are you suggesting that it would always be best to use a FP at 9:00 at every park? [/quote]
I can’t imagine it would ever be beneficial to burn your first FPP right at 9am (not including EMH). Nothing is rammed right from the starting gun, excepting possibly A&E. But by 9:59am? I’ve said this earlier, but to repeat: anyone who thinks there’s no FPP-worthy lines at 9:59am needs to acquaint themselves with SDMT, A&E, and Peter Pan. You know that scene in Spaceballs where the pedometer goes from lightspeed to “ludicrous speed”? That’s what happens to SDMT by 9:59am.

Lol, I think this is what makes this place so wonderful! I would never, ever waste any FPs at EP and I would never go to HS without a RnR, ToT and ST FP (be it a 9-12 visit or a 5-10).

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First of all, a clarification. As @PrincipalTinker pointed out, I am not against using FPPs early in the day, if that is where you get the best benefit from them. However, I do not think that the best overall strategy is to use them early.

You make a very good point here, and one that I have been thinking about for some time now. The Optimizer does not truely figure out where the best FPP opportunities are for you. For example, after optimizing it may have 7DMT at 10:00 with a 40 minute wait and suggest that it would be good to get an FPP. However, the best plan taking everything into consideration may be riding 7DMT at 3:30 using an FPP - Just because 10:00 was the best time for riding 7DMT without an FPP does not mean that it is the best time to use an FPP for it. However, I think that it would take a lot of programming effort (and a lot of processing time for each plan) in order to find the “perfect” plan, and I do not believe that there would be a huge wait time time savings in doing this.

This is one of the reasons I came up with my iterative method for making FPP selections using the Optimizer. As you go through it attractions keep moving around and you keep adjusting your FPP times, and I think that you get to a result that, although probably not perfect, is pretty close to it. Given all the things that can go wrong with a plan on the day (temporary ride closures, weather, crowd fluctuations), I would think that we are probably well within the margin for error anyway.

One of the best things about the TP software is that it allows us to test out different theories on planning and FPP selection and see what the results are. Make a plan and use the Optimizer to help you select FPPs. Make a copy of it and then use the “early FPP” theory to make your selections and then Evaluate it to see how it works. Combine ideas from the two methods and Evaluate. Etc., etc., etc. The Optimizer is great for what it is designed to do, but the Evaluate function is where the real value is for the experienced Liner. :slight_smile:

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Our trip in early December was our first using FP+ and I often got fastpasses relatively early in the day with the intent to get extras. As it turned out, some of the worst lines we saw were often for the FP+ kiosks to get extras (or try). And given we had no idea if any FP’s were available for a ride we wanted, we didn’t bother to wait in those lines and instead waited in a ride line which we knew had a positive payoff.

As a result, my strategy going forward would be to just schedule the 3 FP’s for the optimal times to use them and not burn them early in the day. I’d probably shoot for 11AM and 1-2-3PM time slots (presuming you need time for lunch in there). Figuring those are near peak times, but also early enough that scheduling a 4th is possible if FP+ kiosks are available.

If they ever allow booking extra FP+ via the My Disney Experience App, that strategy would likely change, but the FP+ kiosks availability are a huge issue to getting extra FP+ passes today and shouldn’t be overlooked in the discussion…

[quote=“brklinck, post:12, topic:20945”]
First of all, a clarification. As @PrincipalTinker pointed out, I am not against using FPPs early in the day, if that is where you get the best benefit from them. However, I do not think that the best overall strategy is to use them early.
[/quote]Right… in a nutshell, what your position is, is that you are not “for” using FPP late just for the sake of using them late (or conversely against using them early just for the sake of it), and in certain rare instances may even use them early. Rather, you advocate using the software, and that the software usually leads to late use, or where the “greatest benefit is gained.” Hopefully, you can appreciate that at the end of the day, the two effectively work out to the same thing. You may have arrived at the end result through your own particular rationale, but in realistic working terms I’m not sure that the distinction matters.

[quote=“brklinck, post:12, topic:20945”]
I think that it would take a lot of programming effort (and a lot of processing time for each plan) in order to find the “perfect” plan[/quote]Probably.

[quote=“brklinck, post:12, topic:20945”]
I do not believe that there would be a huge wait time time savings in doing this.
[/quote]On this, I strenuously disagree. Under certain circumstances, I think there could be enormous time savings.

[quote=“brklinck, post:12, topic:20945”]
Make a plan and use the Optimizer to help you select FPPs. Make a copy of it and then use the “early FPP” theory to make your selections and then Evaluate it to see how it works. Combine ideas from the two methods and Evaluate. Etc., etc., etc. The Optimizer is great for what it is designed to do, but the Evaluate function is where the real value is for the experienced Liner.
[/quote]And here is where we get to it. The following are two plans for identical activities:

Plan A using FPP early… https://touringplans.com/plans/1796037

Plan B letting software be your guide… https://touringplans.com/plans/1796894

Now, comparing the two, you immediately see that your “iterative method” Plan B beats the “use FPP early” Plan A handily. Less waits, more free time. Heck, it even gets you done supper and gets you home earlier. But is it really? Let me illustrate with an experience from 2015.

On our first of two full MK days, during our 2015 April WDW trip, we used the Early FPP theory. As the day went on we realized that we were running more and more ahead of the plan. By early afternoon, we were a good 45 min to an hour ahead of the plan. Now, this had nothing to do with my early FPP use strategy… rather, it was the result of the TP being more effective and efficient than it gave itself credit for. But by using our FPP asap, we now had the ability to utilize that 45-60 minute window, in a way that would not have been possible if we’d used your method. We got out of whatever attraction we’d just done and, as she had gotten into the habit of doing, DW asked “what next?” I explained the situation, and offered some options… take a break and just walk around, do some shopping, plug in some extra rides… that kind of thing. DD7 immediately says “more rides.” I ask them, do we do some repeats, get a head start on some attractions from the day 2 TP… they start giving me the wish list. “Pooh” says DW, "Little Mermaid (meaning Under the Sea) says DD7… and they both want to re-ride Tea Party. So with about an hour or just under window, we’ve got some ideas, but Pooh at this point is about a 45 minute wait, Under the sea is @ 30 minutes, and Tea Party is… I have no recollection, but probably pretty long. No problem! Since we’d burned all 3 of our starting FPP allotment, we simply went to the kiosk and hooked up Pooh. Rode it, and hooked up Under the Sea. Rode it. And STILL got in Tea Party, before we had to merge back up with the TP. If we had been using a FPP plan as determined by the system, and had not been able to draw on FPP #4 and #5, at most we would have gotten one of those attractions into that window.

So back to your point. How do you Optimize or Evaluate that? How do you make the software “Evaluate” running 45 ahead of what the TP itself thinks is going to happen? I could plug in those 3 additional rides (Pooh, Under the Sea, Tea Party) and hit evaluate… but what if Pooh had not been available for our window, and we’d had to adlib with Peter Pan, or Pirates instead? How can the software account for that? With all that in mind and reflecting back on the two plans above (Plan A and Plan B), how does the 26 minutes of “In Line” savings from Plan B look now? That 26 minute advantage doesn’t look so good when a situation like the anecdote described above arises, and those extra FPPs that Plan A gives you the freedom to capitalize on start saving at least that much time, and multiple times within the same day… and start manifesting not just into time saved, but full-on additional rides enjoyed.

Even if you dismissed my wall of text above as unconvincing anecdotal evidence, take a look at Plan A and see why it loses to your Plan B. By far, the biggest factor is that 46 wait for Splash. With that wait alone, if you could get a #4 FPP to wipe it out, Plan A beats Plan B. And it just so happens… as I write this sentence, the time is currently 11:30am, and the lines APP says that the next available FPP for Splash is 3:50pm… aligning almost perfectly with a) the time Plan A would be finishing FPP #3; and b) the time Plan A would be looking to book Splash for a hypothetical FPP #4. And if that alone put Plan A over Plan B, then what would a 5th FPP for Magic Carpets do? Or a 6th, 7th, and 8th FPP during the window you’ve now created for attractions that aren’t even on the TP? How exactly is a plan, like Plan B, arranged as per the software’s suggestions, going to compete with that?

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[quote=“Damavs, post:13, topic:20945”]
As it turned out, some of the worst lines we saw were often for the FP+ kiosks to get extras (or try).
[/quote]I’ve seen brutal kiosk line reports before. I’m sure you tell it 100% true, but I must say that I don’t believe that this is the norm. It’s funny… I look at the early December crowd calendar, and I see really low crowd levels. The most common crowd level is a 2, and nothing higher than a 6, which only happens once. There’s even one 1 level. 1!!! I’m jealous… I’ve never been to MK with anything lower than 4, and I can honestly say that I’ve never seen a kiosk line that I could describe as anything worse than “moderate.” Even if I stipulated that the kiosk lines were equal to the line of the ride I was shooting for, the kiosk line has one huge advantage over any attraction line: my family can ride something else, or shop, or grab a dole whip, while I’m in the kiosk line. In an attraction line, you’re stuck. So, even if that kiosk line was exactly proportionate to the ride line, but my family has been riding the Carousel (or whatever) while I’ve been kiosking for Jungle Cruise, they get two rides in the time they would have gotten just one had we simply accepted the standby JC line.

Since you didn’t queue up, you’ll never know. Available FPP at the kiosks is like a box of chocolates, it’s true. But given those crowd levels… to use today as an example, a crowd 5 day (which is worse than almost any early December day), at the time you would be burning your #3 FPP using the ASAP method, you’d have the pick of the park for #4. SDMT, Peter Pan, A&E were gone, and I think Buzz too. And Splash’s next window was pushed back a few hours, but everything else was available immediately or close too it (even Space Mountain). If that’s true at crowd level 5, then I can only assume it would be at least as true at crowd level 2. Granted, it may not be better, since I believe that WDW’s rationing of FPPs adjusts based on crowd level, but it’s certainly not going to be worse.

I thought it was rather odd that the FP+ kiosk lines were so bad because as you note early December is not a busy time of the year. It sounds like the kiosks change quite a bit (location most notably) so it’s possible we were there at a time when fewer than the norm were set up and operational.

The one time we did get a 4th FP at MK we got PotC for around 3PM - none of the mountains were available and that was on a crowd level 2 or 3 day (which was forecast at a 1 and got bumped up). We certainly did NOT have pick of the park though.

While it would make sense that FP+ availability would correlate with crowd levels, do we actually know that’s the case? Or is it possible DIS bumps up FP+ numbers on crowded days while keeping them artificially down on lower crowd days? Looks like in an edit you believe DIS does adjust FP+ based on crowd levels so that may explain our somewhat lackluster choices for a 4th.

Now walking on PotC with a FP+ was great and I’d always recommend using FP if you can get one, but I just wouldn’t count on easily getting a 4th FP+ as those kiosk lines were daunting when we were there.

The mountains are a funny business. I’ve been there on level 4-5-6s where Splash was available all day. Others where it’s wiped out, but Space is readily available. Or neither. Or both. But always, there was a good selection if you used your 3rd FPP as early as possible (i.e. 11am). This is not going to help if you’re the type who wants to rock nothing but SDMT and the mountains all day long. If it’s me, and the kiosk tells me I can have Pooh, Under the Sea, Haunted Mansion, JC, PotC, some or all of the Meets excluding A&E, and others… that may not be literally the pick of the park, but it feels pretty close. I can’t picture getting to a kiosk at 11:20am and seeing nothing but Small World.

Don’t worry, I’m not ignoring you - I had surgery to correct a deviated septum, and the resultant sinus pressure has limited my desire to read and think too hard. I will get back to this thread once I am feeling a little better. :smile:

“If they ever allow booking extra FP+ via the My Disney Experience App, that strategy would likely change, but the FP+ kiosks availability are a huge issue to getting extra FP+ passes today and shouldn’t be overlooked in the discussion…”

Wait what? You can’t do that? This was how I was planning on avoiding those long kiosk lines after we get through our first 3. Pull out my phone and get new fastpasses on the My Disney App. Why can’t we do this?

Disney won’t let you. You must go to a kiosk to book them, one at a time. You can then adjust it on your phone, but that’s it. Maybe one day they will give us that option, but until then we are stuck with the kiosks.

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I hope you are feeling better soon!

You can book your first 3 via the app & juggle those 3 day of - cancel one & replace it with something better, but you can’t book a 4th/5th/etc. via the App.

Kinda’ sucks. I had planned on lots of extra Fast Passes, but found the kiosk wait onerous enough that we seldom bothered with extras. We did juggle some during the day and at Epcot meeting someone who bought tix day of we booked our first 3 that day via the App and that worked well.

Did you find the waits at all the kiosk locations equally brutal?

Well we didn’t wait most times, so it’s tough to say. But we passed by many where it was 20 deep or so, not too many terminals going and the line not seeming to move. We were able to walk up to one at MK on a relatively light day (2 or 3 crowd calendar) without issue though mid-afternoon so not all are a zoo. The Epcot ones seemed to be the worst from what I remember. Could have just been bad timing when we went by though…

From listening to podcasts like WDWToday it sounds like the kiosks change locations quite a bit as things evolve so it wouldn’t surprise me if going today the kiosk experience was radically different than what we saw in early December.

Thanks for the info, I had no idea! What a silly policy.

Is there information about when WDW will begin allowing you to make your 4th + FPPs on your phone using MDE?

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