OK so what is everyone’s strategy? I want to start by saying I love, love, LOVE TP…the best planning tool I’ve ever come across for our trips. But that being said…what is everyone’s strategy?!
Over the past few years I’ve tried to pick what park each day based on TPs crowd predictions (which I still don’t know what sorcery can predict it lol), but sometimes it stresses me out MORE b/c that doesn’t fit with dining or FP availability etc…or certain dessert party schedules or just whatever. Feeling like I have to fit my plan to that. And more often than not, closer to, I get the dreaded “crowd level update” emails lol.
What do you do? Plan each park day as you want and work with a good TP regardless of the CL? Or select your park BASED on TP predictions for CLs?
I picked with an eye on lower crowd levels–my schedule has us at a park with a crowd level lower than the overall crowds almost every day of our trip. That does mean we are missing out on some things like EMHs, MK on non-event days, etc, but I’m okay with that.
Secondarily, I put AK and HS days a little later in our trip to help with FPP availability.
I don’t used TP crowd calendar. Well, I tried, but found it wasn’t as accurate as Undercover Tourist.
But when I plan, regardless, I use the crowd calendar as a starting point. There are many variables, but in the very least I try to pick the days at each park with the lowest numbers for each park. (This is where I love the UT crowd calendar…makes this so much easier to use.) And then when there isn’t much of a difference, I can use that to shuffle things around based on what I want to do, such as Fireworks, etc.
Thanks for the tip to look at the UT calendar @ryan1! I hadn’t seen that one yet but I like it.
So I think I may just plan with what works for us with the crowd predictions as a loose guideline. It’s looking like even with dining I can move my first HS day later in the trip to help with FP availability!
I don’t use the crowd calendar at all. I check for EMH and decide if I want to use them or not, and then I assign my days more or less randomly.
We don’t worry about crowd calendar either. If you rope drop and have a good FP strategy, you’ll be fine.
First full day is always MK for us.
On our most recent trip, we did arrival night at Epcot so I picked another day with EMH until 11pm for Epcot’s 2nd day mid-week. Thinking it might also be a “take a midday break day”. didn’t work out that way exactly.
I look at crowd levels and all else being equal I pick the lowest crowd level. However, usually I have several other things that I am considering. I try to get a few morning EMH days but also a few days without so that we can start a bit later. This year I wanted to try evening EMH at MK so we chose that for our last day. I also consider how many days we want in each park and how to combine that with where we want to eat. In the end crowd levels are only a minor consideration.
I didn’t go by crowd levels on our trip two weeks ago. With early morning planning and modifying existing fast passes once in the park, we found ourselves at MK on a level 9 day. Yet, we never waited more than 15 minutes tops for any ride or attraction that day.
Happy for you that you are planning another trip!!
I do not really use the crowd calendars much anymore once I pick a week. It is too hard to factor in once I consider general guidelines like below. Plus different crowd calendars can suggest different days. I react to crowd updates by cursing if it goes up and disbelief if it goes down.
We will put AK and HS on the last half of the trip for FP for FOP and SDD. We avoid MK on Mondays. We take our resort or water park day on a Saturday to avoid crowds. We are certainly not adverse to using EMH AM especially if the season is hot. We get a lot done in that hour to make up for increased crowds.
I made a logic puzzle type game and gave it to my teen and told him to figure it out–LOL. The 21 requirements were things like no RD the morning after late night, AK at least once past day 4, 2 days at E with 1 RD and 1 late start, 1 resort afternoon, F!, HEA, last day RD to close at MK, etc. I gave him lists of EMH and park hours as well as CL predictions and let him make a schedule. He came up with only 3 permutations and now I’m working on picking the best of the three options. It’s tricky!
I just compared with Undercover Tourist. Only two out of ten park days agree with Touring Plans. Kenny the Pirate, 8 out of ten agree with Touring plans. Regardless, it sounds as if which park which day is not as important as rope drop and touring plan.
This is what I was thinking, that having a good plan and fastpass strategy is more important than crowd level!
So you find the UT crowd calendar to be more accurate? I just looked at my days and printed it, very easy to use too.
I found it more accurate on the trip I took recently, definitely. Historically, though, I have used UT and been quite happy with it. I can’t compare it to TP other than that, and in understanding how TP ranks crowds.
Ranking individual ride wait times is good for planning what rides to hit when, but not necessarily as accurate in judging overall crowds by looking at Park attendence as a whole.
I “look at” CLs, but they are not a major decision factor. I don’t think the difference between a 3 and 5 or a 6 and an 8 is really all that important. A 2 and a 9 may be a different story, but rarely will you see that kind of spread between parks on any given day. EMH is a bigger factor for me. I always stay on site, and I almost always go for parks with AM EMH. There are very few “must have” ADRs for me, so I plan my days and make my ADRs based on what’s available; same for FPPs (however my next trip will be a few weeks after the anticipated opening of SWGE, so my strategy may change).
This is definitely the most difficult part of planning for me. Especially bc we love being able to walk to the park, so we’re doing split stay, BLT, and BCV. So MK, has to be on the beginning and Ep, HS during BCV stay. I use TP and KTP for crowd calender. It keeps jumping around, so I’m just hoping for the best.
Love this! I made a grid and squares of different park and dining must-dos. We have too many squares and not enough spaces. My family is in different places so I took pictures, sent them out and said pick 2 things to drop.
This is more or less the approach I’ve started to take. For our 2016 trip and a little bit for our 2017 trip, I was obsessed with looking at TP predicted CLs and planning our days according to the lowest one each day and it just didn’t work with some of our plans and ended up stressing more than necessary.
I’ve looked at the UT crowd calendar in addition to the one here on TP but ultimately just planned what we wanted to do when. As everyone here says, utilizing FP and EMH along with having good TPs are more important than the CL, but thankfully none of our days look to be over a 5 or 6 according to TP, and some 3-4. I just LOOOOOVE not being elbow to elbow with people in the parks, lol. In fact, just today I got an email from TP about the crowd tracking update, all of our days predictions decreased in CLs!