Do I need a touring plan? And should I panic about crowds?


#1

Touring plan creation is fun and all, but I have a feeling my daughter is likely to go off the beaten path and spend 20 minutes staring at a fountain or in store windows at some point in time, or take 45 minutes to eat some chicken nuggets, thus throwing the TP to the wind.

While the crowd levels appear average right now for 11/5 - 11/11, from anecdotal evidence (several people I know who visited during Jersey Week last year and the year before) and also looking at the available ADRs and historical crowds from last year (7-9 at several parks), I am terrified to not have a plan, and terrified that we will end up in a sea of people not knowing where to go next. I do NOT have Park Hoppers and so cannot just skip over to another park if the crowds are unmanageable.

Keeping all of that in mind, is it even worth it to have TPs if I am fairly sure that at least some of the day we'll be flying by the seat of our (or my DD's) pants? Are FPPs and ADRs enough to keep the day organized? Can someone talk me off the ledge for my fear that the crowds will be completely unbearable? Help me!


#2

haha no. No need to freak. In the end, it's all about the memories you make and those you are with, not what ride you made it to.

That said, create your plans, because if nothing else, they are a great starting point. A comprehensive plan (read: not filled, but just customized to your touring style) can negate the feeling of a large crowd and/or keep you from feeling "well now what do we do?"

Plans are just that: plans. You can abandon them the moment they don't align with what you're doing or pick and choose what do from it as the day progresses. Millions of people visit the parks without a plan at all and have a great time. So you'll be fine, regardless. By having a plan, though, you're giving yourselves a bit of a head start. And they're never locked in and you can always adjust them as your needs arise.


#3

I agree with @Randall1028. Also, maybe choose just a few must-do highlights for each day? Maybe your three FPs, plus a couple of other things? Your touring plan can be as simple as that. Then you'll have plenty of time to go where your daughter's feet take you.


#4

Great advice from @Randall1028 and @SallyEppcot. I think a plan is very important...and if you all can manage early starts...RD...then you'll be ahead of the game...and the crowds..The plan will give you an outline..but don't panic if you get distracted or wander off plan. Your FPP will ensure you get your must-dos in....then just make sure you and your kiddo are having fun...
Please come back in off the ledge...your time in the world will be amazing...


#5

I had touring plans for each day. On a couple of the days we followed them almost exactly. On the other days I had a few must do's that we did close to the time of the touring plan and then we added and subtracted things as needed. Eg. DD wanted to ride the carousel as soon as she saw it, then when we got off the carousel there was only a 10 min wait for Rapunzel and Tiana so we added that, and I was able to go back to the plan and just drop the carousel later in the morning. Another day we wanted to leave earlier than planned so we bumped up Dumbo and dropped another ride or two, watched the friendship faire on the way out. I found it helpful to have the touring plan to have some direction because when I got in a park it is just so much bigger than anything I've experienced before that for me it was a little overwhelming. If I didn't have a plan I think I would have done a lot of aimless wandering and not managed to do very many things. But it's also pretty easy to add or skip things on the plan as you need.


#6

Even if you "fear" that you won't follow them, make them; they will give you at least a strategy (if not a tactical plan) and will keep you from feeling completely "ungrounded". If at all possible, you should try to stick to a plan at least until lunch.


#7

@onceabird I think you have the right attitude!! I would still make them - but use them as a guide as compared to anything else. Use your WDW Ninja skills to minimize some waiting (pick the better park, hit the big rides early) but I love the fact that you fully acknowledge that your daughter is not bound to a schedule. Be smart, make a plan but be ready to deviate from it.

Even with older kids we still have some "free will" and if we want to ride something again we do or if we don't want to wait - we skip.

So yes - have a plan - but be ready to follow her queues!!

Fortune favors the prepared!!


#8

I would make the plans, but build in a slower walking time, so you're not rushing, but also add in many breaks. If you find you're ahead of the plan, have a list of secondary rides that might be used to fill those gaps. I like to go with my plan and a list of our rides and their hourly times, but with the online real time checking of lines that you can do with TP or on the Disney site, you may not need that extra paperwork.

The plan is essential. Just pad it to enjoy it. That IS your plan. You'll also know that your chances of getting on all the rides is limited, so no one is set up for a meltdown if they don't get that favourite ride. If you don't do the plan, you won't know that.


#9

I'll also say I learned a lot in the process of making the plans. So, even if we do go off plan on our upcoming trip, I think I have more WDW wisdom now to help me make better decisions about where to head and how to manage.


#10

Do not fear! My advice is to make the plans to the best of your ability, set to the slowest walking speed. I would then access them through the lines app while you are at the park and re-optimize them as needed throughout the course of the day. When I did this, we were able to see everything we wanted to see, even if we ventured off course for a while. By re-optimizing in the park, it will rearrange your plan based on actual wait times at that exact time and try and keep you as efficient as possible. You can also check things off as you do them and the app will know exactly where in the park you are to keep you from criss-crossing all over the park.


#11

This app sounds very helpful with these touring plans, I'll have too try it out. Optimising hourly sounds impressive.


#12

I will also say that I was there last year during Jersey Week and early in the week wasn't bad at all. We didn't really feel the crowds until the weekend and even then, I've seen much worse. We managed to get everything we wanted to get done complete and had a great time. The weather couldn't be beat.


#13

I find it useful to have plans in the app, and be able to optimize in park and pick the next attraction from what we have already decided we want to do, with hopefully more accurate wait times than what Disney is showing. So, if we've been playing Sorcerors of the Magic Kingdom over by Pecos Bills and are now ready to move on, I'll optimize on my app and get the next few stops from there. I have never personally spent a whole day stuck to a printed-out plan, I will have a RD plan and when it starts to get crowded always optimize in parks.


#14

If anything, the plans (and researching attractions) gives me good references on where to start. I know that certain attractions (7DMT, Space Mountain, and Splash Mountain) will have long lines while It's a small world and mad tea party will have shorter lines. I know which rides are in which land (Fantasy, Tomorrow, Adventure, etc). So, maybe after 7DMT, I know I can ride Winnie the Pooh even if my TP has already been thrown to the wind. Oh, what's that going on at the central hub? Oh, right. The Move it Shake it Dance Party. I know this because I read about it on TP and knew what times they performed.

The last time I went to Disney, I found out that my son was too short for many of the rides I had on my TP. I just scratched them out and continued with my day. I didn't regret spending my time making a TP. I learned a lot doing it.


#15

It was honestly a lifesaver for us multiple times on our last trip!


#16

WDW has a typical daily attendance upwards of 200,000. I have never understood how if even 3 or 4 thousand people from NJ descended on WDW en masse, would have that much of an effect on crowds.


#17

Absolutely - and everything I read when choosing our days supported that. Having a plan in a park seems to make more of a difference then having a more desirable crowd level.


#18

Personally, I viewed the plan as just that... a plan. A starting point. Chances are that the plan will have you doing the things that have the highest demands earlier ... or with a FastPass later in the day. Don't let the plan control you, you control the plan. The plan can't forsee your family's whims, much like it can't foresee rides closing down due to weather or malfunctions.

Or that day-of-FastPass that suddenly showed up.


#19

You must have some expectations when Visiting WDW? A popular ride, shows, parades ect. Then don't miss out on these. Make a tour plan for your visit. Even if it is only a short plan. (From rope drop to Lunch) Explain to your family that you will be following the plan closely only until noon, after that then try just to wing-it. You wont be sorry that you made a plan.


#20

You will remember the fountain she splashed in and got wet more than any of the rides. Make a list of must do and everything else is icing on the cake.