Help for using the Touringplans application

I do not understand how the TouringPlan application works. I picked 1 day at DCA to work with.

Prior to using the application I selected the attractions I am interested in and I prioritized them.
My list included RSR as priority 1, Toy Story Mania as priority 2, Soaring as priority 3 and then a repeat later in the day for RSR and Toy Story.
I entered the attractions in my priority order. I also entered Fastpass booth steps as applicable for those attractions that have FP.
I added a 3 h lunch break outside the park 1pm to 4pm. I check the box for “FP runner” and I optimized the plan.

The optimization:

  • scheduled Soaring, then Monsters, followed by RSR
  • removed all entries for FP booth except one for Toy Story, with a comment stating: “using a FP runner - remaining party skips this step”
  • added Goofy’s Sky School to the list (I didn’t have it) w. a FP booth step and the actual ride
  • removed the second ride for RSR that I had
  • added a second round for Mater’s Junk Yard (that I didn’t ask for)
  • ignored the 3h lunch/break time, scheduling 2 attractions between 2pm and 4pm.

I would love to use the application based on comments about its usefulness but I don’t understand how it works….
I also do not know how to go back to the version before “optimization”, to avoid having to start from scratch….
It did require a fair amount of work.

If someone who used it can explain how it works, it would be of great help.

Thanks in advance

when you add things like the meal break, make sure you save that step as i added all my FP and forgot to save that step and then they werent there. In the WDW one it wont use a FP if it throws out the rest of the plan and you end up waiting longer. ie your FP ride is the other end of the park, and you take longer to walk there, queue, ride and then walk back to rest of plan than you would to put later in the plan and just queue.

So no matter what you throw into the plan ride-wise the first time it gets to the Optimize & Evaluate screen it will always Optimize it. Also, for breaks it always seems to change the time for 3 hours before during that first Optimization. So when I am doing a personalized plan I like to just start with 2-3 steps (usually my steps of highest priority), then skip adding any meals or breaks & go right to that Optimize & Evaluate screen with the list of steps & the map at the bottom & let it Optimize it once. From here I add additional steps & my desired break & meal times. I also usually leave off FastPass booths & allow the Optimizer to add them back in when I am ready to try & optimize. I also use this time to set a pace (usually Relaxed or Very Relaxed to build buffer time for touring with 3 small kids & a husband who gets easily distracted with all the shopping available in DL). At this point, you can go about personalizing your plan one of two ways (I go back & forth in how I do it so neither is supremely better than the other):

  1. Once all steps are included I hit Optimize 2-3x as optimizing more than once will give the software several attempts to try to find the best order (finding the absolute best order would take hours & hours so they time it out within a few minutes but if you Optimize 2-3 it will give the Optimizer a couple of goes to stabilize a good plan. This will also add the FastPass kiosks for you where it recommends them. Then I make a Copy of the plan and start going crazy with adjustments based on what my priorities are. On the copy where I make changes, I ONLY hit Evaluate & to preserve the order I’m working on building. I also go back to the Optimized one & add Optimized in front of the title. I keep the Optimized version as it is to use as a comparison at the end of what plan will give me better flow & compare how many minutes are spent in line, occupied etc. between the two plans.
  2. If you’re up for a challenge you can switch the order & first work on making your plan in priority order & hit Evaluate ONLY (never Optimize) until you’re really satisified with the order you’ve got (This step will require you to manually add FP steps & in DCA RSR is really hard to get the plan to cooperate as they have it in the settings that it takes 20 minutes to obtain a FP which it hasn’t since 2014, and it has them running out by 11am everyday, which is true of peak/capacity crowds but we’ve seen days of FPs available until into the early afternoon). So to couner all that I usually just add one break that I title RSR Fastpass booth and set the break for 5 minutes & enter in the notes the return time I would like for us to get on our RSR FPs to watch for it. Sometimes I leave the step to actually ride RSR on there with the full time without a FP and that builds in further buffer which can be used for a meal time (which I don’t add). Or sometimes in the evening, setup time to get a spot for WOC. Then here I make a Copy & using the copy & ONLY the copy I hit Optimize. I still also Optimize 2-3x to allow the optimizer to stabilize a good plan. I then compare my carefully set order against the fully Optimized version & make adjustments where one has better flow than the other. If I start making too many edits on the Optimized one, I then make a third copy so I don’t lose the Optimized one too much. Since this second way is a little more labor intensive, you may find starting from the Optimized one & then making one in your own order is easier, BUT since you have a set priority for what you’d like to accomplish, I wanted to give you a way to start there & then compare against the Optimized version.

In the end, if you are having any issues with breaks disappearing, the Evaluate or Optimize not working/making sense or any other issues, just email with a link to the problem touring plan & they will be able to easily & quickly respond to your issue.

Thanks for taking the time to share the details of how you “beat the system”. You are accomplishing what I would have wanted to do, but since I didn’t realize that I need the many saves, I lost my painfully entered, prioritized version… This is not exactly as easy as it appeared from looking at the website.

I contacted the sys admin and learned the following:

  1. instructional videos can be found at the link below AFTER CLICKING OF EACH STEP:

I did not see them before, as they are not obvious but they are helpful, worth watching them.

  1. Unfortunately they do not provide a “save as” function for personalized plans (to save one’s original entry, then the evaluated version and then the optimized version (to enable someone to go back and make changes and see the difference). The response was: "To save multiple copies of a plan that you created from scratch, you would unfortunately have to create it 3 separate times. If it’s a premade plan that you copy to your personalized plans you could copy it, rename it, then copy and rename it two more times. Sadly, there is not a way to copy your own plans.”.

I do not have the time and ambition to re-enter many times the plan for many days…. My experience with changing the canned plan (which allows “save as” for the plans- if one knows that it has to be done before the plan is overwritten), is that it created a mess after I deleted what I didn’t need and I added what I wanted…. I will try one more time. If this attempt doesn’t work, I will just create a spreadsheet with attractions in my priority order as flexibility is key, as I am sure that I will have to “change gears” many times between now and March and on site too. I was really counting on Lines assuming that it takes into account MaxPass users, allows for saving the different versions, etc.

  1. Support staff was prompt in replying.

Hmmm, I find this puzzling as I copy plans left & right so I can compare the order I’ve set vs. the order the Optimizer sets. I fondly refer to this process to my hubby as me playing a game of “Beat the Optimizer.”

Supposedly you can copy (save as) plans that use initially the “canned” plans as a base but the same capability is not available if you start from scratch with personalized plans. At least that’s what the reply said. I do not know any better as I just attempted to use the application once. I will give it one more try and see what happens. You have a lot of patience with the game :):). Thanks.