Proposal: Integrate Standby Skipper into Disney touring plans

We’re talking with the Standby Skipper folks about integrating their tools into our Disney touring plans, for folks who use both products. (So it’d be optional to use SS with the plans, not required.)

The idea would be for the TP optimizer to check SS every X minutes to see whether your overall wait in line could be reduced by selecting from the available inventory of G+ reservations.

This includes the possibility that the optimizer would replace an existing G+ reservation with another one, if that switch would result in less time in line.

In the event something better is found, TP and SS would automatically:

  • Make that G+ reservation for you
  • Update your touring plan in real time, including re-optimization
  • Display an alert in the Lines app telling you what’s been done

We think this integration would help your in-park experience in a few ways:

  • Reduce the amount of time spent on your phone trying to optimize G+ usage
  • Reduce the amount of time spent in line and give you more time for more fun stuff
  • Make G+ easier to use for people who aren’t Disney park experts

We’re in the initial stages of discussing this, so we’d love to hear how y’all might use this feature.

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Personally, I think this might be not such a good idea. I appreciate what Skipper is doing, but there’s also Disney trying to actively stop these “bots” from doing this. There was that blip in late summer where Skipper went down for a bit, until they found a work around.

I’m still wanting to find a way to calculate times using DAS, which is a Disney-approved feature.

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I think it could be really useful for some people. If I used it I would want to make sure there was a way to opt out of changing a specific LL if I wanted to.

One problem I sometimes have with touring plans is that while my overall wait times may be lower for the day as a whole, it will sometimes have 1 extremely long (to me) wait in the day that I just would never want to do. I’d rather wait an extra 5 minutes in my day as a whole than spend 45 minutes in line for 1 ride bc overall I’ll only wait 130 minutes instead of 135. I know we’ve mentioned before it would be nice if we could integrate a wait time threshold in the plans.

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Personally I don’t like the fact that Standby Skipper was making money out of this at the same time, or after, BG1 was created. It just sits wrong with me.

There’s also the fact that Disney clearly tried to shut down the monetising aspect of these apps.

As useful as it might be, if TP goes into a partnership with Standby Skipper, you’re now in the business of monetising the booking of G+. And if Disney goes after one then Touring Plans become a target, which could lose you good will with Disney. Would they still accept room requests if they see you as profiting directly from G+?

Although I can’t log in to see what improvements have been made to the new version of creating touring plans, I’d rather you focussed your efforts on fixing the issue around using G+ with the touring plans. The fact that it doesn’t work well is frustrating and is being talked about on other forums.

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Thanks for the feedback.

Would you mind listing here the current set of issues with using G+ in the plans? I’d like to make sure we’ve got them on our to-do list, and that I’ve not missed anything.

Also, if you could provide lines to the other forums in which this discussion is happening, I’d appreciate it. I can bop over there to see if there’s anything else that we’re not seeing.

Thank you!

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I can’t give you a complete list, hopefully others can.

I remember from last Christmas I was having to use Thrill Data to guess at what return times I could expect to get at certain booking times and adding them in manually. But Evaluate wouldn’t always fix those times in place. I think that is fixed but there are always queries about how to make that happen, so I assume it isn’t intuitive.

I know there were further changes after that which caused a lot of frustration here. Which is why whereas I used to spend time just creating plans for fun I stopped doing it.

The “obtain LL” feature definitely still isn’t working, this was a recent thread about it.

Most discussion around creating touring plans that I see is on the DIS.

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I see it as a cheat and vehemently oppose it

While I recognize that I could select to not use it, it would sour my view of TP which has always been an above-board way to maximize touring. Even your res finder has always been above board since it has always been the only one I know of not profiting.

Exactly zero users are surprised by my response.

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I think the best way to summarize would be that a personalized touring plan will very often suggest a Lighting Lane that does not seem to fit the objective of minimizing waits in line or maximizing the number of Lightning Lanes booked for a day.

I think part of the reason might be that the software assumes you aren’t one of the very first people to get a LL, and so if you don’t click right at 7am, you might get a 6pm return time rather than 9am, so it might direct you away from a higher-tier attraction toward something less valuable.

It might be due to the sheer number and complexity of variables involved so I’m not sure it’s a fixable issue.

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What Genie+ should be about. Highly support any public product/collaboration/etc that has a chance to show Disney what (most?) people actually want.

Although, as others have said, the monetization aspect may end up working against you as far as Disney’s ever-strengthening no-profiteering policy goes.

Note that people may make plans surrounding bookings as they are made, such as dining or breaks. I’d suggest prompting the user to ask if they want a better time before modification. One “automagical” schedule slip is definitely going to be more irritating than a full day where it ends up working out.

They may be referring to this.

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If I knew Disney wouldn’t go after TP and SS for this, I would accept it. But that’s pretty big IF. Disney doesn’t like anybody making money off Disney except for themselves, and a Disney cease-and-desist order would derail a partnership like this very quickly.

However, I would not be 100% on board with this. When I discovered the Unofficial Guide 15 years ago, it was very much about maximizing my time as well as my money. It seems as of late that TP is saying a Genie+ purchase is a necessity nowadays at $25+ per person per day as well as getting ILL for all the rides that utilize that upcharge, and now I have to add another $45 per week on top of that to maximize all of the above (not to mention another few thousand for deluxe character dining and resorts!).

I understand that if not TP doing this, then someone else will, so it is inevitable that it will happen. Just don’t forget us “Disney Cheapskates” that use nothing more than the Unofficial Guide and a yearly Touring Plans subscription that also drive to Orlando, stay offsite, and snack on granola bars washed down with courtesy cups so we can regularly visit the parks.

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I know some users have issues with SS. My concern, as has been expressed by other users, is if you can do this in a way that Disney won’t constantly try to shut this down. Do you know enough about the upcoming changes to the system to know this will work?

To me. TP has always been the place I learn about “hacks”, shortcuts, tools that allow you to “beat” Disney’s poorly designed systems. I might not use the things I learn from TP, but I can help others use them. Honestly, isn’t that why there were so many Backside of Magic fans here?

Will I use it? Most likely not- I am way too arrogant and way too cheap to pay someone to book for me. I would always think I could do better (fatal flaw).

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I agree with many of the others that this model is very different than the books, and then the app for many of the members here. I come for the insight on parks and planning, Genie+ and LL have a bottom line so how many members also pay for standby skipper, is it more than 25-35%? Is there another benefit that would affect a larger % that does not have an additional cost?
I know another competitor will do it, like others said but I’d it worth the risk?

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I’d be a nope. I like control over my plans and my LLs.

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This is all great feedback. Thank you.

As a side note: Third-party reservation finders have existed for years. Disney will, shortly, roll out the same functionality. (And I’m frankly surprised they’re not offering a paid “first to get notified” option for those alerts.) But the point is that third-party software developers recognized the need and developed the solution first.

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Seconding your desire for help with DAS plans. I found work-arounds by calculating the return times manually for every ride at certain times of day for every day of my trip (looking at comparable CL days). I took the posted, subtracted ten min, then would manually put breaks into my TP to make the timing make sense. The I’d think through which rides would make sense to fit in via SB, while waiting for the DAS return time. It actually worked pretty well (and the Advanced Options in the relatively new TPs have made these approximations a bit easier), but it was not simple to do.

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As for Standby Skipper, I echo the concerns named by others. It seems pretty clear that Disney is trying to discourage others from making money off of G+. I wonder if this is truly the business TP wishes to become involved with and known for. I would have concerns about where that might lead.

What’s more, it seems likely that some of the updates Disney attempted to implement shut down BG1 for a time (and may again) as a direct result of SS and other similar products. I have a lot of respect for BG1– it’s a superior interface and it’s free— and I can’t see myself supporting something that may lead to it going away… especially when SS’s only purpose is to book rides that I could easily book myself.

If TP wishes to partner with someone, BG1 might be a better option to consider. I could be wrong, but it reads to me as more “on brand” with TP’s overall ethos: superior functionality that pushes Disney to do better and to continue to innovate, but without making money by subverting the tech put in place and thereby thumbing one’s nose at the company (at least not too much so, anyway!).

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I have no problem with SS. My “concern” with the proposed collaboration is a simple one: who would be the target group for the combined product?
I would think that TP users are more informed people who prefer to have control over their Disney trip. Having the combined service change their TP and their LLs would probably not make them happy.

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I also want to echo the thread that @Nicky_S referenced above.

I’m more active over in the Chat than I am in the Forum, but I can’t begin to count how many times other TP fans and I have told (mostly newer) confused folks to just ignore the “Obtain LL” feature in the TPs. It’s glitchy and doesn’t often suggest the LLs that make the most sense to snag. Manually inserting rides under “Advanced Options” (with help from ThrillData’s LL availability charts) is really the best way… and I’d love to see that made more simple.

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This.

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I’ve done the same on the forum for the same reasons. And I also suggest. …

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