Touring Plan wait times were radically different than reality

Yes to #2: We tested the FP return-time wait at dozens of attractions this weekend (we had 6 people in the parks).

The FP waits ranged from 8% of the posted wait (3 minutes out of 40 posted) at Ariel’s Grotto, to 30% (3 minutes out of 10 at Frozen).

Ignoring posted waits of less than 15 minutes, the average FP wait in line was 15% of the posted wait.


I’ve had my plans be way off the actual wait times and it was super frustrating. The worst was in October 2016 in Disneyland. It was very far off and frustrating since it was a new park. I’ve had my plans be off at WDW also. Since we are very familiar with WDW, it’s not nearly as frustrating.

We measure crowd levels by the average posted wait time at certain attractions.

We’re saying that when the number of people in the park might be lower than average, Disney lowers the capacity of the rides so that the average wait time in line is the same as any other day. Disney does this to save money on labor and ride maintenance.

The upshot is that you’re going to wait about the same time at Space Mountain in January as you will in July, even though 95% of public schools are in session in January, and almost none are in July.

So if that is the case, we could go during Thanksgiving break instead of early Dec and see the same wait times? I guess however, it would still be way more people to have to deal with and less space at fireworks and parade.

The first week of December 2016 had a 7, two 9’s and a 10. Average was 6.7. Thanksgiving week was 10.

The first week of December 2016 had two 8’s and a 9. Average was a 6. Thanksgiving week was a 9.

Depending on the day you picked in early December, you might not have thought there was much of a difference in wait times versus Thanksgiving.

Thanks @len for your expertise!

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I am getting ready to leave for our upcoming trip. What are your recommendations at this point? I really like the touring plan I worked on- but do you recommend optimizing or evaluating in the app? Are you going to adjust the crowd levels for the upcoming days? I just not sure how to plan for this? Thank you for your recommendations!

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Do you ever have staff make a full day touring plan and run through them for a day? What about with 2 adults and 2.5 children? I would love to see some soft data on this :slight_smile:

I see a few liners (including myself) are gaming TPs by making their plans not on their planned park day, but on another day with similar hours and high crowd predictions. For example, I have CL 10 plans ready to go for AK on 2/24 and MK on 2/25. Is there any scope to add the option to make your TP on the day you plan to visit, but toggle for different CL scenarios?

Last question: Do the walking times change at all with the crowd levels?

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I’m pretty concerned about our Spring Break (week before Easter) visit. I have TPs for each day, and honestly they look great! I have very minimal waits. Am I doing something wrong? I just don’t understand how people can have such long waits in January, and TP is predicting much shorter waits for me the week before Easter, which is all CL10s? Is there a way for me to “test” my touring plans? Thanks!


I think that what people are experiencing here is a perfect illustration of my favorite quotes on planning:
“Plans are worthless, but planning is everything” - Dwight D. Eisenhower
"No plan survives contact with the enemy" - Helmuth Von Moltke

This is the problem that we face. We put all this effort into planning, and therefore expect our plans to go off without a hitch. We like our plans, and we do not want to see them fail. And often because of this we will keep going with a plan even though it is obviously failing.

The trick here is not to focus on the plan, but rather on the planning process. Good planning provides us with two things:

  1. A starting point to work from so that we are not standing around trying to figure out what to do
  2. A depth of knowledge so that we can react to how our plan is working and adapt it for success

This is where I think that the plans that are created using TP software are superior to any other plans out there, as you can adjust your plan on the fly and have the software figure out the best way to achieve it based on the current park conditions. My rule of thumb here is to only re-optimize if a plan starts to deviate significantly from schedule – after all, why fix something if it ain’t broke. However, based on what people have been experiencing recently I am beginning to think that regular re-optimization may be the way to go – your plan may initially be going well (especially if you RD), but after that the current park conditions may indicate that you will soon run into problems and an adjustment at that point might save you a lot of difficulty later on.


Love those quotes. And to your point about the depth of knowledge, I think that @profmatt mentioned this in a recent post. He planned a ton for his trip, but ended up not really following his plans religiously. HOwever, the process gave him the knowledge to adjust on the fly and change his day when necessary.

I do think people also overestimate the reliability of the modeling process. The models are only as good as the data going in, so, when the data changes rapidly, the models have to catch up.


Yes, I recommend using the app in the parks. And we’re adjusting the crowd levels for future dates.

We have an entirely separate set of models for “today in the parks” that run every 5 minutes while the park is open. That’s so we can adjust wait times if something unexpected happens while you’re there. That’s very important for the plans.


Yes, we test the plans constantly. This past weekend, for example, six of us tested the models in Epcot.

Not sure how we’d model 2.5 children, but I’m open to suggestions. :slight_smile:

The walking times don’t change with the crowd levels. That’s an interesting idea to test though, on CL 10 days.


Even though our TPs did not work as expected, There is still great value in preparing a plan that you like. I had a clear path through the parks defined which made it easier to select which activities to skip to stay somewhat on track with the remainder of the plan. It also made it easier to reorder a few steps to keep a desired activity and drop another that was less desired. My time spent planning made it quick and easy to adapt on the fly when we were in the parks. I assume that TP wait times will be adjusted at some point going forward to adjust for Disney’s ride capacity changes so that written plans will become more accurate again, but want to encourage all liners to continue making and adjusting their plans to develop a plan you like. Just make sure to re-evaluate and adjust your plans just before your trip to get the most recent changes the TP staff make to their software.


Well, we unintentionally tested the walking times at Christmas with the capacity crowds we experienced. I’m pretty nimble on my feet and, shall we say, “weaved” through the crowds pretty quickly, so my method would support the walking time being similar. My husband is quite a bit more cautious about walking in the thick of crowds, and he took WAY longer because he’s so darned polite! (So there are your categories - Polite vs. Agressive Walking! :blush:)


Just came back from a trip from Jan 27-Feb 2. It felt crowded not just wait times but the crowds everywhere. A lot of tour groups from South America (not a complaint just an observation). My touring plans and fast passes kept me one step ahead of the crowds but I was by myself and walking fast and weaving in and out of the crowds like a madman. I learned a lot this trip. I used to be a rope drop to fireworks guy but I’ve definitely decided I no longer need to do everything.
Words of advice. Plan ahead, as far ahead as possible. Get there early. You can still knock out some popular attractions in that first hour. Get those fast passes at 60 days if your staying on property. I easily got a fast pass for Flight of Passage for the two days I was in AK and Seven Dwarves each day I was there. Avoid EMH at AK if you want to do Pandora because everybody else has the same idea.


We used the app a lot while at Disney (visited all 4 parks). Week of Jan 20 thru Jan 27. Although the actual crowd levels were much higher than expected, the app seemed right on with expected wait times throughout the day. We went away from the daily plans almost every day by using the posted vs actual wait times at the moment we needed to make choices. Using the app we were able to accomplish everything that was important to us. If we just went from the posted wait times i do not think this would have been possible.


Will be staying on-site on Easter weekend.
Tried to get FPasses at the 60-day mark, but website kept failing. Attempted several times in the following days…My Disney Experience website couldn’t complete the selections. With 55 days to go, I was able to get the FPasses using My Disney Experience APP, instead of the website.

But, to my complete surprise: with 55 days to go, ALL 7Dwarfs FPs were taken. ALL OF THEM. And Big Thunder Railroad none available til’ just before noon. So I spent last night and today completely gutting my Touring Plan.

The lack of FastPass availability changed everything. Have a new Touring Plan now, but not confident it will work, due to discrepancies in actual wait-times vs TP wait estimates. Yesterday, MyDisExp app reported 7Dwarfs wait times ~100 to 150 minutes for much of the day. The TourPlan only estimates 85 minutes. Thats a huge difference. (And yesterday was CrowdLevel 5… Not looking forward to my CL9 day).

I’d say keep checking. People change their plans and cancel fast passes sometimes. Don’t know if that works for a busy holiday weekend or not. I probably should have mentioned I was by myself and only needed one fast pass which is probably easier to get.

Obviously T.P. is making some kind of adjustments to their computations/inputs today. Through the course of today, the wait-estimates on the Fantasyland/Frontier/Adventure have all been increasing. Every couple of hours today, the wait-times increased (despite my plan keeping them in the same order). I’ve now had to purge 2 more rides since my last post 6 hours ago. Had to, because T.P. kept increasing the wait-time on more-popular rides. Every 2 hours today, the wait-estimates increased. Keep in mind, my visit is 54 days away. The continually changing times happening throughout today is frustrating.