I was wondering, because it seems way too good to be true, how close the touring plans you made came close to what actually happened regarding wait times? My touring plans for July don’t seem to encompass the long wait times that I’m hearing about. I think the longest was like 85 minutes for one attraction but most of the others were a half hour or less. Is this what I should expect, or should I brace for the worst?
Mine have been pretty accurate (this past January and June 2017).
Remember the high wait times that you hear about are the wait times that your plan should be helping you avoid.
Don’t forget to continue optimizing or evaluating your plan as you get close to your day. That makes sure you have the most updated data.
So there’s been some issues going on with the wait times and crowd levels that may impact the efficacy of the plans for the moment. But overall I have always been very happy with, and quite impressed by the accuracy - particularly in MK, where it has been eerily on spot
As to your question about wait times in July - it has seemed in the past year that WDW is adjusting its staffing patterns to mirror expected crowds. In other words, when it’s quieter, they have fewer cast members working rides (and take some cars offline); when it’s busier they “staff up” and keep rides running at full capacity. This has sort of flattened the wait time experience.
Overall, though, I would not worry myself over the projected wait times vs what you’re hearing about. First, you’re almost always going to hear all about bad news, and not so much about good news, right? Human nature. Second, a good touring plan always outweighs any of that. Make a good plan - we are all happy to provide input and insight - and then follow it, even when it doesn’t seem to make sense. Whenever we have stuck to the plan we have had a good time. In all of our trips, our one day that was not great was a day in HS when we did not stick to the plan (for several reasons). I think that says a lot about the quality of this product. I also would not continue to use it year after year, 9 years later, if it wasn’t a good product.
Also, it’s always good to keep your expectations in check. Plan for the worst, hope for the best is never a bad mantra to have. Those who expect perfection 100% of the time are the ones who are likely to have the most frustration. Go with the flow
There is one day that I’m sort of worried about in my upcoming trip. I’m going to make a duplicate plan on a day with a CL much higher than what it is projected to be and compare the two. I don’t expect to see a lot of difference but it will be interesting to try it.
Another thing you can do to err on the side of caution is set the walking speed to be very relaxed, that will build in extra time. I don’t like to do that as much because I don’t think the wait times increase globally across the park, but I know some people do it that way.
I also will sprinkle in attractions that we can skip to stay on schedule, and mark them as such. That way, you ride the rest of the rides when you’re “supposed” to. Like PCRC, or Tiki Room. You can do those anytime for the most part.
The touring plans have always been pretty on point for my trips. Where it goes wrong is when we derail or get distracted by something else we weren’t planning on doing (or don’t get ourselves up for Rope Drop). But, with the Lines app, you can mark down what you’ve done (even if you skip ahead) and re-optimize to see how you’re doing and what might have changed in the moment.
Ditto to this - mine are more accurate when I set the walking speed to very relaxed. We are not very relaxed walkers, but it allows for us to be distracted a bit.
I thought the very same thing before our first trip. But they have always worked very well for us including a July trip in 2017 and June in 2016. We RD, strategically use FPP, and take a mid-day break. Never wait too long and get our highest priority stuff in and usually some surprising extras. I always go in with an idea of what I could cut if needed or add if we have extra time but so far they have been remarkably accurate on our trips. Just the process of creating them forces me to think through what is most important for us in advance which helps. We see LONG waits that time of year like almost all times of year but we aren’t the ones waiting in them. The TP helps so much. My family was shocked at how a ride that we only waited 10-15 min. for would be hours long when we walked by it a different time of day.
I can see that if the CL ends up being dramatically different that it would impact the accuracy of your TP. That hasn’t happened to us but I know it does sometimes happen. But I think by having gone through the planning process you will be prepared to adjust much better if needed than if you hadn’t.
My plans have worked well on average (trips in summer & Feb vacation). Some waits have been longer and some shorter, but I’ve never had to skip anything. I’ve always padded the time a little with relaxed pace and little breaks to account for a large group and strollers. At least 90% of our waits were under 15 min. Worst ever was 30 min and due to running indoors to wait out a thunderstorm, along with everyone else.
My plans also worked very well on our trip but I will ditto the comments about setting walking speed to very relaxed and use some common sense too. At RD, some of the wait predictions for “the newest headlines” are a little questionable and I would build in some flex time or a meal or something around that to account for any errors. The attraction length and showtimes were dead on which was a HUGE help for us in planning, especially at DHS where fitting all the shows into one day was quite difficult.
It’s remarkable how well these hold up. I stress-tested three of my plans by copying them to days with crowd levels three steps higher than the forecasted levels (but with the same hours and special events). They hardly budged. Changing the walking speed had a much bigger effect than raising the crowd level substantially.
I think this is due to the “flattening out” effect @OBNurseNH mentioned. Of course, this isn’t a real-time test but I think it does reinforce the oft-stated mantra that the plan matters more than the crowd level. Which has been my real-time experience in the past, (but that was before the crowd level predictions got a little bit off).
I actually went back and created an ‘actual’ touring plan from our magic kingdom day, because I was so impressed that we got everything in that we did. And I had to trick the TP several times by assigning FP to an attraction that we didn’t actually have, because they thought the line would be longer than it was! I’ll have to share it.
I’ve found them consistently good over the years. Not perfect (no prediction can be) but extremely good at avoiding crowds. +1 for lowering the walking speed (I usually set mine to “relaxed”)… Scatter in 10-15 minute breaks throughout the day (I usually try for 1 every 1.5-2.5 hours or so; meals count as breaks). This helps add a buffer for anything unexpected, or a line that is a little longer than planned.
In any case, the plans are remarkably good. The only time that I’ve experienced “failures” had nothing to do with the plan and everything to do with the unexpected. (e.g. Hey DS-10mos, the TP says we have to be at BTMR in 5 minutes, now is not the time for a diaper blowout!!!)…
Ok, here’s my original touring plan and my actual.
As you can see, we accomplished a lot more than the TP estimated that we would. It is worth noting that this was a CL 2 day (estimated to be a 6). But the amount we did between 9 and 10:30 was where the biggest win was in my opinion. The afternoon was mostly because of the lower crowds and the additional FPs that I found.
I also bumped the walking speed up to average. We are fast walkers, so even though we had to park a stroller frequently, this seemed like a more accurate choice for us.
I think that’a key too. My RD morning had a plan, but that’s where I end up doing to list adjusting. So much depends on crowds and how you manage them in those first couple hours. If you don’t get the jump on the crowds all the sudden you are running slow, but if you are front of the pack, you end up ahead of your plan.
For both MK and AK this time, at the suggestion of another liner, I actually did not put 7DMT or FOP into my plans. I had tried and true RD strategies that I knew would work (barring the ride being down) and get me on and off by 9:30 at the latest. So, I left both off my plans and started my plan at 9:30. Using the app, I could tell the plan that I would be starting in Fantasyland/Pandora respectively. Gave me a much more accurate morning than when I had them on there in 2017.
I couldn’t see your plans, just got the generic “Create A Plan” page.
But your post ties in with what I’ve been wondering- if one rope drops, those extra minutes make a lot of difference- they’re “worth more” than minutes later in the day. You can really get a lot done but RD really isn’t accounted for in the plans.
And it’s important which attractions one visits. For instance, I had Jungle Cruise early in the day and started remembering how long it was, so I removed it and it made a huge impact downstream through the whole morning. So I left it that way. I figure we can pick up SD FP on that one later.
July is still a good ways away. I make an initial TP, then revisit it a few weeks before FFP day, and then again 2-4 weeks before my trip. Like @Pod mentions above, keep an eye on attractions that are lengthy early in the day and be mindful of their impact to the overall plan.
I like having 2 TPs per day. 1 - I plug in what I want to do in the order I think I want to do it. 2 - I click Optimize and let the software tell me what to do. Then I can decide which version I like best. Sometimes it is a combination of the 2 and a completely new plan is made.
It looks like the plans are maybe set to private? It says I don’t have access to them.
Sorry. They were published but I didn’t paste the correct URL.
I have always used the touring plans here and they have always been amazing! But we just returned from 3 days in the park over the President’s Day holiday and I have to say for the first time we were really disappointed. The expected wait times listed on our tour plans were doubled in Animal Kingdom and DHS. Magic Kingdom was pretty spot on though. I am not sure where it went wrong… could it have been that the crowds were underestimated? There was so much we didn’t end up riding because we were not going to wait an hour when we had only planned a 25 minute wait. I did use the LInes app to check the expected wait times against what Disney was posting, and even with that, the wait times were just way off what our tour plan had anticipated.