I went on a spontaneous trip in October with my sister at the end of October. I used MaxPass and fell in love! It was a very casual trip and we didn’t really have an agenda (or TP), so we just went with the flow and got passes as we needed. This January I am going to DLR with my DH, DS 12, DS 13, and a different sister and will need to be more purposeful (my boys don’t do well with idle time). As I have beed reading other people’s experiences, I am starting think I should scrap the TP (although I really love making them!) or make it more of a guide/check list. I have been checking the box for FP runner, but I still don’t think it is coming close the the actual picture that our day will be like with MP. I am curious what your approach is/would be? We will be staying on Property (DLH) and there for 4 days, Jan 7-10.
I love to make TPs still, even for DL. I’ve learned that if I want it to do exactly what I think it should, I insert breaks with any steps I want to force into certain places or lock in certain places. I almost always have to do this two things:
Radiator Springs FP pulls & returns. The TP still accounts for a 20 min wait to get a FP and doesn’t really have FP availability past 11:30am which is the case on busier days but I haven’t seen it this way other than Spring Break or other peak crowd times in the last year/year and a half. This step also has to be my most flexible step in DCA & you will have a huge advantage having MaxPass to be able to book your RSR FP from wherever you are rather than having to stalk around the Bug life theater area for the right time you want your FPs.
For setup time before parades & shows because the plans only account for showing up 15-25 minutes early & for my family that loves front row of parades 30-40 min is minimum. I do also double those up as lunch/dinner breaks & have us get food nearby our parade spot to snack on while waiting.
I also almost always have notes on all my FP steps that have conditions on what FPs I should be getting since the times are usually so off. For example, I may have my TP set to pull a Matterhorn FP at 11am and Star Tours at 12pm but in the notes I say “If Star Tours FP running ahead, pull Star Tours first”.
I also like to stalk the Disneyland app & compare my plan times and FPs with it & adjust when I can see potential problems with the plan. I try to do this on a day that is a similar day of week (with similar operating hours & EMH) just to get a clue of how my FPs look to be stacking up. If you have the time to do this, I highly recommend it for helping you know your DL TP really really intimately. Most of the time when we go with a TP, I almost always have it memorized. Just because I plan & re-plan so incessantly (when I do plan, sometimes I do let us go with the flow on our trips, but I always find those trips have at least one stressful moment trying to figure out what we want to do/where we want to go next. Planning almost always avoids that whole unpleasant & time-wasting endeavor).
I should notate that we’ve only used MaxPass once & from what I found MaxPass only made it easier to adjust & go with the flow AND keep doing as much as possible. So I would definitely make plans, but be prepared to use them as more of a checklist, especially if you will have MaxPass, At the end of each day, evaluate future plans to account for any adjustments you made in parks to take advantage of certain things.
And one final rule of planning, if something is a must-do, important thing, I make sure to plan it for the morning of our first day or if it’s a show, make sure it’s on a night where we have had time to rest to stay up for the show, and for FWs ideally plan for the first night in case wind cancels them & we have to move to plan B (which I don’t always have officially wrote out, but again when I do, it always helps when we have to make changes).
Lolabear, I think my touring plans are much less detailed than yours. Even so,I found them extremely helpful. Is there a way you can send/show me a copy of one of your days? I’m curious how you set them up. Last trip/first trip, I found out about touring plans and the UG book with only 30 days to plan. Needless to say, it was sort of thrown together. This year I have a lot more time and understand it all better. I want to make better TP this time around.
Awesome advice (as always!). We have several “have to” items on our first day, as it is the last day for CA Screaming, haunted mansion, and holiday fireworks etc. So I am only focusing on those items. Anything else is gravy. Praying that fireworks will not be cancelled, but on the off chance they are, my backup is to get FP for the late holiday WoC show. If they announce they are cancelled, we will just book it to DCA and set up shop there. Even when follow TP in the past, I have found that flexibility is my friend. Also we got one free fast pass per person that we can use wherever. I have it earmarked for the Haunted Mansion, since it is my husbands favorite and that it is only open the. One day we are there. I am fairly certain it will be packed as a result. If I end up not needing it, I will save it for RR or GoG.
I was actually looking for an example plan I could send you when I was talking about the notes in the FPs since I have started doing that so frequently. The ones that I had found though, were all jumbled because the day of I had marked things off on the app as I went so it makes them look different on the TP. I’ll keep looking to see if I can find one that is a little more pristine than the first couple I tried to get to include as an example.
Best kind of plans!!
We’ve done this before & it works quite well. Especially if you position yourself near the rear of Main Street (think like in front of the Starbucks or closer to Town Square). Late WoC is often pretty empty & they don’t start allowing FPs in the sections until close to 9:55- for 10:15 WoC. Also, sometimes (not always, but sometimes) they will even take down the FP ropes right after the show starts & allow standbyers without FPs to fill in anywhere at the back. So just as long as you beat that 9:55 time where they start filling the section you’ll be in fantastic shape! And it’s pretty easy to do as they announce cancellation usually by 9:40-9:45.
I hope you do end up being able to use it for RR or GoG but a good ace up your sleeve to have for the last day. We absolutely love the holiday version too & I would probably go right at RD and maybe even 2 times back to back to get my fill. So much detail to look at I could never get bored of it!