Introducing Lines, Your Unofficial Guide To Wait Times

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Today, we’re launching a preview version of Lines, a mobile website for the iPhone that displays estimates of wait times for every attraction at Walt Disney World.

For the past 10 years we’ve been obsessively researching wait times at Walt Disney World, collecting and processing a massive amount of data along the way. We’ve launched products such as Touring Plans and the Crowd Calendar to help you efficiently tour the parks and avoid the crowds.

In designing Lines, we thought a lot about the experiences we’ve had touring the parks: we’re standing in Frontierland and want to know how long the line is at Space Mountain.  Is Soarin’ really a ninety minute wait?  Will there be FASTPASSes left at Toy Story Mania if we get there at noon?

Lines was built to solve these problems, and we’re really excited to give you a sneak peek. There are many mobile applications doing wait times (Disney included), and accurate estimates are particularly challenging.  We’re eager to see how accurate we can be.

Here are some of the ways Lines is different:

We independently estimate wait times

Ever wait in line for 20 minutes when the standby sign said 5? Or vice versa? Yeah, we have too. For Lines we use thousands of historical data points and a myriad of statistical models (prepared by a professional statistician) to estimate how long you’ll actually wait in line.

We love user data, but don’t require it

You can submit wait times via your iPhone (and you would be awesome for doing so!)–but we do not depend on it. Our product is useful on Day One, regardless of how many people are submitting times.

We predict… the future!

We estimate future standby times, when FASTPASS will be gone for the day, and when the peak wait times will be. Want to know if FASTPASS will still be available after dinner? We’ve got you covered.

Much, much more

Crowd calendar data, park hours, refurbishments, an attraction closure reporting system, all now available on your phone!

To give it a go, grab an iPhone and navigate to http://m.touringplans.com (other mobile platforms are on the way). You’ll need a TouringPlans.com subscription to use Lines during this preview. Lines is free to use for a limited time. UPDATE:: Lines has graduated Beta and is now a fully featured member of the TouringPlans.com product suite! Click here for more.

UPDATE:: We’re now supporting Android and Palm Pre/Pixi phones!

UPDATE x2!! We’re pleased to now support BlackBerry phones as well! Read more here.

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Posted on November 16, 2009

363 Responses to “Introducing Lines, Your Unofficial Guide To Wait Times”

  • Pretty please, with personalized mouse ears on top – WINDOWS PHONE APP!!!!! I have carried and shared and recommended your books and website ever since my first trip to Disneyland at age 36. I have been back twice in the past 6-months alone (and, nope…I don’t live in California!). The moment there’s a WP7 App, I’ll subscribe and post it to my FB page and tweet it and spread the word. I promise to give you the top tile on my opening screen! M-I-C (let’s C this app on WP7) K-E-Y (Y? Because we LIKE YOU) MO-*USE-WP7!* Thanks! You rock!

    • Thanks Allison! It’s our company policy not to do native apps. They require investment in specialized coding skills that, as a small shop, we don’t want. And second, we think the open Web is good for everyone in the long run.

      I admit to still having a ‘thing’ for MASM and the MSFT C++ compiler. Good stuff. :)

      Len

      • Lines works great on my Windows Phone in the mobile IE browser. Used it on the trip last summer, no problems. It might not hurt to note something to that effect above to save you from getting spammed by us Windows Phone fanatics!

      • by MIke Berger on March 12, 2012, at 2:49 pm EST

        I am confused by your comment. It appears that there are iPhone, BlackBerry and Android Apps. How can you have these native apps and hav a policy of not doing native apps?

        -Mike

        • Mike,
          I’m guessing that Android and the iPhone apps are written in Java and the Windows phone cannot use the same Java code.

        • by Sarah Kelleth on April 11, 2012, at 12:20 pm EST

          The iPhone and Android apps are wrappers for the web – we haven’t written any native code for them, it’s just formatted and put on the stores for easy access. At this point we haven’t created any pure native apps for any platform.

  • I just received kindle fire and was trying to find the touring plan app, have a trip to WDW in less than three weeks. Have faithfully toured the parks with the tear out sheets, plans, and love the phone app. Does it work on the kindle? I would love to leave the phone at home during vacation and just have the plans with me. Thank you

    • I would think it should work fine on the Kindle Fire as long as you can navigate to http://m.touringplans.com. I know that the Fire’s browser is homebrewed by Amazon, so that would be my only concern. There’s no reason though that you couldn’t test it now at home just to make sure before making the switch.

  • by MIke Berger on March 12, 2012, at 2:46 pm EST

    Please create a Windows Phone 7 app or at least add support for the mobile app.

    Thank you,
    -Mike

  • Hi,

    Question. I am coming from Canada and I don’t own a smartphone but my Samsung has browsing capabilities. Because I live in Canada, data can be expensive in the US, so I am wondering how much data needs to be streamed via the website to the phones? I would love to be able to see the line times on my phone, but I have to be careful I don’t have a hugh bill when I get back. Thanks.

    Stephen

  • Purchased the Lines application for use during our visit to the Disney World parks last week. I was very disappointed in the inaccuracies of the reported wait times. Not only was the application extremely slow, the reported times seemed to be about 1/2 of the actual wait times. For instance, they reported FASTPASS distribution times of 2:00 PM when they were actually printing at 4:05 PM and the Rockin’ Roller Coaster standby wait was 40 minutes when we waited >75 minutes. I still enjoy the “Unofficial Guide” and touring plans, which I also purchased and have used for many years, however the application was a waste of time and money. Cannot recommend.

  • We are going to Disney World and we have downloaded the Lines App. Do you have an estimate on what the data usage is to use this app? We are from Canada and our roaming fees are expensive so I need to “size” our data requirements. Any advice on this and roaming for Canadians would be appreciated.

    Regards,

    Dave

    • Second this……also from Canada and roaming fees can be huge $$$$$ while in the US. This information would be helpful! Thanks!

  • Hey Canucks! It depends on your service provider but generally the US data add-ons are pretty reasonable. I get a US data roaming add-on from Rogers for $20 per trip and it is usually enough to do all the browsing, emailing and Lines App use I need. It is worth noting that I use the app a lot as part of our research as well.

    The data use for Lines is fairly small, something akin to sending a few emails here and there.

    I suggest you call your provider and ask for a reasonable add-on.

    • Hi Fred, any chance of providing more specific records of how much data you’re using on this app on site?
      I usually purchase an add on and turn off data unless actively using when I go to the US, but it can be hard to guess which pack to buy (Rogers here as well) and I’m trying to figure out if this app will be constantly transmitting data etc.

      At home I have a 500 mb plan, and go a little over my limit once every 3-4 months with pretty basic use (reading news, bit of web surfing / searching, lots of email but never any streaming on non wifi). My data usage seems to have gone up since getting an iPhone 4s (from 3GS).
      Thanks for any further info / input from fellow Canadians.

      • As a fellow Canadian here is my two cents on data usage in the USA and roaming fees. I simply use a US SIM card and avoid roaming fees all together.

        1) Unlock your phone. (If you have a NEXUS branded Android device, it is already unlocked. If you don’t, there are plenty of website online where you can purchase the unlock code for a reasonable price. ~$20)

        2) Research which major US carrier your phone is compatible with. If you have a new iphone or a newer Android phone that are “pentaband” then your phone will work will just about any carrier in the world.

        3) Once you know which carrier your phone will work with, go to that carriers store when you land and buy a pre-paid SIM card. For myself my phone is compatable with AT&T. A one month unlimited US calling SIM card is $25. You can then buy 1gb of data for another $25. For $50 I get a phone that I can US to make calls in the US and I get a large amount of data to surf the web (enable your hotspot and share with your laptop/tablet), and I can also use my phone as a GPS (I’ve used google maps navigate feature in many cities throughout the US and it has worked great. Just head to Best Buy or Future Shop and buy yourself the Rocket Fish smart phone holder to hang your phone from the windshield.)

        4) If you want to make long distance phone calls to Canada, you’ll need to load some additional money on, as those calls are 10 cents a minute, or you can buy 250 minutes for $10.

        At the very most you would pay $60 for the month…..which is a bit steep if you’re just gone for a week….but it is significantly cheaper than any roaming plan Telus/Bell/Rogers would give you. (Bell charges $40 for 100mb of US roaming data, and $40 for 100 minutes of US roaming.)

        There are cheaper options with T-mobile, and AT&T. Just do some research online with their webpages.

        When land back in Canada, swap your SIM cards back and pat yourself on the back for beating the huge roaming fees you would have been saddled with from a Canadian cell phone company.

  • does “lines” include wait times for character m&g?