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”

  • don’t think I have yet to see a post with 100+ reposnses. Anything down the line for us simple folk who don’t those new fangled i-phones? Maybe something for the Blackberry?

    • Blackberry definitely on its way. Which phone do you have?

      • Any Chance Blackberry Tour 9630 will be done by the 16th that is when next trip starts. Thanks much looking forward to it.

    • Blackberry user here also. I have the Bold 9000. I was excited after listening to the 11/27 podcast, that Len said Lines was available on all phones. Hmmm….. maybe he’s been time-warping again?

      • Hey Jeff,

        Haven’t listened to the episode yet, so I’m not sure if it was a misunderstanding or what, but we support iPhone, Android, and Palm Pre right now. We’re working on other platforms as we speak–blackberry is up next.

        Thanks!

    • I have an 8130 BB. Would love to use it on my trip in January.

    • Blackberry curve user here. This is soooooooo cool. Really wish this ap was available for my BB. We are leaving in three days. Any chance it will be ready by then??? LOL

    • Blackberry curve user here. This is soooooooo cool. Really wish this ap was available for my BB. We are leaving in three days. Any chance it will be ready by then??? LOL

    • Any update on when Lines will be available for Windows Mobile??

  • This looks great, but I just have an old fashioned cell phone, I can take pictures with it though! We are planning a trip for next fall, could I have someone call me periodically and update me on the wait times? That would work best for me.

    • I volunteer Len! Just kidding, but it’s theoretically possible we could do SMS at some point. Or a newer phone is in your future?

      • Actually, I was just pulling your leg. The new application looks great! We were at WDW the first week of November and the waits for attractions, for the most part, were minimal. We arrived b/4 opening 4 of the 6 days and relatively early on the other 2. We used FastPasses when it made sense and enjoyed the short lines.

        Keep up the good work!

  • This looks cool. I have a BB Storm and my wife has a BB Curve. Will be in Disney in May-10 so hope you have it developed for BB by then. Thanks.

  • Another vote for Android. Thanks – y’all totally rock!

  • So will this be something that always has to have internet access to work? Will we be able to download estimates for the day and just use a ipod touch instead of a iphone?

  • This sounds very cool. I’m on a Windows Mobile 6.1 smartphone. Any idea when it will be available for that platform?

  • by Richard Mercer on November 17, 2009, at 3:55 pm EST

    This is great and I’m glad to see UG providing this service. However I have an iPod Touch and a cell phone that costs me $100/yr. It’s not worth the other $900/yr to get AT&T’s inadequate and overloaded 3G coverage. So until the iPhone has a cheaper plan or WDW provides wireless coverage in the parks I can’t use this. Not holding my breath on either.

  • WORKS GREAT ON MY PALM PRE!!!! I’m stoked about this. Thanks a million. HOWEVER, please quit saying iPhone, iPhone, iPhone. Android and Palm Pre & Pixi phones will work too. Pretty much any smart phone with a browser should work (Blackberry too). Anyway, sorry for the rant. Thx again

    • They first said it was an APP for the iPhone and asked what platforms we used. Yes, the website works on all phones with internet but the actual APP only works on an iPhone. Seeing as Verizon’s app is pretty worthless to many because of the phones it works on it was a nice thought that this may work out to be created as an APP for the rest of us who don’t have an iPhone for whatever reason (absolute crap reception and coverage here). However, the web site is aces and I am very happy to have that.

    • Thanks Scott! Will try to make the marketing clearer. We’re going to be supporting more phone types soon!

    • I have a blackberry with a browser but can’t seem to find wait times. How did you get it to work?

  • I have a Palm Treo 800w. I haven’t signed up for an account here yet, but plan to. We’ll be visiting in March 2010. Are there instructions on how to access the information once I get an account?

    • Hey Dan,

      While we’re not supporting the Palm Treo phone just yet, we may in the future. Definitely check back as your trip gets closer! In the meantime, you can check out the app with the Safari web browser.

  • Hmm, I’m not sure if this is because the parks aren’t open yet, but right now it says:
    Best Parks: MK EP HS AK
    Parks to Avoid: EP AK

  • This couldn’t have been released at a better time! ETA for the World is 6 hrs, 23 mins. We’re an iPhone family, can’t wait to send in our wait times! Now, if this system could also get me a reservation with Cindy at her Royal Table, it would be even more perfect!! LOL

  • I have Windows Mobile and have seen comments that the website works without having the app, but I can’t seem to get it past the first screen. Anybody have any suggestions?

  • One more vote for the BB Storm! I love my storm, but hate that everything is for the iPhone first! I’m going the first week in Feb 2010, think it’ll be ready by then for my storm? thanks!!

  • Yay! I was looking at it today on my iphone and it looks great. I can’t wait to test it out on the next trip (not until Oct. 2010). [One problem; EP and AK show up as both "Best Parks" and "Parks to Avoid" today.]

  • I don’t about others but I just love dialing it up on my desktop while at work and just enjoying little mental trips. It is almost like being there. Where is the location specific weather radar? Great job.

  • I have a Samsung Rogue, that I would LOVE to have this for. Any thoughts? Great idea guys! Thanks for all you do!

  • This is great! Works like a charm on my Droid. I was disappointed last week when Verizon’s Mobile Magic launch did not support smartphones. I will using this every day for my trip in two weeks. You guys saved the day.

  • This sounds amazing. Any thoughts or intentions of releasing a similar app for Disneyland/DCA?

    • Hey RenMan,

      Definitely planning on it, but I can’t give you a timeline just yet. If you’re headed to the parks in the next couple of weeks, ping me though (henry@touringplans.com), we may have a private beta available at that point.

      • Wow, cool! I was expecting you to say that you guys only focus on WDW and that someone else would have to create such an app for Disneyland Resort. Do you know folks there that are gathering similar data?

        I don’t have plans on visiting anytime soon, but I’ll check back here if/when I do!

        • Hey RenMan, there are some iPhone-only apps out there that do similar things. You can check them on the app store. But I think our system will have a number of advantages.

          Thanks for the question! Feel free to help spread the word :)

      • Yay! We like to visit both parks and look forward to trying the DL version in April! 3 weeks until we try the WDW version! =)

  • ANy chance of an iphone app rather than it being web based?

    • Hey Scott,

      We’re solely focused on bringing the web app to as many platforms as possible right now. It’s possible we’ll do a native app in the future for (my beloved) iPhone, but I can’t say when or if! Be sure to try out the app though, we think it’s pretty darn close to the native experience in terms of look and feel.

      Thanks!

  • I just ordered an iPhone. Haha!
    Rush delivery, too.
    I’ve had a Sony Ericsson for the past half decade, and THIS is what put me over the edge.

    I can’t wait to use “Lines”!!!

    “Free for a limited time”, eh? Afterwards, will it be included for the paid subscribers? Will the rate increase because of this?

    • Excellent!! When we put up a testimonials page, we’ll include this!

      And yes, free during this preview period, and then will be a service for premium subscribers (inc. book). We have no immediate plans to increase the rate.

  • Anyone tried this on a Nokia N95? Will it work now or any time in the future ? Thanks.

  • I’m going to WDW in exactly one month and nearly wet my pants when I saw this! LOL. Anyway, my phone’s web browser goes to m.touringplans.com and am signed in but I don’t see the live app. So am I doing something wrong or is it just not gonna work on my phone? (Samsung Instinct). Too bad I can’t just borrow someone’s iphone for a couple days :(

    • Hey Sherry,

      We’re currently not supporting any Samsung phones–sorry! We’ll definitely keep you updated as to which phones we’re working on via this blog.

      Thanks!

  • We’ve been watching wait times on Lines now for a week or so since we just got our iphone. Some days wait times seemed logical, other days way off. Can user submitted wait times influence the estimated wait time for that day or are the user submissions only for “real time” informational purposes?

    • Hey Loren,

      Sorry that you’ve seen some off estimates! Please let me know at henry@touringplans.com if you notice anything odd. We’re working on updating our models constantly (and have already fixed a bunch of bugs). Hence the “Preview” version!

      As for user submissions, we currently factor in FP data heavily, but are not using standby times on the day for our own estimates (we do use it, however, for following days). However, any data put into the system becomes available to other users when they click on an attraction. This is particularly useful when dealing with attraction closures!

  • Henry, I’m sure you guys have thought of many features but here are a few suggestions I’ve heard about or thought of that I would like to see in a down-loadable app. 1)tie user submitted wait times to GPS and web time stamp to verify when and where they were when the wait time was submitted. 2)Have a built in stopwatch that will allow a user to pick an attraction, start the timer when they enter the queue, and remind them every few minutes so they don’t forget to stop the timer when they load the ride. The wait time can then be uploaded by the user once they exit.

    And there should be wait times for Beaches & Cream!

    I look forward to more upgrades. Thanks.

    • Hey Loren,

      Nifty ideas! We’re definitely thinking about GPS and how to best use it. Thankfully, more and more phones are making GPS available to its mobile browsers.

      Like the stopwatch idea! Generally we’re trying not to burden the users of Lines–but we could make something like this available to volunteers!

      10-4 on the BnC wait times :)

      Thanks for input!

  • (Err… I can’t find my prior post to tap this onto, but: )

    I just got my iPhone 3GS in the mail and we’ll be heading down to WDW TONIGHT!
    26: MK/BB/MK ; 27: AK/MK ; 28: E/MK ; 29: MK/HS ; 30: E

    Thank you so much for giving me the confidence to go during a busy season.
    (I suppose I should wait until afterwards to use praise though, eh? :P )

    Now:
    Do we still submit pictures of Fastpass tickets? Or, just fully switch over to this system?
    How long does it take to time out of the system?

    El problemo:
    Once someone marks something as “offline”, we’re dependent on someone else as marking it back as “online”.

    (Side question: If a ride is offline, do they stop giving out fastpasses? And, how much does a ride going offline effect the future wait times?)

    • When at AK today, in the morning the single rider to Expedition Everest was closed the first hour, so I marked it as such. Every time thereafter, I tried marking it as open, but the system wouldn’t take it.

      The wait times for today were WAY off, especially for Everest (3 or 4 times higher) and Dinosaur (walk on when listed to be ~20ish). Fastpass distribution seemed to be more accurate (by an hour or so).

      • Hey Samantha,

        Thanks for the feedback–sorry for the off estimates! Definitely have a lot more work to do for AK, and all the non-MK parks. Really appreciate the data and your time checking it out. Hope to make it through these teething pains!

    • Hey Samantha,

      Just to answer this one as well, hope you’re braving the crowds! No need to submit pictures since you have access to the app. Should be pretty easy to submit times this way.

      As for the offline problem, we’ve thought a lot about this. We don’t hide our estimate, just list the app as red. Red means “double check with a cast member to see if this attraction is open”. If it is, submit a new time!

      If an attraction is offline, aka ’101′ in cast member lingo, they do stop distributing FASTPASSes typically until the attraction returns to operation. They then open up the FASTPASS distribution again and flip the return windows up accordingly. When an attraction goes down, it will affect the wait times afterwards as there will be a swell when it comes back up. Typically it dissipates after an hour if the attraction hasn’t been down for too long.

  • I have an HTC TouchPro. We are leaving on Dec. 4th…. what are my chances of being able to access this info on my phone? U guys ROCK!

  • I read somewhere above that this works on Safari browser and I just logged in with my MacBook! It’s too big to carry around at the parks, but I will definitely look at this a bunch before my trip in March!! Can’t wait for Blackberry to be available!

  • I LOVE this program! We are going in mid January and I am wondering if it is possible to see line times for that far in the future.

    Thanks for this!

  • by Frank Pizzichemi on November 29, 2009, at 4:12 pm EST

    It looks good!

    Please let me know when it’s available for Windows Mobile 6.5.

    Thanks!!

  • Another vote here for BB Storm! I head to DW in early May – I think this is great!

  • I am looking into getting an anroid phone, specifically for my wdw trip. Am I correct at reading this supports all androids? I am looking at the my touch or Cliq.

  • Hello! Blackberry Storm please???!! We’ll be in the World in two weeks! Can’t wait to use Lines!

  • Add one more to the bb storm list.

  • Another BB Storm user here! We leave in 8 days – Can I test it for you while I am there?

  • Anouther Blackberry Storm here. We leave December 4th and have been checking back daily to see if you had anything for us blackberrys out there. Any chance you even have a test version for our trip?

  • Ditto on the Storm. We leave January 30th so I’m keeping my fingers crossed!!!

  • Henry
    Another vote for Blackberry Curve….I can not wait! UG ROCKS!

  • by Caroline Baggerly on December 6, 2009, at 10:51 pm EST

    Henry,
    You are the best!!! This is spectactular.
    Thank you.
    Caroline ;)

  • Just another vote for an application for Samsung (Rogue) phones after you finish Blackberrys and Windows Mobile. In time for April 1 would be even better! It sounds like a great site! Wish I could see it :(

  • Hey What Changed?. Yesterday I was able to take a look at the wait times from my laptop and today I am not able to see them. Did the URL Change?

  • I am going to WDW in mid February, and am hoping that I can get wait times on my Samsung Omnia, any chance of that?

    Scott

  • by David Ackerman on December 10, 2009, at 8:29 pm EST

    After 3 days of using lines at 3 parks (MK, EP and AK), it rocks! So far, the estimates have been close to actuals except for 12/9 at EPCOT when Soarin’ suddenly was about twice the estimates…

    Best part of lines is the ability to check wait times before walking across the park. When others are also adding wait times, you can be sure of what you’ll find. Also like the list of projections for the rest of the day along with projected peak.

    Yeah, there are weird peaks (like Primal Whirl right after Nemo lets out or the effect of a rain shower). So far, estimates are pretty close.

  • Lines looks great. I have an iPod Touch. Headed to MK in January and I will bring it along if there are any wi-fi spots in the park.

    Do you know if there are?

  • Just got back and used Lines on my Palm Pre 12/14 – 12/21. Great job! It was a big help…especially accurate in MK for most of the trip…but might have been a little behind the crowds over the weekend. Thanks!

  • by David Rosenberg on December 30, 2009, at 8:18 pm EST

    I have a verizon/lg EnvTouch. I can get to the website on the phone…but only get the splash page…am I doing something wrong?

    Thanks

  • by David Rosenberg on December 30, 2009, at 8:19 pm EST

    OMT…my daughter has an ITouch…can she use the app?

  • Another vote for WinMo. I have an HTC Touch Pro 2. Would have been nice to have this during our Disneyland trip at Thanksgiving.

  • My family will be heading to WDW in September. Hope it works for Samsung Impression by then!!!

  • Saved the URL onto my Nokia 5800 here in the UK and works great (with a few refresh problems).

    Roll on 1st April when I can use it for real! :)

  • Can I view current wait times via internet, but without using a smart phone? i.e. can I check them from home or from my hotel room at any given point in time from my PC?