Introducing Lines, Your Unofficial Guide To Wait Times

by 363 Comments

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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”

  • Just downloaded in preparation for an upcoming trip and it looks fantastic. But one quick question: When adding wait times I see how to enter the posted and Fast Pass info, and I reckon you can add your wait time as well, but do I have to know it? In other words will I have to remember when I got in line so I can calculate how long I waited, because I won’t (I ain’t that smart! :-) ). It would be nice to hit a button saying “I’m in line” and another that says “I’m riding” and have the app compute the wait time. Or maybe that already exists and I missed it? Anyway, can’t wait to use this in the parks! Thanks.

  • by Johnnie Hamill on February 9, 2010, at 5:29 pm EST

    Just want to let you know that you have made ALOT of improvements since I test drove it in September of 2009. I can hardly wait to use it again in August 2010!

  • Will there ever be a version of Lines for Disneyland?

  • I have T-Mobile’s HTC Touch Pro2 and wondered if you will offer support for it.
    thanks!

  • I’m currently accessing the data via my PC and I’m having trouble w/ what I’m seeing. OK, around 7:30 the actual standyby wait time was listed as 53 minutes with posted at 60. Someone submitted the standby time as 120mins. Which do I believe? The model saying 53….the posted at 60 or the user w/ 120? Do you verify the 120??? That is does a user say I’m in line, I’m at the ride, and UG calculates the time and verifies they’re really in line? Or is someone just saying it took 2hrs to throw things off? Sorry for the long post, I think this is a GREAT app, just want to know where to put the most credibility. One more thing, just want to make sure when you’re comparing prior yrs I hope it isn’t strictly by the date (i.e. 3/28/09 and 3/28/10) b/c with Easter moving around that makes a HUGE difference in spring crowds this yr, compared to last. Look forward to a reply. Thank you!

    • They are very particular about their crowd ratings, they do not just go based off of the numerical date. They take more than just history into account: they also look at school schedules, local events (conventions), park events, etc.

      A 120 wait time (when it should be 53) is likely that the ride was closed earlier in the day. They do have back ups for credibility and they will ban naughty users. You can check a person’s history to see how credible that individual is (ie- if they’re a regular, or if this is their first time posting), in order to help make a judgement call.

      The upside is that the line would only be 120 minutes if the park were busy… which means that if someone were to lie, someone else would come along and correct that lie. People posting wait times that are outrageously outside of the predicted estimation, puts up a red flag for those users and does not effect Touringplan’s current nor future predictions.

      Wait times are almost always shorter than posted times. Touringplans has done so much research that they know what the ratio is, so they know what the true wait times are.

      • Thank you. That helps me to understand the data!!

        • Also go check out the topic (presently it’s on page two of the blog) “Disney Reacts To Large Crowds By Increasing Park Hours At The Magic Kingdom
          by Fred Hazelton on March 16, 2010″

          For last year’s Spring Break, DisneyWorld and TouringPlans underestimated the crowds. That could also be what’s going on.

          You should be able to tell if this is true by seeing if it’s not just one ride, but all headliner attractions that are suffering.

          • Hi again, It’s like TSMM today. Lines is saying it’s a 50 and now 60 min standy wait. But 3 ppl have posted the actual posted standby as 120mins. Which is what I would expect, the week leading up to Easter. That’s why I was asking about the model assumptions.

            I’m not saying this isn’t VERY difficult. Years ago I had a similar disc’ns w/ Len when UG first expanded their daily crowd level predictions. I empathize there are MANY factors to be considered in developing the model and the goal is to generate a good predictor not hit actual every time.

            But intuitively, don’t you think a crowd level 10 day, at THE hotest ride in the park, the week leading up to Easter, would have a wait time of 120 mins by now vs the predicted 60??? The forecast for the day never predicts higher than 82 mins. It just doesn’t make sense. And yes, Disney expanded hours….they usually do the week or so before a heavy travel period. And they add in more shows. Wouldn’t you factor that into your assumptions and generate diff’t forecasts?

            I don’t mean to sound snippy, I really LOVE UG and just want to help make this app the best it can be!

    • Hey Janet, we chatted via email. Sorry for not keeping up the comments here better!

  • I like the changes you’ve made and the descriptions explaining the diff’t times.

  • What about iPod Touch? It’s 90% iPhone. It only supports wi-fi. So, can I ‘load-up’ my Lines app off my hotel room’s wireless before heading out for the day? I realize I won’t receive user-submitted times and won’t be able to submit times myself. But taking with me whatever’s current just before heading out the door would be great.

  • Hi, I have the HTC Ozone through Verizon and was looking to download this app for our trip to WDW June 3-6. I see there is a money-back guarantee- so if my phone is not supported (which I’m assuming I will have to subscribe to find out?), then will I be able to get a refund?

  • You can download the app without a subscription. As such, it will tell you the park hours for the day and like … wait times for one of the rides in the park/ some other similar function that will show you if it works on your phone.

    Lines can also be accessed via going to m.touringplans.com- which works for sure with the safari browser. <– a suggestion for if your phone has browsing abilities but does reject the app.

    I would assume your are correct about the garuntee, it sounds like that is exactly why it is in place.

  • Hi, does anyone know if you can Lines via the iPad?

    Thanks

    • Seeing as they had a contest for the first usage of iPad in WDW and seeing that it was developed for iPhone originally, I would say yes! You would have to get the data plan though because there is no wifi in the park.

  • I just looked at lines for the first time. I can’t tell how to look at the forecasts for the next day. Can anyone give me a hand?

  • Do you support the Palm Centro?

    • Hey Lara,

      We don’t support it officially, but you can find out what it looks like by navigating to http://m.touringplans.com/ on your Centro and seeing what it looks like in demo mode. If you can click around and see the wait times reasonably well, odds are it’ll work fine for you in the parks!

  • by Ben Campbell on July 25, 2010, at 9:15 am EST

    I just want to know if your programs would work with my phone it is a Palm treo 755p
    thank you
    Ben Campbell

    • Hey Ben! We don’t officially support it, but you can check for yourself! Just navigate to http://m.touringplans.com and try it out a “lite” version of the app.

      • Lets just hope you port IE9 to WP7 soeonr rather than later. IE for Windows Mobile has been implemented terribly in the past. I’m really concerned that users won’t be able to change the default browser in WP7.We want a mobile browser like IE9 that supports standards as well as flash and silverlight. It needs to run quickly and show embeded video.

  • So do we report the actual time we waited in line or the time that Disney says? Going next week.

  • I’m looking into a very inexpensive prepaid phone with internet capability. This phone would be used exclusively for LINES. I’ve chatted with AT&T, and they suggested using the Nokia 2720 ($11) plus 200MB ($20). This phone uses Opera Mini as its internet browser (which is now an approved browser on the iPhone). Should this work?

  • How about a native b-berry app and not just the crappy browser? If you did an Android app then porting over to native b-berry is pretty simple.

    Nice app – even in the b-berry browser.

  • Just wondering when and if you are going to make a stand alone APP for the Blackberry?

  • Great application! I’d just like to put in my vote for a native Windows Phone 7 application (although the browser based application works fairly well).

  • I am a huge fan of the Unoffical Guide and crowd calendar. Thank You!!!

    When wil there be a version of lines for Windows Phone 7?

    Best Wishes – Eric

  • It sounds like a wonderful app and as a swubsciber to the website I would love to use it for our trip later this year but I have one problem: It is not available in the Swiss itunes store. Tried to get it from the US store but not allowed to purchase from abroad. Can anyone help?

    Many thanks and keep up the brilliant work
    Mairi

  • i have a nokia e71. Its a smart phone but apparently cant get lines app. Im going end of may. Is there any hope???????? Thanks-love the site

  • Please support windows phone seven!

  • Hi
    I have an early generation iPhone, bought the subscription and loaded the app, but itunes is saying it can’t load it. Is there any way around this?

  • How about a version for Windows Phone 7?

  • Will you ever include a map of the park with your app? I love the app but wish I had a map too.

  • I, too, would like to see the app for Windows Phone 7.

  • Any plans to support windows mobile phones?

  • I am an online subscriber to Touring Plans and would like full access to Lines on my Android phone. How do I get it to recognize that I already have a subscription? I don’t see a place to log in once I download the app to my phone and since my subscription is good for another couple of months, I don’t need to renew my subscription yet.

    Thanks for the help!

  • Hi, I just want to ask if the app needs a data plan to activate the app. I would be travelling from Canada, so I am not sure whether my data plan would work on Florida.

  • by Diane Lyoness on March 2, 2011, at 11:32 am EST

    I cannot access touring plans from my Bell Samsung A860 mobile phone.
    any chance it will work by April 2, 2011?

  • I have an HTC Wildfire Android smartphone through Alltel. I cannot get Lines on the Android Market, nor can I download it from the website. I was able to install it on an Android tablet (a rooted NookColor), but I can’t get it on my phone. What gives?

    • I have exactly the same problem. I’ve contacted touringplans directly about this, but as yet have had no response. My guess (and it is only a guess) is that the app would work if only the HTC Wildfire were able to install it, and that the problem is with the specified requirements for the app, rather than the app itself.

      • Okay, I found a workaround for this problem: I took the apk file from another Android device where Lines had been successfully installed (com.touringplans.lines.android.apk) and copied it directly to the /data/app folder of my HTC Wildfire (I used the app “Root Explorer” to do this). Now, Lines works perfectly on my HTC phone! I don’t know why we can’t get the app through the Android Market, but it does work on HTC phones. Maybe Henry Work can make the apk file available as a direct download for those of us who can’t get it on the Android Market?

        • Thanks, Timothy. It’s good to know that my guess was correct – but a pity that the application is unavailable to Wildfire users when it actually works. I’m not sure I’ll have the ‘courage’ to try your solution (I don’t want to risk messing up my phone at this stage), so I guess I’ll just use the browser version.

  • Hi! I LOVE this app!

    I am using an iPhone and I was wondering if there was a way to sort the reported wait times? Perhaps by name or location, as opposed to having to scroll through the list and search for the ride/attraction i want by when it was last updated…

  • What about the Nokia E71, and the like, running the Symbian OS? It’s a hugely popular phone on Straight Talk, so much so that it rarely stays in stock! Lines would be excellent on that line of phones!

  • Any plans for Windows phone support?

  • I have signed up for this, my question is ……… is this an actual application I can download on my Blackberry Torch or do I have to use a browser signin etc to use it, I’m hoping from what I’ve read its an actual browser I just haven’t quite figured out how to do that yet, ho hum.

  • Just want to echo the other comments for a Win Phone 7 native app. Going to WDW in August…maybe it will be ready by then? :-)

  • If I buy a subscription to Touring Plans, can both my husband and I use the subscription on our iPhones, AND the iPad? Or would we have to get three separate subscriptions to access it from each of our devices???

    • Well, I am not sure what the official response is, but I can tell you that I’ve been logged into the same account on my PC and my phone at the same time, so it looks to me like you would probably just need the one account.

  • Great App. Been using it for a year now. Would LOVE to see a Win Phone 7 App. Noticed quite a few others asking for it too.

  • Waiting for Windows Phone 7 app. =)

  • by Aaron Bregel on July 3, 2011, at 4:00 pm EST

    I would love a Windows Phone 7 application. While ports are generally slower than writing from scratch there are API mapping tools that you can use from your iOS or Android codebase. http://windowsphone.interoperabilitybridges.com/articles/api-mapping-tool-iphone-ios http://windowsphone.interoperabilitybridges.com/articles/api-mapping-tool-android

    I will dev unlock my WP7 phone and test out a build from y’all when I am at DLR next weekend of you like :)

  • Just another vote for a Windows Phone 7 app, and my phone is dev unlocked, so I’m happy to beta test too. :-)

  • I got the Lines app for my new iPhone 4, and it looks great! We are going next month, and I can’t wait to try it out.
    I have a question about a feature I would love to have in Lines, but I couldn’t find it so I assume it doesn’t exist. Do you have a place where you can favorite the Touring Plans that you like so that it is easier to find them once you are actually there on vacation? Or even a favorites on the website account? It is so wonderful to have all those plans, but I don’t need to access all of them when actually there. How great would it be to have a couple of “favorites” for each park that I can quickly access when I need to?!?! :)
    Anyway, just wondering if that was something that had been considered, and thanks again for the great app!

  • REALLY Need to get a Windows 7 app!!! I am a travel agent and frequest visitor to the Disney Parks! Would LOVE LOVE LOVE this app if I could get it on my Windows 7 phone!

  • Another vote for a Windows Phone native app. There are more apps available for WP now than for Blackberry…just sayin’… :)

  • Here’s another vote for a Windows Phone native app. Have we convinced you?

  • Yet another vote for WindowsPhone.

  • Heading down in a couple weeks with our Windows 7 phone….soooo sad there is no app yet:( Hope it’s next in line for your dev team! THANKS!!!

  • Hi there, love the web browser based version but it would be even better if you guys released a version for Windows Phone 7.

    Keep up the great work.

  • Yet another request for a Windows Phone 7 version of the app.
    -Mike

  • Please.. How about a Windows Phone app. The demand is obviously there :)
    Especially with Nokia pushing this now.. They are a top platform and Gartner even predicts they will pass iPhone.
    Please!!!!