Using the TouringPlans.com Tools – Part 3 – Lines

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I’ve talked the last couple of weeks about how I use the Crowd Calendar and the Touring Plans to plan my trip, but when I arrive on property, those tools move to the background.  When it’s time to set forth into the parks, I’m all about the Lines app on my phone. 

The boy knows to check Lines.

There may be better things that have been invented in my lifetime, but I doubt it.  Lines has literally changed the way I tour more than the Touring Plans or the Crowd Calendar.  Sure, there’s the wait times, which are very valuable, but there is so much more in Lines that I use to help me tour and also to enjoy my visits even more. 

The wait times are obviously the big benefit.  As much as I trust the Touring Plans, super statistician Fred Hazelton or noted raconteur Len Testa cannot be in the parks every single day.  Conditions on the ground change, right?   My plan always when following a touring plan is to check Lines before I walk over to the attraction, and make sure I’m making the right call.  Sometimes you see a red flag, like an attraction is down or the wait time is much higher than expected.  That helps adapt your touring to make sure you are still keeping with the plan. 

Even more valuable (at least to me), though, is the forecasted wait times.  If you click on an attraction in the app, you will get not only the most recently posted wait times, but also what the forecast is for the wait times throughout the day, as well as when the Fastpasses will run out.  This is so supremely helpful to planning my day when I am in the parks. 

Photo via Star Tours 2 Live

Let me give an example.  This past weekend, I was in Disney’s Hollywood Studios for Star Wars Weekends with my children.  My son being a HUGE Star Wars fan, I wanted to get him multiple rides on Star Tours.  While the Touring Plan calls for one ride between 10-11 a.m., I looked at the forecasted wait times and when FASTPASS would be gone on Lines.  I was able to see that I needed to modify my plans and hit Star Tours first, grab a FASTPASS and get back in line again in order to get the rides I wanted.

That’s just one example of how I use Lines, but it’s become an integral part of my touring.  The wait time forecasts are fantastic for what I mentioned above, but I am also able to select a certain touring plan that I want to follow for easy reference throughout the day.  I can also look at the Crowd Calendar forecast for upcoming days to see if I need to go to a certain park on a different day than I had planned. 

It’s very important to allow some flexibility in your planning process for just this reason.  Lines allows me to do that, because if I arrive and see some differences in wait times, I can adjust accordingly.  Also, if you are someone who doesn’t plan every single day, just some, Lines helps you get through those days by directing you to the right locations.  I know I’m gushing, but Lines really does make things better for me in the parks. 

So, that’s how I use Lines, but what about you?  Do you chat?  Try to get badges?  Or just use the wait times?  Let me know!

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Posted on May 31, 2011

16 Responses to “Using the TouringPlans.com Tools – Part 3 – Lines”

  • Besides the wait times, I love the Fastpass times feature on Lines. We’re just arriving in the afternoon at Epcot (having already toured the MK early in the morning), do we walk all the way over to the Land to see if Soarin still has Fastpasses available? Why do that when all I have to do is check my phone!

    As an avid park hopper, it also helps to determine which park we spend our aftenroon/evenings. Yes, we’ve consulted the Crowd Calendar, but on the day of Lines is there to help you decide!

  • Hi Ryan – we are going to try an use the Lines app again this year with better results. To be honest, the wait times given were off by at least 15-20 minutes on several rides we checked in our visit in June 2010 – I promise to post again and hope to rave over the app this time around – we will be there in 19 more days.
    Thanks for the blog!

    • I agree with you, Joe. My family tried using Lines on our November 2010 trip and it was not at all reliable. I have such high regard for anything Unofficial Guide and Touring plans, so maybe I was expecting to much. Most waits were about 10-30 minutes longer than the time posted on Lines. We were there over Thanksgiving so maybe the waits increased so fast that Lines couldn’t keep up??

    • My family had the same issue just last week. The wait times for lines was way off. I even posted the current times and was responed to with a text that read…although we appreciate your input, we find that our wait times are more accurate. That could not be farther from the truth. I was in all four parks using the touring plans and the crowd calander…then started to notice the line app was off by at least 10-15 minutes on average. Sometimes for the better, other times for the worst.

    • I hate to hear that, Joe. I can’t speak to how Lines works or how the accuracy would be, etc, because it seems to work fine for the most part for me. I think sometimes what can happen is that conditions in WDW will change dramatically, and Lines can’t figure that out until after it happens.

      An example of that would be what happened to me in Epcot on Sunday. I went to get Fastpasses for Test Track, then returned later that afternoon. The Fastpass line was out the door into the promenade. When we asked the cast member what was going on, he said that the Fastpass machines had malfunctioned that morning and given out way too many FPs. That caused the backup in the Fastpass line and the Standby line.

      A situation like that is something that Lines cannot “see” in advance. Now, who knows how often something like that happens, but it does, and that’s a situation where it pays to have a good Touring Plan as well.

      Again, hope that you have a better experience this time around.

  • Hi all! Im looking forward to using Touring and Lines for the first time this September! You mentioned badges…what are badges? Happy Travels ALL!!

    • The badges you get for submitting wait times. It’s a fun way to walk around the park. For example, you get a badge if you submit wait times for all the rides in Fantasyland. I’ve enjoyed collecting these a few times in my trips around the parks.

  • I have not used the lines app as I can’t get it on my particular phone but I’m using the forecasted line times to make a touring plan for a trip in December. I’m using all the info from this site to plan my days, which I had never done before, and I’m having a blast planning. I have even adjusted my arrival and departure days based on the info here. Can’t wait!

  • Loving the badges. I know its corny to post just to collect them, but its probably the gamer in me that I need to “level up”! Just wish I was independently wealthy and could go down more often to collect!

  • by David Ackerman on June 1, 2011, at 11:28 am EDT

    I was one of the “early adopters” of lines. I know that I was one of the first Blackberry users.

    Best part of Lines is input by other users. It lets you see “over the horizon” and avoid attractions that have gone down or which have blips in line length. Also lets you see what other users are in the park on a given day.

    For the most part, the projections work over the course of the day. They aren’t as accurate at any given instant since there are so many factors that shift in and out. For example, the wait for Pirates blips up right after the Pirates show and/or after characters appearing outside the attraction. It also blips when a nearby attraction goes down (like Jungle Cruise or Magic Carpets). It also can’t predict when a Brazilian tour guide will zip up with her charges in tow…

    My advice is to input wait times whenever you can. The extra data helps the Lines crew update their projections and it also lets your fellow Liners know what the current situation is.

    Oh yeah – it will also result in some cool badges.

    • Now that Touring Plans has the functionality of loading the plan, I would love to see a screen with some more detailed info that incorporates the plan with some of the other data available. Perhaps a step-by-step that shows your number on the plan and the wait time as you go.

  • Just got back from the World on Saturday – an awesome trip, but sorry to say the Lines App is of no help – it was consistently off by 20 minutes or more on most of the major attractions (Test Track, Space Mountain, Rock ‘ N Roller etc) but that is OK as long as you stick to the touring plan itself, which simply rules!