by Ryan Kilpatrick on November 28, 2011
I am Type A to be sure, so the structure of following one of our Touring Plans is very appealing to me. However, that’s not always the case with the people I travel with on a trip to Walt Disney World. My wife, for example, is not always interested in having her every move dictated to her by the phone in my hand. For people like her, there are the Not-A-Touring-Plan Touring Plans.
The idea behind the Not-A-Touring-Plan Touring Plans is to give a general idea of where you need to be at any given time, but not dictate every single ride in order. For example, in the Magic Kingdom plans, one of the steps directs the user to go to Adventureland and enjoy the attractions in any order. There’s no military precision of which attractions in which order. It’s not my style, but I thought it might be worth a shot.
On one of our recent trips, we tried this approach out as a compromise to my obsessive need to know where we are going next and my wife’s persistent desire to not have her vacation planned to the exact restroom she will need to visit. Since it was time for the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival, we chose the Epcot Late Arrival Not-A-Touring-Plan Touring Plan for Parents and Adults. That gave us the time to sleep in, then go and enjoy ourselves in the park.
The plan calls for you to arrive at Epcot at 11 a.m. We did just that, arriving at the front gates around 10:45, giving us plenty of time to grab some bottled waters, breeze through security and enter the park right at 11 a.m. The first stop in the Not-A-Touring-Plan Touring Plan is to go to Soarin’ and try to secure some FASTPASSes for my favorite ride in Epcot. When we arrived at the Land Pavilion and trekked inside, FASTPASSes for Soarin’ were still available, but they were not valid until 7:00 p.m. that night.
No matter, as the Not-A-Touring-Plan had the answer. If we wanted to skip Soarin’, the next step was to go to Test Track and get a FASTPASS. This was a much better option, as FASTPASSes for Test Track had return times around at 1:05 p.m. By the time we got over there, it was already 11:25, so that was perfect for us. We snagged the magic tickets, then went on to the next step, which was to tour Living With The Land.
This was the point where we started doubting the plan a bit, since we had just been in the Land pavilion, and now had to hike all the way back across Innoventions Plaza to ride the boat ride through agriculture. The back and forth was not what we wanted, but we were determined to stick to it and give the plan a chance. I’m glad we did, because things really started going well from that point.
We rode Living With The Land, then followed the plan back to Future World East, walking through Innoventions and looking around at the different attractions there. By the time we played around in Innoventions, it was time for our Test Track FASTPASSes to be used, so we walked on to that attraction. Then, according to our plan, it was time for a trip to Spaceship Earth, which was also practically a walk on attraction.
By the time we exited the slow moving journey through time, it was almost 2:00 p.m. Since we had enjoyed a late breakfast, we were just getting hungry at that time. That fit in perfectly with the Not-A-Touring-Plan Touring Plan, because our next step was heading to Future World West and riding the attractions there. The only thing we were interested in was Journey Into Imagination, which was also a walk-on. So we rode that quickly, then headed to the next step, a tour of World Showcase beginning at Canada.
Grabbing some lunch at the Food & Wine booths near Canada, we began our counter-clockwise tour of World Showcase. This was next to the last step on the plan, so we had plenty of time to enjoy it. We began around 3:15 p.m., and kept going until around 7 p.m. that night. The final step in the plan was staying to see IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth, but we were too tired and ready for some other entertainment to do that.
So did this different approach work for us? Absolutely. I was very skeptical, I don’t mind saying so. I love the structure of the normal Touring Plans, and was worried early in the day that we were wandering around and not finding something to actually do. Once we got on Living With the Land, though, everything else we hit was basically a walk on. How often can you say that at Disney World? If you are less of a commando style touring person, then I would definitely recommend the Not-A-Touring-Plan Touring Plans.