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More than 20,000 touring plans have been optimized since we launched the beta of our new software two weeks ago, and for that we’re thrilled! Also, many of y’all have submitted excellent suggestions for how to improve the user experience or the plans themselves. And while we’re keeping track of every suggestion, three things tend to get the most feedback. Today I’d like to update you on how we’re working on those areas.
First, we’re improving how we predict future show times for live performances and events. As many of you have recognized, the software needs show times if it is to build a touring plan that includes live performances. However, Disney only releases its full entertainment schedule about a week in advance. And that’s a problem if you’re trying to get an idea of what a good spring break plan is going to look like. Fortunately, we have a database of daily performance schedules going back at least three years. We’re going to use that to predict, for example, the most likely performance times of the Magic Kingdom’s Castle Forecourt show next February. It maybe off by a few minutes here and there, but it should be a solid first step. Keep in mind that you can re-optimize, too, when the official schedule is released.
Second, we’re re-designing the way you choose attractions. One of the great things about the software is that it can schedule up to 70 different things in the Magic Kingdom. We recognize, though, that sorting through a drop-down list of six dozen things each time you want to add a step, probably isn’t the best experience in the world. We’ve brought in a great designer to help re-imagine this part of the UI, and should have samples early next week for y’all to comment on. On a personal note, I’m really, really excited to see your feedback on how we can improve this aspect of the software.
Third, each plan will show the expected arrival times at each attraction, your anticipated wait, and how long it should take you to walk to the next step. This information has always been part of the plan, but we were concerned that showing it would cause undue stress if, for example, you ended up a couple minutes behind schedule. However, as some of you have pointed out, that extra information would be useful for knowing when you’re ahead of schedule, too, in order to repeat attractions, do some shopping, or grab a snack.
We expect to have the show schedules and arrival/wait/walk times available before the start of the busy Christmas holiday. The UI re-design should be done in January. Again, thanks very much for your feedback so far, and keep sending in suggestions!