Planning With My Non-Disney Family: Touring Plans

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If you regularly read our blog you may recall I’m planning a trip with my entire family. They’ve all been informed that we will be following Touring Plans since we will be traveling during the busy President’s Day break. While I will do my best to customize the plans we use for our specific needs, it is really best to at least use one as a jumping point. But which ones? So this week I thought I’d take a look at some of the options and share which ones I thought might work best for us and maybe your family too.

Why should you use a Touring Plan? Well if you’d like the save up to four hours in line this is the way to do it! Our researchers have poured countless hours into developing and testing these plans to help you navigate the parks in the most efficient way possible. If you are concerned about losing spontaneity while using Touring Plans, you don’t have to stick to them like glue. You can customize them to your own needs, but just be aware that you may be taking a risk if you wander too far off track.

There are many different plans for different needs and age groups so I needed to sit down and go through some of them to decide which would be best for us. To best understand my Touring Plan choices let’s have a little background on our group and our needs. First and foremost, no one in my family has been to Walt Disney World in the last 20 years if they’ve been at all. They are clueless and heavily relying on the family Disney nut to lead the way. My nieces and nephew will range in age from 6 to almost 2 years old at the time of our trip and our activities will be mostly centered on them. Their parents (my brother and sister-in-law) should be the easiest to accommodate since they are relatively fit and in their 30s. My parents will be more of a challenge since they are in their 60s and my mom will probably have an ECV. They will need an afternoon nap just as badly as the kids! In the interest of my family not feeling the need to collapse and trying to minimize the time we wait in lines with three small kids, we’ll be using Touring Plans and taking breaks.

It seems as though the focus of our trip will be the Magic Kingdom. We’ll have the three young children and we’re staying on the monorail, so this park is the obvious choice for us. Since my family has its own personal tour guide (a.k.a. me) to advise against trying to tackle the entire park in one day we’ll be splitting up this park over a few days’ visits. Our main concern is keeping the kids entertained and getting them to the attractions they will like best, so we’ll be using the Two-Day Touring Plan for Parents with Small Children as our starting point. I’m sure we won’t follow it to the T because if girls want to ride Dumbo three times you know Auntie Kristen wouldn’t dream of telling them, “No, we have to stick to the Touring Plan!” This plan hits all of the family favorites throughout the park and is sure to be a hit with my family.

While we’ll spend the majority of time in the Magic Kingdom I think the kids will really love the Animal Kingdom as well. My oldest niece is quite the little scientist and she will love to see the animals, and the adults will enjoy the more leisurely pace and beauty of this park. Since we will be skipping most of thrill rides with our group we’ll be sure to take time to really enjoy the trails and scenery. I should also note we have an ADR for Tusker House that morning before park opening so we’ll be able to hit the ground running once our breakfast is finished. For this day we’ll use the One-Day Touring Plan for Parents with Small Children. This plan includes attractions like Kilimanjaro Safaris, character meet and greets, and stage shows. Everyone should be a happy camper following this one.

It is yet to be determined if we’ll make it to Epcot on this trip. I haven’t been able to convince the family there is enough for the kids to do here yet. If we do venture to my favorite park we’ll want to hit attractions like Turtle Talk with Crush and Journey into Imagination for the kids. Like the other parks, we’ll use the One-Day Touring Plan for Parents with Small Children here too. This plan skips over rides like Test Track since it wouldn’t be appropriate for the kids in our group. Hopefully I can convince them to give it a go!

I’ll be printing out copies of the plans to provide to the other folks in my group so they can keep up with our agenda. I’ll also be able to use our mobile app, Lines, to pull up our chosen plans. This option will even allow me to optimize my plan! If I select “optimize” in the Lines app our software will keep tabs on what’s going on around me that day and redirect me from problem areas. Maybe Peter Pan just went down, Lines would be able to tell me that and advise me to take my family elsewhere at that time. Pretty nifty huh?

I’ve got high hopes for these Touring Plans and my family trip! Hopefully using them will allow adults and kids alike to enjoy our time together and make memories that do not involve soothing cranky kids who have been standing in line too long. I’ll be sure to report back on our adventures in the parks!

Have you had great success using one of our Touring Plans with your family? I’d love to hear all about it in the comments!

 

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Posted on January 4, 2012

18 Responses to “Planning With My Non-Disney Family: Touring Plans”

  • I hope you can convince them to do EPCOT for at least 1/2 the day. My 2 and 1/2 year old loved Spaceship Earth, Seas with Nemo- including the ride, checking out the aquarium and turtle talk. He also loved imagination ride and the play area. If it is warm, nothing beats taking a 1/2 hour to play in the fountains! I found that there are 4-5 great things for kids at EPCOT, but that is plenty because they take a good 1/2 hour each (or more) if you let kids explore and play! It is more low key and you aren’t running from 5 min attractions to another 5 min attraction!

  • I’m with Nicole! Our 3 and 1/2 year old loves EPCOT… we spend 1/2 day in FutureWorld, and this year he was able to ride Soarin and Test Track. He loved both. We also spend 1/2 day touring the countries, and getting his passport signed (homemade). Honestly, it’s his favorite souvenier. Plus there are TONS of character meet ‘n’ greets in EPCOT. You gotta go!

    • At 3 1/2 he’s big enough to go on those? Awesome! My nieces are both really tiny for their ages so I’m not sure they’ll make it, but I’ll double check with their parents on their height. I’m pretty they’d be scared of Test Track either way, but Soarin’ might be fun. I also think they’d be into doing the passport so that’s good advice. Thanks for the comment!

      • Both Test Track and Soarin have a 40″ height requirement. My son was 41″ at the time, but he is on the tall side. Definitely check their heights because Soarin’ would be WAY cool for them to experience.

  • I might advise not printing out the plans for everyone, especially if you are all traveling together all day. We are traveling with another family in March and showing them the touring plans seemed overwhelming to them and they seem to be prepared for no rest and relaxation which is the opposite of what using touring plans will enable us to do. It may just be too overwhelming for the non-Disney nerd to view the plans.

    My advice would be to just have them follow you around the parks and don’t overwhelm them with the schedule.

  • Great post and I am looking forward to hearing more about the trip. For the second time my hubby and two girls are going to Disneyworld in October with my parents who are in their late sixties. The first time we went in 2006 I tried the Touring Plans but that was a bust so this time I made sure they knew we were “Touring” as its really the only way to go. We are staying on Monorail too and are allowing plenty of time for all of us to do our own thing as my hubby and girls go every year and tour faster than my parents will. Thank goodness no ECV this year…keep your fingers crossed.

  • One of my close friends is taking her two boys (ages 3 and 4) to the Magic Kingdom for two days in March. I directed her to TouringPlans.com and suggested the 2 day Touring Plan for Parents with Small Children. When I was looking it over I was really surprised that I saw Hall of Presidents on there…I can’t imagine her children enjoying this, but I told her she might as well give it a try since she and her husband who are English and US History teachers will probably love it. Maybe the boys can take a nap!

    My husband and I will join them for Day 2 of the plan and hope to use our tickets to get extra fast passes so we can take the boys on rides like Peter Pan and Pooh for a second round. After all, when the kids are around it’s all about getting them on the rides!

    • Thanks for spreading the word about us, Betsy! That’s be beauty of a Touring Plan; if you don’t think an attraction is right for your family you can simply skip it. But then again maybe the boys can get a nap in :)

  • I hope you can convince the fam for Epcot. Our daughter is 7 years old and this year’s trip will be her fourth trip to ‘The World’. Her favorite park is Epcot, the World Showcase, with so many character meet and greets and Kidcot activities, she is in heaven. We are headed back in a few months and are excited to experience Kim Possible this go round of the World Showcase. Enjoy the trip!

  • I really enjoyed your blog. I will be traveling to Disneyworld in March with my three grandchildren ages 1-4, their parents, my other daughters who are in their 20s, and my parents. I will have a wide range of ages and interests but we all agree that this trip is for the children! I made note of your plans, and will be looking into the Lines upgrade! We have not been to Disneyworld for many years and we are very appreciative of all the tips shared on both Touring Plans and Lines. Enjoy your trip!

  • I have really enjoyed your series of blogs on planning a family trip. I just planned a trip for myself, my husband, my brother, and his wife (it was her first time to Disney). They let me handle all the details, which was great! The only down side was the way they poked fun at me in the parks for using a Touring Plan and my Lines app. The running joke was, “What does Kristina’s phone say to do next?” Of course, they wouldn’t have laughed if they realized that not everyone experiences 15 attractions in 1 day at the Magic Kingdom, including a 4 hour break. Our longest wait of the day at the MK was 10 minutes, for the FastPass return queue for Splash Mountain at a time when the regular wait was 60 minutes, not typical for those going rogue!

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