Your Feedback Wanted for New Optimized Touring Plan User Interface

by on January 14, 2012 108 Comments

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Folks here have been hard at work designing the next version of the Touring Plan Engine user interface.  With this new UI, we hope to make it as easy as possible for you to create and optimize your own Disney touring plan.

Many of you have made suggestions on how to improve the UI, and many of these suggestions are in the new screens.  Below is a link to an Adobe PDF document which shows the basic layout and functionality of the new screens.  Please take a few minutes to review the screens (and our notes, below) and provide your feedback on how they look.

Thanks very much!


Here’s the PDF of the new screens: Touring Plan UI v3


Page 1 – The top of each page now includes a numbered set of chevrons showing where you’re at in the process of creating a touring plan.  We’ve also explicitly separated choosing attractions from planning meals and breaks.  Our feedback shows that the old UI did not explain clearly how to plan meals and breaks, and this resulted in poorly optimized plans.

The rest of page 1 contains basic high-level information about the plan, including the park you’re visiting, the date and time of your visit, and any notes you want printed at the top or bottom of each page.

We’ve moved the “select a date” part of the process to the first page because it simplifies the rest of the process.  For example, if we know that you’re visiting the Magic Kingdom on July 4, later steps in the process will show you the special holiday entertainment that’s only available that day.  And if you’re not visiting on July 4, we won’t make you scroll through a list of those things.

Page 2 shows how Step 1 looks when you select a date which has Extra Magic Hours.  We’ll ask if you’re going to take advantage of these, and if you are, we’ll automatically set the tour’s start and end times.

Page 3 shows how you’ll select attractions and shows for your touring plan.  To make it easier to find attractions, we’ve separated them into four categories: “Headliner Attractions & Shows” includes all of Disney’s classic attractions, from Dumbo to Expedition Everest, and popular shows such as Beauty and the Beast.  Our data indicate that these represent the vast majority of steps in your touring plans, so separating these out will allow you to quickly select what you want to see most.

“Entertainment and Parades” includes secondary live entertainment such as the Magic Kingdom’s Dapper Dans, Epcot’s Off Kilter and the Jammitors, plus afternoon and evening parades.  “Seasonal Items” includes holiday entertainment such as Holidays Around The World, plus events held only during Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party and Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party.  Finally, “FASTPASS Booths” contains the list of FASTPASS booths for FASTPASS-enabled attractions in the park.

You’ll be able to sort the attractions by name, by the land they’re in, and by the Unofficial Guide’s star rating.  You’ll also be able to filter the list of attractions so that the page displays only those attractions in a certain land, or which conform to a specific height requirement, or that allow guests to remain in wheelchairs.  For example, if you wanted to display only those attractions for which a 42”-tall child could ride, you’d use the height restriction filter on this page to exclude attractions with a higher height requirement.

You’ll choose how many times you want to ride each attraction by clicking the + and – icons on the right side of the page.  As soon as you indicate you’re riding an attraction at least once, you’ll be able to enter notes for that attraction by clicking the “Notes” icon on the right.

If you’re creating a touring plan that doesn’t need computer optimization, Page 4 shows how you’ll select FASTPASS booths to visit during your plan.  If you later decide that you want the computer to optimize your plan, we’ve put a reminder message on this page to let you know that the computer may adjust, remove or add FASTPASS booths to your plan.

Page 5 shows a new “Quick Search” feature for attractions.  Quick Search lets you enter a couple of letters and then displays all of the attractions whose names match those letters.  This is useful when you remember a word or two from an attraction’s name, but not the entire thing.  For example, Disney recently renamed Cinderella’s Golden Carrousel to Prince Charming’s Regal Carrousel, and this confused lots of people who went looking for the Cinderella version.  Now, simply typing in the letters “car” would display the Carrousel (and Walt Disney’s Carousel of Progress).  By narrowing down the list of choices, it should be easier to find what you’re looking for.

Page 6 and Page 7 show how to include meals and breaks into your plan.  You’ll choose a location, a time of day and duration for the meal.  (We’ll also include a place for you to store your ADR# if it’s a sit-down meal.)  The bottom of Page 6 summarizes your meals and breaks.  Page 7 shows how we’ll organize the restaurants for easy identification: Sit-down restaurants are grouped and alphabetized, as are counter-service and other locations.

Page 8 is our new “Evaluate and Optimize” screen.  The top of the page summarizes your plan’s park, date and time.  You’re also able to edit these settings from this page (shown on Page 10).  If editing these settings changes the list of attractions offered in that park on the new date and time, we’ll tell you before changing the date (shown on Page 11)

The second section on Page 8 is similar to the current UI in allowing you to set your preferred walking speed and preference for walking versus waiting in line.

Your plan’s steps are shown in the third section.  Just like the current UI, you’ll be able to drag and move around any of the steps in the plan.  For example, if you wanted to ride It’s a Small World before Dumbo, you’ll be able to click on It’s a Small World and drag it above Dumbo in the plan.  You’ll also be able to edit each step’s notes (pages 12 and 13), and add and remove steps in the plan.

This page will also display the expected arrival time at each step in your plan, plus the expected time you’ll spend waiting in line, how long the attraction or show lasts, and the walking time to the next step.  We’ll also tell you whether you have any free time available between this step and the next, which is really useful for bathroom breaks, shopping and exploring the parks.

Page 9 shows the bottom of the “Evaluate and Optimize” screen, where we’ll present you with three options.   The most familiar of these is the “Optimize” button, which asks the computer to put your plan’s steps in the most efficient order possible.  Again, if you’ve got any FASTPASS booths in your plan, there’s a chance the computer will either move or remove them, or add others based on what it thinks is the most efficient route through the parks.

The Evaluate button is new, and is a suggestion from our readers who are theme park veterans.  These folks already know what they want to see and have a good idea of how to do it.  These folks have asked for a feature where our computer models don’t re-order their steps, but just “score” their plan as-is, telling them how long we think each step is going to take.  When you click this button, we’ll keep your plan exactly the way it’s shown, and attempt to tell you the arrival, wait, and walk times for each step, as well as each attraction’s duration and any free time we think you’ll have.

Click the “View and Print” button when you’re satisfied with your plan, and we’ll display the standard touring plan map with icons for each step and for restrooms, as well as all the steps and instructions you’ve previously supplied.

Pages 14 and 15 show what the finished, print-ready touring plan will look like.

Posted on January 14, 2012

108 Responses to “Your Feedback Wanted for New Optimized Touring Plan User Interface”

  • Is there a way to remove the optimizations? I tried it and wasn’t happy with the results, so I rearranged it, but now it has the optimization info at the bottom and for custom, they each have a not saying that step can not be optimized. I just want to remove all the optimization information for printing. Thanks

  • Hi I am trying to make plans up. I had no problem earlier today but now I am trying to delet items off a plan and it won’t let me. can you help me?

    I am trying to delet everything after leave the park. Thanks so much