FastPass+

MyMagic+ and Last-Minute Trips: Planned Spontaneity Advanced Course

by on July 24, 2015

Spaceship Earth MyMagic+

Sometimes you just need a last-minute trip to Disney World.

If you caught my previous article on planned spontaneity and MyMagic+, there is one flaw you might have noticed – it requires that you know far in advance that you are taking a trip to Walt Disney World. So the question is, “How do you plan for spontaneity when you decide to take a trip in the next 30 days?”

Before I launch into my method for planned spontaneity for last-minute trips, I first want to make one tiny thing clear: you don’t have to plan for spontaneity to be spontaneous on a trip to Disney World. (Don’t be alarmed, you read that right.) If you want to go sans FastPass+ and wing it with restaurants, you will still be able to have an awesome time. I prefer to use MyMagic+ to its fullest, and for me that means planning in such a way that I can go off-book about 50% of the time and have a plan the other 50%.  If you’re a planner like I am, then this should be right up your alley.

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Planned Spontaneity: MyMagic+ for the Spur-of-the-Moment Vacationer

by on July 17, 2015

Fastpasses

Ahhh, the good old days!

MyMagic+. Love it or hate it, it’s the reality of Walt Disney World vacations. Whether you are making dining reservations at 180 days or FastPass+ selections at 60 days, MyMagic+ is enough to make your average spontaneous vacation-goer break out in hives. Like me, I’m sure you’ve heard — an possibly participate it — talk of the good old days, where paper FASTPASSES were king and you could always find a walk-up reservation. Alas, we live in the now, and right now planning ahead is the name of the game. So, what is an impulsive tourist to do?

I’m going to preface my answer by first calling myself out as the type-A, uber planner that I am. I’m absolutely thrilled to have joined the Touring Plans team, in part because Touring Plans has fed my Walt Disney World planning obsession for years. It’s true, I think MyMagic+ is about as awesome as your average Disney cupcake, but I understand that I might be the minority on this one. (Don’t judge me!) But just because I am a planner, that doesn’t mean my traveling party is, so I’ve managed to develop a formula for leveraging MyMagic+ to its fullest advantage while leaving in room for those fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants types.

Festival of Fantasy Circus Swing

Looking to fly by the seat of your pants?

At this point I’m sure you’re asking, “What is this magical Disney secret?! Open those gates so I may unlock your secrets and exploit your riches!” (Humor me, people.) Are you ready for the big reveal? My huge secret to Disney happiness? This is it: I PLAN FOR SPONTANEITY. Before you start calling me crazy, follow my train of thought on this one. I know that if I want to eat at the restaurants I want, I have to make the reservations far in advance. I know that if I want to ride the rides I want, I have to book my FastPass+ selections as soon as the window opens. No matter what, these two things hold true. So if I want to have an unscheduled block of time to do whatever I decide in the moment, I have to plan for it.

Easier said than done, right? Not necessarily. I’ve spent the last couple of years improving my approach, and while it may not be perfect, it is pretty serviceable, if I do say so myself. I’ll walk you through my method step-by-step, and perhaps you’ll find some aspects that will work for your traveling party!

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The Land Pavilion Triple Play: Ride, Tour, Eat at Epcot

by on June 30, 2015

© Sarah Graffam

Epcot’s Behind the Seeds tour (photos by Sarah Graffam)

The Land Pavilion in Epcot’s Future World offers Disney World guests a cornucopia of experiences with its multiple attractions, a fantastic food court, a table service restaurant (that rotates!), and a behind-the-scenes tour. Even better is that many of these experiences are an excellent way to appreciate the original goal of Epcot—for guests to have fun while they learn. For these reasons, my family recently decided to complete a Land Pavilion Triple Play. Come along as we ride, eat, and tour at the Land Pavilion!

Creating a Touring Plan for a Triple Play

TouringPlans logoI decided that creating a personalized Touring Plan would be an excellent way to test the timing of spending an afternoon in Epcot experiencing the Land Pavilion’s attractions, taking its Behind the Seeds tour, and eating dinner at the Garden Grill Restaurant.

This plan would include a FastPass+ reservation at the Land’s Soarin’. To round out our allotment of three FastPass+ reservations per day, we would start our plan with just enough time to use FastPass+ at Spaceship Earth and the Seas with Nemo & Friends before heading to the Land Pavilion.

My first step was to book the Behind the Seeds tour. Booking the last tour of the day—at 4:30 PM—seemed like the best way to maintain a relaxed pace throughout the rest of our day. At the very latest, we would arrive at the Land Pavilion with enough time to experience the Living with the Land attraction before the tour. Living with the Land is a boat cruise through the same greenhouses where the in-depth Behind the Seeds walking tour takes place. This makes it a perfect way to get excited for the tour.

© Sarah Graffam

Guests enjoying Living with the Land boat attraction

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Day-Of FastPass+ Availability at Walt Disney World Update

by on May 6, 2015

We did our first blog post on FastPass+ availability back in September 2014. Since then, we started showing FastPass+ availability for the current day and the near future at http://touringplans.com/walt-disney-world/fastpass-availability. Now that we have more than a year’s worth of data, we have sufficient information to dig a bit further into the analysis. The tables below show when same-day FastPass+ reservations run out based on crowd level.

FP+ Run Out - Magic Kingdom

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Go West, Magic Kingdom FastPass+ User

by on April 7, 2015

I’m working on an update to the Magic Kingdom chapter of the Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World. A lot of it is fact-checking, which, in a book like the Guide, is a pretty big task. But it’s also a chance to find new ways to explain how the park is changing.

We do a section in the chapter that describes how FastPass+ affects traffic in the park. I adapted the latest standby wait data from our statisticians, to a map of the park. Here’s the result:

MK FastpassTraffic

Green attractions are those where standby waits are lower with FastPass+; orange attractions are those with higher average standby waits. So what FastPass+ is doing is moving people from Tomorrowland and Fantasyland, to Adventureland and Liberty Square, maybe with a quick stop along the way.

If this was a map of migration patterns in the United States, we’d say people were leaving Newark and Philadelphia for Phoenix, Palm Springs, and Denver, by way of Louisville.

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5 My Disney Experience Mistakes—and How to Avoid Them

by on March 31, 2015

Disclaimer: While I am a Cast Member, the following is based on my own experience and does not necessarily reflect the policies of the Walt Disney Company.

If you’re reading this blog, you probably like to plan ahead. The introduction of My Disney Experience has provided us with so many ways to fine-tune your vacation before you even arrive. But if you’re not careful, My Disney Experience can cause problems for your vacation before it even starts. Pay close attention to these tips so you’re well prepared for your Walt Disney World vacation.

my disney experience

Sign in to start planning, but beware…

1) You don’t have a ticket for each person.

Each person needs to have park admission in order to get into the park and to make FastPass+ selections. If only some people on your account have park admission, you will only be able to select FastPasses for that many people. So if you select FastPasses for the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train and to meet Anna and Elsa for your ticket, anyone else in your group who does not have tickets will not be included in the FastPass.

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Daisy Lauren’s Best Week Ever: March 26, 2015

by on March 26, 2015

Hi, Everyone! Welcome to the Best Week Ever here at Walt Disney World. This week we’re visiting the Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort, spending an evening at the Magic Kingdom, and stopping by Epcot. Who is ready for some special Easter fun?

If you’ve never visited during this time of year you might not know about a special display at the Grand Floridian. For just a few special weeks, incredible hand painted candy eggs are put out on display in the lobby of the hotel. Each of these eggs weigh between 9 and 12 pounds and stand anywhere from 16 to 20 inches tall. It’s pretty incredible to see! Starting with this special egg that’s on display in the lobby at the villas:

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Want to see more of this awesome Easter display? Be sure to click to read more! :)

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Daisy Lauren’s Best Week Ever: March 19, 2015

by on March 19, 2015

Hi, Everyone! Welcome to the Best Week Ever here at Walt Disney World. This week we’re visiting the  Magic Kingdom, making a quick stop at Downtown Disney, and spending an evening at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Not to mention we’re enjoying a quiet dinner at Mama Melrose’s Ristorante Italiano! Who is ready for some fun?

I normally try to put things in order, but this week I decided to start with this killer sunset instead! From all the way in Tomorrowland I had no idea the sky was lighting up until we breezed by on the Tomorrowland Transit Authority PeopleMover. Luckily, I managed to snap this one shot! It seemed like the perfect way to start this week. :)

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Want to see what other trouble we got into? Be sure to click to read more!

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Video: Peter Pan’s Flight Interactive Queue at WDW’s Magic Kingdom

by on March 18, 2015

Take a tour of the Peter Pan’s Flight interactive queue without waiting in line. (Photos/video by Seth Kubersky)

As we reported earlier this year, the new interactive queue at Peter Pan’s Flight has now been active for several weeks. However, thanks to the wonders of FastPass+, I’d managed to avoid experiencing Fantasyland’s newest high-tech holding pen…until now.

During my recent trip to Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom to test MDE’s new lunch preordering procedures at Be Our Guest, I filled up my daily FastPass+ dance card with dwarfs, enchanted furniture, and a certain mermaid, leaving no room for a pre-reserved trip to Neverland.

Accordingly, I took this opportunity to record a full walk through of the Peter Pan’s Flight interactive queue elements, which are themed around an exploration of the Darling children’s bedroom.

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Daisy Lauren’s Best Week Ever: March 12, 2015

by on March 12, 2015

Hi, Everyone! Welcome to the Best Week Ever here at Walt Disney World. Get ready because this week we’re visiting Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Downtown Disney, Magic Kingdom and taking another look at the Flower and Garden Festival at Epcot. Wow, it was a busy week! Let’s get going! 

The weather has been very overcast for the past week or so, but that didn’t make the view below any less sweet! This was my first time seeing the Studios hat free in fifteen years and I made a special trip just to see it.  I vividly remember when I was a little girl that before the park would open Goofy would dance and play in front of the theater. I’d totally forgotten until I saw this again. I also remembered the Rocketeer “flying” from the roof with his jet pack. Anyone else remember these things? Let me know in the comments below! I’d love to reminisce with you. :)

IMG_3284

Of course, since I was there I had to check out what else was new for you. Click to read more to see what other trouble we got into this week.

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