Trip Planning

Back to the Basics: Park Tickets at Walt Disney World

by on February 17, 2017

©Disney

You Guys, this is my 100th post with TouringPlans!

What better way to celebrate than another Back to the Basics episode?

To learn about park tickets at Walt Disney World, click below.

Park Ticket Video

Enjoy!

If I missed anything, leave a comment and I’ll do a FAQ video!

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TouringPlans Now Offers Full, Detailed Coverage of Washington, D.C.

by on February 13, 2017

Today is the day! We have been teasing full coverage of Washington, D.C. for a while now, and it is finally here. What we are offering you, our beloved reader, is complete coverage of every major museum in America’s capital city, as well as minor museums, monument, and diversions. As you probably expect if you’re familiar with TouringPlans, the detail we’ve amassed on everything — especially major attractions like the Air and Space Museum — is incredible. We even have full details about the relatively new National Museum of African American History and Culture.

It’s not just attractions, however, as we also walk you through riding the Metro (subway system) and give you our top recommendations on where to stay, where to eat, and the best spots for nightlife. We are still working on full Washington, D.C. Touring Plans, but you may find our 2017 Washington Crowd Calendar helpful as you plan your trip to this wonderful city.

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10 Tips for Visiting Disney World with a Large Group

by on January 23, 2017

I was recently lucky enough to visit Walt Disney World with two different sides of my family on the same trip. It was my first Disney vacation with a large group in quite a few years, and I learned some valuable lessons. First, few experiences can top sharing in the magic of Disney with the ones you love. We laughed. We cried. We had a wonderful time. But the next most important thing I learned was that planning a trip for a large group of family and friends can be a logistical nightmare. So I am here to present you with some tips to keep your mind, wallet, and relationships intact as you plan and experience your next Walt Disney World vacation.

#1 Communicate beforehand

First and foremost before any official planning takes place, groups should discuss their expectations for the vacation. While you don’t all need to be on the same page as far as likes, dislikes, goals, and budget, you should use this to guide the planning. Will it be a quick weekend trip or a two-week long extravaganza? An expensive retreat or budget friendly vacation? What are the must do’s, and what are the deal breakers? Remember that it’s okay if you’re not all on the same page as long as you can find some common ground. For example, if everyone can agree on a weekend, but a few people want to stay for a full week, then those people can just tack on extra days before or after the rest of the trip.

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Back to the Basics: Advance Dining Reservations at Walt Disney World + Video

by on January 17, 2017

I may have a cold, but that does NOT deter me from telling you all about Advance Dining Reservations at Walt Disney World!

To check out this TouringPlansTV video, click here.

For other Back to the Basics episodes, check out our YouTube page.

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Back to the Basics: Extra Magic Hours – Walt Disney World + Video

by on January 12, 2017

© Sarah GraffamIt’s Back to the Basics time!

Todays episode is about Extra Magic Hours at Walt Disney World!

Enjoy!

Click here for video.

Like this video if you noticed my cold and don’t forget to subscribe to YouTube page!

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Walt Disney World Planning: Order of Operations

by on January 11, 2017

Walt Disney World Trip Planning

I’ve been helping my middle school-age son with his math homework lately. And one of the things that has been a bit of a challenge is something called “order of operations.” Basically, when you have a complex, multi-step problem, you have to do your calculations in order. Take care of what’s inside of any parentheses first, then calculate any exponents. Next, do your multiplication and division calculations. Finish with any remaining addition and subtraction.

Well, the same principle applies to planning a Walt Disney World vacation, which is its own complex, multi-step problem. So consider this a step-by-step road map that will keep you on course and allow you to reach the correct solution: a successful Disney vacation. If you’re new to planning, I highly recommend using the services of a travel agent that specializes in Disney destinations. They can help guide you and answer any questions you might have along the way.

Parentheses (first things first)

Let’s assume you’ve already decided on a Walt Disney World vacation. Consider this step the parentheses of our equation: the one part you simplify and solve before anything else. The first crucial decisions in your planning are when and where you’re going to stay.

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Walt Disney World Healthy Eating: Sticking to Your Resolutions

by on January 2, 2017

Soooo, the new year is upon us, with the new year comes New Year’s resolutions, and one of the most common resolutions is to lose weight or eat healthier. The problem, however, is that you have a trip planned to food-and-beverage-Mecca Walt Disney World, where around every corner you’ll be tempted with decadent treats.  

How do you enjoy your trip without completely derailing your weight loss efforts?  I’m happy to report that I’ve managed to drop a significant amount of weight over the last several months, and I’ve done it while continuing to visit both Walt Disney World and Disneyland on the regular. Read on to find out how you can have a great time, eat well, and still lose weight (or at least minimize the damage) on your trip!

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How To Survive New Year’s Eve at Epcot (and Magic Kingdom)

by on December 27, 2016

Epcot’s New Year’s Eve fireworks are unlike any other show at Walt Disney World.

So you’re thinking about doing New Year’s Eve at Disney? Most people would think that’s ridiculous given the massive crowds, but after a few years of experience under my belt doing this very thing, I’m here to tell you, it can be a really fun day in Walt Disney World. Below, I’ll outline a few of my hard-learned secrets to a successful Epcot New Year’s Eve along with a few crowd-sourced tips from my colleagues here at TouringPlans for handling Magic Kingdom, as well.

Julia and Dani have already given some great tips on staying sane during phase closures and planning for crowds at Universal, and many of these rules also apply here, too. Though Epcot does not normally phase-close on New Year’s Eve, the same tips work for surviving the busiest days in any theme park. Dani’s tips about setting up Touring Plans ahead of time are also super helpful for making the most of your theme park visits during the last few weeks of the year.

Why Not Magic Kingdom on New Year’s Eve?

Despite the crowds, New Year’s Eve is a fun day, unlike any other you’ve spent in a park. One of the toughest parts of the day, though, can be actually getting in to a park. As Julia explained, phased closures are very common for this time of year, particularly at Magic Kingdom. This means that, depending on your ticket type and whether you have an existing dining reservation, you may not be able to enter or even hop on transportation to your chosen park.

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TouringPlansTV – Part 2 Review: Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Hotels + Video

by on December 20, 2016

Time for my Part 2 Review!

To check out the dining options, recreation and amenities at the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin hotels, click below.

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Visiting Universal Orlando during the busiest weeks of the year

by on December 20, 2016

There’s no place like home for the holidays, but it’s difficult to beat Orlando during this festive time of the year. Perhaps you’ve decided to visit Orlando during the final two weeks of the year. Being in the theme parks at Christmas time is magical, but takes some planning.  You’ll need to be prepared. In this post I’ll share some planning tips for visiting Universal Orlando during these last two weeks of the year, which are some of the busiest days in Orlando’s theme parks.

The Basics

With all the hustle and bustle of the holidays it is easy to forget the basics of theme park survival. So here’s a little refresher.

  • Dress comfortably, especially with regard to your footwear
  • Plan for changes in the weather, this means pack a mix of both warm and cold weather clothing, because here in Florida we experience both warm and cold weather in Winter, often from one day to the next
  • Stay hydrated with water (as opposed to soda, adult beverages, etc)
  • Use sunscreen, after all we are actually closer to the sun during Winter
  • Take breaks and rest throughout the day

The great news is Universal Orlando’s longest operating hours of the year are taking place right now through New Year’s Eve.

Coming up with a plan

Plans are what we’re all about here at Touring Plans, and this time of the year is one of the most important to have a good solid plan. The most effective way to do so is creating a custom touring plan through our site. All you have to do when creating your customized Touring Plan is to select which parks you’re visiting, your arrival time to the park, and plug in the rides and shows you want to make sure you experience. Then the service will calculate the best touring plan including exactly which order to visit the attractions and when in order to maximize your time (and sanity). This plan is based on a huge collection of data that will ensure you spend the least amount of time as possible in the standby wait lines.

Creating a custom Touring Plan on TouringPlans.com

If you’d prefer to create a plan yourself, make sure you’ve really determined what rides and shows you absolutely must do. Without the advantage of the Touring Plans data you’ll need to review the park maps and strategize your plan based on the location of the attractions you want to experience. You may want to also consider visiting some of the lesser known attractions at Universal, which typically will have somewhat reasonable wait times on busy days.

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