Posts Tagged ‘Crowd Calendar’

The Magic Kingdom with ride breakdowns and limited FastPass+ options

by on March 18, 2016

MBig Thunder (4)y visit to the Magic Kingdom last Sunday could have been a disaster. I waited too long to make FastPass+ reservations, for one thing. When I did – three days before my trip – none were available for Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, and only late afternoon reservations remained for most Fantasyland attractions. Even worse, there were 3 long ride breakdowns during the day I visited – at Pirates, Big Thunder, and the Peoplemover – that would have been hard to handle without a computer to adjust my plan. But it gave us some great ideas for improving the Optimizer, our touring plan software. Here’s how my day unfolded.

Before I left, I made a copy of our standard Magic Kingdom One-Day Touring Plan for Adults. The Magic Kingdom was open from 9 AM to 10 PM, and we’d predicted a crowd level of 6 on our 1-to-10 crowd calendar. I was able to get these FastPasses:

Space Mountain at 9:15 AM

Big Thunder Mountain at 10:15 AM

Peter Pan’s Flight at 5:05 PM

I also set the touring plan walking speed to its fastest setting, and told it to minimize waiting in line. Here’s the touring plan the Optimizer came up with:

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The Basics: Using the Crowd Calendar to Decide When to Visit Disney World

by on February 10, 2016

This is a continuation of our Back to Basics Series. Scroll to the bottom to see our other Basics posts.

Are you planning a vacation to Disney World? Wouldn’t it be cool to just pick up and go right now? In my mind, I’m there already with nothing to do to but have fun. Unfortunately, a reality check reminds me that we all have jobs, many need to consider school schedules, and finances and budgets need to be in order. Given all of these considerations, how can you possibly make an informed decision about the best time for your Disney World trip?

Well, today is your lucky day because this article focuses on TouringPlans.com’s Disney World Crowd Calendar, a powerful tool designed to help you make a decision about when to go so that you spend the least amount of time in line. Plus, see a handy summary of how specific holidays and Disney World special events affect how much time you’ll be in line.

[Even more luck! If you are planning a trip to Disneyland or Universal Orlando—TouringPlans provides Crowd Calendars for these destinations too.]

© Sarah Graffam

© Sarah Graffam

How will the crowds be during your Disney World visit? Use TouringPlans.com’s Crowd Calendar to pick the best week for your vacation.

Deciding When to Go: First Considerations

First and foremost, as with any trip, there are two basic factors that are crucial to deciding when to go to Disney World and that provide the context for using the TouringPlans Crowd Calendar. These are: (1) when you can afford to go and (2) when your schedule allows you to go.

In terms of when you can afford to go, maybe your goal is to save up first, or you are expecting a work bonus to put toward vacation, or your budget will be a bit more flexible once that car loan is paid off. As for schedule, you likely need to work around school vacations, a project at work, or family obligations.

Another potential factor is Disney World’s schedule. Is there a special event or time of year you would like to visit? Is it a must-do or just a bonus if it lines up with your other best times for vacation? Also keep in mind that peak crowds bring peak prices at Disney World resorts.

Considering these factors is bound to narrow down the time when you will take your vacation, and this is when TouringPlans’ Crowd Calendar can become an integral part of deciding when to go. Matching up all of these factors—budget, schedule, and what you’d like to experience at Disney World—with the Crowd Calendar is an excellent way to pick the best week for your vacation.

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Universal Crowd Calendar Report – November 29 to December 5, 2015

by on December 8, 2015

How did the Universal Crowd Calendar do last week?

How did the Universal Crowd Calendar do last week?

If you prefer visiting parks with little to no crowd it doesn’t get much better than Universal Orlando last week. The Universal Crowd Calendar predicted that the resort would be around a crowd level ‘2’ all week and that is pretty much what happened. Some days crept up to a level ‘3’ and Wednesday dipped down to a ‘1’ but every day was a great day for low crowds.

Let’s look at how the crowd levels stacked up each day last week on the TouringPlans.com Universal Orlando Resort Crowd Report:

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Disneyland Crowd Calendar Report – November 29 to December 5

by on December 8, 2015

How did the Disneyland Crowd Calendar do last week?

How did the Disneyland Crowd Calendar do last week?

Last week, crowds at the Disneyland Parks followed the pattern predicted by the Disneyland Crowd Calendar but Sunday-Monday was a little less busy than expected and Tuesday through Saturday was a little busier. Crowds levels were higher at Disneyland than at Disney California Adventure most of the week.

Let’s look at how the crowd levels stacked up each day last week on the TouringPlans.com Disneyland Resort Crowd Report:

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Disney World Crowd Calendar Report – November 29 to December 5, 2015

by on December 8, 2015

How did the Disney World Crowd Calendar do last week?

How did the Disney World Crowd Calendar do last week?

Last week the Disney World Crowd Calendar predicted crowd levels to bounce up and down each day in a flattened “w” shape. As it turns out, that is exactly what we observed but the “w” wasn’t so flat. The resort wide numbers were within one crowd level of what we observed each day with the only exception being Friday when all four parks were one or two levels higher than predicted.

Let’s look at how the crowd levels stacked up each day last week on the Touringplans.com Disney World Crowd Calendar Report:

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My Top 10 Disney World Time Savers

by on October 26, 2015

Whenever I’m at Walt Disney World, I’m all about taking advantage of every valuable minute so I can squeeze as much magic and memories as possible. Unfortunately, there are number of factors and obstacles that tend to zap some of my valuable vacation time, ranging from long wait times for my favorite attraction to having to wait for buses. I’ve learned a few tricks over the years for how to better maximize my time in the magic, and today I’m letting you in on a few of the best in My Top 10 Disney World Time Savers.

TyphoonLagoon ClockTower10. Strategize Your FastPass+ Reservations – FastPass+ is all about saving guests time in line, but to truly maximize the service some strategy is necessary. For starters, do NOT book a FastPass+ for a show. Typically — although there are exceptions on especially busy days — FastPass+ does not get you into a show any quicker as you have to wait for the show ahead of you to end. By that time, the standby crowd has already caught up to those who used the service. In addition, the theaters for the shows at the parks are huge and almost everyone can secure themselves a great seat even without a FastPass+. What I’ve learned is to save those FastPass+ reservation slots for attractions. Secondly, don’t book a FastPass+ reservation for a time within the first two hours of park opening. Even on busy days, most attractions are walk-ons within that first hour and lengthy lines don’t really form until about two hours into the day. One of the best time saving strategies of all is to arrive at the park for rope-drop and then ride the most popular attractions first, saving FastPass+ reservation slots for the attractions you want to ride or re-ride in the afternoon or evening or for another park you plan to visit later in the day.

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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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How Do Crowd Levels Relate to Total Wait Times?

by on May 21, 2015

TouringPlans logoSo maybe you noticed that TouringPlans released some Crowd Calendar updates this week. And maybe you have a trip planned and are worried that your dates included some crowd level changes. Wouldn’t you like to know how the crowd levels relate to overall Disney wait times? Of course you would. And we’re here to help.

METHODOLOGY

We took two of our most popular touring plans (the One Day Plan for Adults, and the One Day Plan for Parents with Small Children) at the most popular theme park in the world (Magic Kingdom), and optimized them for days at each crowd level – 1 to 10.

With the exception of the “10” day, the Magic Kingdom opens at 9AM. The 10 day, it opens at 8AM.

We start the plan with arrival at park open.

No days have Extra Magic Hours.

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Photo Gallery: 2015 Universal Orlando Spring Break Crowds

by on April 7, 2015

The Easter eggs have all been hunted, and the Passover seder plates are put away, but the 2015 spring break crowds have not yet departed from Orlando’s attractions. While wait times over the weekend weren’t quite as bad as initially predicted, it’s still been a very busy holiday week at Universal Orlando, as Universal Studios Florida and Islands of Adventure both experienced their heaviest attendance since New Year’s Day. In case you weren’t brave or foolish enough to experience Easter Week in person, here is a photo gallery of Universal Orlando spring break crowds to give you a virtual taste of last week’s madness.

Universal Studios Florida Spring Break Crowds

You know its going to be a busy day at USF when the temporary turnstiles in between the entry gates are in use.

Universal Orlando spring break crowds 2015

Spring break crowds descended on Universal Orlando last week. (Photos by Seth Kubersky)

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The Disney World Crowd Calendar for February 2015

by on January 27, 2015

If you want to avoid crowds at Disney World in February 2015 you need only to look at the dates surrounding Presidents Day (February 16), Mardi Gras (February 17) and the Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend (February 19-22). That’s right – all three events happen in the same week, which is a recipe for crowded parks and long lines. The last time Mardi Gras and Presidents Day were in the same week was 2012. Posted wait times at Soarin’ hit a high of 200 minutes and regularly hovered around 140.

Having these events into a single week has a silver lining of course, since it leaves the rest of February untouched by holidays and special events. The long term trend has been to see wait times higher than in the past over the same season and we expect that to continue in February. Here’s a detailed breakdown of how Disney crowds will ebb and flow this February.

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