Posts Tagged ‘touring plans’

New Universal Orlando Wizarding World Two-Park Touring Plans

by on July 23, 2014

Wizarding World two park touring plan

Learn everything you’ve always wanted to know (but were afraid to ask) about visiting both Gringotts and Hogwarts with our new Wizarding World two-park touring plans! (photos by Seth Kubersky)

A few days ago, we published our newly updated Universal Studios Florida touring plans, which provide step-by-step instructions for tackling Diagon Alley and the crowds at the Gringotts bank ride with maximum efficiency. Those guides are now available as premium touring plans that can be copied and edited in Lines, with versions for Early Entry guests and for those staying off-site.

Today, we’re following up with the first installment of our most frequently requested touring plan: one-day/two-park plans covering both sides of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. These new plans cover both Universal Studios Florida and Islands of Adventure. They feature all Harry Potter attractions (including rides on the Hogwarts Express in both directions) in a single day, and assume you have a Park-To-Park (Universal lingo for “parkhopper”) ticket.

[Note: If you caught the early edition of this post, you may notice that the touring plans have changed slightly. Using the latest data crunched overnight, we've tweaked the morning attraction order to squeeze in one extra attraction! Similar upgrades have already been made to the premium one day USF/Diagon Alley plans we've previously published. You're welcome!]

A few words of warning before you grab your robes and rush out the door. While operational capacity at Gringotts continues to improve a a daily basis, we expect the ride’s reliability to continue to consistently inconsistent for at least several more weeks. Especially during Early Entry, a lengthy breakdown while in line at the bank can derail the most carefully laid touring plan.

Even if everything runs smoothly, this plan packs an exhausting amount of entertainment into a single operating day. It is NOT the ideal relaxing vacation experience. If you can afford it, we strongly suggest spending at least 2 or 3 days enjoying Universal’s offerings, rather than sprinting through them.

While these plans are marked as for “adults” they are applicable for anyone who meets the minimum height requirements and is willing to experience thrill rides, which should include most older children and teens. If you are traveling with younger children, use the “child swap” rooms provided at all major rides, or eliminate and substitue for other nearby attractions.

These plans are based on wait time data collected during the first couple weeks of Diagon Alley’s operations. We plan on continuing to test and adjust these plans through the summer, and will likely revise them at the end of the season once we can fully analyze the crowd patterns.

Finally, these plans are designed to let you experience all of the Wizarding World, along with as many of the parks’ other top attractions. If your only concern is Gringotts and Diagon Alley, feel free to join the herd head there first thing and stay as long as you like; just understand it will come at the expense of experiencing other E-Tickets around the resort.

Subscribers who wish do personalize these plans online should be aware that our software only permits one plan per park. Therefore, these plans are spilt into “Part 1″ and “Part 2.” Begin by following Part 1 until you are instructed to travel to the other park, then switch to Part 2. When you reach the end of Part 2, return to the first park and pick up Part 1 where you left off.

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Going to Disney Solo

by on May 15, 2014

It can feel this scary to go to Disney alone!

It can feel this scary to go to Disney alone!

When I was recently approached about heading to Los Angeles for a business I trip all I heard in my head was, “You’re going to Disneyland!” I couldn’t wait to tell my hubby and get our flights booked. You can imagine how deflated I was when the dates fell over a period that he couldn’t join me. At first, I was sad that I would be so close to Disneyland and not visiting the happiest place on Earth. Then I realized, I visit Disney World several times a month all by myself. Why not do the same for the west coast? I figured if I thought twice about doing Disney on my own then most of you would too. So with that in mind here are the best things about traveling alone on your next Disney vacation and why you should give it a try!

What to ride next? Anything I want! Often when traveling with friends and family compromises have to be made to keep everyone happy. When you’re on your own there’s a very short list of people to keep content! Want to ride something that your family hates? No problem! Want to sleep in or stay out late? Sounds great! In my case, that means a lot of time taking photos with no pressure to go faster because someone it bored.

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Case Study: FastPass+ Impact On Epcot Touring Plans

by on February 18, 2014

FastPass+ Kiosk LogoMany people are understandably concerned about how Disney’s new FastPass+ system is going to affect their Disney vacation. Some of the worries most frequently mentioned with the new system are:

  • Limit of three FastPass+ reservations per day
  • Not able to get multiple FastPass+ reservations for the same attraction
  • No ability to get FastPass+ reservations for all headliner attractions
  • Only getting FastPass+ reservations for one park per day.

Some of the benefits of the new system, such as the ability to select the time of the FastPass+ reservations – may not be as obvious. And not having to run around the park to get paper FASTPASS tickets will definitely save people time.

In many cases, however, using an optimized touring plan with FastPass+ will result in a touring plan that’s just as fast as one with the same attractions and legacy FASTPASS.

Given the way my family tours the parks, I assumed that Epcot would be the most negatively impacted by the new system. With Legacy FASTPASS we would acquire multiple FASTPASSes for Soarin’ and Test Track. Now we can only get one FastPass+ for Soarin’ or for Test Track, but not both.

To evaluate the impact of FastPass+, I’m going to compare touring plans for Epcot on the second Monday of June in 2013 and 2014. Both touring plans include the same attractions and optimize the use of the available FASTPASS/FastPass+ system. Since we would never use FASTPASS/FastPass+ in World Showcase, and since we take a casual touring approach in World Showcase, I’m going to allot a chunk of time for World Showcase. I’m also allotting 100 minutes for eating. For our family, FastPass+ will not affect our dining or touring World Showcase.

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Ultimate Halloween Horror Nights 23 Touring Plan

by on October 15, 2013

We’re heading into the home stretch of Universal Orlando’s Halloween Horror Nights 23, and if you plan on facing the undead hordes you’ll need a good plan now more than ever. Luckily for you, we’ve been on the ground every weekend of the event so far, and have recorded over 300 pieces of wait-time data for the haunted houses.

Here’s the final result: field-tested touring plans, designed to help you tackle all eight mazes in a single evening without the use of extra-cost express passes — provided you pick the right night to attend (Wednesday or Thursday are best, Saturdays are worst, and Sunday can be surprisingly busy), arrive early, and stay late.

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REVISED Halloween Horror Nights XXIII Touring Plan

by on September 26, 2013

On 9/20/2013, the 23rd annual edition of Universal Orlando's Halloween Horror Nights unleashed its undead hordes upon horror-hungry fans who have made HHN the nation's most popular and industry-awarded haunted theme park event. Touring Plans researchers have attended all event nights so far to capture data on attraction wait times in order to present this updated itinerary, and we'll continue to improve our advice with new information throughout the month.

Originally a locals-friendly filler during a normally slow season, Universal Studios Florida's Halloween celebration has grown so famous that the 27 event nights between 9/20 and 11/2 will provide a sizable percentage of USF's annual attendance statistics. Much like visiting any of Orlando's theme parks during a peak holiday season, an evening at HHN can be tremendous fun if you go in with a solid plan and sane expectations; without those things…well, you might be better off eaten by zombies…

With only two nights worth of wait time data to analyze, it's impossible to craft an HHN touring plan with the same precision we do for daytime visits. Operational tweaks will continue to be made throughout the event, so the crowd patterns observed during this year's initial operating nights aren't guaranteed to persist. However, thanks to years of experience with HHN (I've attended every edition since 1996) we can extrapolate the opening weekend info to update our preliminary touring plan into a multi-pronged strategy for tackling Universal's elaborate (and infamously long-queued) haunted mazes.

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Doomsday Prepping: Preliminary Touring Plan for Universal Orlando’s Halloween Horror Nights XXIII

by on September 17, 2013

In just a few days, on Friday September 20, the 23rd annual edition of Universal Orlando’s Halloween Horror Nights will open its zombie-filled gates to the hordes of gore-hungry fans who have made HHN the nation’s most popular and industry-awarded haunted theme park event.

Originally a locals-friendly filler during a normally slow season, Universal Studios Florida’s Halloween celebration has grown so famous that the 27 event nights between 9/20 and 11/2 will provide a sizable percentage of USF’s annual attendance statistics. Much like visiting any of Orlando’s theme parks during a peak holiday season, an evening at HHN can be tremendous fun if you go in with a solid plan and sane expectations; without those things…well, you might be better off eaten by zombies…

Every year, Universal’s creative designers shake up the event, so it’s impossible to predict exactly how things will play out until opening weekend has passed, and even then operational tweaks will continue to be made throughtout October. However, after years of experience with HHN (I’ve attended every edition since 1996) we can make some educated guesses towards a preliminary touring plan for tackling Universal’s elaborate (and infamously long-queued) haunted mazes.

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5 Ways to Start Your Day in Disney California Adventure

by on March 18, 2013

All photos by Seth Kubersky

Recently, I wrote about five of my favorite ways to begin my day at Disneyland Park. Until this past summer, Disneyland’s original park was most visitors’ first destination, with its little brother Disney California Adventure an afterthought on many itineraries.

Now, how the tables have turned: since last June’s grand re-opening of DCA, headlined by Cars Land and the Radiator Springs Racers E-Ticket, the former also-ran is often drawing as many (or even more) “first click” entries as its older sibling. That means more and more visitors are starting their Disney day on Buena Vista Street instead of Main Street, U.S.A.

As a result, we advise you arrive at DCA’s front gate at least 45 minutes before the official opening time; guests are typically allowed into the entry plaza at least 30 minutes early, and Disneyland’s current ID-checking procedures can make for slow lines at the turnstiles. Most importantly, don’t visit DCA on an Extra Magic Hour morning (currently Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday) unless you are staying in a Disney resort hotel and can take advantage of the early entry.

Once you are inside the park and awaiting rope drop, what to do? Here are my top five tips for making mornings at DCA more memorable:

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5 Ways to Start Your Day In Disneyland Park

by on March 14, 2013

Moments before rope drop at Disneyland Park (all photos by Seth Kubersky)

If you’ve been following us at Touring Plans for a while, you already know the first and most important step on any Disneyland itinerary: arrive at the front gate early (at least 40 minutes before opening during busy seasons) with your tickets in hand.

But what do you do first once you’re through the turnstiles? People have their own traditions for where to head first at the Happiest Place on Earth. Here are five of my favorite ways to kick off my day at Disneyland Park.

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What’s New In The Unofficial Guide to Disneyland 2013?

by on September 11, 2012

On behalf of my co-authors Bob Sehlinger and Len Testa, I’m proud to announce that The Unofficial Guide to Disneyland 2013 is now available via Amazon and Barnes & Noble, a few days before the book’s 9/19 official release date. It can be pre-ordered from iBooks in advance of its digital release later this month.

This has been a year of remarkable change at the Disneyland Resort, and our latest update to the Unofficial Guide reflects all the radical reimagineering the Anaheim attractions have undergone.

Here’s a rundown on all the fresh material you will find in our 2013 Guide:

Introduction

  • An all-new humorous “The Importance of Being Goofy” essay.
  • Revised overview of the resort, highlighting expansions at Disney California Adventure.
  • Updated comparison chart of Disneyland Attractions vs. their equivalents at Magic Kingdom in Florida.

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Cars Land Survival Guide: General Admission

by on July 18, 2012

Arrive at DCA at least 45 minutes before park opening...

Looking for traffic avoidance advice as you drive down the crowded Route 66? Well, pull up to the pump and fill up on some free touring info, certain to make your first (or next) visit to Cars Land at at Disney California Adventure a little less fraught.

Recently, we related our step-by-step plan for surviving the Early Entry hour at Cars Land. Since the publication of that piece, Disnelyand announced the expansion of Extra Magic Hours for resort hotel guests to 7 days per week at both parks, now through September 13, 2012. Our advice is to take full advantage of the early admission programs if you are eligible for them, but that’s out of reach for the bulk of visitors this summer.

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