Posts Tagged ‘touring plans’

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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Cars Land Survival Guide: Early Entry

by on July 11, 2012

7 a.m., seconds before rope from in Cars Land for Early Entry. (All photos by Seth Kubersky)

The new Cars Land attractions are barely three weeks old, but their popularity has already pushed the Disneyland Resort in general, and the Disney California Adventure park in particular, to record levels of attendance. The old conventional wisdom was that the sparsely-attended second gate didn’t require the same assiduous planning as its older sibling to enjoy in a single day. But at least until the Cars Land hoopla dies down — which we don’t expect to happen any time this summer — you’ll need an efficient itinerary to absorb all the relaunched park has to offer.

The 2013 edition of The Unofficial Guide to Disneyland will soon be winging its way to the presses, packed with our brand-new optimized touring plans for tackling Disney California Adventure’s latest additions. Unfortunately, it will arrive on store shelves too late to help those of you planning to visit within the next few months. Therefore, in honor of the recently-passed Independence Day holdiay, we wave the flag of freedom from frustration, and offer you this “survival guide” to liberating yourself from the long lines in Cars Land.

As always, our number one advice is “Arrive early, arrive early, arrive early!” For the foreseeable future, as far as Cars Land is concerned, you’ll want to add at least two more “arrive earlies” to that mantra. Much of your touring strategy depends on whether you are eligible for one of the park’s Early Entry programs.

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The Disneyland No Rides/No Queues/No Stress Anti-Touring Plan (Part 4)

by on May 7, 2012

By now, you’ve hopefully seen Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3 of our new Disneyland touring plan that aims to take the stress of standing in lines or sitting on rides out of the equation. Though it may not be many guests’ idea of a day in a theme park, it’s perfectly possible to enjoy a full day of low-impact fun at Disneyland without experiencing any of the attractions most people associate with a visit.

Here is the final part of the plan. It focuses on the east side of the park. Despite the density of rides between Fantasyland and Tomorrowland, you can still find plenty of queue-free pastimes.

Fantasyland

  • Climb through the Sleeping Beauty Castle walkthrough, or watch the alternative experience video.
  • Toss a wish into Snow White’s well in front of the castle, and gaze at her grotto of handcrafted sculptures.
  • Cruise the Storybook Land canals or it’s a small world if the lines are short.
  • Try on some mouse ears in the Mad Hatter chapeau shop.
  • Take a break with a vendor treat (like an ear of corn) on the benches at the old motor boat dock across from the Matterhorn.
  • Stick your head in the Fantasy Faire if a show is scheduled, but don’t bother with the massive queue to meet a princess.
  • The elevated mall near it’s a small world is a convenient spot to stand for the parade or video projection show.

Mickey’s Toontown

  • Play with the interactive doodads dotted around the building facades.
  • Take a tour of Mickey and Minnie’s homes, but bail on the meet & greet if the line is out the door.
  • Walk though the cleverly decorated children’s playgrounds, being wary of bouncing babes.

Tomorrowland

  • Take the monorail to Downtown Disney for a bite or a drink, then return (remember your park ticket!).
  • Watch young padawans battle Sith Lords on Tomorrowland Terrace in the Jedi Training Academy show. Check the schedule for other entertainment on this stage.
  • Explore both levels of the Innoventions building, leaving time to take in the Asimo robot demonstration upstairs.
  • Experience Captain EO if you can endure the rock-concert volume. Ask for a non-moving seat in the back to avoid bouncing.
  • The line for Buzz Lightyear moves swiftly, and almost everyone of all ages loves it.
  • Browse the unique Star Wars merchandise in Star Traders with a life-sized X-Wing overhead.
  • Search for imaginatively groomed edible plants along the Tomorrowland walkways.

That concludes this Disneyland anti-touring plan. Did you find it helpful? What else do you think should be included? What other parks do you think could sustain a similar plan? Please let us know in the comments!

 

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