Archive for July, 2016

New Average Wait Times at Soarin’ & Toy Story Midway Mania

by on July 28, 2016

Two of Walt Disney World’s most popular attractions recently went through significant changes to their capacity. Toy Story Midway Mania added a third track on May 25, 2016 and Soarin’ re-opened on June 17, 2016 after a long refurbishment to add a third hanger and present a new film. An increase in capacity should lower the average standby wait at these super headliners, now that we have at least a month of collected wait times for both, let’s take a look to see if the average wait times have changed.

Average Daily Wait Time at Walt Disney World

Average Daily Wait Time at Walt Disney World

First, let’s get a baseline for how wait times are doing in general compared to historical averages across all Walt Disney World Attractions. Here is the average daily wait time across all attractions since 2009. Since May 25th, 2016 the average daily wait time remains almost unchanged, down about 1%. Sure, the sample size is not large but we can be fairly certain that any change in the average daily wait time at Toy Story Midway Mania and Soarin’ would be due to the capacity changes, not to a significant drop in overall attendance. It is also helpful that we are comparing a time of year that is historically very similar year over year. Late Spring and early Summer have only two holidays, Memorial Day and July 4th, both of which have similar crowd patterns each year.

Average Wait Time At Toy Story Midway Mania

Average Daily Wait Time At Toy Story Midway Mania

Except for an initial spike in wait times shortly after re-opening, Toy Story Midway Mania wait times are way down compared to years past. There we see a 38% percent reduction in the average daily wait time since May 25th, 2016 when the third track began entertaining guests. Toy Story Midway Mania is still the most popular attraction at Disney Hollywood Studios but the extra track helps relieve pressure on the standby queue for those guests unable to obtain a Fastpass+ reservation. Historically, it would not be unusual to see Toy Story Midway Mania hit a peak wait time of 100 minutes or more, even on an average day. Now, that peak is more likely to be 70 to 80 minutes or less.

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Walt Disney World August 2016 Preview

by on July 27, 2016

Welcome to TouringPlans’ preview for Walt Disney World for August 2016 – everything you need to know if you’re traveling to the Happiest Place on Earth next month. Who’s ready for August?

Average Weather for Walt Disney World in August


Hi 92, Low 76, 78% Humidity, 16 days with rain

August Weather for Orlando






August in Orlando is nearly identical to July’s with the added bonus of entering the peak (August, September, October) of hurricane season. Florida has not been impacted too strongly by weather in the last few years, but sources say 2016 may be more active than recently. NOAA’s National Hurricane Center is an excellent resource for forecasts that may affect your August trip.

Plan to visit the parks early in the morning or late in the day to avoid the heat as much as you can and spend your afternoons napping or at the pool. Summer’s extended hours mean there is plenty park time available after dark, so take advantage of it, especially if you’re eligible for Extra Magic Hours.


Upcoming Live Chats for August

Want to chat live about your trip? Join us on Facebook throughout the month as our experts take your questions in a fun and lively discussion.

We are working on a more regular chat schedule, but we should have a good one to start the month. Our own Brian McNichols will be visiting Disneyland and our West Coast regular Guy Selga. Brian will be there from August 7-10 and he and Guy are planning a dual live chat right from the resort. Make sure you watch Facebook and Twitter for the exact date and time.

Brian will also be doing a wrap-up chat about his trip to Disneyland and any and all news from the Orlando parks on Wednesday, August 17 at 1:00pm U.S. Eastern time. He’ll give you a chance to get your early questions in a few days before the chat.

Times for all live chats are posted in advance on our Facebook page and on Twitter.


Walt Disney World Park Crowds for August

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A Guide to Single Rider Lines at Walt Disney World

by on July 27, 2016

Hello TouringPlans readers! My name is Ben Crain and I’m so excited to be joining the tremendous team of bloggers here. I am the creator and host of the WDW Ride Guide Podcast, and an Authorized Disney Vacation Specialist. I’m passionate about helping others explore Walt Disney World one ride or attraction at a time. With my introduction out of the way, I would like to introduce you to the Single Rider Line at Walt Disney World.

Single Rider Header-01

Expedition Everest, Rock ’n’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith, and Test Track are three of the most thrilling attractions in all of Walt Disney World. These attractions whisk you through exciting environments at speeds up to 65 mph! Thrill seekers live for inversions, loops, and 80 foot drops–however, chances are you will be visiting Walt Disney World with someone that isn’t quite ready to face the menacing Yeti, or have Aerosmith music pumping into their ears while racing through the dark. Or, maybe you have a little one that feels the need for speed, but doesn’t yet measure up to the height requirement.

Whatever the scenario, there is a way to satisfy the thrill seeker without sacrificing an hour separated from your group.  Say hello to the Single Rider Line!  This a way for one or several riders in your group to experience these 3 attractions with a shorter wait.  Here is how it works:

Step 1: Enter the queue designated Single Rider Line.

Step 2: Wave as you pass the poor souls in the standby queue!

Step 3: Proceed to the next Cast Member.

Step 4: Wait to fill a seat created by an odd number group in the standby queue.

The Single Rider Line offers varying degrees of time savings across the 3 attractions. Let’s break down each one.

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TouringPlansTV: Disney’s Yacht and Beach Club Resorts + Video

by on July 26, 2016

  • yacht clubWe’re back for a whole new episode of TouringPlansTV!

Make your way to Walt Disney World…I’ll meet you there to talk about Disney’s Yacht and Beach Club Resorts!

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Walt Disney World Crowd Calendar Update

by on July 26, 2016

ToTouringPlans logonight we will be pushing an update to the Walt Disney World for dates starting August 1, 2016. The changes in the crowd level reflect changes in our wait time attraction predictions. The new predictions reflect changes due to park hours, school schedules, and recent trends of observed wait times. One of the more interesting impact of the school schedules will occur during Christmas break: This year Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve fall on Saturdays. While some school districts are off the last two weeks of December, others are taking the last week of December and the first week of January. This will extend the holiday crowds over three weeks instead of the usual two weeks.

Holiday Crowd Levels

2016 Crowds

We are still learning the impact of the increased capacity at Soarin and Toy Story Midway Mania, Frozen moving into Norway, and nighttime hours at the Animal Kingdom. One thing we are seeing is a general increase in crowd levels at Hollywood Studios. With many of the minor attractions being closed, the remaining attractions are seeing an increase in wait times which brings up our crowd levels. With the back half of Hollywood Studios being closed, the park also feels more crowded according to our users.

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Get to Know Disney’s Newest Cruise Ship: A Photo Tour of the AmaViola

by on July 26, 2016

A few months back Disney Cruise Line announced the upcoming construction of two new ocean liners. These will be of similar size and capacity to the current Disney Dream and Fantasy ships, capable of transporting thousands of guests across thousands of miles. These ships have planned christening dates in 2021 and 2023. But if you’re not in the mood to wait five to seven years for a new Disney-related cruise experience, you can have one right now via the new Adventures by Disney (AbD) river cruise product.

Disney is currently partnering with AmaWaterways (pronounced like ah-ma waterways) to offer European river cruises on the Danube and, starting next summer, on the Rhine. Ama owns the ships, not Disney, which means that when AbD has not chartered the ships Ama can use them for other ventures. But Disney did have a hand in designing the vessels, asking for family-friendly features, like connecting cabins, not typically found on river cruises.

The first Ama and Adventures by Disney partnership sailings happened this month on the AmaViola, a three month old ship. I was onboard the second of these voyages, the first heading West to East from Germany to Hungary. In the coming days, I’ll be sharing my experiences and describing how a Disney river cruise differs from a Disney ocean cruise, as well as how an Adventures by Disney river cruise differs from a traditional AbD trip. But to start, here’s a photo tour of the lovely AmaViola.

By way of introduction, be aware that the AmaViola has a maximum capacity of 158 guests, compared with about 2,700 on the Disney Magic and Wonder, and about 4,000 on the Disney Dream and Fantasy.


Deck plan of the AmaViola

Deck plan of the AmaViola


There are 79 guest cabins on three decks. Twelve of the cabins (six pair) have the capacity to be connected to another cabin via an internal door. Twelve cabins have a capacity of three guests. Four suites have a capacity of four guests. The remainder of the cabins sleep two.

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AbracadaBar Now Open at Disney’s BoardWalk

by on July 25, 2016

This weekend, the AbracadaBar opened at Disney’s BoardWalk. The cocktail lounge is located next to the soon-to-be-opening Flying Fish (opening in August) and the Italian restaurant Trattoria al Forno.

AbracadaBar Exterior


The lounge itself is not very large, and is available on a first-come, first-serve basis. There is room for Guests to be seated at either couches or tables, whichever they choose.

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Cheese, Chicken, and Cocktails: The Best of Art Smith’s Homecomin’ in Disney Springs

by on July 25, 2016

We’ve already done a full review of Art Smith’s new Homecomin’ restaurant at Disney Springs, but I had the chance to stop by last night. And since the current “feels like” temperature in Orlando is about 100F, I figured I’d take a minute to write up some notes in air-conditioned comfort. Here’s the dinner menu I’ll be referencing.

The Fried Chicken is as good as the hype says. The skin is crispy and salty, while the meat is flavorful, tender, and juicy.  I’ve been testing different fried chicken recipes at home for a couple of years, and this is up there with the best results I’ve got. (My secret ingredients: powdered mustard, a Dutch oven, and love.) The Fried Chicken and Doughnuts plate gets extra points for originality.

I’d definitely order the pimento cheese “Bunch of Puppies” hushpuppies again. They’re light, crispy, and the smooth cheese flavor is cut by the jalapeño jelly that comes on the side.  I’d also recommend the Shrimp Jubilee, a bowl-sized cup of shrimp, served in a salsa-like mix of mango, onion, avocado, and tomato. Lots of flavors there, with the sweet onion and tart tomato balanced well. That’s served with a side of cracker-thin bread.

We also tried the BBQ Chicken Wings – good, but unremarkable – and the Jasper Board, a charcuterie board with shaved ham, smoked sausage, pimento cheese spread, bread and butter pickles, and candied pecans. I’d try the Fried Green Tomatoes instead.


Fried chicken dinner – $26. (photo by Brandon Glover)


Chicken and donuts. (photo by Brian Carey)


BBQ chicken wings – $12. (photo by Brandon Glover)


Jasper board – $15. (photo by Brian Carey)

So far, so good. But we were just getting started…

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Universal Crowd Calendar Report – July 17 to 23, 2016

by on July 25, 2016

Universal Crowd Calendar Report

How Crowded Was Universal Orlando Last Week?

Last week, Universal Orlando crowds came in a few points lower than expected, mostly due to weak attendance at Islands of Adventure. Wait times were higher at Universal Studios most days.

Let’s look at how the crowd levels stacked up each day last week on the Universal Crowd Calendar Report:

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Disney World Crowd Calendar Report – July 17 to 23, 2016

by on July 25, 2016

Disney World Crowd Calendar Report

How Crowded Was Disney World Last Week?

Crowds at Walt Disney World held steady last week with levels hitting the mark most days. Weekend crowds ended up a little lower than expected thanks mostly to Epcot, Disney Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom. Magic Kingdom continues to be the busiest park this summer.

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

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