Posts Tagged ‘touring plans’

Best Things to Do Outside the Parks

by on September 3, 2014

Walt Disney World Resort has endless ways for you to fill your vacation days. When most people plan, save, and book a Disney vacation, the main idea is exploit all of the attractions the parks have to offer. And with four theme parks stuffed to the gills with attractions, restaurants, and characters, anyone can have a fabulous vacation just focusing on these options. However, the Walt Disney Resort isn’t just about the parks, as many locals and veterans of Disney vacations can attest, what keeps us all coming back are the endless options to have a magical time.

The Unofficial Guide recommends building in a “down day” into your vacation schedule. One day, set aside where you don’t go to a park, but enjoy the extra amenities that Disney offers beyond the parks. This is not only a great way to recover from 2-3 straight days of Touring Plan mania, but it can also save you a bit of cash from needing another day of park tickets. Here are some of best ways to spend your vacation days out of the parks.

No Disney vacation is complete without your favorite souvenir

No Disney vacation is complete without your favorite souvenir

Shopping. Ok, this option may end up costing you more than another day of park tickets, but what vacation is complete without a few souvenirs to take home with you? And with Downtown Disney undergoing the transformation into Disney Springs, this option is going to get even better!

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Using Disneyland Touring Plans and the Lines App

by on August 27, 2014

Radiator Springs Racers entrance -Natalie Reinert

I was determined to avoid lines at Disneyland as much as I do at Walt Disney World. Serious planning was needed.

As a Disney World veteran, there are two things I don’t bother with much anymore: park maps, and extensive planning. I know where everything is, I know when I want to see it, and I know how long I am willing to wait for things (about twenty minutes, generally). I think at this point my feet carry me from place to place without my brain directing them.

But for our first (of many, we hope!) Disneyland Resort trips, I knew that I needed to do some extra planning. Standing around with my face in a park map, trying to figure out where to go next, was simply not an option. I don’t even carry a bag in the park, let alone a map. But I needed a plan to get my family around Disneyland and Disney California Adventure without wandering aimlessly and getting caught in long queues. And, just in case of attraction breakdowns or unexpectedly long wait times, I needed the ability to make an on-the-spot back-up plan. How could I manage that in a park I’d never been before?

Enter personalized plans from, and the Lines App.

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After the Touring Plan

by on August 19, 2014

2015UGAs many subscribers do, we buy the most recent Unofficial Guide, download the Lines app, read the blog posts, plan our days in Walt Disney World, and have our trip in order well before we depart our homes. This advanced planning helps us make the most out of our vacations in the Happiest Place on Earth.

However, there are times on our trip where our advanced planning works too well. For example: you have decided to spend the morning in Magic Kingdom park, utilizing the morning Extra Magic Hours that are in place. When you show up, you are some of the first people at the tunnel, and you go on to conquer your entire morning Touring Plan…in two hours.

I’m being a bit unrealistic in my example, but there can be points in your trip where things work out so well that you are blessed with that glorious object we Disney fans all crave: extra time. 

So what is there to do if this happens? Plenty, my friend. Plenty.

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Walt Disney World Tips for Big Groups: Stay Sane, Stay Happy

by on August 13, 2014

You love your friends and family. I know it. You know it. But when you’re on vacation and suddenly everyone has different ideas of what they want to go and where to eat and when they need bathroom breaks don’t you… sort of… want to push them in the lake? Just a little? Whether this is a once-in-a-lifetime trip or a yearly affair, vacationing with a big group of people can get stressful in a hurry. Here are a few Disney World tips to save your sanity and keep things running as smoothly as possible.

As told entirely by screenshots of The Emperor’s New Groove.

Copyright - Disney

Copyright – Disney

Because nobody knows how to party like Kronk and Yzma, that’s why.

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New Universal Orlando Two Day/Two Park Touring Plans

by on July 31, 2014

Universal Orlando two day/two park touring plans

2½ hours is considered a moderate wait at Gringotts! Be prepared with our new Universal Orlando two day/two park touring plans. (Photos by Seth Kubersky)

If you are planning to devote a day of your vacation to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, you’ll quickly discover that there is more to do at Universal Orlando’s park than can be covered in dozen hours. We’ve had a great response to our recently published Diagon Alley touring plan and one day/two park touring plans, which I encourage you to read if you haven’t already. But an even better way to experience everything Universal Studios Florida and Islands of Adventure has to offer is with these new Universal Orlando two day/two park touring plans.

The good news for guests just now getting to Gringotts is that the ride is running much more reliably and with greater capacity than only a couple weeks ago; as a result, standby wait times are peaking in the morning at half their former 450-minute high-water, and dropping to 120 or less by late afternoon. There is still a rush to Diagon Alley every morning, resulting in a queue to enter London for early arrivers. But the return time tickets are rarely needed any more, and crowd control barricades around the area have been vanishing by lunchtime.

Note that these new two-day/two-park touring plans have been optimized to account for the recent reduction in operating hours, and should scale well with diminishing crowds as hours are reduced further this fall. As always, we’ll continue refining our plans using the latest data, and subscribers can edit and evaluate them for themselves by personalizing a copy of our premium plans. (Be sure to look for a link to Part 2 at the top of the plan, and make a copy of each part.)

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New Universal Orlando Wizarding World Two-Park Touring Plans

by on July 23, 2014

Gringotts Queue

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!]

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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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