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Old 07-05-2013, 10:54 AM   #1
Join Date: Feb 2012
Posts: 267

Touring Plans - Customized Plans?

On our last trip in 2011 (over Easter) we used the plans in the Unofficial Guide. Loved them! Totally saved us hours and hours in line. So we are going back in August (YAY) and I wanted to use the customized plans from their website. I am finding them to be really odd. Some of the plans have headliners way down the list (example being tour around the oasis at AK for an hour and then hit EE at 10:30), seriously? Some plans list using fastpass and some don't even mention it. I think I must be using the system wrong.

If anyone has any advice I will take it.

I am also wondering if the site has any printouts that look like the ones from the back of the book. It doesn't seem to.
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Old 07-05-2013, 12:17 PM   #2
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I think the idea is that in the early morning rush/running of the bulls, that the rides will be crowded first thing, at least if you are not out ahead of the bulls. The people who will be arriving later in the parks are not yet there by 10:30. So wait to let the early pack die down and go sort of in between the early and late arrivals.

You can email them and most likely Len will get back to you with an explanation.

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Old 07-05-2013, 12:23 PM   #3
Join Date: Feb 2013
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I am wondering the same thing for my trip in September. My Touring Plans don't seem to be utilizing Fast pass all that much either and the attractions seem to go in a weird order. However, after more and more research on the boards, I am willing to accept the apparent craziness and see what happens after our first day of touring according to their schedule.

The deciding point for me to go ahead with their plan was over Enchanted Tales with Belle at MK. Easy WDW (I think) and a lot of people on the boards said over and over again to head straight there at rope drop because the lines get so long. Touring plans doesn't have me going until later in the day. I heard the rope drop advice so much that I was really doubting Touring Plans until I saw a thread on here where a few people advised against doing ETwB first because if you didn't make it into the first group (which apparently is hard to do) then you will be stuck waiting anyway and it eats up other valuable rope drop touring times. Later in the day, I may still have to wait for ETwB but it won't be as long as in the mornings...or so I've heard. So afters seeing that thread, I thought, well, I guess there is a method to Touring Plans seeming madness. So many people have sworn by them that I am definitely willign to try and trust blindly...at least for the 1st day. It also helps that I am going in September so the lines won't be that long anyway--- so I really don't have a lot to lose.

Though I am going using the crowd calendar of Easy wdw instead of Touring Plans because it seems likethe consensus is they are hte most accurate in that regard.

Hope you have a great trip!
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Old 07-05-2013, 01:47 PM   #4
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I just tried to create a new one and it has me attending Wishes first thing in my day. And no fastpass use?

At this point I may just go buy another copy of the book. In 2011 I ripped out those back pages and put them in my pocket for our park days so they are pretty ripped and dog eared now or else I would just use those again.
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Old 07-05-2013, 01:54 PM   #5
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I like the customizable touring plans. Occasionally they are buggy (e.g. they have me waiting 1000 minutes for a ride), but usually I try again later and it is fixed.

Some have said that it doesn't use FP enough. In theory, if it's not recommending that you use FP, that's because picking up the FP and waiting for it takes longer than SB. This can be true in low-crowd times of year.

The other thing that TP seems to recommend is NOT doing ETwB right at RD. I think that I kind of agree with this. It is going to be about a 60 minute wait most of the day other than at RD, when it will probably be 15-30 minutes, depending on how early you can walk there. And the attraction itself takes 20-30 minutes. That time could better be spent during the early morning hitting up lots of other rides.
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Old 07-05-2013, 02:03 PM   #6
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My advice to anyone wanting to use the customized touring plans feature on TP.com is to go well beyond selecting attractions and hitting the "Optimize" button. Move things around in the plan (easy to drag and drop to change the order) and hit "Evaluate". I did this for each and every day of our trip, revisiting and tweaking them multiple times. The main reason I did was because I didn't want to do as much zig-zagging across the park as I would have done by just optimizing on selected attractions. Maybe we would have reduced the amount of time in line, but with three kids under 8 (and us two adults being over 40) we would have been wiped out.

Just keep playing around with the order and adding FPs if you want and re-evaluate each time you make a change. Doing this will really give some insight into how the plans are put together and what you can get done in a certain amount of time. If you really want to get a glimpse the data behind the touring plans optimization engine, click on an attraction on the TP.com site (each park page includes a link to the list of attractions for that park) and scroll down to find the chart of wait times. If you click the link above the chart it will show the wait times by time of day. If you click the link to show the next day you'll see a chart for that day. After you click the link for the next day (not the current day), the web address will include the date for that day. You can then change the date in the web address to any day you like to see the forecast for that particular day.

All this said, I think the customized touring plans work best for DHS and Magic Kingdom. To do Epcot you really only need to know to get FPs for one of Soarin or Test Track and ride the other at rope drop (if you must do both in the same day). I don't have great insight into AK because we didn't go there this trip. However, from what I've seen on the boards AK is fairly easy to do in a day (or less), and people who love the park encourage others to relax and savor it rather than attack it with a "search and destroy" touring plan.

Of DHS and MK, I think the plan was most critical for us at DHS because of the handful of very popular attractions and the schedules for shows we wanted to see. Our plan went like clockwork that day. For MK the plans worked very well, but I don't think it was quite as critical because we weren't having to make schedule shows and there are more attractions with FP.

So my advice is to keep working with the plans to get something that makes sense and works for YOU.
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Old 07-08-2013, 05:02 PM   #7
Join Date: Feb 2013
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In playing aroudn with Touring Plans, I have also noticed it wigging out if I put too many attractions on the list for the amount of time we have. Maybe something to check on if that is why it had you watching Wishes at weird times.
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