Discussion in 'Budget Board' started by Marty Moose, Apr 18, 2006.
I was just wondering if anyone had used this? And if so, is it worth it?
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Yep, lots of people have used TGM. I think it's worth it, but some people think his site is hard to navigate. I didn't find it so. I used him last year and signed up again this year because it was such a great help in planning our last trip. Mike has fantastic tips and up to date info. I do believe he offers a money back guarantee too if you are not satisfied.
Love it - am using it for the 2nd and 3rd times this year. We used it last October and never waited on line more than 5 minutes.
YOU have to do all the work though - Mike just provides the tools to plan your own personalized vacation. It is hard to navigate at first, but once you get the hang of it, it's a breeze!
The community is great too!
I must respectfully disagree with the previous post. I didn't care for it. There is a LOT of information but it was hard to find. I would read an article and then couldn't find it when I went back to it.
I'm a computer trainer by day and I think the user interface needs to be much more simplified.
I was also expecting something more customized. I guess I was looking for, run to Dumbo first, then go do... It wasn't like that. Just lots of general articles.
But if you try it, TGM is as good as his word with that guarantee. I sent an email and my money was refunded a few days later.
If you are looking for something customized I LOVED Touringplans (dot) com for it's "Enhanced Touring Plans". Once you subscribe, you choose a touring Plan - they have different titles like, "Small Children Two Day Touring Plan" - Pop in the date you are going and you will have a step by step way to avoid the crowds. We used it on our last trip and it was perfect!
Good luck and enjoy your trip.
We used it for the first time in Feb/March. I'm pretty frugal and skeptical by nature but his "Best Days" advice was worth the subscription price alone!
For the trip we're planning during Free Dining I went ahead and booked the room. TGM's "Best Days" for October weren't up yet. So on my own, using WDW's calendar, knowing which parks had EMH on which days and all the other events that increase crowds, I planned out our schedule but waited until the "Best Days" for Oct were published before making ADR's. When I saw the Oct "Best Days" I compared it to what I had planned. Turns out TGM taught me pretty well because my plans jived fairly well with what his thoughts were. Once I had Mike's confirmation on which parks for which days I went ahead and made the ADR's accordingly.
I did find his site a little hard to navigate until I got used to it. There's a huge amount of information on there. I'm sure there are still plenty of articles that I never made it around to reading. I'll do it again in prep for our Sept/Oct trip.
Again, his "Best Days" advice is dead on!
First, yes I believe it is well worth the $! The site took some playing around to get comfortable with. But you can always use the "search" and never had a problem doing that It DOES list... start here...go here...go here... and also lists...grab fastpass for later for this..and if you have extra time, or just filler ...do this... I've been to Disney a few times, but I think it is well worth the cost. I did buy it for our trip, and considering what people are spending for their vacation overall, I think it is WELL worth the cost. Lots of information.
I agree with those who say it's hard to navigate. I also didn't care for the cheesy style of his writing. While I was planning my trip, I spent alot of time there, and when I would talk about my plans a little, my dh and kids would scoff. I wasn't sure what to expect.
THEN, I had my trip, Christmas 2005. His advice is right on. We seldom waited in lines, even the day after Xmas.
One thing to consider: his style is not park commando style. If that's your style, it won't work for you. We have always been commando in the past, and discovered we really liked his style. Our vacation was fantastic, and the lines we waited in were never more than 15 minutes (and frequently shorter). At MGM we rode Rockin Roller Coaster (our family favorite) 6 or 8 times!
My husband became a true believer and my oldest ds (13) started reading ahead on then plans, and calling himself "Tour Guide Michael".
I would never consider a trip to Disneyworld without subscribing again.
TourGuideMike is terrible! Don't do it- I'm afraid to recommend him because I want to keep his advice all to myself.
I agree with fakereadhed, it's horrible (tongue in cheek) No really although it is a ton of information I wouldn't hesitate to do it again for our next trip.
I agree with the negative posts. I signed up a couple weeks ago. Hard to navigate. I guess I agree with another poster who thought it would be something more customized, too.
I went through here and I think it was $18.95. A complete waste of money for me.
TGM seems to be a love it or hate it kind of thing.
I thought I knew a lot of WDW, but I signed up yesterday and I was exhausted from all of the reading I did. He tells you to please read his intro before you start clicking all over the place and he even warns you to stop reading if you clicked away and come back to his intro so you learn how to do things properly. I had to laugh-I felt like I got caught and went ahead when I wasn't suppose to yet. I used to do that all the time in school and then I would be that kid that would walk up to the teacher and ask for directions again.
Did you at least get your money back? He does offer the money back guarantee...so, you shouldn't worry about wasting money. If you don't like it, you will get your money back.
I agree with the positive posters. We visited WDW in 2004 for the 1st time in about 10 years. I had purchased the Unofficial Guide for that trip. I didn't use any of the touring plans...and boy was that a long trip. Long lines, cranky child, etc. We didn't get as much done as I thought we could have.
Last year, we returned again in June. I used the TGM BEST DAYS to plan out our trip and it was great. No long lines, and everything went smoothly.
We are going back again this June and I subscribed again. I re-read the Unofficial Guide and found the touring plans to be a little too "commando" for me.....but, it does have excellent information that can be used to put together your own touring plan.
My advice would be to definitely try TGM or get The Unofficial Guide and take their advice on which parks to go to on which days as well as which rides to hit early in the day to avoid lines. Many people have talked about being able to get the Unofficial Guide from their local library. That may be an option to help you save money as well.
Well, I must agree that it is a LOT of reading, and not the user friendliest site, but as a 20+ WDW visitor, DVC owner and full time event planner, I learned a few new tricks. However, the best thing I got from this service was a reminder that allowed me to snag CRT at 8:10 am in June for my 1st choice day. It seems when I did the 180+10 calculation, I was off by a day or two and if I hadn't gotten the reminder from Mike, we probably wouldn't have gotten a ressie at all, but in this case I was able to get a seating for 11 people. What a life saver. now my DGD (3 yr old twins and 5 yr. old) will get to share the magic of it all with the whole family.
The "inside" info of TGM is good, site is hard to navigate but I do find a lot of the same info here on the Dis as well. It's definitely good though to see which parks have a GREEN, YELLOW or RED lable attached to them so you can see which ones you want to go to on the days you are away.
After reading that someone in this thread got a refund, I went to the site and sent an email asking if I could and how to go about it. We'll see...
I do have the Unofficial Guide and find it to be very helpful.
We went last year - the second week in June - the same time as some friends. I tried to tell them about TGM but she insisted that she had been to Disney before and knew everything. When we got back, I heard that they had a terrible time. the lines were horrible and they would never go back in June again. I thought that was funny because we were there for 10 days and only waited in one line for 20 minutes - and that was when I knew I was breaking the rules and the wait would be 20 minutes but it was what the kids wanted to do.
I always kind of chuckle to myself when people scoff that it is a lot of information to read. So they want to pay $20 and not get much info? Mike not only tells you the hows, he tells you the whys. That is what is so great about his site. It is a lot to read thru but well worth it. Do read the intro!
I now go with general ideas in my head but no specific agenda. I know the whys so I can ad lib what it is we feel like doing.
Mixed feelings -
The site isn't well organized.
The site could do a lot more with customization
There is nothing on Mike's site you won't get here, or the UOG website of busiest days
However, the information is in one place
The touring plans print nicely
Its $18 or something, not a lot in the scale of a Disney vacation, but perhaps a lot in your budget.
I didn't learn anything I hadn't figured out myself. Some of the things I "learned" I had figured out myself but wouldn't apply.
If this is your first or second Disney trip, it may be more worthwhile than if its your tenth.
If you get $20 out of pleasure out of planning using it, its worth it regardless.
Personally, I'd rather have a Passporter and some common sense.
I loved TGM. It was great for someone with young children. It tells you when exactly the scary parts are for the ride or shows. (things that we wouldn't think scary, but alot of young children gets scared...... loud noises, things jumping out, etc) And the info on when what day to visit each park
TGM is great for lots of people - IF you like to get to the parks early, grab fast passes and get lots of rides in. Which is what a lot of folks want to do. We don't. We don't use touring plans. We're much more leisurely about when we get to a park and what we ride, so TGM was pretty much a wash for us. We don't uber-micro-plan every hour of our trips.
I also wasn't wild about the site and the amount of time it takes to find, print and collate everything you might need. It was quicker for me to make my own spread sheet with everything I needed on one page.
But as I said, TGM works well for many people, especially those who are relatively new to WDW. He has lots of info about how to pace yourself, what to see and when, where to stand for parades etc. I didn't find any of his info to be a "secret", but it's good info if you don't already know any of it.
In planning for our up-coming trip...
I bought the UG
I subscribed to touringplans.com
I subscribed to Ride Max
I subscribed to TGM
I bought the Passporter (primarily for the maps)
What I found was that like a bunch of others, I found TGM's website hard to navigate. When I brought up the issue on the TGM boards everyone came to TGM's rescue (as if I was attacking him personally). TGM himself even posted and told me how wonderfully "user friendly" and simply laid out his site is. That there just wasn't any better way to organize his site (I could think of a few things).
Well, I'm glad "he" knows how to navigate his site. The problem is the site is for "others" to use (you know, the people that pay for the subscription). If it's not user friendly, people will miss out on all that the website has to offer.
WITH THAT BEING SAID:
1) I have found some very good information on his site. Most of which I've seen other places like here on the DIS (or the other above referenced books/sites). The difference with seeing these on TGM's site is the emphasisi he places on some of the things and the background info as to why he suggests certain things.
2) I like the fact that TGM (who's in the business of providing VIP tours at WDW, and is in the parks every day) will provide updates as he sees changes in the parks. His site is not a static listing of information that was written last year sometime.
Would I recommend TGM? YES (surprised?)
Even with the current site layout you can find some great information. I think I learned enough from the site (even if some of it was stuff I already knew, but didn't know all the reasons "why" it was like that) to justify the subscription price.
If the site isn't to your liking you can always get a refund. (Just don't tell TGM that his site isn't user friendly )
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