Touringplans.com is a website that claims to have the power to save you four hours of waiting in line in a single day at the Disney theme parks. With touring plans, crowd calendar and a wait time app, Touringplans.com has everything you need to plan out and enjoy your day. The trick is making sure you follow their advice and not wander off. The website offers tools for both Disneyland and Walt Disney World, but for this review, I will only be looking at the Walt Disney World side of things.
Home to the Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World and The Unofficial Guide to Disneyland, the website is laid out so that even the most frazzled parent can understand what they are looking at. The coolest aspect of the website for me are the touring plans. This is where you can find out how to see more of the park, while wasting less time in lines trying to see it all. With over 140 different step by step touring plans for the Walt Disney World resort, there is something for every family.
For first time Disney visitors, I highly recommend you read through the touring plans before your visit. If you already know what attractions and shows you want to hit, check out the touring plan app to create your own customized touring plan for any of the four major Walt Disney World theme parks.
Being the Disney veteran I am, I use the crowd calendar the most when planning out my family’s visits to the theme parks. This tool helps us plan out our day, by determining which park will be the least crowded and the most enjoyable. The crowd scale goes from one to 10, with 10 being the highest attendance, and it also lists the park to avoid, the park to hit and the neutral parks.
To help you understand what the scale really means, they have a handy tool to show you how the crowd level translates into ride times. For example, on a level one day at the Magic Kingdom, Buzz Lightyear Space Ranger Spin’s wait time is estimated to be around 10 minutes. On a level 10 day, that same ride has an estimated 38 minutes or longer wait.
To add to the fun, if you have a smartphone, you can download the wait times app to check out the wait times to your favorite rides, before making the hike to that side of the park. The wait times you see are not based on what the actual attraction will say, though. These wait times are based on surveys, experience and statistics from the past. Instead of seeing an estimated wait line (what Disney posts) you see an actual wait time, which is more accurate.
While visiting the Walt Disney World resort during Labor Day weekend this year, I put the website to the test.
Magic Kingdom was listed as the safe park to visit and Hollywood Studios was listed as the park to avoid. The funny thing was that the crowd level for Magic Kingdom was way higher than I expected for Labor Day weekend, so I was a little unsure of its accuracy.
The website was dead on and to our surprise, Magic Kingdom was the busiest we have ever seen it on a Labor Day. The wait times were pretty accurate and the crowd report was right on target.
The premium service costs $11.95 for 365 days access and regardless of whether you are an Orlando local or a tourist coming to the parks for a week, I highly recommend it.
To learn more about Touringplans.com and the science behind the madness, check out their website.