After the Touring Plan

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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.


If you have a young member in your Disney group, sometimes they might ask to stop at one of the shops because they glimpsed an Olaf plush in the window. But maybe you deny the request, stating, “We need to get to Splash Mountain before our Fastpass+ reservation expires!”

Now is the time to browse the shops. Maybe you allow one small souvenir as a “Thanks for sticking with the touring plan” memento, or maybe you allow them (and yourself) to go a little crazy. However your shopping excursion may go, you don’t have to feel rushed. You have all the time in the world!

The eating area of Flame Tree BBQ. The birds are great, but there are so many snakes painted on the ceiling! This is one of my favorite decorative locations in Walt Disney World.

Be that professional photographer you always wanted to be!

The gift of time allows people to take their time. One hobby that requires patience and time is the art of photography. How many of your pictures have a rushed quality about them, because you grabbed that shot as your children were randomly passing by Mary Poppins and you had to squeeze it in?

Walt Disney World is one of the most photographed sites on the planet. Many photos are obvious (Cinderella Castle, Spaceship Earth, the Star Wars AT-AT, etc.). But take the time to find those perfect shots that aren’t all over the Google results page. How about Flame Tree BBQ at Disney’s Animal Kingdom? I hope you’ve had the chance to sample their incredible food, but have you ever really looked at that area? It’s wonderfully artistic. Take your photographic trigger finger and go to town!

Eat at a table-service restaurant!

That personalized Epcot morning Future World Touring Plan worked so well that it’s complete by 11am. Perfect timing: now you can head to World Showcase for a delicious meal.

When rushing through the parks, you may think that the counter-service locations are the only logical way to eat in Walt Disney World. Wait, pay, eat, go!

Not so fast. Put up your feet. I’ve managed to get a seat in Via Napoli right when it opened up, without a reservation. You could probably do this in many of World Showcase’s table-service restaurants (except maybe Le Cellier).

Just sit and people watch!

It’s amazing how many benches there are in Walt Disney World. It’s even more amazing to see so many of them unused and empty, due to the crowds of people rushing to the next attraction.

Why not give these benches a little bit of love? Did you know that the benches are slightly different in each land you enter? Why not test them all out! Try to sit next to a speaker, and enjoy that AtMousePhere that the background music provides.

One of my favorite things to do on a solo trip is people watch. Count how many families have matching t-shirts. Guess when the next cast member will come by sweeping garbage. Listen for a magic word, like “Mickey.” Check off how many children have a balloon. Or simply close your eyes and let the noises envelop you.

Take an actual nap!

Sometimes all we can afford is a quick doze on The Universe of Energy because we have so much stuff to fit in. But if there is time to spare, it wouldn’t hurt to return to the hotel for a respite in a cool, comfortable bed. Not only will it relax you more than the hard seats of an attraction ride, it will energize you for the evening activities you have planned.

Goofy’s Candy Company confection. This took me days to finish!

Find that undiscovered area!

So much of a trip is consumed with attractions and restaurants that we know and love, and sometimes that means the little treats get pushed out of the way. Have you ever seen Yehaa Bob at Port Orleans: Riverside? Have you ever created your own candy creation at Goofy’s Candy Company? Have you ever toured Tom Sawyer’s Island? Have you ever followed the end of a parade? Have you ever stopped at the KidCot stations? There are so many little magical moments just waiting for you to find them. Pick one and have fun!

Check out the resort hotels!

I have been to many of Walt Disney World’s resorts, and each one has a unique flavor. The Contemporary has a sleek design with the monorail going through it, Beach Club takes you back in time with its bright colors and chic decor, and the Animal Kingdom Lodge is full of amazing African styles. All the resorts are worth checking out – especially because many of them offer free things to do!

At Christmastime, this suggestion gets upgraded to a “must-do.”

Re-ride your favorite attractions!

Let’s face it: once is never enough.


What are your favorite things to do after a Touring Plan is complete? Have you found an undiscovered area that you love to visit every time you go to Walt Disney World? Do you have a favorite bench? Comment below!

Claire Nat

I've been enjoying Walt Disney World since my Nana pushed my sister's and my strollers back in the late 1980s. I enjoy my day job here in the Denver area as a teacher and music coordinator at our church. I love music, reading, Doctor Who, Star Wars, and Michigan sports!

15 thoughts on “After the Touring Plan

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  • August 19, 2014 at 1:34 pm

    It feels like this article was made for me. Yesterday I finished by customized touring plans to make my Fastpass reservations today, and I noticed that on some days the touring plans said that I’ll get a lot of free time on some days (specially on my second Magic Kingdom day, the Animal Kingdom day and the Island of Adventures day – the latter seems to have way less interesting attractions than what I was expecting). I was actually wondering how I’d use all the free time, and these ideas are all great.

    And about Fastpass+ I was really shocked when I saw that today, exactly 60 days before my check-in, Fastpasses for Festival of Fantasy Parade and the Electrical Parade are already finished for both of my Magic Kingdom days. I guess now I’ll have to search for information of the best non-fastpass places to watch them, the time to get there and whatnot.

    • August 19, 2014 at 3:12 pm

      2 of my favourite parades 🙂 Just before the bridge over form Sleepy Hollow is wonderful for the MSEP. I only saw FOF a couple of times on my last trip (but looking forward to many repeat viewings on my next!) but one spot that worked well for us was over by the exit bridge from Splash Mountain. you have the first viewing as the parade leaves backstage, and people were getting great spots very close to start time.

      Hope you have a wonderful trip!

    • August 19, 2014 at 3:27 pm

      I’m glad you like the ideas! Sorry about your Fastpass+ arrangements not working for the parades, but hopefully Kirsty’s suggestions are helpful. I always like Frontierland’s shops for a good parade spot!

    • August 19, 2014 at 4:43 pm

      The FPP for the parades aren’t gone yet. FPP for the parades and fireworks usually don’t show up until closer to the date.

  • August 19, 2014 at 6:18 pm

    Finally made it to Tom Sawyer Island after 6 trips on our last visit. It was such a nice little spot to relax in the middle of the day. Lots of shade and the kids could run on the paths without bumping into people. So not a MUST do, but definitely a fun activity to include when extra time allows.

    • August 19, 2014 at 6:37 pm

      Great idea! I was there back when finding paintbrushes was still a thing, but that is a cool corner of the park that not many people take the time to see.

      • August 20, 2014 at 3:27 pm

        TSI was a much better place to relax when Aunt Polly’s was still open.

  • August 19, 2014 at 6:42 pm

    Last time this happened to me, I went back to the beginning of the touring plan and did it all a second time. (It was a really low crowd day.)

    • August 19, 2014 at 6:54 pm

      That is impressive! It was probably interesting to compare the wait times from the two rounds.

  • August 19, 2014 at 7:32 pm

    At MK, there’s always Sorcerer’s to fill in the empty times!

    • August 19, 2014 at 9:04 pm

      Yes! I totally forgot about that. I did it last time in the parks and had a lot of fun. There’s also A Pirate’s Adventure, along the same lines.

  • August 20, 2014 at 2:34 pm

    I’ve completed a touring plan early. It’s nice to just do what you might want to do without worrying about the opportunity cost in time.

  • August 20, 2014 at 9:34 pm

    Just got back from our yearly trip to WDW and absolutely loved the new magic band and FP+ system. Using your plans plus these new programs made it our best trip ever. So wonderful!! And we had a lot of free time to hang out and enjoy the resort because of it. More than we ever have! Happiness!
    ALSO, when we couldn’t get a reservation to TREX Café a few months ahead of time (thru the Disney reservation system) our travel agent just called the restaurant directly and got us a reservation easily (listed under our last name). WHO KNEW?? So, there’s a bit of a workaround on reservations – at least at Downtown Disney establishments. Cool, huh? 🙂

    • August 21, 2014 at 12:13 am

      I am so glad you were able to use all these special features to your benefit! It’s such a wonderful thing to have everything work out. It’s pretty much the perfect vacation!


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