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Testing a Touring Plan

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An important step in the scientific method is hypothesis testing. Before we publish a premium Touring Plan we test the plan to make sure it is viable. Our users have created over 3.1 million plans. It’s impossible for us to test every Touring Plan. Typically when we get an email with a user questioning the low wait times listed on a Touring Plan, we give the plan a quick review before we say it’s viable. I happened to get one of these emails the day before I was planning on going to the Magic Kingdom. Pat’s Touring Plan was made for June 11, when the park was scheduled to open 8 a.m.  June 2, also had an 8 a.m. opening. Crowd level on June 11, is a 7; June 2, was an 8. I decided I would test Pat’s plan.

I made a copy of Pat’s plan and evaluated it for June 2. The predicted wait times for most attractions went up slightly due to the higher crowd level. Total time “in line” only went up 34 minutes for the whole day. “Total time” stayed the same as the plan has “free” time.

The real test of Pat’s plan was if it’s possible to get the first six steps done before 11 a.m. The rest of the day only had two attractions without a FastPass+ reservation. The YouTube video below documents my test. Even with me taking a detour through Tomorrowland between the Jungle Cruise and Splash Mountain I was able to accomplish the plan with time to spare.

Pat’s Stand-By Attractions Actual Arrival Time Actual Wait Time
 1) Seven Dwarfs Mine Train 8:01 17
 2) The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh 8:25 3
 3) Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin 8:36 <1
 4) Jungle Cruise 8:51 8
 5) Splash Mountain 9:35 32
 6) The Haunted Mansion 10:30 22
 9) Tomorrowland Transit Authority PeopleMover 1:03 2
 12) The Barnstormer 3:03 21

I did not re-optimize the plan during my test because I wanted to stick to Pat’s Plan.  We recommend that you re-optimize your plan every few steps. Re-optimizing your plan will update the predictions taking the real-time conditions (such as ride closures, weather, etc.) into account.

How has your experience gone following a personalized Touring Plan? Let us know in the comments.

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Steve Bloom

By helping continue to reach the most accurate crowd level predictions, Steve finally found a way to meld his training in statistical analysis with a lifelong passion for Disney. He first visited the Magic Kingdom in 1972, just a few months after it opened. Now he enjoys frequent trips with his two kids. At age four his son insisted on wearing cowboy boots to reach the height requirement for Test Track, and his daughter believes that a smoked turkey leg and Dole Whip make a perfectly balanced meal. Even though she doesn't quite get it, Steve's wife is supportive of his Disney activities.

14 thoughts on “Testing a Touring Plan

  • Steve, if you ever want to outsource this part of your job, you just let me know.

  • Rocks in Socks

    Busy Easter week we were able to get an extra FP for 25 minutes later on Barnstormer @3pm in the afternoon, along with many other rides in quick succession by refreshing and pulling back FP time windows. I only mention this because Barnstormer’s posted wait was 40 minutes and any of those people on line who already used 3 FPs could have easily done what we did but… chose not to? As a matter of fact, other rides we did in this fashion were Haunted Mansion, Jungle Cruise and Splash Mtn. Saved a lot of time being able to breeze thru the FP lines at MK. I think many people aren’t aware of this method.

  • You state that a person should re-optimize every few steps. I understand this. But what if I want to stick with my own plan? Will pushing ‘evaluate’ every few steps give an update on wait times?

  • My experience (except for this past January when everything was wonky) has been that touring plans (personalized or otherwise) are usually pretty spot on. I’ve been using them since my honeymoon in 1996. It’s almost creepy how good you all are at this; we get grouchy if we have to wait more than 15 minutes for anything now.

    • That has been my experience too, at both Disney and Universal. The most spectacular success was two Septembers ago at Universal, when the touring plan got us on 10 rides before an 11 AM lunch:

      1. Gringotts
      2. Hollywood RRR
      3. Transformers
      4. The Mummy
      5. Men in Black
      6. Hogwarts Express
      7. Forbidden Journey
      8. Skull Island
      9. Jurassic Park
      10. Dragon Challenge

      It was bonkers.

    • “we get grouchy if we have to wait more than 15 minutes for anything now”

      +1 for this. It’s a rare occasion when we have to wait 15 minutes in line.

      For me, touring plans are the real magic of Disney World.


    Outcry first time using Touring Plans was two years ago at Universal. It was also our first time using an ECV for the entire trip. So I set personal plans to dry relaxed touring and balanced in the wait vs. walking ratio. I optimized the plan every couple of steps, not because I knew to, but because we were constantly ahead of ourselves! This was our first trip to Unversal, so we needed all the help we could get!
    This September will be our next trip to FL with the hubby in full ECV-mode, and I’m planning out each day the same way. I can’t wait to give our plans a try!
    Steve, out of curiosity, do we know the speed this plan was optimized at?
    A big thank you to you and the entire team for all your hard work. The extra pixie dust the team produces really makes a difference!

    • The plan was evaluated using Average walking speed, balanced waiting vs. walking.

  • I’ve been using Touring Plans for many years now and have never had a problem until this year. We were park hopping and started early at HS (with no Fast Passes) to ride the only things worth doing there at the moment, with Toy Story Mania the top priority, before heading over to Epcot.
    When we were going through security, many bus loads of tour groups were whisked right on through and into the park. While waiting for my daughter and her friend to get through (they needed bags searched), I was watching the wait time sky rocket from what was a reasonable 20 minutes to 45 minutes in a matter of a few minutes. By the time we got there, it was already 60 minutes. In cases like that, re-optimizing would definitely be a good thing to do, especially when instances like this are not taken into account.

  • Erin Gianelle

    Driving back from Disney and used my own plans for the vacation. We felt that using child swap didn’t follow the plan as well as it could and if you were off by like two minutes from the first step, the whole day went wonky. If your break time changed slightly we couldn’t get the program to fix correctly when optimized… no it wasn’t perfect but we were still happy we had them. Our magic kingdom day got wonky because of weather. Thanks for the touring plans. Erin

  • I made my own touring plan in 2016 and it worked extremely well, no long waits with my 5 and 7 year old daughters. We’re doing MK again mid August this year with a 9am opening, and I’m thinking of using this plan this year. We’re New Yorkers and my girls are used to brisk walking, would this plan still work for that time? Thanks

    • I would assume this plan would work in August. It is best for you to create a new plan with the attractions you want, and the FastPass+ reservation you have and let the Touring Plans software optimize the order.

  • Just discovered this website and I’m quite excited to create plans. I enjoyed this video.


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