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Do you make a formal tour plan before arriving at theme park?


Alicia64
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I always do plans for those theme parks. Easywdw.com is my go-to for Disney, orlandoinformer.com for Universal. I don't find I need as much of a plan for Universal, but something loose is still a must. Disney is too expensive to waste time in lines. I've always had a decent plan and we're always zigging when everyone else is zagging. If you are dead set against a plan, at least familiarizing yourself with it all is a great idea. 

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No, but I'm morbidly fascinated by those who do.   :lol:

 

It's probably a great idea, but we always hit the theme parks in FL in Feb or so, and crowds are super low.  We just wing it, maybe we're lucky but we've never had to wait more than 20 minutes for a ride, except for a strange long line at a Winnie the Pooh ride once, a freak 45 minutes.  We might check a schedule for shows, though.

 

But, we're not princess people, and meeting characters isn't our thing.  So YMMV.

 

 

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At this point in my life (3 young and very needy kids), I prefer to just study the map and read up on the rides, their wait times, and touring strategies. That way, when someone needs to nurse, poop, or ride the teacups one more time, I can quickly come up with a new plan. I still like to have a rough outline of a plan (like, we'll be in part A in the morning, have lunch at X, and part B in the afternoon. If we get bored we'll move on to C, but it's not necessary for that day). But I feel more relaxed having the back-up in formation in my head.

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We are heading to DW in May (my kid's first time). I've got basic schedules already, so I can make our fast passes when it's time. Part of my motivation is to reduce wait times (as much as possible). Part is to reduce unnecessary walking. DH has health issues, so I've studied the maps to find the best routes with minimum backtracking and back-and-forth.

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I'm hearing about how smart it is to have a solid "tour" plan before getting to a theme park.

 

I can find some plans for Disney, but not as much for Universal or Legoland.

 

Do you have any suggestions?

 

TIA!

 

Alley

 

When Mr. Ellie and I go to Disneyland (never been to WDW), the first day we know how we're going: left at the end of Main Street, Indian Jones, POTC, Haunted House, maybe Splash Mountain, then Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. After that we mosey around. :-) 

 

When we have small children, we go straight into Fantasy Land and do Peter Pan first, then the other rides in Fantasy Land, because most people have gone to Hyperspace Mountain, or the Matterhorn, or Indiana Jones.

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We don't when doing with DD.  But, then we have season passes and are VERY familiar what to do when.   But, when DH and I ditched DD at my parents and had an adult day, I had it all planned out.  It was awesome!   Several big kid rides were in close proximity and we did those one after the other with no lines.  

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Nope. We decide what we want to do first but thats it. Twice when we went to Orlando it was during lowest weeks of the year so didn't feel it was necessary. When we lived next to Legoland we had season passes and always went on a Wednesday so was never crowded and we could always get anything we missed next time. 

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No, but maybe that's because we live close to the Orlando theme parks and have had passes for the various parks over the years. We do usually discuss what we'd like to do and get a general idea of where to go first (usually based on our knowledge of the crowds). We've never made an official or formal plan though. Just a general, let's try to go here first, then there, then maybe we can either do this or that next. However, even our informal plans are flexible.

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In "the book" about touring WDW (which also includes 2 or 3 chapters about UO, because it is so incredibly important and of such high quality), there is a service available for making Touring Plans for the parks.  I used their "Free" service, since we were going the last week of April 2016, which is *not* peak season. My DD had made a list of things she wanted to see, time permitting.  From that, I made the touring plans.  We began with them, but you also need to think about (in WDW) which attractions you want to try to get a "Fast Pass" for, and which attractions do not require one. We got to the parks *early* each morning, which is critical. One has limited time and limited money, so one needs to STUDY, before going to Orlando.  If someone just walks into a park, without advance planning, it is unlikely one would be able to go on as many attractions, as a person who'd planned in advance could go on.   The Touring Plan computer, after you input the Attractions you would like to see in a particular park, puts them into order for you, depending on the history they have on that attraction on a similar day.  Also, it tries to minimize the amount of walking between attractions, which saves time and saves energy.  

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Sortof.. We know Disney so well now we know what the lines will do and what we want. I have the job of booking/planning where we are going to eat all the meals which dictates where we will be at different times. From there we just prioritize according of everyone's whims. With my kids ages though, that mostly looks like riding the teacups 100 times followed by 100 laps on buzz light year, followed by another thousand rides through Pirates of the Caribbean, and if everything is crowded at night we ride Small World until small children fall asleep... Which isn't exactly a well developed tour plan :) If we do a different trip in the future we'd definitely research and make one.

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I'm swear by touring plans (I use touringplans.com and the lines app - the best part of having a plan is wasting zero time one 'what should we do' talking lol) ...I'm kind of freaking over an upcoming trip to Disneyland Paris because I'll have to use different planning tools lol

 

Sent from my SM-G930V using Tapatalk

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Yes to Disney, Yes to Universal, No to Legoland.  Making fastpass reservations is key to getting to ride some rides at Disney (or eat at many of the restaurants).  Planning Universal means that you can zip through some rides rather than waiting three hours to get onto a ride. (King Kong, I'm looking at you.). 

 

---we have visited all three places recently

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With Disney, you have to at least have plans for your fast passes (and book EARLY or you won't get them for certain rides!)  

 

At Universal, I haven't made any plans.  We even went in Aug of last year, or maybe it was the year before?  Anyway, we just utilized single rider lines and such and were fine at Universal.  I don't think we waited more than 30 min. in any line other than for food at Three Broomsticks!

 

We may hit Disneyland this summer and we need to start thinking about it if we do.

 

 

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Well, I make a very detailed plan but usually we don't stick to it at all. However, we have been to Disney a lot and I have spent many hours reading up on it etc. so even without an actual plan I have a pretty good idea which things need to be booked ahead of time, which rides need to be done as early as possible, which attractions are good in sun/heat/rain, where to find bathrooms, restaurants etc., which attractions can be done any time etc. Also, until recently my kids (not exactly dare-devils) were not interested in most of the really popular attractions so we didn't have to juggle fast passes etc. and we usually stayed fairly long so could always do stuff on another day if it didn't work out at first.

 

That being said, I would recommend a fairly detailed plan for Disney, Universal etc., especially if you are only there for a shorter time, haven't been there before (or not recently), and want to experience the majority of attractions.

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I think there are options for plans for most theme parks in Orlando if you don't want to do the research yourself. I always have a plan, at least in the back of my mind. Not so much for Legoland, but definitely for Universal and Disney. I know what needs to be ridden at opening/rope drop and what can wait, as well as what a reasonable wait time is for that ride and for my family. Some things, I will ride now if the wait says 5 or 10 minutes even if it isn't my plan, other things always say that.

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My kids made plans for Disneyland and Legoland California. It is an 8hrs drive south for us and we usually buy 3 or 5 day passes. My boys have their list of must do items at both parks and they circle those on the park maps. My boys have preference for time of the day for their rides too, we go off peak so we have to make sure the rides we like are operating and not scheduled for maintenance. At the end of the day, we don't have regrets on missing the rides that we really want to go on because we didn't plan. Each child has three to four favorite rides so it is manageable to do them all over three days.

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You can't really depend on short lines at Disney. We just got back from our (very wonderful, very magical, very amazing!!!) week, and days that were supposed to be low were NOT and days that were supposed to be high crowd levels were not, go figure. 

 

Yes, you'll get dramatically more done if you have a plan and know where you're trying to go. Your trip costs too much to waste it not getting things done. There is way more to do there than you will conceivably get done, so you're going to have to pick and choose. Might as well choose AHEAD. ;)

 

Yes, I used the Touring Plans side, subscribed, and got their Lines app. Love, love, love the app. Can't imagine going without it. With that and the MDWExperience app, you're good to go. If you don't have the apps, how do you keep track of your plans, your ressies for meals, etc, kwim? And if you don't make reservations, you're going to be hard-pressed to get things you want. Like maybe you will, amybe you won't. I got a lunch for 4 people at Be Our Guest the night before, so it can happen. But it was at 2pm, awfully late with hungry children. We ended up doing lunch at quick service and just eating dessert at Be Our Guest.

 

So yes, if you want things, plan ahead. But it's true, there are lots of good trips to be had, no wrong way to do Disney, lots of rights. And personally, I think a lot of the things I read online ahead were SCREWBALL. Like the food was not nearly as bad as some people on disboards had said. The value resorts are much WORSE than people had said. We stayed at Pop Century one night, and really you'd have to come up with $1 million to get me to stay there again. Like you could pay me to do it, but it would be high. It was like PRISON. Oh it was clean and tidy and nicely themed, but the bed was AWFUL. My body STILL hurts from that one night. Never ever ever.

 

I think you have to plan ahead to do what is important to you. I wanted food and adventures with my ds. We did all the pirate adventure maps in Magic Kingdom, and we did all the detective adventures in Epcot. They were AWESOME! And you don't need reservations or a plan for those, lol. But they might not be on somebody else's top list, kwim? Ds loved some things, like Tower of Terror, that I could only do so much. Like we have limits! So plan what is important to you.

 

We really liked Biergarten. People were snarky about it on Disboards, but again I found that my take and what I read online didn't match. Biergarten was SO fun, very satisfying, very tasty. We hit it when the oompah band was playing. Again, that takes intention, as they only play for 15 minutes every 1 1/2 hours. ;)  So yes, plan your trip and have all the fun you're dreaming of. :)

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