diy disney: why you should make a touring plan

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Ever since S1 and I took our first trip to Disney World together, I've made a touring plan for each day.  What's a touring plan, you might ask?

Just wait, I'll tell you.


A touring plan is an itinerary for your day in the Disney parks.  Ideally, it should list the attractions you want to see at the time you want to see them.  If you do your research, you can come up with a pretty decent one yourself, but I've always used www.touringplans.com.  It's a subscription service (I think $11.95 for the year) but WELL WORTH IT, in my opinion.

**Sidenote here: this post is in no way sponsored by or affiliated with the good folks at Touring Plans.  These are all my honest opinions and experiences with using their service.**

Touring Plans has a Crowd Calendar that I utilize to plan which park we're going to visit each day.  Crowd levels are ranked on a scale of 1-10, so we'll usually visit the park that has the lowest crowd ranking each day.  For example, the day we visited Magic Kingdom was a Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party day, which meant the park closed to the public at 7 p.m.  Because of that, most people who were not going to the Halloween party skipped MK that day so the crowds were LOW.  I think it was a 1 the day we went.  We have been to MK on a 10 day and lemme tell ya, that's no fun AT ALL.  Word to the wise: don't go to Disney the week after Christmas.

Anyway, so after I've decided which park we're going to do each day, I start with one of Touring Plans' stock plans.  Then I delete and add attractions as I see fit, and also add in our Fastpass+ and dining reservations.  Click the magic OPTIMIZE button at the bottom of the page and it rearranges the attractions to save you OPTIMAL time.  There's also an option to optimize based on walking (because if someone in your group has limited mobility, you might not want to zig zag across the park).

Download their WDW Lines (or DL Lines, if you're heading to Disneyland) app and your personalized touring plans are right there on your phone.  You can check "complete" on the attractions after you do them so it will only show the attractions you have left.

If you're technologically challenged (I say that in the kindest way possible), you can also buy the most recent Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World and do your planning the old-fashioned way.  The first time we went, I did that (this was before smart phones!) and it worked great.  You'll just have a paper itinerary instead of a digital one. :)

If you're thinking that you're not a planner and will just "go with the flow" at Disney, I'm here to tell you that that would be a big mistake.  Here are the top 5 reasons you should ALWAYS have a touring plan:



Did you notice that my headings were Disney-related? haha, I crack me up.

Anyway.  I'll go through each reason again here.

1.  Our mental synchronization could have but one explanation.  You and I are just meant to beeeee.  Thanks Anna and Hanz for that intro.  Being in sync with the rest of your party about which attractions you're going to see in what order SAVES SO MUCH TIME.  Instead of standing around trying to be political about which ride is next, it's all in the app people.  Get on board.

2.  You don't wanna miss a thaaaang.  Huge props to Aerosmith for one of the greatest songs of my adolescence.  Okay, that's not a Disney song, but hello, Rock 'n' Rollercoaster!  This one's pretty self-explanatory.  Having a plan = not missing anything you want to do.  Huzzah!

3.  With every passing hour, you'll be so glad you had the power... to minimize wait times!  Okay, I'm truly sorry for this one.  I admit it's a stretch, but I had to throw Rapunzel in here somewhere.  Sometimes the best plan of attack is to hit up a popular attraction on one side of the park and then walk clear across to the other side of the park to hit up another one.  Wasting those precious couple of hours right after the park opens (when lines are the shortest) is inadvisable.

4.  Let your {phone} be your guide.  Gotta love some Jiminy Cricket.  I've already mentioned this, but download the apps - they are a true lifesaver.

5.  Tale as old as time.  Song as old as rhyme.  Attractions & the clock.  Wait, what?  Sorry, Mrs. Potts, that was the best I could do.  Having a touring plan keeps you and your group ON SCHEDULE.  No more missing out on attractions because you didn't look at the showtimes.  It's all right there on your touring plan.

Having said (and said and said) how important it is to have a touring plan, some of you might be thinking, "It's vacation! It's about having fun, not adhering to schedules!" and right you are.  But I promise, it only takes a little effort to go into your Disney vacation well-prepared and you won't be sorry you did.  After all, you're spending a small fortune on these memories - it's best to not miss out on any! :)

Don't forget to PIN that graphic up there for later. :)

I have a fun post for you tomorrow so don't forget to check back!

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