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Robin Harrison Axelberd

Park Planning/Schedule Worksheet

28 posts in this topic

Hi everyone!

 

I have put together a Google spreadsheet to help me with my planning, and I wanted to share it with y'all. It contains crowd calendars (both of which are currently public information) and park hours (including EMH). It is only for Saturday, Nov. 16 - Sunday, Nov. 24. In order for you to make changes, you will need to download it or save it to your Google Drive. I have provided links to the crowd calendars, etc. in case you need to add days to either side of the week. If you hover over the title cell with a little triangle in the corner, you will find the link to the specific website. 

 

For the crowd calendars, I have provided the overall park rating, and then for Touring Plans, I have provided the specific park crowd level in parentheses. For Josh/EasyWDW's calendar, the first park listed for "Best" is THE best, and the *last* park listed for "Worst" is THE worst. You'll notice that the two crowd calendars often disagree. I am not going to endorse one over the other, but you're likely not to go wrong using either one.

 

Be sure to check the websites every month and compare to what I have listed because THINGS CHANGE! In particular, when I went in 2011, I noticed that about a month out, some of the park hours changed - usually extending closing time another hour.

 

I am also including a link to the calendar/schedule I made in 2011, just to give you an example of how I used my schedule. You'll notice that I have already tweaked and changed somethings from then. :D

 

Anyway, I hope you find this helpful! Click the link or copy & paste.

 

New calendar:

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0As3Iz_uI1qM2dDdiOEN0bG9aTUV5eFg2eFB2WHRNdnc&usp=sharing

 

2011 Calendar:

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0As3Iz_uI1qM2dEVHbV9Lbi1iekNWQVlVaXFXM1RUbFE&usp=sharing

 

 

Blessings!

Robin

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Thanks, Robin - what a great help! I'll update crowd level info when I email my tips & tricks email closer to our dates, but this will give everyone an idea of crowd flow and issues.

 

Warmly,
Dianna

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Robin, I am too! I create a calendar with all the info, updated crowd predictions, classes my children are registered for, etc., and print out several copies to take with me (in case I lose one). I'd be lost without it! (Mostly because I'm over-40.) ;)

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As I have gone back to touringplans.com to do some of my own planning, I've noticed that some of the days have a park designated as "Best" but the crowd level in another park may actually be lower. AND - OH MY GOSH - I just realized I have messed some things up on the original file! So, I may have to edit or repost the link. UGH!

Edited by Robin Harrison Axelberd

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Robin, LOL! I understand... trust me! :)

 

Warmly,
Dianna

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Thanks!  Great Job!  I do have a question though - what is the significance of the orange or green times for the park hours? 

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One is extra magic hours in the evening, and one is extra magic hours in the morning. Probably. If Robin does it like I do mine, the green is the evening extra magic hours. But ignore me and wait for Robin! ;)

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Awesome planning sheet, Thanks!  We have our condo, airline tix and sent Dianna the check today.  So excited!  I noticed that one of the links was to touring plans.com and went to look.  There are all sorts of apps for the iphone, has anyone used these in the past? 

also, we did searches for the crowd calendars and didn't find much.  I know you said they were public info.  Could anyone send me the right direction?  We are going on the 9th and plan to spread out our days a bit.

Thanks,

Elizabeth 

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BabyCrazy - if you go to TouringPlans.com, at the top there is a link to Crowd Calendars, then select Disney World Crowd Calendar. Then, in the left-hand column, you can jump to the various dates. When we are really close to our dates (maybe 10 days out?), that become subscriber-only information. However, it is not likely to change significantly. TP reports their Crowd Calendar information on a day-by-day basis; whereas, EasyWDW has his in a monthly view. The Touring Plans folks are the ones who write The Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World - a book I highly recommend. I had no idea that Undercover Tourist (UT) has it's own crowd calendar. I learned something new! :) However, I will say, that on the DisBoards, TP and EasyWDW are the most recommended crowd calendars.

 

Since I subscribe to TouringPlans.com, I have free access to their app called "Lines." I used it extensively in 2011 when we went. The cool thing about Lines is that many in-park users add to the data in real time. For example, I decide to ride Space Mountain and the Disney-posted wait time is 45 minutes. Lines may have it posted as 25 minutes. I get in line and start my timer in the app. I stop the timer just as I'm about to board and submit that wait time (let's pretend it is 28 minutes). That data gets added to the other Lines data and the app will adjust the posted wait times accordingly. Does that make sense?

 

I have more recently downloaded the free UT app. I tried to use it some when we went in May, but honestly, it was just my hubby and me, so I decided to throw the detailed touring plan out the window. I just looked at Lines to see wait times. However, the UT app has a lot of features that Lines doesn't. Lines is strictly wait times and touring plans (including your personalized touring plan, should you make one). The UT app has maps that are interactive; it shows where you are on the map. It has a feature where you can add things (like dining reservations) to your schedule. It lists show times (but Lines does this too). It lists restaurants and menus, ratings of the restaurant, and distance to it.  As I'm looking at it more closely, I see it also has a feature called "Find a Friend" that seems to help you locate people in your group. Hmmmm...that's pretty cool.  ;)

 

Disney has it's own app called "My Disney Experience (MDE)," and when Disney implements it's next big change, My Magic+, the app will almost be a necessity. However, for now, people have reported experiencing a lot of glitches and it still does not report ride wait times as accurately as Lines. 

 

So, basically it seems that there's no one-size-fits-all Disney app. I think that Disney *wants* MDE to be that, but it's got a ways to go (as we say in the South).

 

I just want to add that we did use touring plans from TP when we went in 2011, and it was definitely the way to go. Even though the crowds are low, there are still crowds. I started questioning whether or not we needed the plan because our wait times were so low. But, DUH! That is the whole purpose of having a plan!!!

 

The single most important piece of advice I can give is to get to the parks at "rope drop" (and for MK that means about 30-45 minutes before official park opening time) and head straight to the main attractions and ride them first. This especially applies to Toy Story Midway Mania in Disney's Hollywood Studios. That ride will quickly have wait times of an hour+ and usually the Fast Passes are gone by early afternoon.  When we went in May on a weekday, before school was out, we got to DHS around 9:30 and had to take care of some business at Guest Relations. By the time we were done - about 10:15 or so - Fast Passes for TSMM were for times later than 5:00 p.m. and within about another hour, were completely gone!

 

I know this is a lot more info than probably anyone wanted! And other's may have had different experiences, which I would love to hear, too. That's why we're here, right?

 

Blessings!

Robin

Edited by Robin Harrison Axelberd

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This Awesome Thanks! My big concern is getting there early with the 3 hour time difference. Yikes. I noticed on one planning sheet it said something like go to a certain place to get passes for the nighttime show, I think it was fantasmic how do you know these things ahead of time? We know all the ins and outs of Disneyland here but is there a way to find some of the little details?

Thanks

Elizabeth

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Well, again, I recommend The Unofficial Guide...  That is how I got a lot of my basic knowledge for our 2011 trip. Then, as time-consuming as it can be, hang out on the DisBoards (Disboards.com) or the forums at EasyWDW. 

 

As for the Fantasmic! reference on my example spreadsheet, we did the Fantasmic! Dining Package. You pay a fixed price for dinner (you get a choice of 2 or 3 restaurants at DHS) and then you get "reserved" seating for the Fantasmic! performance that night. Now, keep in mind that the "reserved seating" is not premium seating. The advantage is that you don't have to get there and stake out a place to sit an hour before the show. When we went in 2011, I had a 3 y.o. and a 5 y.o. and we just didn't want to have to go in early and sit. There's a lot of debate about "is it worth it." You'll just have to research it and figure out if it is right for you and your family.

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Oh - and as for the time difference and trying to get to rope drop - If you are staying for a week or longer, maybe just take it easy the first day - or go to AK or EPCOT World Showcase on the first day (it doesn't officially open until 11:00; EPCOT Future World opens earlier).

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I agree w/ getting the Unofficial Guide.   A tour plan would probably be helpful too -- we've only used TG Mike but it's not the way to go anymore.  If we do one this time we'll use Touringplans.com.

 

I have to admit in all the trips to Disney we've never once made rope-drop.  I always wanted to, but it's just not my families thing.  Since we do park-hoppers and go for more than 4-5 days I don't see as necessary anymore to get to the park for every hour that it's open.  

 

The dining pkg for Fantasmic is a good thing if you don't want to wait a long time in line.  There are three restaurants -- Hollywood and Vine, Brown Derby and Mama Melrose. 

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The show at MK prior to rope drop is great if you have Mickey fans! My youngest *loves* Mickey and watching his face when Mickey arrived on the train was alone worth the entire cost of the trip!!!  :wub:

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One of my priorities for this trip is to make rope drop! It helps that our first morning, if we get our first choice classes, ds will have to be at the TTC at 7:15. 8-) I'm hopeful that once the other kids see how much we get to ride by being there early that morning, plus the fact that right now the parks are projected to be closed by 9 most nights (updated hours should come out mid-October when Disney has more accurate estimates and schedules their cast members), we'll be able to keep on an early schedule. Frankly, my mom and I probably will be up at 6 every morning from sheer excitement! :-D

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Jennifer, I'm a night owl, but the best way to go at Disney is definitely the early morning rope drop schedule. Your children will love it once they adjust to it.

 

All of your classes have been confirmed, so you can proceed with your plans. (I sent an email out on Thursday with class confirmations, but you must not have received it. Please check your spam folder to see if it's there.)

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Thank you so much for sharing the planning sheet!  I am just now getting into details of what to expect and what to anticipate, and I think you just halved my actual planning time!  We are first-time Disney goers, so we are really looking forward to it.

 

Dina

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