Every Disney expert will tell you a good touring plan is essential for making the most of your Disney World vacation. But what exactly is a touring plan? And do I have to follow an exact plan in order to enjoy my vacation? Can I be spontaneous?
A touring plan is your itinerary for the parks. I like to have a general idea of my day hour by hour. Keeping it by the hour, instead of, say, 15-minute intervals, gives you room to stop and enjoy things, park your stroller, grab a snack, hit the bathrooms, or whatever!
If you have decided to purchase Genie+ your touring plan will very different and much less planned out. Your day will depend on availability of rides on the app. But that doesn't mean you shouldn't go in with a plan.
Discuss rides that are a priority, and be sure to add those rides, and only those rides, to your free version of Genie. There will be a prompt to do this when you first open Genie.
When you set up your free Genie account you are asked about attractions. The attractions that you select are then placed at the very top of your attraction list.
So for example, if you are looking to grab a Lightning Lane pass for Slinky Dog Dash (possibly the fastest Lightning Lane to sell out on Genie+), you will want to add Slinky Dog (and ONLY Slinky Dog) to your attractions list.
This will ensure that Slinky Dog is at the TOP of your list.
When 7am rolls around, you will save time scrolling to find Slinky Dog and will be able to grab that ride quickly.
This may sound like crazy set up, but anyone familiar with Disney's virtual queues and them booking up within seconds will understand!
This can also be done later in the day with any rides that you want to grab.
If at all possible, I would still suggest getting to the parks at rope drop. More likely than not, your first Genie+ Lightning Lane selection wont be right at park opening. So you can use this time when crowds are low to hit other high priority rides with low wait times.
If your first Genie+ selection is within 2 hours of park opening, you'll be able to ride that attraction and select a new ride immediately after scanning in to your first ride.
If the ride you selected at 7am gives you a return time of more than 2 hours after the park opens, you can select a second ride at the 2 hour mark.
For example: If Magic Kingdom opens at 8am, and you select Big Thunder Mountain as your first ride with a ride time of 11:30am, you will be able to select a second Genie+ ride starting at 10am. So you will have banked 2 rides in your Genie+ account.
I wouldn't necessarily suggest a strategy of "banking" unless you know you wont be able to make it to the parks until later in the day. But this strategy can be useful if you have a late arrival, want to take a pool break, or just wanted to take your time one morning.
I have put together a basic touring plan for Hollywood Studios to help you navigate the park and get the most of your time. This is a sample plan for people NOT using the Genie+ or Lightning Lane system.
Your individual plan will vary based on the people in your group, your start time for the day, your priorities, etc. But in any event, keep in mind that "big ticket" attractions typically have the lowest wait times first thing in the morning, at the very end of the evening, and during parades and nighttime shows.
At Hollywood Studios, big ticket attractions include:
These are some of my favorite suggestions that have worked for me and my family. It is best to arrive at rope drop to make the most of your day!
1st Hour (Rope Drop)
Break for lunch
Afternoon Break/Low wait time rides
In the afternoon the parks will get busier. They often get HOT in the early afternoon. I don’t usually give specific rides after lunch time. I suggest either heading back to your hotel for a pool or nap break, or using this time to hit some of the rides that are low wait, but air-conditioned. Some suggestions are:
If you don’t think you can get your little ones up and out the door at rope drop, I feel you. I have suggestions for sleep in days as well. And I also suggest planning out your mornings but leaving afternoons open so you can be spontaneous. Kids never cease to change their minds at the very last minute about rides, characters, or anything else they feel like. So having room for spontaneity, or even just to repeat rides the kids love is a must!
If you are feeling overwhelmed, don't worry! When you book with a travel agent they can help you plan your itinerary.
I am happy to help! Contact me.
See you at the parks,
P.S. Check out more sample touring plans here!