Okay, so this day was a test on the touring plans software that I purchase as a gift for my clients who want help with the itinerary planning. While I (we) have never officially attempted an “ultimate” touring plan, where you experience EVERY attraction in a single park in one day, we did an unofficial try back in September of 2012 (read about it here). Touringplans.com estimated the crowd levels to be a ‘1’ for that day. On that trip, we did 35-39 attractions, depending on what you consider an attraction, and this was with taking a break AND having a downpour during Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween party, which changed parade/fireworks times all over the place.
On this trip, though, there was no party that day, which meant the crowds were going to be a little bigger than a 1. Touringplans had estimated a crowd level of 6 for the Magic Kingdom on this day (Saturday, October 24th). I had set this up NOT as an attempt to do an ultimate plan; however, I wanted to go with an average walking speed, no mid-day break (to see how tired we would be by the end of the day), and time set aside for meals…just to see what all we could experience. I created a plan 35 steps (including meals) and constantly tweaked the order of attractions to try maximizing the experience.
I know…some of you are thinking to yourselves, “Ummm….Mush? You DO know that touring plans has an optimizing function that orders the most efficient result, right?” Considering I’ve used Touring Plans for 11 years now, yeah, I have heard of the optimizing function, and I usually click on that button dozens of times a month as I help set up my clients’ itineraries! Why do I tweak an optimized plan, though? For starters, I like having attractions at a certain time. For example if we’re doing an afternoon break, I like putting Splash Mountain as the last attraction before the break, so we aren’t walking around an entire park for hours soaking wet and probably chafing in places you really don’t want to be chafed. Also, I might try anticipating a fourth Fastpass selection, and I want to place an attraction at a certain time. The optimize function is a great tool to use in planning a day, and gives you a realistic feel for how much you can accomplish in any given day. It also works beautifully mid-day in the park when you are faced with a ride closure or something unexpected. Optimizing a partial plan in the park is an amazing idea, and it can definitely save you a lot of time.
In case you haven’t figured it out yet, this is known as “foreshadowing”. I spent a good hour or two tweaking/evaluating the plan and came up with what I thought was the absolute PERFECT plan for our family.
We woke up at 6:25 that morning and didn’t have to worry about breakfast; our Magic Kingdom day tradition is to try grabbing a 7:30 reservation at Kona Café to enjoy our favorite breakfast: I get the Tonga Toast (waaaaaaaait foooooorrrrr ittttttttt…….TONGA TONGA TONGA!!!), Sheri gets the pineapple macadamia nut pancakes, and we split a pressed pot of 100% kona coffee. We can normally time it so that we can have breakfast done and can be in front of the train station with a few minutes to spare before the Welcome Show begins. Normally, we’re either on-site and using Disney’s Transportation System, or we’re at the Wyndham Bonnet Creek resort (next to Caribbean Beach Resort) and still basically on-site, even though we technically weren’t “on-site”. For this trip, though, we were truly off-site at Vacation Village, though we couldn’t get much closer.
Sheri set out the matching shirts for all of us, and, knowing that protests would fall on deaf ears, we put them on quietly and were out the door at 7:10.
7:18 (Sheri seems to like taking pics of the toll plazas, doesn’t she?).
I felt like a complete failure; normally, we’re one of the first 5 cars in the MK parking lot. We were the probably about the 20th car this time (curse you, on-site commute!!!). I think we’re slipping, because, when Sheri and I did the same thing the previous month (our first Disney Cruise Line trip), we were the 7th car in the lot. We walked to the TTC (Ticket and Transportation Center) and started our way up to the resort monorail loop. We saw a monorail still with the doors open, and a cast member at the top of the ramp telling us that we can still make it (and that he liked our matching shirts). Good timing! One (very short) monorail ride later, and we entered the Polynesian Village. We checked in a couple of minutes before opening time, and I looked to see if our friend Patricia might have been working (didn’t see her).
We grabbed a quick (@#$@!#%^&@%) selfie, and, right at 7:30, we heard the ‘Ohana opening ceremony start up (Hawaiian Roller Coaster Ride from Lilo and Stitch). 7:31…we were seated, and we already knew what we wanted (We…are…on…a…schedule…!).
I just about had Sheri convinced to get a second pressed pot, but she feared for A) caffeine overload; and B) bathroom breaks every 13.5 minutes. I wish I could have remembered our server’s name, but I didn’t write it down. I have mentioned this in past trip reports, but I think it bears mentioning again: it’s a really good sign when we recognize servers still working at the same restaurant for prolonged periods of times. We recognized nearly every server from the past 3-4 trips still there.
We paid and headed out to the monorail station…right after monorail gold pulled in. The timing was perfect for the day, but we hadn’t yet entered the Magic Kingdom. I fully expected Aaron to get his foot stuck in the rails on Main Street, and we’d end up being stuck for three hours while they amputated his leg.
We were in front of the train station fairly early…it wasn’t even 8:30 yet! We grabbed a few pics and gauged the crowds…it seemed like a crowd level of ‘6’ was pretty accurate.
Sometime in the past several months, Disney changed the start time of the opening show from 8:50 – 8:55 to 8:40. This could have explained the somewhat lower crowds.
Darn it, Mickey...you blinked!
Time check…8:48, and we were on Main Street with Attraction #1 done!
We grabbed the requisite pics by the Walt Statue and made our way into Fantasyland for the next item on my perfect touring plan…you know…the one I spent an hour or two working on.
We entered the queue for it’s a small world, and I was looking at my app to check on the next attraction. Sheri asked if I could hold the camera case while she got the camera out for the attraction. When I took hold of the bag, I accidentally brushed my phone…
…right where the “Optimize” button was located on the WDW Lines app.
Oh, for the love of all that is sweet and pure, please tell me I didn’t just accidentally optimize the plan before our first ride.
Someone in the happiest place on earth just muttered few choice expletives under his breath in the queue line of it’s a small world.
Well, we’ll have to see just how well I remembered the order of the attractions.
The attraction was swamped at opening…
I think we were the second family on, and the first family must have sprinted to get on it.
Yeah...the brat had to sit in his own row...
Wait…nobody was on the attraction, and we STILL had a backup at the exit?
The next attraction up was the Mad Tea Party (or so I thought…I missed the original next step…more on this later). Well, I should qualify this…the next attraction up for THREE of us was the Mad Tea Party. Sheri graciously decided to sit this one out.
Over to Buzz…
The score was flashing as I took the picture…of course, it flashed off as the pic was taken. We’ll all just assume it was 999,999.
Staying in Tomorrowland, we hit Space Mountain, utilizing our first FastPass reservation.
5 down, and it was only 9:40. The crowds didn’t look to be too bad still in Tomorrowland. We then made our way over to Fantasyland to knock out several quick(ish) attractions before our 10:15 FastPass (FP) window for Peter Pan. I had the Royal Majesty Makers set up for right about this time, so we stuck around for a few minutes and waited for the Majesty Makers…nothing.
At around 9:52, we hopped in line for the Carrousel and just missed the cutoff for the next ride. This actually worked out well, because there was a slight delay in the Carrousel getting started. We were in a good location to watch the Majesty Makers Meander as they Made their Majestic way to the Middle of Mickey Mouse’s M(f)antasyland. The requirement for an attraction of this sort to officially count in an Ultimate Touring Plan is to watch it for five minutes. We were in the queue for that long and got to see them for the five minutes. BOOM…it counted! As an added bonus, we immediately hopped on the Carrousel afterward.
Carrousel done, we made a beeline for Philharmagic, and we timed it pretty well…only had to wait about 4 minutes. We got the requisite pic that we’ve gotten for years:
...and, now...October 2015
As I added each pic, I realized two things:
1. I'm really glad we have taken the same similar picture at every trip
2. Sheri REALLY likes matching us for our Magic Kingdom day
That finished, we were now in our FP window for Peter Pan (no pic…sorry, but we did it!)
After Peter Pan, we visited the Castle mosaics near the entrance to Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique (required to count as an attraction).
Current time: 10:35
Number of attractions completed: 10
Part 2 can be viewed HERE.