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Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Tip Tuesday: Tip "boards"

Welcome to another Tip Tuesday! (yeah, it's a Wednesday... oh well).

By request, I'm talking about ways to cut down on the amount of time you may spend waiting in lines... and one of the ways to beat the lines is with, well, Lines!

Lines in an application provided by TouringPlans.com that you can download for just about any smartphone (iPhone, Droid, Blackberry, Palm Pre) and/or as a mobile website at http://m.touringplans.com/wdw.

At first, Lines was a free service. Now that the kinks are worked out (and even on the 2nd version), it does require a modest subscription to the entire TouringPlans.com website. Subscriptions run around $10-$12 for an entire year, which is pretty reasonable given that you get 365 day access no matter where you are (as opposed to Disney's official service -- Mobile Magic, which is much more expensive for only 6 months, and it only works when you're actually in the parks).

Lines offers two tools to help you keep track of wait times at various attractions: 1. line estimates and 2. reported wait times.

Let's talk about these for a second. The estimates are generated based on a highly complicated formulas and statistical models using more than ten years worth of data. While these are only forecasts, they are generally pretty accurate. The folks at TouringPlans.com include a bunch of factors when creating their crowd forecasts, and the end result is very helpful for planning, especially if you're one of those who likes to "wing it" sometimes.

Even more helpful (in my opinion) are the actual wait times posted by other Lines users. That's right -- not only are you getting information, but you can be part of the team by uploading your own wait times (more on that in a minute). When you open up the Lines app, you'll want to first select your park, then scroll down past the wait estimates and click on "Reported Wait Times." This will give you a listing of reported wait times and posted FastPass times is reverse chronological order (most recent on top). These are actual posted times and can really help you decide which attractions to head to.

Lines also helps you keep connected to the magic. Even if you're not at the World, you can hop onto Lines and just check wait times to see what's going on. In fact, as I write this, Lines is up and I see that all the parks are, well, closed. But just before closing, Soarin' had a 20 minute wait... not too bad!

If you want to add your own time, you can do that as well. Just go to the park you want to post and click on the button at the top right to add your own time. It's pretty easy and you'll get credit for the posting!

Lines is a fantastic way to stay on top of wait times. Now if you don't want to pay for the subscription, there is a free way to get some idea of wait times through Disney's mobile site: http://m.disneyworld.com/.

Disney's mobile site will give wait times in three categories: see now, moderate or high demand. Though I've not heard of an official explanation, it appears that "see now" wait times generally are 20 minutes or less. "Moderate" wait times usually are about 20-40 minutes, while "high demand" wait times are around 40 minutes or more. This is just my observation, so take this with a grain of salt.

Since I've subscribed to Lines, I rarely check the Disney mobile site. Personally, I think Lines is well worth the money. Think about it, if spending $10 saves you a few hours of waiting over the course of a trip, that's well worth it.

So there you go -- one more way to save a bit of time and keep in touch with what's happening at Walt Disney World even when you're not in the parks.

3 comments:

Scott said...

I used a couple of free apps for the iPhone when I was there in November (over Thanksgiving). I think they were both from a company called Versaware, one for Universal and one for Disney. They were extremely easy to use. Supposedly you could report wait times, but the updating was a bit behind. I reported some times but it didn't seem to affect the posted times, which didn't agree completely with the actual wait times posted at the ride itself. (the ones I used are called WDW Waits and UO Waits.)

So I didn't know exactly how accurate any of these are. Perhaps these subscription based apps are more accurate.

hwork said...

Hey Chuck!

Thanks so much for the review! We've worked really hard on Lines to produce the most accurate wait times available.

One note is that the reported wait times are included in our estimates on the park pages... and they should represent the best estimate possible. We just include them in a separate section for quick checking.

Thanks!
-Henry
TouringPlans.com

Susan595 said...

I can't figure out how to just download the app, I bought a subscription and can see it all fine when I'm on a browser but there has to be an app surely I can do without paying online ?