Episode 25 – Talking to Len Testa about how to use Touring Plans to maximize your Disney vacation


Touring Plans is a website that helps tens of thousands of Walt Disney World visitors save time and stress on their Disney vacations every year. Leslie and I love the website so we brought Len Testa, the founder and president of Touring Plans, onto the podcast to discuss the how to use Touring Plans to enhance their Disney vacation and some hidden features some users might not even know about.

If you like what you hear/read, please share the podcast and the site with others you think might enjoy it. Also, we’d appreciate if you subscribed on iTunesStitcherSpotifyTuneInPlayerFM, or Google Play, liked our Facebook page, or followed us on Twitter!

Touring Plans is an inexpensive and powerful tool to plan a Disney vacation. Learn insider tips for making the most of a Touring Plans subscription and using all its best features, straight from the founder Len Testa! #DisneyWorld #Disney #TouringPlans #DisneySMMC

How to use Touring Plans to help plan your Walt Disney World vacation

Touring Plans has a LOT of great features. The great thing about the website is that there’s something that can help you in almost every aspect of planning your Walt Disney World vacation. From hotels, to restaurants, to experiences in the parks, there’s almost everything you need. Touring Plans uses both their own opinions and results from a multitude of reader surveys to put their information together. Let’s take a look at some of our favorite Touring Plans features.

How to use touring plans - Slinky Dog Dash
The ride reviews give perspectives from different age groups which can really help in planning

Restaurant reviews (free)

While there are plenty of websites dedicated to reviewing Disney food, we really appreciate Touring Plans restaurant reviews. The reviews come in three parts:

1 – A review written by a culinary expert

2 – Survey results from Touring Plans users (thumbs up/thumbs down)

3 – Excerpts from comments users have left

What I appreciate about these restaurant reviews is that Touring Plans does a great job of making them well rounded. Obviously, a food critic’s experience dining solo will be different from a family with four kids. The survey results give you a good impression of whether people enjoyed their experience or not (89% is about the average score on Touring Plans, so you can figure things out that way).

Touring Plans also includes comments and quotes from families that really help to contextualize the reviews. This helps offer a different (and perhaps opposite) opinion than the reviewer and sometimes even includes some helpful tips.

How to use touring plans - Morimoto duck
Restaurant reviews come with tips on what to order and how to save money

 

Ride reviews (free)

Touring Plans also offers comprehensive information on rides, including descriptions, height requirements, and tips and tricks. From survey data, Touring Plans also compiles 5 star “appeal by age” ratings. They break down how highly rated the ride is for age groups from preschool to seniors. We find this information super useful in determining what rides might work for our young kids.

Touring plans for parks (free, pre-made plans subscription)

Touring Plans, the website, can help you make touring plans, itineraries that help you navigate your way through the theme parks as efficiently as possible. You tell the site what attractions you want to visit, whether you prefer saving time or walking less, and what attractions you have reserved Fastpass+ for. You can also add in when you plan to be in the parks, breaks, meals, etc. The website then optimizes an itinerary for you. And it’s pretty great! We find that touring plans optimized by Touring Plans save us a lot of time and helps us avoid waiting in long lines.

The website also features free, pre-made plans – over 100. Unfortunately, you need to be a subscriber to access most of those, but you can get them from the Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World and copy them into the optimizer if you’d like. Go ahead, Len said he was cool with it!

Hotel reviews and hotel room photos (free, hotel room request with subscription)

Another great Touring Plans tool is the hotel room finder. Not only are there great hotel reviews (done in the same vein as the restaurant and ride reviews above), but there’s more. Touring Plans has pictures of the view of 95% of the hotel rooms on Disney property. This includes pictures taken by their official photographers and pictures taken by Touring Plans users.

Why does this matter? Because you can send Disney a room request and often get a better view than you might expect. For example, at Animal Kingdom Lodge a lot of “standard view” rooms still have views of animals on the Savannah. You can use Touring Plans free room finder to narrow down to criteria you like. Or, just go with Touring Plans picks. The website gives you the exact text to e-mail the hotel.

However, if you’d like Touring Plans to do this for you, they will fax in your request. This fax requires a Touring Plans subscription.

How to use touring plans - room views
Getting to see room views can really help unearth some hidden gems

Lowest ticket price finder (free)

Another great free Touring Plans feature is their lowest ticket price finder. Simply input all your parameters – days, park hopper, ages, water parks, etc., and Touring Plans will tell you the cheapest places to buy your tickets. They receive no commission so you don’t need to worry about being steered to certain companies. The cheapest ticket you see is the cheapest ticket out there for your trip.

Dining reservation finder (free)

Finally, saving the best for last, my absolute favorite Touring Plans feature is the dining reservation finder. For free, Touring Plans will search for hard to get dining reservations for you (up to two). Just input party size, date, and restaurants and you’ll get a text or e-mail when a reservation opens up. Note, anyone who looked for a similar time will also get a text, so reserve quickly once you get your notification!

Are there any Touring Plans features you enjoy that we missed? Let us know in the comments!

Episode Description

We’ve referenced the website Touring Plans many times, so who better to bring on for our 25th episode than Len Testa, the man behind the Plan(s). We discuss the best ways to utilize Touring Plans to enhance your Walt Disney World vacation, both with and without a subscription. We tried to keep it to the best information for beginners using the site, but Len managed to sneak in some fun stuff anyway. Enjoy!

If you like what you hear, please share the podcast with others you think might enjoy it. Also, we’d appreciate if you subscribed on iTunesStitcherSpotify, TuneIn, PlayerFM, or Google Play (please leave a positive review if you’re enjoying the show), liked our Facebook page, or followed us on Twitter!

You can also e-mail us at disneydeciphered AT gmail DOT com. Connect with Leslie @TripswithTykes on social media and Joe @asthejoeflies.

Episode Notes

1:35 – What is Touring Plans?

3:11 – How Touring Plans restaurant ratings and reviews work

8:43 – How to make touring plans on Touring Plans

10:07 – How the least expensive ticket calculator works

13:46 –  Hotel room finder and photos

16:02 – Paid subscriber features on Touring Plans

17:15 – How Disney determines hotel room types and how you can use that to your advantage

22:46 – Disney Dos and Don’ts

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