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Getting Wait Times on Your Mobile Phone Using Lines from the Unofficial Guide.

No one  likes to wait in lines, but it’s almost unavoidable at Disney World.  Fortunately, there are ways you can cut down on wait times, the most obvious of which is to use a touring plan.  But this past fall, Disney fans saw the introduction of several new wait time applications and mobile websites which promise to further limit your wait times and change how you tour the parks.  One of these sites is Lines, which I used on my trip in December.  Lines is from the people behind The Unofficial Guide, so the wait times you’ll see are based on years of actual data and experience.  To get better numbers, you’d need to talk directly to the folks at Disney. 

While planning my trip I didn’t initially plan on using Lines because it didn’t work on my phone.  I have Verizon, so I hoped to use Verizon’s new Disney app, Disney Mobile Magic, but it was only available at the time on a limited number of outdated phones.  Ironically, the morning Touring Plans announced that Lines was available on Android phones, a phone which I had been thinking about getting, my own phone met an unfortunate demise at the hands of one of my toddlers.  Naturally, I did what any reasonable person would do under such circumstances:  Grabbed the kids, drove down the Verizon store, and plunked down my money on an Android, signing away two more years of my life to Verizon in the process. 

Lines currently works on Iphones, Blackberry phones, Androids, and Palm Pre phones.  Just go to the Touring Plans mobile website, sign up and you’re ready to go.  Right now, it’s free.  Lines gives you a number of things:  Attraction wait times; fastpass availability and return times; refurbishment and closures; park hours, including extra magic hours; and 10-day crowd projections.  Hollywood Studios, Disney Animal Kingdom, Epcot, and the Magic Kingdom are all included.    You can also submit wait times yourself. Until now readers of the Unofficial Guide could submit wait times via Twitter, but using Lines is so much faster and easier.  It probably took about 10 seconds to submit a time on my Android and a few more seconds more to add a fastpass return time.

Lines couldn’t be more simple to use.  It’s a very basic-looking  with no unneccesary graphics or information, so you see what you’re looking for right away.  This is a good thing when you’re in a hurry in the parks.  When you go to the main page, this is what you’ll see:

Once there, pick your park.  You’ll see a list of attractions in alphabetical order with their wait times posted.  Click or touch on the attraction you’re intested in and you’ll be taken to a page that looks like this:
This page will show you wait times, both from Touring Plans and those submitted by users, fastpass return times, estimates of when fastpasses will be gone and standby peak.   It also shows you when attractions are temporarily down.

On the upper right hand corner of your screen, you’ll see the word “time.”  Click on that and you’ll see a screen that allows you to submit posted wait times (not the actual time you spent waiting in line, but the time posted at the front of the attraction by  Disney) and fastpass distribution times.  Submit that and your done.  It’s so easy to submit times that I found myself putting times in  as I walked from one attraction to another (while pushing twins in a stroller!), or right before I entered an attraction and then when I left.  Even my seven-year old did it. 

So, are the wait times accurate?  I found them to be within minutes if not on target most of the time, particularly when augmented by times submitted by other users.  Lines doesn’t need these submissions to work, but it’s a nice bonus, especially on days when attendance levels are slightly off from projected levels, which happens on occasion.  Obviously, since the times posted by Touring Plans are based on past data, there is occasionally some discrepancy between what posters are submitting and what Touring Plans is saying the wait will be.  This happened on our last day there, the Saturday before Christmas.  If you follow Disboards or the Touring Plans blog, you know that park attendance levels were unexpectedly heavy starting that day, but there were so many users submitting times, we didn’t have any issues.  It’s a good indicator of how good the system is, I think.  So if you’re even slightly inclined to help your fellow park visitors while in Disney World, this is a good way to do it.

One of the strong points that Lines has going for it is that it isn’t based on GPS, so you can use it outside of the park you’re in.  This is actually the downside of Disney’s application, which only works in the park you’re currently standing in.  With three small children, it’s difficult for us to get to the parks at rope drop, so we often looked at times that people were submitting beforehand and based our choice of park on that.  It’s also nice if you’re in one park and want to park hop to another; now you can know if there are, for example, fastpasses left for Toy Story Mania and if it’s worth your time to go over there.    Really, if the mood strikes you, you can even check wait times back home, hundreds of miles away from Disney.  Personally, I enjoy annoying my husband by occasionally saying, “Hey, did you know the wait for Splash Moutain is 75 mintues and there are no more fastpasses?  No, you did not.”

I really enjoyed using Lines.   It was great not having to walk across the park to find out what the wait time for an attraction was.  We either went or skipped it, based on what we saw, instead of what we usually did, which is walk across the park, wasting time and energy.   It was also fun submitting wait times, even for a non-geek like me.   I especially liked that as the week I was in Disney went on, they changed the program a bit and started adding funny little titles to the top submitters at each attraction.  What Disney fan doesn’t want to be a “Galactic Hero” or a “Master of Both Space and  Time”?  Plus, we’re big fans of the Unofficial Guide around our house.  I think they do a lot for the Disney community, so it was nice giving something, however minor, back to them.   And, it was easy.

Lines doesn’t have other park information, such as parade times or restuarant information, although they do link to Steve Soares’ site (listed under the live shows).   Probably the most in-depth application for this type of information is the DisUnplugged E-ticket application, but it’s only available on Iphones at this time.  You can also check Disney’s mobile website even if you don’t have the  Disney application on your phone.

I highly recommend Lines.

6 Comments

  1. Thanks for the information! My husband needs a new phone and now I will choose appropriately!! Great tip!!!

    Nancy

  2. Nancy, good to hear! If you get a chance let me know how it works out for you.

  3. Great post, Chris! This is definitely my app of choice the next time I’m in WDW…well, assuming I get a decent phone!

  4. My family thinks I have a Lines addiction. Even though I wasn’t at the World, I was on vacation the week between Christmas and New Years and kept Lines up on our computer. As I walked past, I would check the wait times and announce it to the house.

    I can’t wait to use Lines next time I’m in WDW.

    Thanks for the review.

    Peace
    Jamie

  5. AJ: Thanks!

    Jamie: I sometimes still look. My husband keeps saying “You know, you’re not at Disney anymore.” Hey, sometimes you’re just curious about how long the wait for TSM is!

  6. Update: Lines now is $10.95 for 365 year subscription. The basic information you can still see for free.

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