My day job involves financing high technology startups and one of the big themes in technology lending is ‘Big Data’ – using ever increasing amounts of data to improve decision making. Next week I’m taking Hanna for her first-ever trip to Disney World. The dauntingly long lines inspire me to look to technology (and research) to make better decisions about our itinerary. Here are a few examples:
1. The date of the trip is critical because the crowds at Disney are not homogenous throughout the year. The low point of traffic is the first few weeks of September (nobody is going to pull their child out of school during the first few weeks of classes). The second best low point is now in January when the kids are back in school. Most days that we will be in the park are rated a 3 on a scale of 1-10 by Undercovertourist.com. It’s also important to avoid parks with extended hours (and higher crowds). Less crowds mean shorter lines.
2. I downloaded the app from touringplans.com to set itineraries for each day. The app tells me the best park to go to today based on crowds levels as well as the wait time for each ride (in real time). I have touring plans that are built around this which will save 2-4 hours per day of waiting in lines. As other visitors wander around the park wondering what to do next, I have an itinerary. There are times when my ‘forced family fun’ organization skills try the patience of my loving wife and dear children – this isn’t one of them. Spontaneous people are the ones waiting in long lines.
3. We’ve ordered groceries in advance on gardengrocer.com so instead of spending time trying to find the right supermarket and shopping, we’ll be by the pool.
4. We used Hipmunk to find the best place to stay instead of other travel sites because it’s the equivalent of Kayak for places to stay. Thanks to Ashton Kutcher for backing this one – it’s great.
Most if not all of this information is available in the Unofficial Guide to Disney World but very few people will read its 850 pages cover to cover like I have. Maybe they’ll have some time to catch up on their reading while they’re waiting in line?
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