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Queue-less Disney Parks

What’s the number one complaint from theme park guests? Having to spend long waits in queue just for an attraction that’s over in 2 minutes, sometimes less. Disney Imagineers and park operations cast members have been working on solutions to this problem for years.

They’ve tried attractions that are just one long queue (Tarzan’s Treehouse, Toon Town houses). They’ve tried immensely detailed queues with their own story elements (Indiana Jones Adventure, Roger Rabbit Cartoon Spin) only to have Fastpass make them ghost towns or people traps. Now they’re trying a new concept – queue-less waiting zones.

The idea was announced for the upgraded Dumbo attraction that will be part of the Magic Kingdom Fantasyland Attraction. It has been tested recently at Disney’s Hollywood Studios on Rock-n-Roller Coaster with Aerosmith. Rather than feed guests into either a fastpass or standby queue, they hand the standby guests a boarding pass with a number on it. Fastpass guests proceed as normal and standby guests are herded into a holding area. The guest can’t leave the holding area during the wait, but there are games to play or other forms of entertainment to make the time fly by. Then when the time to board comes near their boarding pass number is flashed on a board and the guest has five minutes to report for their loading opportunity. This system doesn’t reduce waiting time for standby guests, but it does give Disney another opportunity to provide total guest satisfaction instead of a stressful wait.

This queue-less waiting system has the potential to revolutionize the theme park experience. Disney’s talent for storytelling could potentially transform a theme park experience into one giant queue-less waiting system. Would you rather be queued up in switchbacks for Peter Pan or playing in Neverland while you wait for your ship to arrive?

This new system makes me wonder exactly how the ‘Next-Gen’ project being helmed by Jim McPhee will tie-in. With a budget like 1.1. billion it has the potential to transform the whole resort into this new storytelling experience. Heck, who needs a fifth gate when you’re immersed in next-generation storytelling from the moment you cross the border onto Disney property.

What other attractions do you see as good candidates for the queue-less wait system?