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?

18 thoughts on “Queue-less Disney Parks”

  1. Pingback: Brett Young

  2. my first thought when hearing about this concept was “oh great, now we’ll have to stand in line to stand in line”. After all, pre shows allready exist on lots of attractions and they dont seem to do alot for shrinking the line. The line still exists its just that the preshow is your first stop before the main attraction. I prefer the rides with elaborate queues as they slowly immerse you into the experience and build anticipation for the main event. Haunted Mansion, Pirates, Jungle Cruise, Tower of Terror, do you really want to be playing video games up until the moment you enter your ride vehicle? I’ll reserve judgement until I see the results but I have my doubts about this. Used sparingly on certain things like Dumbo or Rock n Roller coaster it may work.

  3. I got to check out the test they did at Rock n’Roller Coaster. There was a live DJ leading the kids in some group activities (YMCA, anyone?) and six game consoles set up with various Rock Band and Guitar Hero games. We wandered around and looked at people a little bit, then played two songs on Rock Band, and by that point, our 45-minute wait was over and we got to head in.

    I was pretty satisfied with the system — it killed the waiting time much better than standing in a crowded queue. I can just imagine how it will be with permanent, well-thought-out distractions instead of the thrown-together temporary stuff. I’m all for it.

  4. My vote if for queue-less Disney Transportation! :) Could you imagine your experience starting as soon as you sat down at the bus stop? Heck it might draw more people into Disney Hotels. :-D

    Seriously, the big thing with queue-less will have to be the ability to create a strong tie in between the wait area and the ride/attraction.

  5. A few years ago I saw an example of how Disney was working on an RFID system for merchandise flow. If they were to integrate RFID with the queue-less concept, it would be another way to go about making the whole storytelling experience more personalized.

    This queue-less idea sounds great. I only see two issues:
    1 – What happens when guests loose their little boarding passes? I doubt they’ll be any bigger than a Fastpass.
    2 – What happened to Disney’s “Environmentality?” This just creates more paper and waste in an organization that boasts being green.

    I wonder if there is a way to integrate this paperless-ly? With more and more things being placed on the guests’ park passes, perhaps they could be used in some way (with that RFID technology maybe).

  6. I think this concept would be great for Soarin! Considering the current queue is pretty bare and the wait can extend up to two to three hours, the guests could use some more entertainment than the few minutes of video games they get in line.

  7. If you’re waiting to get on an attraction you’re in a queue whether Disney wants to call it that or not. As for what’s going on in RnRC…personally…I’d rather be in a crowded line than being annoyed by a DJ and having to keep an eye on which ever kid decides to ride with me on the attraction.

  8. I think this is a great idea. Even if some of the queue-less areas were just play areas for little kids, etc. ie if your little ones could play in Pooh’s Thotful Spot while waiting for Dumbo.

    They could use Innoventions areas for queue-less waiting on rides like Mission Space and Test Track.

    There’s plenty of opportunity to expand features in Living With The Land as a Soarin’ queue-less area. Or put a shortcut to Immagination! for more queue-less waiting there.

    Queue-less waiting could bring great opportunities to some of the attractions that people normally pass by in their rush to get to the next ride…

    Love this idea!

  9. Pingback: David Podlaseck

  10. Honestly, I do not look forward to a day when this is implemented. The magic of Disney relies on theme, theme, and more theme. As they were already mentioned, think of queues like Toy Story Midway Mania, The Haunted Mansion, and the commonly overlooked Test Track. I think the idea of queue-less waiting is unnecessary. Sure queues like Peter Pan’s Flight and the majority of Fantasyland attractions suffer from a near lack of theme, but what we don’t realize is that there was originally a reason for this. I really think we need to look more towards how we can entertain ourselves. My family and I love queues, no matter the length. It’s a time to slow down and plan ahead and just enjoy each others company. Most guests already wander the parks without really paying attention to the subtle theme elements like the windows on Main Street. Might I reccomend coming up with a family game to play with each other while enjoying what the imagineers have already set into motion? I’m not trying to get on a soapbox or anything. After all, I can imagine that most of the people that read great Disney blogs like this one already appreciate theme!

  11. Pingback: Danielle Friedland

  12. Assuming that Disney takes the time and money to do this right I think it could be a fantastic addition to the parks.

    I understand some of the naysayers above, but I also know that standing for an hour in line with two kids under the age of six is no picnic. I’m open to ideas.

  13. I still think they should revamp the FastPass system.

    My idea is that after entering the park, you walk up to a kiosk and choose 6-8 “Must Rides” for your day.
    This could be on a monitor, or even just push buttons like a soda machine.
    A computer will then run the numbers and tell you what time to be at each attraction.
    Perhaps you could even enter in things like lunch reservations and it would not schedule you during that time frame.
    Now you can roam around and ride the non-essentials, knowing that you are guaranteed to ride the essentials that day.

    Perhaps they could test this first at the Disney Vacation Club properties and Disney Hotels?

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