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Big Thunder Mountain Railroad to Get Interactive Queue

Back when Big Thunder Mountain Railroad re-opened after its latest refurbishment, there was a lot of speculation about exactly what those nondescript boxes were in the queue. Obviously, they were temporary place holders until something better could be installed, but what is that something. Turns out, it’s another next-gen interactive queue.

Big Thunder Mountain Queue

A few of the boxes in question

These enhanced queues give guests waiting in the standby line something to do while Disney whisks the Fastpass holders by. Given that Fastpass artificially inflates the wait time of standby users for every Fastpass holder who returns, keeping guests entertained is more important than ever. Heck, even prior to the arrival of Fastpass at the Indiana Jones Adventure at Disneyland (the grandfather on the interactive queue) entertainment was an important part of guest satisfaction (120 minute waits were du rigor back in the day).

Fastpass+ is still in testing phase right now, so its impact is minimal. But it will be important to keep a close eye on what happens when more guests are able to use its services. We don’t even know for certain if it will be just for Disney resort guests or if it will available to all. What we do know is that a lot more attractions and experiences will be accessible via Fastpass+.

My guess is that this will impact different attractions differently. Attractions that previously did not have Fastpass because they’re high enough capacity that it’s not needed (Pirates & Haunted Mansion comes to mind) will see some increase in wait time. But attractions that already have Fastpass will actually see a decrease in standby wait time as guests now have more choices for their limited Fastpass allotment. I’m cautiously optimistic that, on balance, the good will outweigh the bad… or pessimistically, everyone will have something not to like. :)

What do you think about Next-Gen Queues and Fastpass +.

3 thoughts on “Big Thunder Mountain Railroad to Get Interactive Queue”

  1. I tried FP+ last week and we really liked it. super easy to use and we liked picking attraction times. We did hear that FP+ will only be for resort guests (the trial was done through Magical Express) and that old paper fast pass will go the way of the dino.

  2. I feel Disney is missing the mark on their “Next-Gen Queues.” What made the “interactive elements” of the Indiana Jones Adventure queue so fascinating to guests was how “out of the way” they were. They were subtle and thematically coherent so that the typical guest would often pass right by without even realizing there was anything special about them. But they also naturally drew intrigue, they stood out just enough that the keen observer would be drawn to interact with it. I’ve often heard stories about guests going through the ride again just so they could experience one of the interactive elements in the queue they heard about from a friend that they had unintentionally passed by the first time. It’s a remarkable occurrence to have guests repeating a ride just so that they can wait in the line again. Now that’s the true power that interactivity can wield. The newer “Next-Gen Queues” are so blatantly interactive, they scream at guests to come play with them. It really takes the allure out of the concept that made it so intriguing for guests to start, a darn shame because of the immense potential that interactive queues hold. Could you imagine the surprise guests would feel upon an overhead gargoyle springing to life after flipping a subtly placed Victorian light switch in the Haunted Mansion? The possibilities never end, so Disney shouldn’t feel so inclined to put the interactive elements front and center for guests.
    And a note for Fastpass: The lines are still ridiculously long, there are just two of them now. Also, I hope we won’t be forced to reserve all ride times in the future the way we do dinner reservations. I hate vacations that are completely structured down to the nitty gritty, at least a bit of spontaneousness is always fun, even for things as simple as which ride to ride next.

  3. I wish Disney wouldn’t do these Next-Gen Queues. About 2 years ago my friend and I went to Disney World and rode Winnie the Pooh and saw the new queue. I can describe how terrible it was. It was like we were in a chuck e cheese. Kids were running in and out of the line, having to push through other guests, banging on everything, and then when the line would actually move, the parents stood there waiting cause their kid wasn’t done playing, holding up the rest of the line. These new queues are insane and are not needed.

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