Queuing and Cash Shops

One thing Disney does really well is queuing. The theme parks manage lines well and almost all have a “pre-ride experience,” something to do/see while waiting. For example, if you are waiting for The Little Mermaid ride, the line winds through a structure that looks like a rocky cove, children are encouraged to point out items for digital crabs to take to Scuttle, and later Scuttle is holding court with an extended routine about the items crabs are bringing him. The Haunted Mansion has a graveyard with humorous epitaphs, an area to take pictures with some sculptures, interactive musical and water-shooting mausoleums, cast members in-character as household staff of the doomed, and then several tiers of queues as there is an outside line, a room where riders are collected, a next room where the walls grow (copied from Disneyland, where an elevator was needed for space reasons, I am told), and then a final queue before the actual ride. You are still waiting, but it feels like there is something to do, and when the lines are very short it sometimes feels like you are missing something if you skip that content.

Disney is also starting to use a Fastpass system whereby you can schedule a time to come back and skip towards the front of the line. You are queuing virtually and can do other things, which moderates the lines at the most popular attractions.

Across town, Universal has some pre-ride experiences, but is instead trying to monetize their lines. They have an express pass system, whereby you can pay more to skip to the front of lines at popular attractions. The marketing for this is delicate, as they are explicitly advertising long lines as a reason to give them more money. As an MMO player, you are familiar with “pay us to skip the built-in hassles.” Of course, that same marketing encourages everyone to think of the park as having long lines, annoys the people paying the normal amount because of P2Win, and then they cannot even celebrate the express passes as being popular because skipping to the front just becomes another line if too many people are paying for the privilege.

: Zubon

3 thoughts on “Queuing and Cash Shops”

  1. Given that most rides are of a known, fixed duration and have a known, fixed capacity, why can’t visitors just sign up for the rides they want to visit on arrival at the park and receive scheduled appointment times? That way everyone would be free to wander about and do all the no-appointment-needed things throughout the day, only arriving at the rides just in time to board at their scheduled time. Is there any need for lines/queues at all?

    1. If everyone does this, inevitably there will be people who don’t show up. If there is no normal line, that that time slot is wasted. Then all the timeslots are reserved and you are told you can’t take this ride today. Then people will start selling the appointments online through ebay. It is not a good situation.

  2. The Guild Wars 2 tutorial instances reminded me more than a little bit of this sort of queue. You get your introduction to the plot and your class, then you have a path to proceed along at your own pace with stuff to kill. Eventually, you hit a holding area, where you hang out for a bit gathering more players and maybe doing an event. Then the door opens and everyone in the holding area goes in and fights the boss. It would’ve been interesting to be a fly on the wall closer to launch, watching everyone go through the pipeline.

    (The other nice bit is at the end of the pipeline it automatically kicks everyone into the real world. The world bosses tend not to do that… but a couple try. If you haven’t seen what happens when you stick around after killing the Steam Ogre in Metrica Province, that’s good for a laugh.)

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