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Opening Magic Kingdom

Opening Magic Kingdom

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Smushing Queues at Walt Disney World Attractions

Yesterday I wrote about the fastest loading rides at Walt Disney World. (Click here to read more). It would make sense that today I would write about the slowest loading rides, but I am not going to. Those are obvious--Dumbo, Magic Carpets of Aladdin, Astro Orbiter, and Triceratop Spin. Today I am writing about the queues that drive me crazy. . . the ones where Disney thought it would be efficient to smush guests as close together as possible, have the guests leave the formal order of their line, and push the guests through to another area or room. I guess it is called a staging area, as as soon as the doors open. . . you're in. Well, almost. Here they are by park:
Magic Kingdom:
  • Haunted Mansion--Move in closer everyone so the doors can close behind you, the room moves, and then you get in another queue area to find your doombuggy. What a way to budge in front of others if their traveling party gets split apart during the "move forward everyone" portion of the smushing.

  • Stitch's Great Escape--same premise as above.
  • Laugh Floor Comedy Club--first there is the orderly back and forth metal bars that separate the queue lines, then is is the hall of smushing. No order, no more being in line. It is like the left lane being closed on the highway with signs warning for several miles, but you know at least one car is going to ignore those signs and merge in at the last moment into the right lane. Same idea here. Watch for the automatic doors to swing open.

  • Mickey's Philharmagic--like most 3D attractions, you get to bunch up with other hot and sweaty guests before making your way into the show. OK, here's our strategy. We know sitting in the middle towards the back of the theater is preferential. So, instead of going to an empty door, we find a crowd and mush in with them. Then, when the doors open, instead of bolting for a row where no one else is going, we actually follow other guests down their row. Works like a charm. . . like magic!
  • Test Track--make your way through a marvelously themed queue, then it is into door 1, 2 or 3. . . the staging area. When the door swings open on the other side, it is back to another queue. If you want to be first out of the room, head all the way into the room to the door on the other side. Again, budging!

  • Ellen's Universe of Energy--everyone gather closer for the pre-show movie. Move in closer, closer. When it is over, doors swing open on either side of the screen. Go to the left! Go all the way to the front of the what looks like rows of theater seats that are not elevated, and sit on the left. Your car will move first into the "ride" portion of this attraction.
  • What will now be the Captain EO movie in the 3D theater in the Imagination Pavillion. Again, let's all smush together before heading into the theater. See our strategy above under Mickey's Philharmagic.
Hollywood Studios:
  • Tower of Terror--similar to the Test Track idea above. You move through an awesomely themed queue to be directed into various rooms, or shall I say elevators? When you come out the other side, you are in the boiler room and in another queue.

  • Muppets 3D--I think this must be universal to the 3D theaters.
Animal Kingdom:
  • The only smushing queue that I am aware of is Tough to Be a Bug 3D show.
Now, I haven't ridden Expedition Everest, so I'm not sure if there is a smushing queue portion at that attraction. I can tell you Dinosaur does NOT have a smushing queue, in fact, the queue there is quite interesting.

So, why do these smushing queues make me crazy? I've been giving that some thought as I described the queues. Two reasons come to mind: One is that my efficient Disney touring strategy works well with the switch back queues. Whoever is ahead in line stays ahead inline. By golly, if I made it to the attraction ahead of the family over there, then I want to be on and off the attraction ahead of the family over there. With the coraling queues, that order is quickly disolved. Grrr! The other reason is that while I love people, I still need a bit of personal space. In those coral type queues (a.k.a. smushing queues) I feel the need to keep the husband and boy nearby so that we do not get separated upon the doors opening.

Do the smushing queues stop me from going to Disney or enjoying the attractions listed above? No Way! I still go. I still smile. I still have a grand time. It is just that I'm thinking about how Disney could do this or that in a different, possibly more efficient, way.

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