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Opening Magic Kingdom

Opening Magic Kingdom

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Ways to Make Waiting Less Painful at Walt Disney World

Heat, lines, crowds.  All words you might hear people say when planning a trip to Walt Disney World, already on a trip, or just returning from a trip.  And, while Disney can’t do anything about the heat, likes the crowds, are they trying to figure out ways to lessen the lines?

Lessening wait times for guests or making the wait times less “painful” means that guests may spend more time in the parks which equals spending more money.  While the “money spent per minute” facts aren’t available for Walt Disney World, they are available for the grocery industry.  For ever minute a customer is in a grocery store, they spend $2.  (You do the time/money ratio the next time you’re in the store.)  So, it would make sense that there is a similar ratio at Disney.  Happier guests means more time in the parks which means more money spent. 

A strategy that is already available to guests to lessen wait times is Disney’s Fastpass.  Guests use their ticket media to obtain a Fastpass at the desired attraction, return to the attraction at the designated time, and bypass the stand-bye queue entering through the Fastpass return and thus lessening their wait time.  Guests also get to take advantage of other attractions and services until their Fastpass return time.  Our family takes full advantage of Fastpass use and can’t imagine a trip to the World without it.  Yet, we find guests still perplexed by Fastpass—think there is a charge, don’t understand the system, etc., and still do not use it.  Pitty.

If an attraction doesn’t have Fastpass or guests don’t take advantage, there are other ways to lessen the pain of wait times as Disney is quickly creating more interactive queues.  The Winnie the Pooh attraction at the Magic Kingdom comes to mind.  While one guest holds the spot in line, other guests in the party, big and little, can play and interact with elements that are themed to the attraction.  Haunted Mansion is another.  We hear Soarin’ has something similar, but have never used the Stand-bye queue for that attraction, so I can’t speak from experience. 

Are more interactive queues on the way?  Test Track is under refurbishment and may have a more interactive queue upon its re-opening.  Pirates of the Caribbean will have a short closing and there are already hints in the queue area for more interactivity.  When Big Thunder Mountain Railroad re-opened after a refurbishment, there were boxes throughout the queue that have yet to be revealed.  More options for interaction while waiting?  The new Dumbo queue features opportunities for guest interaction while waiting.  Are there more to come?

Speculation would make me say yes.  In addition to interactive queues, Walt Disney World is adding more interactive experiences throughout the parks.  The Agent P Adventure has taken over the former Kim Possible interactive experience at EPCOT and Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom continues to expand guests’ hunting/finding/interacting experiences.  Will Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom be next?

Heat?  Yes.  Well, except this summer when it was hotter where we lived than Disney more days than not.  Crowds?   You bet.  Lines?  Yes, but not as painful as they could be.  And, that’s without even mentioning Disney’s plans for the Next Generation Fastpass system that allows guests to choose the Fastpasses prior to their park visit.  That is something I want to try!

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