CoasterBuzz Podcast #165 posted

Posted Monday, December 7, 2009 1:13 AM | Contributed by Jeff

Jeff, Carrie, Mike and Pat review this week's news in the amusement industry.

  • Jeff goes to Disney World. What did they really do to Space Mountain? It didn't seem that different, aside from a lot of paint. New Hall of Presidents film is way cool. "Peterman" was doing the Candlelight Processional. Snow in Houston made travel difficult, and Seattle to Orlando is a lot longer than it looks.
  • Osborne Family Christmas light display at Disney Hollywood Studios is completely amazing.
  • The Kings Island versus Mason tax issue seems to sway overwhelmingly against. The panel seems to agree that it seems like an arbitrary money grab.
  • Universal Orlando fined by OSHA for accident involving worker in Dueling Dragons low zone, fences coming.
  • Six Flags Great America "saves" a family coaster from Kiddieland, but really they get a cheap ride that will be easy to market to families. Hardly the philanthropic cause it sounds like on the surface.
  • Busch Entertainment sale complete, new company called SeaWorld Parks and Entertainment.
  • Check out the Busch Gardens Christmas Town photos in the Day in Pictures forum.
  • Speaking of Christmas events, remember the one they started at Kings Island? Cedar Fair should have given it some time. Insert "old man's gotta go" rant here.
  • Yet another proposal for a Six Flags bankruptcy plan, including the suggestion that Six Flags shouldn't get to decide the only plan. Carrie doesn't care, she just wants to hear about the outcome of the bankruptcy.
  • A guy with a robotic wheel chair makes a big scene about how poorly Disney World treated him over his sweet chair. We can't help but feel that there's a certain amount of douchebaggery going on from him. Jeff can't honestly believe he would be "harassed" after just being at the parks, given their own employees and the accommodations they make.
  • The electric scooter thing is still out of control at Disney World. Jeff's wife wondered if you'd see the same thing at the Disney parks in Paris or Tokyo. They've become a crutch for anyone who just doesn't want to walk. Carrie believes that culturally even doctors want to treat the symptoms instead of the cause, and this is representative of that.
  • Additional thoughts on the goings on at Disney World during the holidays, including how they measure wait times.
  • CoasterBuzz Club is $25 per year. You can join or renew today. Enjoy CoasterBuzz with no ads.

Link: CoasterBuzz Podcast

Tuesday, December 8, 2009 11:25 AM
Fun's avatar

I was fortunate to be able to go the week before Thanksgiving. The longest we waited for anything was 15 minutes, however Space Mountain was still hit or miss with the soft open.

+0
Tuesday, December 8, 2009 11:32 AM
rollergator's avatar

Toy Story Mania, on the two times I've tried, have run out of FPs by early afternoon...

...and Haunted Mansion may have great capacity, but the room to load onto the Doom Buggies needs some ropes and a queue...desperately. It's worse than Maggie's platform in there - total chaos, and a very un-Disney-like operation.

+0
Tuesday, December 8, 2009 12:01 PM

Toy Story runs at 1,920 PPH. It has a narrow doorway, so people can only enter the queue at 2,400 PPH. If people continue entering the main queue at a crush pace of 2,400 PPH from the moment the ride opens at 9:00am, without FastPass the ride would have a one-hour wait at 1:00 pm. At 6:0pm it could potentially have a 2-hour wait. But for that to happen, people would have to be streaming into the building at full queue capacity for nine hours straight (21,600 people) and I have my doubts that even on a busy day the park would be *that* busy.

There is another interesting example of the effect of FastPass on the wait for a ride in Fantasyland, where Peter Pan has FastPass and Snow White does not. Snow White actually has about half the capacity of Peter Pan (6 passengers at a 15 second interval = 1,440 PPH vs. 2 passengers at a 3 second interval = 2,400 PPH). Peter Pan's FastPasses never sold out on the day I visited, but his wait was 40 minutes while Snow White was a 20 minute wait.

The real effect of the FastPass system is that *everybody* has to wait *longer*. It can be argued that the FastPass users can do that waiting somewhere else (typically by waiting in line for another attraction) but even that is a somewhat dubious claim: without the system, the wait would not only be shorter at the FastPass attraction, but probably also at the non-FastPass attractions that are collecting all the FastPass users waiting for their windows to open. That's a harder argument to make, though, for someone like me who is arguing based on total queue capacity rather than actual traffic patterns...my planning assumption is that every attraction is slammed to its maximum queue capacity, which NEVER happens in the real World.

--Dave Althoff, Jr.
(edit: fixed a minor error)

Last edited by RideMan, Tuesday, December 8, 2009 12:03 PM

    /X\        _      *** Respect rides. They do not respect you. ***
/XXX\ /X\ /X\_ _ /X\__ _ _ _____
/XXXXX\ /XXX\ /XXXX\_ /X\ /XXXXX\ /X\ /X\ /XXXXX
_/XXXXXXX\__/XXXXX\/XXXXXXXX\_/XXX\_/XXXXXXX\__/XXX\_/XXX\_/\_/XXXXXX

+0
Tuesday, December 8, 2009 12:54 PM
The Mole's avatar

Oh, one more thing, with the iBot, if it's going to "fall over" or running out of battery, it'll go back down onto four wheels as safetly as possible. I've seen it in video and in person. Basically, it tries to over compensate, then it leans backwards while powering forward, and it goes down onto four wheels. I can see this as being dangerous in a large queue.

It's this, only quicker and a little less controlled: http://www.ibotnow.com/function_balance.html

+0
Tuesday, December 8, 2009 1:00 PM
Jeff's avatar

RideMan said:
The real effect of the FastPass system is that *everybody* has to wait *longer*.

You bring this up constantly, and it's just not true. Your opinion is still rooted in the idea that you're waiting, whether you're in the queue or not. That logic doesn't work for me. If I went on two other things in the hour I was "waiting" for Space Mountain, then I didn't wait for Space Mountain at all.


Jeff - Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog - Silly Nonsense

+0
Tuesday, December 8, 2009 1:16 PM
Lord Gonchar's avatar

And I'll follow up Jeff's logic (which I agree with) by pointing out that it doesn't reduce capacity in any way. Any given attraction still gives X number of rides each day regardless of how the park distributes those seats.

If the park is open the same amount of time and gives the same amount of rides over the course of the day. It's impossible for *everyone* to be waiting longer. I do belive that some people might be waiting longer, but that is offset by some waiting less and the net result is the same.

So if the net result is the same, why use a VQ system at all, Gonch?

Because, like Jeff said, it sure is nice to not 'wait' for a ride and spend that time doing something else like eating, exploring, shopping, riding less crowded attractions, visiting characters in the park, seeing a show or catching street entertainment, people watching or even taunting those guests standing in a huge stand-by line with your FastPass that will surely let you on the ride before they even get within 100 yards of the loading station.

( for the record, I'm just playing - I don't people watch ;) )


+0
Tuesday, December 8, 2009 1:40 PM

Lord Gonchar said:
or even taunting those guests standing in a huge stand-by line with your FastPass that will surely let you on the ride before they even get within 100 yards of the loading station.

( )

Nice! Actually, just walking past them feels like you're taunting based on some of the looks you get.

+0
Tuesday, December 8, 2009 2:04 PM
Carrie M.'s avatar

The Mole said:


Basically, it tries to over compensate, then it leans backwards while powering forward, and it goes down onto four wheels. I can see this as being dangerous in a large queue.

Disney doesn't provide special access queues for the physically challenged? They really are bastards. ;)


"If passion drives you, let reason hold the reins." --- Benjamin Franklin

+0
Tuesday, December 8, 2009 3:51 PM
LostKause's avatar

Jeff, Rideman mentioned near the beginning of this thread about Space Mountain's low capacity. Buzz Lightyear also comes to mind, as well as a lot of the other dark rides at the Magic Kingdom. Then you have your Dumbo, and Aladdin Carpet, and The dino flat ride at AK, and a few more.

Take a look at the spinning coaster(s) in AK. They figured out that capacity may not be so great for suck a busy park, so they build two. Space mountain is the same way, but it still has lousy capacity, and could be fixed once they decide to rebuild the coasters or coasters in side the building.

For as popular as the park is, they should focus on fixing any capacity issues that they may have. When they built Splash Mountain, they could have built side-by-side troughs, for example.

Don't get me wrong, WDW is amazing, and they do an incredible job at getting the guests through the lines and everything, but with a group of parks that are that crowded, they could be doing more. Instead, they put a band-aid on the problem when they introduced fastpass. That told SF and a few other park chains that it's okay to put a band-aid on the problem and pretend that it's a good remedy.


+0
Tuesday, December 8, 2009 4:24 PM

Here is what I did while "waiting" in the Fastpass "queue" for Toy Story:

Little Mermaid, Playhouse Disney Live, Indiana Jones, Star Tours, Muppets, Lights Motors Action Stunt Show, had lunch, shopped for souvenirs, Beauty and the Beast show.

Had I not got a Fastpass I likely would have missed at least one or two of the other attractions while waiting in the traditional line.

And, we still had time to see the Osborne lights and then hightail it over to the Magic Kingdom which had a 1am closing time Saturday night.

And, I actually got to ride TSM twice during my alloted return time because some of the smaller kids decided not to ride and we had a few extra Fastpasses left over. So, I got on it twice in about 25 minutes instead of once in 110 minutes. (I suppose I could have tried to sell my extra Fastpasses for a few bucks and bought a churro.)

In any event, I don't often visit during peak times and I've been so often that I don't mind if I only hit X number of attractions in the course of a visit. I think Fastpass sounds nice to those who can figure it out but the bottom line is Disney created it to keep you out of line and in a store or restaurant spending money. What they had not perfected, up until this point, was to figure out how to squeeze the coin out of you while you were standing in a queue. Now they are doing it.

Last edited by wahoo skipper, Tuesday, December 8, 2009 5:00 PM
+0
Tuesday, December 8, 2009 4:32 PM
rollergator's avatar

^I'd have bought you a churro or two for a couple of those TSM Fastpasses... ;)

Multiple queues reduce capacity when poorly implemented (SFoG's Vu comes to mind as the worst-ever). When run properly, as I feel Disney does, multiple queues can have a negligible impact on capacity...for instance, Everest always has people waiting for the next train, based on my 50 or so rides. Although there's SR, standby, and FP, the people get filtered in continuously so there's never been a hold-up of a dispatch due to poor operation of the FPs.

+0
Tuesday, December 8, 2009 5:10 PM
Lord Gonchar's avatar

LostKause said:
Don't get me wrong, WDW is amazing, and they do an incredible job at getting the guests through the lines and everything, but with a group of parks that are that crowded, they could be doing more. Instead, they put a band-aid on the problem when they introduced fastpass. That told SF and a few other park chains that it's okay to put a band-aid on the problem and pretend that it's a good remedy.

I don't think VQ is an attempt to solve a capacity problem - it doesn't add capacity. No one ever insinuated it does.

It's an attempt to allow people to ride without having to waste so much time doing nothing but standing in a line.

The problem isn't lack of capacity, it's the old, tired queue line.

VQ is an attempt to look for a better way to get people on the rides, not get more people on the rides.

(perhaps that's why you hate it so much, you think it's trying to do something it's not?)


+0
Tuesday, December 8, 2009 6:00 PM

...And therein lies part of the trouble. I don't know how they do it at Toy Story Mania (which seems to run out of FastPasses at about 8:30am), but at Space Mountain there are eight FastPass machines at the ride entrance. If you figure that the FastPass transaction takes about ten seconds ("transaction" meaning walk up, insert ticket, get pass, take ticket, walk away), the capacity of each machine is about 360 PPH. With eight machines, that's 2,880 PPH working the machines. As noted earlier (and though I came up with this myself some years ago, I have since verified it with someone else's much more detailed and published research) a single queue entrance can handle only 2,400 PPH. That means that what the virtual queue system is doing is to more than double the rate at which people can get into line for the ride. You have taken a ride that already cannot handle people as fast as they can arrive, and made the people arrive faster, doing nothing to change the ride's capacity. The virtual queue does not change the capacity of the ride, but it increases the total operating capacity of the queue. People can, in effect, line up faster.

The ride has only limited capacity; on Space Mountain it was about 1,200 PPH combined the day I visited. Given a 16-hour operating day (which is what it was the day I was there), the ride can move 19,200 people. The FastPass machines can sell that out in 6:40: all by themselves, that is to say, by about 3:00 in the afternoon. Now, Space Mountain is an interesting case, as it would make the most sense to run it at 50% FastPass, and reserve one of the two tracks for the FastPass customers. That limits FastPass to about 600 PPH, which means the FastPasses will potentially sell out in only three hours (a little after Noon). It would be interesting to see, if the ride were operated in that fashion, how the queue times compare. Obviously the FastPass machines do not operate at full load all day long, as the FastPasses usually don't sell out in three hours. But then, the standby queue doesn't run at full load all day either. It would be interesting to see how those real-world variations in queue entrance load translate into comparative wait times between the 'real' and 'virtual' queues when the queues are running side-by-side at comparable ride capacity.

Personally, I kind of like tricks like what they did at Mickey's house at Disneyland. There, the building is filled with brief details that effectively slow your progress through the building, which ends with a buffer space and then your audience with the Big Cheese. What they've effectively done there is to slow you down enough that instead of loading the queue at 2,400 PPH, you're loading the queue at a much slower rate, a rate which much more closely matches the capacity of the final attraction. It's not an easy thing to do, but *reducing* queue capacity to more closely match the ride capacity will also reduce the time spent waiting in line. It's tricky, though, because it's easy to end up with people waiting in line to get in line, which kind of defeats the purpose. They could make Space Mountain 100% FastPass and then only put four machines on the midway...every ticket would then be stamped with, "Ride NOW!", but there would be a crowd of people trying to get to the machines!

--Dave Althoff, Jr.

--Dave Althoff, Jr.


    /X\        _      *** Respect rides. They do not respect you. ***
/XXX\ /X\ /X\_ _ /X\__ _ _ _____
/XXXXX\ /XXX\ /XXXX\_ /X\ /XXXXX\ /X\ /X\ /XXXXX
_/XXXXXXX\__/XXXXX\/XXXXXXXX\_/XXX\_/XXXXXXX\__/XXX\_/XXX\_/\_/XXXXXX

+0
Wednesday, December 9, 2009 12:49 AM
Jeff's avatar

Dave, what are you talking about? All I can understand from your post is that you're suggesting that FastPass is intended to do something other than allow you to multitask, doing something else while you "wait" for your ride time. As Gonch has said, what does that have to do with the capacity of the ride?

And Space Mountain has low capacity according to whom? Even for having short trains, they load and dispatch very quickly, on a ride blocked for God knows how many trains.


Jeff - Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog - Silly Nonsense

+0
Wednesday, December 9, 2009 6:27 AM

I think youre wrong, Im almost certain that Peter Pan's Flight and The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh take the cake for lowest capacity FP rides.

+0
Wednesday, December 9, 2009 8:46 AM

It's interesting to compare how FP has evolved on each coast. Both FL and CA had it installed on rides that never needed it, because they were such god-awful people eaters---Pirates at CA, and Mansion in both. Those have since been removed (though I think CA still uses it for HMH in the fall). CA has resisted using it on some attractions (Pan, Toy Story) where FL has implemented it. If rumor is to be believed, WDI did not intend to have Toy Story to use FP, but Orlando Ops insisted on it.

Last edited by Brian Noble, Wednesday, December 9, 2009 8:47 AM
+0
Wednesday, December 9, 2009 9:29 AM

I'll tell you something I was very impressed with in TSM. The load procedure for persons with disabilities is genius. They have the ability to route a "ride vehicle" off the main track and into a separate load area where someone in a wheelchair (or with some other disability) can take their time getting in and out of the vehicle.

This means the entire ride system does not need to stop in order to get these folks on and off. That may be the most critical component for keeping the capacity numbers high.

+0
Wednesday, December 9, 2009 11:11 AM

That is cool. I wonder if one day they'll have the ability to do that with a coaster. Maybe by disconecting one car of the train?


Coaster Junkie from NH
I drive in & out of Boston, so I ride coasters to relax!

+0
Wednesday, December 9, 2009 11:11 AM

I missed that point. Thanks Brian.

+0
Wednesday, December 9, 2009 1:53 PM
rollergator's avatar

Hopman said:
That is cool. I wonder if one day they'll have the ability to do that with a coaster. Maybe by disconecting one car of the train?

I thought Space already had a separate loading area for handicapped guests....was I mistaken?


You still have Zoidberg.... You ALL have Zoidberg! (V) (;,,;) (V)

+0

You must be logged in to post

POP Forums - ©2021, POP World Media, LLC
Loading...