Mobile apps growing in use to engage theme park guests throughout the day

Posted Monday, July 28, 2014 8:19 AM | Contributed by Jeff

Park visitors, armed with their phones and tablets, can monitor lines for popular rides, make dining reservations, plot routes and get reminders of where they parked the minivan — all on the fly.

Read more from The Orlando Sentinel.

Monday, July 28, 2014 8:32 AM
Jeff's avatar

I spent the last year working on the integration parts of the SeaWorld/BG apps, and that was a cool experience. I think even when you're working on the stuff, you can lose sight of the fact that you can do certain things that weren't possible a few years ago. We all take it for granted that we have pocket super computers connected to all of the world's knowledge.


Jeff - Webmaster/Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog - Twitter - Video

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Monday, July 28, 2014 10:44 AM
Thabto's avatar

Cedar Fair parks should do something like this.

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Monday, July 28, 2014 10:52 AM
Raven-Phile's avatar

After using a Q-Bot this weekend at Great America, I'd like to see them integrate that into smartphones instead. Those things are giant. Even though they have a carabiner on them, it still scared me that it was going to go flying, so I put it in my pocket, which felt odd and bulky.


R.I.P LeRoi Moore 9/7/61 - 8/19/2008
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Monday, July 28, 2014 11:01 AM
Jeff's avatar

"Is that a Q-bot in your pants or are you just cutting in front of me?"


Jeff - Webmaster/Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog - Twitter - Video

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Monday, July 28, 2014 11:57 AM
LostKause's avatar

Q-Bots have a carabiner hook thingie attached to them. I didn't feel like it was in danger of being lost for one second.

I don't think a smart phone has anything inside of it to make it work like a Q-Bot. I think they use RFID technology when you "scan" them together.


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Monday, July 28, 2014 12:14 PM
Lord Gonchar's avatar

Raven-Phile said:

I'd like to see them integrate that into smartphones instead.

I've been saying that for 7 years. (and suggesting countless ways that your phone could be used in the park - what took you so long amusement industry?)

Interestingly, cellq no longer seems to exist. Hmmm.

I think it's my distinct distain for unitasking devices/tools/etc. (Damn you, Alton Brown!) It makes no sense to carry an electronic device that only reserves times when I'm already carrying another electronic device that could theoretically do the same.

Last edited by Lord Gonchar, Monday, July 28, 2014 12:40 PM
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Monday, July 28, 2014 12:36 PM
Raven-Phile's avatar

LostKause said:

Q-Bots have a carabiner hook thingie attached to them. I didn't feel like it was in danger of being lost for one second.

My shorts I was wearing didn't have belt loops, so there's that...


R.I.P LeRoi Moore 9/7/61 - 8/19/2008
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Monday, July 28, 2014 12:40 PM
rollergator's avatar

Lord Gonchar said:

I think it's my disctrinct distain for unitasking devices/tools/etc. (Damn you, Alton Brown!)

LOL @ "unitasking."

AB is still the bomb...love the way he takes a generic recipe like cookie dough and then explains 15 ways to make your recipe personalized (e.g., more brown sugar for chewy cookies).

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Monday, July 28, 2014 12:45 PM
Lord Gonchar's avatar

You should be laughing at the way I mangled the word, "distinct."


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Monday, July 28, 2014 1:18 PM
Jeff's avatar

As I see it, the problem with better product is that the market (believe it or not) is too small for anyone to bother with doing virtual queues via phones. I mean, think about it, Accesso pretty much has a lock on selling tickets, and aren't they still using Flash? Their Lo-Q product is pretty solid, I think, but it certainly has no incentive to improve because there is no competition. There isn't even risk for the parks who use it, because it seems to be a per-transaction cut arrangement. Then you have parks like Cedar Fair who use paper wristbands, and if their popularity is any indication, there isn't much incentive to improve on that either.

So basically, unless you're one of the big theme park companies, you can't really use a third-party product, but you are able to build something yourself.


Jeff - Webmaster/Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog - Twitter - Video

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Monday, July 28, 2014 2:01 PM
rollergator's avatar

Lord Gonchar said:

You should be laughing at the way I mangled the word, "distinct."

Honestly, I looked funny at "distain" but didn't even notice the strict distinct district thing...

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Monday, July 28, 2014 2:08 PM
Lord Gonchar's avatar

Didn't even catch that one. I'm a moron.

Last edited by Lord Gonchar, Monday, July 28, 2014 2:08 PM
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Monday, July 28, 2014 2:11 PM
kpjb's avatar

I don't think doing it via an app makes sense quite yet.

90% of adults have cell phones, and even with smart phones making up 60 to 70% of them, you'd still be leaving out about 40% of the population who now can't buy in to your system.

Secondly, you pretty much have to maintain a good wifi network throughout your property to ensure the proper coverage for them to work. The expense for install and upkeep of this system falls on the park. When using Lo-Q, the park can just sit back and take their cut.

Add to that peoples' batteries going dead after a long day at the park, and the fact that you can't rub it in the common peoples' face as easily if you're just looking at your phone.

I'm sure it'll get there, but I don't think it's quite the right time yet. Too much money being left on the table.


Hi

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Monday, July 28, 2014 2:21 PM
Jeff's avatar

The harder thing is validating what's on the phone. I mean, anyone can show a screenshot or mock up of something. I actually have a lot of ideas around that problem, but don't want to give anything away in case I come up with a really good idea. :)


Jeff - Webmaster/Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog - Twitter - Video

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Monday, July 28, 2014 2:31 PM
Lord Gonchar's avatar

If you can use your phone to check-in for a flight, then the technology is surely good enough for checking in for a coaster ride.


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Monday, July 28, 2014 3:53 PM
Tekwardo's avatar

Yeah at worst I'd think a randomly generated QR code for the time to return that's emailed, texted, or generated in an app would work.


cebeavers.tumblr.com

Don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened.

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Monday, July 28, 2014 4:01 PM
Lord Gonchar's avatar

Exactly my thoughts.

Which gets me thinking that the upside of this is the a la carte and/or impulse buys.

You don't have to fork over a chunk of change when you enter the park. It's open to anyone at any time with a mobile device on a per ride basis. Hell, even the most conservative of spenders would be tempted to drop a few bucks so their family could skip that one annoying line and the hardcore users might end up spending more in the long haul.

Then I drool at the idea of taking it to the next level with dynamic pricing, text messages that alert to special FOL 'deals' if you act now and crap like that.

Of course, like these guys said, there's little motivation when the current "good enough" systems are...well, good enough. And there's definitely prohibitive infrastrucure costs.

I'm looking in your direction, Disney...


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Monday, July 28, 2014 4:13 PM
Jeff's avatar

Yes, because airlines (and the TSA) are scanning something on your phone. To do that at a bunch of rides means spending money on infrastructure and devices to do the same. I know the technology exists, my point is that it isn't free, and someone has to write the software.


Jeff - Webmaster/Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog - Twitter - Video

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Monday, July 28, 2014 4:40 PM
HeyIsntThatRob?'s avatar

Lord Gonchar said:

Raven-Phile said:

I'd like to see them integrate that into smartphones instead.

I've been saying that for 7 years. (and suggesting countless ways that your phone could be used in the park - what took you so long amusement industry?)

Motion to change Lord Gonchar's name to Prophet Gonchar!

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