More Phone-Based Virtual Queue Solutions

Wednesday, November 28, 2007 12:30 PM
eightdotthree's avatar Cedar Point gets insanely busy sometimes. If you don't plan your day right you can get screwed.

I have been to Disney before and after FastPass. FastPass makes things better IMO.


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Wednesday, November 28, 2007 1:09 PM
rollergator's avatar All VQ systems *do* reduce maximum throughput.

Disney's implementation minimizes that reduction in overall capacity. Universal's system also does a very good job in keeping total capacity CLOSE to theoretical maximum. They do it in ride and queue design, and in staffing.

No one else that I have seen even approaches that kind of performance...

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Wednesday, November 28, 2007 1:52 PM
Not surprisingly, this does nothing to my feelings for virtual queueing, so I really have little to say in regard to that. This bothers me on a personal level more than anything else because it creates another opening for the outside world (reality) to creep into the amusement park world (escape from reality).

I deal with a cell phone more than I'd care to. While there are cell phone addicts out there, I'm sure the majority of the population enjoys an occasional break from the things. The thing is, now they're becoming part of the amusement park experience.

"Oh wait, before we eat let me make a call and see if we can set up a ride on Space Mountain so we're not riding on a full stomach."

"Hey Hon, Space Mountain is full- we can take a spin on Splash Mountain but we have to be there in 15 minutes."

I don't know if that's how things are actually going to work, but even if it's similar to that I'm not exactly feeling the love for having to plan a day at an amusement park like I plan a day in my regular life. To me, it adds an unwanted business aspect to the whole experience... something I'd rather do without. If anything, I'm curious to see how people respond to this idea in the long haul. Worth the price, or not worth the hassle?


Lord Gonchar said:


But it still doesn't mean you get less rides in a day if you use the system... It's a system for managing crowds (and generating revenue and customer data in the process), not a system for increasing capacity.


True but getting back to the original point, virtual queueing creates the illusion of a better deal. The more people that use virtual queueing, the longer standby lines get and the more the system seems like a requirement. Again, it goes back to perception.

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Wednesday, November 28, 2007 1:52 PM

gomez said:
Go to CP on a Saturday in October and try to get on more than 5 coasters.

Did this on Columbus Day Saturday no less:
-TTD
-Maverick
-Magnum (x2)
-Blue Streak
-Gemini (x2)

And I did all the Halloween attractions except WWC, and quite a few flats as well.


2020 Trips: Canceled by Corona

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Wednesday, November 28, 2007 2:02 PM
I agree with Rob. There will become a time when going to an amusement park is no longer fun because it requires too much planning. If parks think attendance is declining now, just wait until they reach the saturation point of virtual queue systems.

When they become a necessary component of a park's visit, they're going to have problems.

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Wednesday, November 28, 2007 2:03 PM

halltd said:
Disney also receives a level of guests that no other regional park can touch. One could argue that the number of "e-ticket" attractions at their parks are far less than that of a local amusement park such as Cedar Point. So, a few of their rides have "excessive" lines.

I went to all the Disney parks for years without FastPass and always had an amazing time. Although FastPass creates the illusion of waiting in line less, in reality it makes that line longer. So, if FastPass didn't exist (like it didn't on most rides they have), the rides wouldn't have the standby times they do today.

Cedar Point is one of the highest attended parks in the US and they don't have a virtual queue system. I think that shows you can run a park successfully without one. I also applaud them for not having one. I've been to CP on Fridays and Saturdays in July and August and still been able to ride every coaster (some more than once) and multiple flats in one day. So, you don't NEED a virtual queue system.


First, I want to say that Cedar Point isn't one of the highest attended parks in the US. It's 13 spots from the highest attended park in the US. I could see maybe if it was in the top 10, you could say that, but it being at 14 (A Canada park is in that list.) doesn't make it one of the highest attended parks. I guess it's dreaming because it has all those roller coasters. I do think that Cedar Point is better than the Disney, and the Universal parks (at least in Florida), but you have to get to reality in how that park ranks in attendance.

Why does it hardly take much time for a lot of rides at Disney? The capacity is so darn freakin high on all the rides that you are hardly waiting. The Haunted Mansion, Carousel of Progress, Dinosaur, Expedition Everest, Pirate's of the Carribean, It's A Small World, Buzz Lightyear, TTA, Universe of Energy, Honey I Shrunk the Audience, Spaceship Earth, Presidents Show, Show in American Pavillion, and so on all fit a LOT of people in each of those rides or shows.

A cast member said that Dinosaur gets between 25, and 30,000 people a day. I couldn't believe how many people that ride gets. You have to remember that, that park isn't open the whole day. It's only open 10 hours maybe.

The rides that have the lines have lower capacity like Alice in Wonderland, and Snow White. These rides quite frankly don't have enough cars for the track because they aren't continuously moving. A lot of the rides at Disney keep on moving like Buzz Lightyear.

Compare Disney World's rides to Cedar Point, and you shall see that Cedar Point doesn't have a lot of high capacity rides. 1000 people an hour is high for Cedar Point rides. All those flats can't get 1000 people per hour, and that's why people have to wait longer for other rides.

Also, people aren't always on the 400 people flat rides, and they are selectively inclined to ride the BIG rides. At Disney, everyone is riding everything. It's very easy to figure out why at Disney some rides lines go super fast while others like Primeval Whirl don't. Another reason why things go faster at Disney is just the fact that Disney runs so many trains for there roller coasters.

Big Thunder usually runs at least 3 trains, and it has two sides. Space Mountain (I think this is how many because I was counting, but than I could have forgot the exact number.) has two sides, and I believe that it has 14 cars for each side. Maybe, they add some and subtract some, but the time I counted, it was 14. The Matterhorn at Disneyland also has two sides, and the Space Mountain at Disneyland has two sides in the station for loading.

At the Magic Kingdom Jungle Cruise, I have found out that they run 10 boats, and the capacity is 39 people (-1 for driver). That's 380 per boat trip for all the boats. It's a 9 minute trip ONLY. If those boats just went around for 45 (5 * 9) minutes, that would be 1900 people for that attraction that's not an E-Attraction, but people still want to ride it. I'm minusing 15 minutes because of loading, and unloading.

If capacity on a lot of rides is 1900, that's a incredible amount of people, and that's why you don't have to wait long for a number of rides. *** Edited 11/28/2007 7:06:21 PM UTC by Spinout***

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Wednesday, November 28, 2007 2:15 PM
I should have been a little more specific with that sentence. In the beginning of the paragraph, I was talking about "regional parks". I wasn't comparing Cedar Point to any of the Disney, Universal or Sea World parks because they are destination parks and obviously have massive attendance numbers because they draw visitors from all over the world.

If you take out all the destination parks, Cedar Point ranks third in attendance, following up Knott's and Canada's Wonderland (both without virtual queue systems).

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Wednesday, November 28, 2007 2:33 PM
Lord Gonchar's avatar

Rob Ascough said:
I'm not exactly feeling the love for having to plan a day at an amusement park like I plan a day in my regular life.


halltd said:
I agree with Rob. There will become a time when going to an amusement park is no longer fun because it requires too much planning.

When they become a necessary component of a park's visit, they're going to have problems.


Interesting.

I believe there's a segment of park visitors who prefer the structure of being able to know they're getting on a ride at a certain time.

I used to say it alot, but I still believe the day when you can plan your whole visit to the park in advance is closer than we think. (Disney, I'm looking in your direction :) )


halltd said:
If you take out all the destination parks, Cedar Point ranks third in attendance, following up Knott's and Canada's Wonderland (both without virtual queue systems).

All properties of Cedar Fair - the most notoriously technologically backwards company in terms of infrastructure.

When CP did try the virtual queue thing what did they do? They stuck a kid in front of rides with a handstamp and an ink pad.

Most attended does not equate with "most prepared" or "best example of internal operations" - not even close.


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Wednesday, November 28, 2007 2:45 PM

Rob Ascough said:I deal with a cell phone more than I'd care to. While there are cell phone addicts out there, I'm sure the majority of the population enjoys an occasional break from the things. The thing is, now they're becoming part of the amusement park experience.

Interesting, indeed. I don't deal with a cell phone at all, and I hope I never have to. There are few things more annoying then the sound of a ringing phone (Thank GOD my job requires very little phone use (or maybe thank e-mail for that)).

I'm at the point where if an amusement park is so busy that "virtual queueing" is a necessary part of day, then I just won't go to that park.

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Wednesday, November 28, 2007 3:11 PM
^^ I think it depends on the park, and maybe even how familiar you are with a certain amusement park.

I'm getting to the point where I feel we need to add an "except Disney" asterik to any virtual queueing conversation since Disney seems to be a different animal when it comes to amusement parks. But since it is part of the conversation, I think it can be argued that many Disney guests are more likely to plan their days at the parks, especially if they're staying in on-site hotels. Those guests know what the parks have to offer and generally know what they want to do. I'd be lying if I said my wife and I go to a Disney park without a pre-determined schedule. Still, I'm not sure I want to involve my cell phone. I'd much rather leave that outside the park along with my laptop, Blackberry, iPod and a dozen other things that I like but often feel the need to get away from.

Guests at other parks? I don't think they want to plan things out, especially if you look at demographics. Despite the best intentions, Cedar Fair and Six Flags parks are havens for young kids and teenagers. Do you think most representing the younger demographic are going to walk into a park with much of a game plan? I'm willing to bet most younger people walk into parks unsure of whether they have enough money to finish the day in the park. As far as people with the money and desire to make something more out of their day at the regional theme park are concerned, are they going to feel the need to spend the money?

^ You're just a freak, Joe. ;)

*** Edited 11/28/2007 8:12:20 PM UTC by Rob Ascough***

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Wednesday, November 28, 2007 3:22 PM
LostKause's avatar

halltd said:
I'm still a huge fan of running your rides so efficiently that there's no reason for a virtual queue.

But that would not make the parks more money. A ridiculous, untested, and unjustifiable idea such running rides efficiently may actually REDUCE profits. (I'm being sarcastic here, of course.)


Lord Gonchar said:

...the solution...

...open more rides and run them efficiently, right?

I suspect that expanding the park would only expand the crowd as well in most cases and the problem would just continue on a larger scale.


Is that really the reason you don't like the idea, LG? If adding more attractions to a park gets more customers through the gates, where's the problem? More people through the gates means more $money$ for the parks, right? More attraction means more stuff for the extra people to do. I believe the answer is what CP has been doing for decades now; build more attractions to accommodate higher crowds and run them at the highest capacity safely and economically possible.


tricktrack said:
So you will basically pay to give away more privacy in form of consumer data, that will be sold on to whatever agency that wants to cover all your movements and habits 24/7.
Clever!

BINGO! What reason does any company have to "help" their customers not have to wait in line except for making more money? Selling people's personal info is such a huge business, and a lot of businesses keep their ulterior motives hush hush because they know that it's considered unethical by some people. Remember, it's all about money, which isn't a bad thing until it becomes greed.


Jeff said:
Disney runs most of their rides at a level of efficiency no one else can touch. Would I want to go without FastPass? Hell no.

That's a good point, but if they would add some new attractions at a faster pace, we might not see lines of that magnitude there. Disney is a very busy group of parks.


Rob Ascough said:
I'm not exactly feeling the love for having to plan a day at an amusement park like I plan a day in my regular life. To me, it adds an unwanted business aspect to the whole experience... something I'd rather do without.

Me too! I love wandering through a park, discovering all their is to do around each corner, not having to plan out every single move I make ahead of time. That, to me, is one reason I love amusement parks in the first place.

Sure, I may or may not plan my first few rides before I get there, and I just might look at a show schedule to plan when I need to arrive at a show, but that's the small stuff.

It's kind of how I like to shop. I wander the stores and look at a leisurely pace.


Lord Gonchar said:

I believe there's a segment of park visitors who prefer the structure of being able to know they're getting on a ride at a certain time.

I used to say it alot, but I still believe the day when you can plan your whole visit to the park in advance is closer than we think. (Disney, I'm looking in your direction :) )


I simply do not understand why that makes you so happy, Gonch. I do not believe that the segment of visitors that you are talking about is really such a high percentage of people, at least not now. After this is forced onto them as the only way they are going to be able to do a park, they will have to get used to it and submit to it.


Lord Gonchar said:

All properties of Cedar Fair - the most notoriously technologically backwards company in terms of infrastructure.

When CP did try the virtual queue thing what did they do? They stuck a kid in front of rides with a handstamp and an ink pad.

Most attended does not equate with "most prepared" or "best example of internal operations" - not even close.


I'll have to agree with you there to an extent. Why does a company that builds the most technologically advanced rides in the world still live in the dark ages when it comes to bells and whistles for their customers? I'm not saying that I'd like to see them team up with Lo-Jack...umm I mean Lo-Q or anything, but I would really like to see high tech services such as room key credit, electronic wait time boards throughout the park, and free thumb print lockers added to the park experience.

EDIT...I edited one word that was misspelled. *** Edited 11/28/2007 8:28:55 PM UTC by LostKause***


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Wednesday, November 28, 2007 3:35 PM
Lord Gonchar's avatar

LostKause said:
Is that really the reason you don't like the idea, LG? If adding more attractions to a park gets more customers through the gates, where's the problem?

It doesn't solve the crowd problem one bit - that's the problem. No matter how big these parks get, one thing seems to remain constant - the time you have to wait for the 'popular' rides. Adding more popular rides won't change the fact that the wait for those rides is often excruciating.


I simply do not understand why that makes you so happy, Gonch.

Because I'd love to plan my day at the park in advance (knowing what rides I'll get on and when), rather than moving willy-nilly through the park hoping that I'm making the right choices and the day works out with me maximizing my time.

Make the park somethng on the scale of a Disney park and the desire to do that is even greater...and (gasp!) I'm willing to pay for that piece of mind.


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Wednesday, November 28, 2007 4:48 PM
Just to put things in perspective here, Cedar Point sees three million people per year. They're open approximately five months of the year which averages out to about 600,000 people per month (approx 20,000 per day).

The Magic Kingdom sees 16.5 million people per year. They're open twelve months of the year which averages out to about 1,375,000 people per month (approx 45,833 per day).

Cedar Point is situated on 364 acres (let's be conservative and say 204 acres are actual park) and has approximately 70 attractions (not shows).The Magic Kingdom is situated on 107 acres (park only) and has approximately 40 attractions (not shows).

So, Cedar Point sits on about twice as much land, has twice as many rides and serves less than half the people the Magic Kingdom does per day.

Is it any wonder why Disney's attractions have to be so efficient?

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Wednesday, November 28, 2007 5:23 PM
Dollywood already lets you plan your day in advance. You get your Qbot and schedule all of the major shows--plus a ride on the train--in advance. That is the day in the park for many of their guests.

My guess is that Gonch won't have to wait too long before they have preloaded Qbots available. You go on-line, request your rides, the Qbot is ready and waiting when you get to the park. When your schedule is complete the device works normally if you have time left in your day. You might even be able to rig your schedule so you don't have to walk past that ice cream stand that always gets the kids begging ;)

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Wednesday, November 28, 2007 6:23 PM
matt.'s avatar

Alan T. said:
My guess is that Gonch won't have to wait too long before they have preloaded Qbots available. You go on-line, request your rides, the Qbot is ready and waiting when you get to the park.

My eyes just lit up and I let out a little squeal and bounced up and down in my chair a couple times.

Even better, let me do it for fun even when I'm *not* actually going to the park and I'll dork out with something like that all day.

The only problem is once you plan your day there's about a million things that are going to eff up your system.I have no idea what sort of contingency plan you set up for ride breakdowns and weather and people getting sick etc. *** Edited 11/28/2007 11:26:42 PM UTC by matt.***

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Wednesday, November 28, 2007 6:23 PM
The only problem is, the more you plan, the more can go wrong to screw up that plan. And nowadays, most people can't deal with a plan that doesn't go, well, exactly as planned.

OK, I'm going to Park X next July 18. I'd like to park no more than 3 spaces away from a light standard.

My plan is that it be a sunny day. Well, a few puffy clouds passing over the midway from 2:32 to 2:35 while I'm walking along would be nice to ease the heat. Make sure the temp's between 72 and 83-- I don't intend to carry a jacket with me all day.

Here's my list of rides. Make sure none of them are down, OK? Don't worry about checking restraints too closely, I have another coaster to be on in 9 minutes and 14 seconds. I'd like to get a picture of both those coasters. Could you arrange to have the trains pass by at exactly the same time so they can be in my photo?

I'm planning on having dinner at 5:42-- so make sure there are no strollers, wheelchairs, or fat people in between my last ride and the chicken fingers stand. And there better be nobody in line who has to count out exact change, ask for extra napkins, or isn't sure if they want Pepsi or Sierra Mist while I'm waiting.

Oh, last but not least, I'll have to pee at 11:27, 1:46, 4:59, and 8:08. Make sure I'm within 50 feet of a bathroom at those times. Got all that?

:)

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Wednesday, November 28, 2007 6:28 PM
Ironically, I just had to make reservations at Disney for dining, SCUBA, golf and character events for our trip over Christmas and New Years. You don't want to even see the matrix I had to put together to make sure fourteen people get to do each and every thing they want to over a ten day period. LOL!!

I only do it because I love Disney and if I didn't do it over the holiday, we wouldn't be able to do anything we wanted.

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Wednesday, November 28, 2007 7:42 PM
Jeff's avatar You keep going on and on about why Disney "has to" run rides efficiently in order to support your argument that there's "no reason to have a virtual queue." That doesn't make any sense. And as for Cedar Point, the lack of a virtual queue is the reason I haven't been on Dragster in three years.

halltd said:
Although FastPass creates the illusion of waiting in line less, in reality it makes that line longer.
Unless you're not in the line. My last trip to Disney, in the busy December vacation time frame, I was cranking through attractions on a busy day. No waiting with crying children on It's a Small World for me!

Jeff - Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog - Music: The Modern Gen-X - Video

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Wednesday, November 28, 2007 8:59 PM
That just means you didn't ride It's a Small World because it doesn't offer FastPass.
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Wednesday, November 28, 2007 11:02 PM
halltd - Ticket To Ride was a queueing system Cedar Point implemented on Millennium Force for part of the 2000 season. About 11 or so, they would stop letting people in line for the ride, and hand out tickets with a time on them. The tickets were a bit like Disney's FastPass system, without the standby line. Once they were out of tickets, you couldn't ride. Then about 5:00 or so, they would open the ride back up for anyone without a ticket to ride.

As far as a virtual queue, I don't see how a properly implemented system would change the capacity of the ride at all. With Cedar Point's Freeway, and Disney's FastPass, there are always people at the load platform.

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