More Phone-Based Virtual Queue Solutions

Thursday, November 29, 2007 4:30 PM

Lord Gonchar said:Nothing's more frustrating than plodding around from ride to ride, seeing wait times beyond my threshhold and plodding to another wondering if I made the right choice.

There's a wonderful, simple, elegant, and low cost method of solving this very problem. Simply mount a permanant sign at the entrance to the park stating that the lines are all too long so you might as well go home.

Put the sign after the parking gates in Gonch's park, before them everywhere else. ;)

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Thursday, November 29, 2007 6:30 PM
Personally I'd rather see a 37" LCD mounted vertically at the entrance to each major ride (ie: coasters and big flats). You could easily get twenty or so (in CP's case) lines of text that are legible from the entrance of the queue on this screen. So, you arrive at MF to see a 120 minute queue. You see that Mantis (right across the way) has a 30 minute queue. So, you just meander over there.

I don't want to carry my cell phone with me much less check the damn thing every 10-15 minutes to see what the "status" of the park is. Leave that to the management of the park.

I actually suggested a device like this to our VIP escort at Cedar Point this summer though. During the inclement weather (aka mist), we had a very difficult time figuring out what rides were open. I thought our escort should have some way of knowing this. But, since the park doesn't have an overall system that monitors this sort of thing, she was unable to help us out. But, it would have been awesome if she had a little hand held that told her what rides were open and what rides were closed. We didn't care about queue times since it was irrelevant.

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Thursday, November 29, 2007 7:03 PM
Lord Gonchar's avatar

halltd said:
I don't want to carry my cell phone with me much less check the damn thing every 10-15 minutes to see what the "status" of the park is. Leave that to the management of the park.

But you'd walk the park and check signs just as often?

I'm so confused. That seems like more effort and/or less convenient to me.

I'd rather be sitting in a restaraunt or waiting while the kids ride something and be able to see the current waits of the major attractions by just flipping open my phone.

Which goes back to my earlier comments.

Now I don't have to seek out a sign with the info posted (although that is a better solution than none at all) or worse walk to a ride with a wait that I don't feel is worth it. I see the day being much less annoying and more efficient with that info accessible to me at my convenience.

The only way this is worse that what exists is if I don't care about what I ride and am willing to wait any amount of time for any ride or if looking at my phone is too much effort.

In my case, neither applies.


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Thursday, November 29, 2007 7:17 PM
Well, if there are signs at every big ride, you don't have to go out of your way to see them. If you're that worried about queue lengths, there's a status of basically the entire park right there which is very easy to read and understand. The entire park is available to see at a glance.

Your idea sounds good in theory. But, how's it gonna work? Not everyone has an iPhone that has the "real internet" on it. So, most people have a little tiny screen. You can't just "flip open your phone" and see the status of the park.

You're going to need to send a text somewhere, wait for a reply and then probably scroll through a bunch of text to see what you're really looking for. There's no efficient way to display over twenty rides and their wait times on your phone that quickly. Keep in mind how many different phones and providers exist in the world. Also, CP gets a lot of international visitors which may not have a US cell phone. What about them? Too bad, so sad?

You keep mentioning convenience, but using your cell phone to find out a plethora of wait times quickly just doesn't seem feasible to me at all. And, I'm a huge proponent of tech to get across information.

If you're eating dinner at Game Day Grille, you only have to walk about 50' to see the LCD display at Blue Streak. Of if you're at Johnny Rockets (not sure why you would be, but ok), check out the sign at maXair, Disaster Transport or Raptor. If you want to be really efficient, put a display in the lobby of the sit down restaurants.

In reality, you're not far from a major attraction at Cedar Point wherever you are in the park. To me that seems way more effective than using a cell phone to figure out the most efficient way to get around the park. But, if you'd like to spend a lot of time messing with your cell phone, that's cool. I'll just whip over to the next ride and get on. :)

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Thursday, November 29, 2007 8:12 PM
Lord Gonchar's avatar

halltd said:
Your idea sounds good in theory. But, how's it gonna work? Not everyone has an iPhone that has the "real internet" on it. So, most people have a little tiny screen. You can't just "flip open your phone" and see the status of the park.

You're going to need to send a text somewhere, wait for a reply and then probably scroll through a bunch of text to see what you're really looking for. There's no efficient way to display over twenty rides and their wait times on your phone that quickly.


I guess our idea of convenience differs greatly. You send a blank text and get a simple list of the major attractions and their current wait times.

Not sure what's so hard about:

Coaster One - 20 min
Coaster Two - 45 min
Coaster Three - 60 min
Big Twisty Ride - 25 min
Big Scary Ride - 15 min
Happy Fun Dance Show begins in 20 min

I have a plain vanilla RAZR - it shows 9 lines of text on one screen. Each time notification (as above)would fit on one line.


But, if you'd like to spend a lot of time messing with your cell phone, that's cool.

Even at a park like CP that might have 15 or 20 'major' attractions/shows - I could send the blank text and scroll the info in about 30 seconds or less(assuming almost-instantaneous text return).

Even better, give the the option to make it automatic. Upon arriving at the park, I send one textt and the info is automagically sent to me at regular intervals. I just flip my phone open and have the info staring at me. (on any phone with text capability...in other words - all of them)

Hell, give the the option to specify how often to notify me or use set intervals.

All of the above works for me.


You keep mentioning convenience, but using your cell phone to find out a plethora of wait times quickly just doesn't seem feasible to me at all.

Well, that's why you're wrong. ;)


If you're eating dinner at Game Day Grille, you only have to walk about 50' to see the LCD display at Blue Streak. Of if you're at Johnny Rockets (not sure why you would be, but ok), check out the sign at maXair, Disaster Transport or Raptor. If you want to be really efficient, put a display in the lobby of the sit down restaurants.

Which do you think a park would do assuming they currently don't have something like this and were interested in incorporating it?

Invest in and maintain 20+ electronic signs located around the park (uglying things up as you mentioned earlier in this thread) or a low cost, automated system that uses a central point to distribute the same info directly to the guest.

In other words - why invest in info delivery devices when the park guest has one on them already?

Back to the subject of feasibility. Is it feasible?

I'm pretty much describing exactly what is sounds like the CellQ system does, but rather than reporting ride reservations (and keeping track of wait times throughout the park and making suggestions), it just keeps track of ride times throughout the park and reports those to you directly.

There's no question on whether it's feasible - the technology exists and is in use at one UK park. Just not implemented in quite the same way.

I think it goes:

Cell Notification > Centrally located signs > Employees manually turning a wheel on a sign at the queue entrance > Nothing at all

...for both the park and the guest.


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Thursday, November 29, 2007 8:25 PM
Sounds perfect. Sign me up.
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Friday, November 30, 2007 8:58 AM
Hold on, what are we talking about here? Making available wait times for all rides, or using cell phones to make ride reservations?

I'd love for all parks to tell me the wait times for their major attractions, whether it be through LCD screens mounted throughout the park, occasional text messages or employees yelling them out loud as they walk through the park. You're right that walking to your favorite ride only to find the wait is hideously long is a huge downer. But I'm still not sure I want to be spending 30 minutes a day on my cell phone trying to make reservations for rides as if I was going out to dinner. That turns something convenient into real work because it requires a lot of forward-thinking, which isn't something I'm always up for at an amusement park.

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Friday, November 30, 2007 10:31 AM
Vater's avatar I used to be against the FastPass idea, both because it seemed like a hassle and it was extra cash on top of admission. Then I bought one at SFGAdv last year and I realized it was not a hassle, and therefore worth the extra cash. It's really rather simple. It did require some forward thinking at times, but certainly not so much that it was a major inconvenience. For instance, I reserved a time for riding Kingda Ka, and 10 minutes before I was supposed to queue up for it, the pass notified me that there was a 10 minute delay. So I suddenly had 20 minutes to kill, and since I was right next to S:UF I looked at the line and it didn't seem too long, so we waited...ended up being about 15 minutes, and it worked out perfectly. Had a few such instances occur, and rather than looking at the delays as a problem, I was grateful I was given the information ahead of time so I could improvise.

I love the CellQ idea, it sounds like it would be even more convenient. Instead of waiting in line to buy a FastPass (probably the most hassle of my day), just send a text and bingo...bill me later and I'm ready to enjoy my day.

My only concern would be whether or not my number will be solicited after my visit. If so, I wouldn't go for it.

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Friday, November 30, 2007 11:36 AM
Lord Gonchar's avatar

Rob Ascough said:
Hold on, what are we talking about here? Making available wait times for all rides, or using cell phones to make ride reservations?

Yeah, it kinda went a little left of the original topic.

Blame my constant need to look towards what could be. :)


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Friday, November 30, 2007 11:54 AM
LostKause's avatar A lot of businesses are getting too invasive and using the excuse of convenience to be allowed access into our everyday life. Our conditioning could eventually end in corporate slavery if the line is not drawn soon.

What is wrong with signs posted throughout the park? Posting signs would be just as convenient and a lot less intrusive to my park visit.

I am purposely ignoring the issue of ride reservations. That's been discussed to death and most of us remember where dexter stood on that issue. Scam. Unfair. Reduces overall capacity park wide. Seemingly creating longer lines on purpose sometimes to rent more Q-Bots. Standing in two lines at once is line jumping. Conflict of interests. Bla bla bla.


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Friday, November 30, 2007 12:22 PM
rollergator's avatar ^Life's like that. Sharing personal info w/ businesses is a two-way street. They can "serve you better", sure (I guess), but you're also giving away a substrantial part of your privacy.

Seen in another light, might be better to sell your personal info than to have it TAKEN from you. But that's a WHOLE other topic... ;)

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Friday, November 30, 2007 12:25 PM
Lord Gonchar's avatar Is it wrong to track your actions while on their property? That's what you seem to be saying/asking, Dex.

I say no. It's totally a park's right to watch what customers do while visiting.

If you're asking about potential solicitation after the fact using your phone (like Vater questioned) then it becomes a lot more blurry.

There's really no privacy issue at that point, but it could be pretty damn annoying depending on how aggressive they are with it.


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Friday, November 30, 2007 4:48 PM
I received some more information about this system from one of my friends who happens to have Flamingoland as his home park.

You need to register for the system when you arrive at the park by getting wristbands. You also link one phone to your group number. So, only one phone per group can use the system. Your group is then assigned a group number. To begin, you send a text with your group number to the designated phone number for that park.

The system then texts you a list of the available rides and their respective queue times. It may list (1) MF - 60m (2) TTD - 90m (3) Maverick - 45m.

To pick a ride, you reply to the text with the number of the ride you want. So, if you wanted to get on MF, you'd reply with a "1".

You'd then get a message back that says something like your expected ride time for MF is 1:30pm. From what I understand, you don't save any actual queue time by using this system. If the queue is 60 minutes, your ride time is 60 minutes from the time you "reserve" the ride. So, you have 60 minutes to go do something else.

When your ride time arrives, you get another text that says "It is time to ride MF, please proceed to the queue". Until you receive this text, your wristband will not scan.

When you go to ride, you go to the exit (or designated entrance) and the ride ops scans everyone's wristband. They don't look at the cell phone at all, so you can't cheat and create your own texts. Then you ride.

When you get off the ride, you get another text that gives you the list of rides again. You then repeat the process to ride everything else.

The way the system works at Flamingoland is once you ride something, it drops off your list. So, you can't use the cellQ system to reserve a ride for the same coaster more than once. It literally just saves you from waiting in the physical queue.

My understanding is the system at Flamingoland costs $10 (per person I believe) plus any fees you would be incurred for sending/receiving text messages throughout the day.

I guess this does sound better than the current Qbot systems at Six Flags. I like that you get the same queue time as the people waiting in the physical queue. I also like that you can only reserve one ride at a time.

If everyone in the park used the system though, the overall capacity of the park would go down. Effectively, if you're virtually waiting an hour for Millennium Force and then physically waiting for Mantis, you just added a "second person" to the attendance level of the park for that day. So, in theory, if 10,000 people were at Cedar Point one day and everyone was using cellQ, there would be about 20,000 people waiting in lines for the rides. That's just going to make all the wait times (virtual or physical) go up.

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Friday, November 30, 2007 4:53 PM

Lord Gonchar said:
Is it wrong to track your actions while on their property? That's what you seem to be saying/asking, Dex.

I say no. It's totally a park's right to watch what customers do while visiting.


I'm not so sure about that. You're right, you are on private property but as long as you're not breaching security and wandering around forbidden areas, I don't see why a park needs to know where I am. I don't see how they'll benefit from knowing I'm standing at a urinal, nor do I see how them knowing that will benefit me.

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Friday, November 30, 2007 4:54 PM
Lord Gonchar's avatar Cool. Thanks for the info, Tim. :)


halltd said:
I guess this does sound better than the current Qbot systems at Six Flags. I like that you get the same queue time as the people waiting in the physical queue. I also like that you can only reserve one ride at a time.

The only way you get a reduced time with Q-bot is if you buy the Gold bot (at a higher price). The standard bot gives you the same wait as the queue.


If everyone in the park used the system though, the overall capacity of the park would go down. Effectively, if you're virtually waiting an hour for Millennium Force and then physically waiting for Mantis, you just added a "second person" to the attendance level of the park for that day. So, in theory, if 10,000 people were at Cedar Point one day and everyone was using cellQ, there would be about 20,000 people waiting in lines for the rides. That's just going to make all the wait times (virtual or physical) go up.

Yeah, that's the one aspect of this whole thing we all seem to agree upon. The beauty part is that the odds of everyone using the system are pretty much none. Hell the odds of even a majority using it is pretty damn low.

At any rate, thanks agin for passing the system along. Still seems a tad more complicated than it needs to be.


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Friday, November 30, 2007 5:04 PM
Ironically, that system doesn't sound all that complicated to me now that I understand it a little better. It's basically the same thing I do walking around the park, but on a cell phone. Plus, like you asked for, it tells you the current queue time for every ride you're permitted to ride.

The part I really like about the system is it does it all for you. When you get off the ride, it prompts you for the next ride. I don't have to initiate the process. Plus, if I get off MF and it asks what the next ride is I want, I can wait as long as I want to reply. So, if I want to eat lunch, I can. But, I'd really just text in the number of the coaster that has a queue about the length I'm going to spend eating lunch. Then it's ready when I am.

For me, I don't like backtracking around parks though. So, if I've virtually waiting for Magnum, I only have a limited amount of attractions I can ride while I'm waiting. Then I have to go back to Magnum to ride. I guess I could do more flats though.

For $10, I'd give it a try though.

Are you sure about the decreased queue times only being available on the Gold Qbot? When we were at SFGAdv this summer, the queue for Rolling Thunder was over an hour. Half of our group was riding and I was part of the group that wasn't. We saw a ton of people go up to the Qbot sign, RESERVE their ride, and then come back in five minutes to get on. It was ridiculous. Could the system have been screwed up and that's what the physical queue was so long? Or, did they all have Gold Qbots? It just seemed all kinds of effed up to me.

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Friday, November 30, 2007 5:14 PM
eightdotthree's avatar I like the idea based on what halltd said. I would rather it be more impulsive and either free, or by a per ride basis. Basically I could be at lunch and queue up for MF if the mood struck me.

Six Flags' qbot is one of the worst things ever when your not the one using it. I really don't think it works like it should as you suggest halltd. Thats why we can't compare future virtual queues with qbot.


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Friday, November 30, 2007 5:25 PM
ApolloAndy's avatar

halltd said:


If everyone in the park used the system though, the overall capacity of the park would go down. Effectively, if you're virtually waiting an hour for Millennium Force and then physically waiting for Mantis, you just added a "second person" to the attendance level of the park for that day. So, in theory, if 10,000 people were at Cedar Point one day and everyone was using cellQ, there would be about 20,000 people waiting in lines for the rides. That's just going to make all the wait times (virtual or physical) go up.


...but everyone is also waiting in two lines at the same time. So there are twice as many "people" waiting but you can be in twice as many lines = a wash. Of course, they couldn't convince you to pay for it if it were a wash, but if the availability is limited, it's not going to be a wash.


Hobbes: "What's the point of attaching a number to everything you do?"
Calvin: "If your numbers go up, it means you're having more fun."

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Friday, November 30, 2007 5:27 PM
Lord Gonchar's avatar

halltd said:
It's basically the same thing I do walking around the park, but on a cell phone. Plus, like you asked for, it tells you the current queue time for every ride you're permitted to ride.

Yeah, you're right. I suppose it's the wristband stuff that seems overly complicated, but it's probably the most foolproof.

It'd be a bit nicer too if you could use it on the same ride multiple times.


The part I really like about the system is it does it all for you. When you get off the ride, it prompts you for the next ride. I don't have to initiate the process. Plus, if I get off MF and it asks what the next ride is I want, I can wait as long as I want to reply.

Exactly. And why wouldn't it work that way? THat just makes sense. (as predicted in my earlier post)


For $10, I'd give it a try though.

Hell, for $10 per person I might consider registering everyone on a couple of phones so that I could use it on a single ride multiple times. :)


Are you sure about the decreased queue times only being available on the Gold Qbot?

Yes. That's the point of the Gold. Why else would you pay more?


Could the system have been screwed up and that's what the physical queue was so long? Or, did they all have Gold Qbots?

My guess is that they had Gold bots. I have seen the system be 'off' - but never by that much.


eightdotthree said:
Basically I could be at lunch and queue up for MF if the mood struck me.

Exactly what I was saying before we we sure that's how it worked.


Six Flags' qbot is one of the worst things ever when your not the one using it. Thats why we can't compare future virtual queues with qbot.

I'm not following. The CellQ thing appears to be exactly like Q-bot except for the wristband/cell combo for reservations while Qbot uses a proprietary device.

Other than that, the idea behind the two and the way they work is pretty much identical.

Obviously, there's other differences in being able to reserve from anywhere and only one reservation per ride - but the idea of keeping track of ride wait times centrally and then beaming them to a user device and assigning the user a wait time equal to the physical line...well, that's identical and it's the core of both systems.


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Friday, November 30, 2007 5:39 PM
Sounds like this is almost liked what someone posted a few pages ago-- like a high-tech glorified supermarket deli. You walk up and take your number, then wander about until your number is called. Except here you'll be notified by cell phone instead of having some lady in a hair net bellowing out your number.

As far as signs go, I thought cellQ mentioned that there would be display signs posted throughout the park with their system anyway. Of course the difference between "regular" signs and text messages, as Gonch and halltd were debating, is that you're not being charged to look at signs. And of course the park isn't going to put in large electronic displays unless they can recoup that money somehow.

The only wildcards seem to be that with only certain attractions included, you could be in some other long line when you're number's called. But I thought cellQ said as long as you showed up after being notified, they'd let you in. In other words, there's no time frame in which you're required to show up or lose your place.

The second one is that probably a lot more people would being participating in a system like this compared to Qbots. So even a physical queue that appears to be short might not be. Some people signing up might be surprised that some rides are still an hour wait or longer.

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