Queue Times at American Parks VS Parks in other countries.

Thursday, December 3, 2015 11:46 PM

I'm just curious which countries are best at crowd control.

I think that Disney is probably the best at moving masses of people through their attractions fairly quickly. But, I have always wondered what queue times were like at the parks in Europe for example. Does Nemisis at Alton towers have 3 and 4 hour lines like some of the coasters at Cedar Point?

Which European park has the shortest wait times for it's size, and which is the worst for long lines.

I have been to a lot of parks that are similar in size, and I think Cedar Point has the longest wait times of any park I have been to. Next would be Canada's Wonderland, and Kings Island. The shortest waits I found were at La Ronde park. Great America seems to be hit and miss.

Any comments?

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Thursday, December 3, 2015 11:54 PM

I've actually wondered about that too. Are the theme parks as busy as US parks was another question I had. Do they do STL passes? I've seen some videos where pretty awesome looking rides have no lines, but loading times were ridiculously slow, so is it that the parks do queuing differently, or is that they're not theme park junkies like us? Or...?

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Friday, December 4, 2015 1:13 AM

I think the major parks have skip the line passes. I looked up Alton Tower's equivalent of Fast Lane Plus and it is approximately $129. PortAventura's equivalent is approximately $52 to $58 (depending on if you want the front row or not).

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Friday, December 4, 2015 1:23 AM

I wonder how many days in a season Cedar Point's coasters have three and four hour waits? Relatively speaking, I'd guess not many.
I also wonder, as usual, if our Timber-Rider isn't just consistently making poor choices in what days to visit Cedar Point?

For a quick comparison, one could simply look at attendance. If a seasonal park anywhere in the world is doing 3 million a year then it stands to reason that the top tier attractions are going to have people waiting for them. 3 million in Germany is the same as 3 million in Ohio and we all have the same number of hours in a day, so I don't know what the difference would necessarily be.

I reckon there are some things to consider. Does the park offers a ride-all-day option? Is the gate free? Is the park 'urban' or 'destination'? Those are factors that might affect queue length. I know for European flat rides, especially at traveling fun fairs, riders don't queue at all but line themselves around the ride and try to claim a seat, token in hand, when the time comes. But coasters, dark rides, water rides and the like, by their very nature, have always lined people up and taken riders in order.

But overall, T-R, I'd say modern theme parks worldwide are the same and suffer the same problems (or not) with crowds. My impression is you've invented a topic here in order to stir up the usual rant about CP and the fact that they're busy. I can assure you there are plenty of days when crowds at Cedar Point are light and plenty of days when LaRonde and Great America are jammed. Maybe you've just never seen them.

Anyway, if European parks have indeed figured out a way to keep lines down its because they've been at it a lot longer than we have. After all, the European continent is where amusement rides and the parks that hold them were invented, right?

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Friday, December 4, 2015 8:22 AM

The only time I have ever seen 3-4 hour waits at Cedar Point was for Millennium Force on AAA day in 2000. If you are in lines that long, you are doing Cedar Point wrong. Outside of a freak summer Saturday, or perhaps Columbus Day Saturday, you likely aren't going to encounter anything over an hour and a half or two hours.

This goes for the Orlando parks as well. Avoid Christmas to New Years week, and outside of something like Harry Potter opening, and standby lines even on a very crowded day should top out at 2 hours.

I think people like to Brian Williams their wait times after the fact when they talk about their day at the park.

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Friday, December 4, 2015 9:07 AM

RCMAC hits the nail on the head. I'm always dubious of folks who take their experience on one or two days of a park's operating season and assume their experience is consistent the season through.

BrettV, spot on with the Brian Williams comment.

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Friday, December 4, 2015 1:34 PM

RCMAC said:

For a quick comparison, one could simply look at attendance. If a seasonal park anywhere in the world is doing 3 million a year then it stands to reason that the top tier attractions are going to have people waiting for them. 3 million in Germany is the same as 3 million in Ohio and we all have the same number of hours in a day, so I don't know what the difference would necessarily be.

I don't know if this applies to other countries, but people tell me Dollywood can be jam packed and still have relatively short waits for rides. I guess most of the people are there for the atmosphere and shows.

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Friday, December 4, 2015 1:58 PM

Every park dynamic is different. Dorney is another one that can be jam packed but once the waterpark opens the major coasters will all be near walkons.

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Friday, December 4, 2015 2:17 PM

I cant speak for International parks but my home park Six Flags Great America has very long lines. I would say similar to Cedar Point for the main rides. I feel the same. Lines depend on the day and time of year.

Last edited by SatanicCoaster, Friday, December 4, 2015 2:42 PM
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Friday, December 4, 2015 3:55 PM

One thing that RCMAC didn't take into consideration, is park operations.

I notice that some parks in Europe and in Mexico allow their patrons to stand very close to operating rides. I saw a video on youtube, where guest were waiting to ride a hymalaya standing on the platform, not in a queue. Also, parks may run their coasters at full capacity all the time, not just when it is crowded, or depending on what time of year it is, or what day it is. Or, for that matter, what the weather is like.

I have also seen videos at foreign parks that have fewer, or more cars on their coaster trains. Most american parks run with six or seven, while I have seen coasters in other countries running with eight cars per train. I also know that Disney often runs more than 3 trains on it's coasters, which would increase hourly capacity.

As for Cedar Point not having 3 hour lines on any day is not true. It is only true depending on what line you are standing in for that ride.On my last visit to Cedar Point, the regular line for Top Thrill Dragster was 3 hours, while the fast lane line for the same ride was 1 hour and 30 minutes. If you combine the two that is 4 and half hours. Obviously you won't wait four and half hours if you come into the regular line at the 3 hour mark. But, you could certainly end up waiting more than 3 hours, while you head toward the split point where the two lines merge.

Regular lines for M_force and Maverick were at 2 hours and 45 minutes, while both rides had fast lane waits of over an hour. Add it up for the regular line customers, and it is certainly over 3 hours per ride or close to it. Depending on how generous the queue split operator is with sending non fast-lane riders through, and not holding back the line.

Another example is Magnum, regular wait 30 minutes, that ended up being 50 minutes, as people were held back in the regular line to allow fast lane riders to continue to cut in.

So, it does depend on how the parks are run, and not just a rant.

My first example was Disney, which has rides that run non stop, and can handle hundreds of people per hour. Like the haunted mansion. There are dark rides at Epcot, that have huge capacity. They can move an entire audience through an attraction, as they do at their energy attraction. And Disney has the largest crowds on any day, with waits that are less than an hour, because they know crowd control, and do it better than anyone.

I was just wondering if any parks outside the US did the same, or at least tried. Fast lane programs or not. Also, fast lane can shorten waits in a park, but it doesn't matter. Because it is about how many people are in the park, and not who can cut in line.

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Friday, December 4, 2015 4:46 PM

I'm probably doing this to hear my own head rattle, but why not?

Timber-Rider said:

On my last visit to Cedar Point, the regular line for Top Thrill Dragster was 3 hours, while the fast lane line for the same ride was 1 hour and 30 minutes. If you combine the two that is 4 and half hours.

Why would you combine the times? The regular line and the fast lane line run concurrently, not consecutively.

Another example is Magnum, regular wait 30 minutes, that ended up being 50 minutes, as people were held back in the regular line to allow fast lane riders to continue to cut in.

The regular wait was 50 minutes. Wait times aren't based on some geographical landmark, they are the time you wait in line. Even if there are only 10 people in front of you and you wait 45 minutes, then the wait time is 45 minutes.

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Friday, December 4, 2015 6:32 PM

Beat me to it, bigboy. Why would anyone combine wait times?

Timber-Rider said:
Disney often runs more than 3 trains on it's coasters, which would increase hourly capacity.

Disney also operates a lot of slow moving coasters; the fastest ride at WDW Magic Kingdom isn't a coaster, it's Splash Mountain. Space Mountain tops out at (I think) 25 mph.

On my last visit to Cedar Point, the regular line for Top Thrill Dragster was 3 hours, while the fast lane line for the same ride was 1 hour and 30 minutes. If you combine the two that is 4 and half hours.

And if you combine the wait times of all the rides in the park on every day the park's open you'd have a 1,000+ hour wait time, which is equally as meaningless a sentence.

Regular lines for M_force and Maverick were at 2 hours and 45 minutes, while both rides had fast lane waits of over an hour. Add it up for the regular line customers, and it is certainly over 3 hours per ride or close to it.

That's not how it works.

My first example was Disney, which has rides that run non stop, and can handle hundreds of people per hour. Like the haunted mansion.

Sure, Disney has continuously loading rides. It also has rides like Dumbo, that suffer the same capacity issues as any flat ride. In other words, Disney parks face the same capacity issues as any park.

Last edited by slithernoggin, Friday, December 4, 2015 6:47 PM
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Saturday, December 5, 2015 5:57 AM

@Timber Rider At German Fun Fairs, most flatrides do not have gates or a queue, people are just standing around the ride and as soon as it slows down, you storm onto the ride to grab a seat. You can see how it works at the end of this video.(Around 4minute mark)(at the 4m16s mark the ride ends, at 4m46s you hear the buzzer that warns that the ride starts again, basically it takes 30 seconds for another cycle to start)

As for European Parks, I went some years ago to Port Aventura in Spain and the operations were horrible. Sometimes dispatches of 5 minutes. Never again.

Germany is different as they are known for efficiency, Europa Park is probably the best park in Europe that has the lines constantly moving. It also helps that they are mostly adding high capacity rides. Considering this park gets 5 million visitors and is only open 9 months out of the year and you find hardly lines over 1h on packed days speaks for itself.

Last edited by Alexatucla, Saturday, December 5, 2015 6:17 AM
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Saturday, December 5, 2015 9:43 AM

Germany is known for efficiency because they have computer systems that manipulate the data when it knows it's being tested. The rest of the time they are actually way less efficient...

(Sorry couldn't quite figure out how to word that VW joke)

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Saturday, December 5, 2015 9:44 AM

Timber-Rider said:
One thing that RCMAC didn't take into consideration, is park operations.

I notice that some parks in Europe and in Mexico allow their patrons to stand very close to operating rides. I saw a video on youtube, where guest were waiting to ride a hymalaya standing on the platform, not in a queue.

I DID TOO say that. I said that very thing! Jeez.

Look. Nobody's stating that Cedar Point never has a three hour line anywhere, it's just not everyday. Your continued use of anecdotal evidence to make them look bad is, indeed, very rant like. And the way you're figuring out how your stand-by wait time is affected by FL is soooooo all wrong I laughed out loud.

I think we're all in agreement that many, sometimes variable factors contribute to any park's crowd on any given day.

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Saturday, December 5, 2015 12:29 PM

I think we're all in agreement TR has the park mentality of a five year old.

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Saturday, December 5, 2015 12:55 PM

I don't think it's particularly necessary or constructive to start with the ad hominem attacks.

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Saturday, December 5, 2015 1:41 PM

I'm an unabashed data geek, so for starters "queue times" has several components to consider. Park attendance, percentage of guests interested in the particular ride in question, theoretical ride capacity, operating throughput, possible downtime. Each of these items has its own components that depend in large part on uncontrollable or unpredictable guest behavior. And weather will always be a huge factor.

Then there's this kind of thing to consider: Universal's new (and irritating) loose articles policies have no doubt improved throughput on the actual ride by reducing hold-ups at the station from poor guest compliance with safety rules.

The longest line I've *ever* waited in was for KI's Invertigo. I was an idiot then, and got what i deserved...an education in avoiding long lines.

Thorpe was as crowded as Canada's Wonderland on a bad day. Spend extra money to gain time if you're in a crowded park far from home for the first time...having someone local show you the park can be a real benefit as well.

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Sunday, December 6, 2015 2:03 PM

If the regular line is 3 hours and the Fast Lane is 1.5, how long is the line? 3 hours. Because you just said that!!!

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Sunday, December 6, 2015 2:10 PM

That's not how (TR) math works! Three hour standby line plus hour and a half FastLane line times number of people ride op allows in from the FL line before letting more standby people in divided by number of times you have to park mid-Timbers clearly equals three hour standby line lasting six hours.

Last edited by slithernoggin, Sunday, December 6, 2015 2:11 PM
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