Queues - improving the guest experience.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013 2:03 PM

Jeff said:

It is a colossally stupid way to do it. Seriously, merging two lines upqueue of the station isn't hard.

Hence all the threads about inattentive people at the merge just letting people do whatever they want.

I'm 6'4" 260 I'll just box people out like Rick Mahorn at the merge LOL

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Wednesday, September 4, 2013 5:32 PM

What happened to TV's alongside the queue line? I haven't seen these in a few years, but only been to a handful of parks recently. How about a re-introduction of these TV's that display scenes related to the ride.

Imagine watching scenes from Scooby Doo while waiting in line for Ghostblasters. Imagine watching scenes from Peter Pan while waiting for the ride. Or watching Batman footage while waiting for one of the many Batman coasters.


Astroworld.....Gone But Not Forgotten

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Wednesday, September 4, 2013 5:37 PM

Or watching episodes of The Simpsons while waiting for The Simp...

Oh.

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Wednesday, September 4, 2013 5:46 PM
ApolloAndy's avatar

billb7581 said:

I like how Hershey did it. They blocked out a row for FP people, who came up the exit, and everything else worked normally.. no merging hassles. Although you lose your choice of what row to ride with the FP.

This method gets just about everything wrong.

Cons:

Actually impacts capacity (waiting for a separate load cycle).

Has a tendency to create empty seats.

Is directly visible to the people being cut.

Doesn't allow seat choice.

Pros: ?

I still think Bizarro SFNE is the perfect station. The FP merges at the top of the stairs into the station. FP comes up from one side, standby from the other side. Then once you're through the door into the station, everyone is the same and can choose their seats. (And it has extra long rows for front and back and it empties into the middle. Perfect, I tell ya!


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Wednesday, September 4, 2013 6:00 PM
Lord Gonchar's avatar

I'm not sure I buy into the idea that 'merge points' are a good thing either.

When you filter preferred guests into a physical stand-by line at any point it is quite simply the physical actions of line cutting being played out. Obviously, it's gonna sting.

The 'merge' shouldn't even be noticable. The preferred and stand-by lines should be completely separate and both funnel seperately into the station. No one really sees anything much different than the old 'normal' and what they do see doesn't happen until the station (hard to get pissed when you're next to ride) and the only real difference is the amount of time it took each rider to reach the station.


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Wednesday, September 4, 2013 6:06 PM

Of which they would be none the wiser. Once again I refer back to Millenium Force's former system.

I suppose if one was building an amusement park from scratch these things would be easy to figure out, but in the end it's probably all about real estate. Even on Gatekeeper there's a merge point, but that's a "split" station, so there would have to be two back door lines to the platform, two split points, blah blah blah.

Last edited by RCMAC, Wednesday, September 4, 2013 6:07 PM
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Wednesday, September 4, 2013 7:17 PM
rollergator's avatar

I'd give an eye tooth to know who if anyone in the industry might be reading this thread (pardon the old-timey phrasing, LOL).

Carry on....

edited to add - I think Andy is spot on, except I'd add some visual distraction (TV, themed stuff that is colorful and moves, whatever) and an employee always stationed at that "merge point." FPers can still wait for the front or back (a few extra cycles).

Last edited by rollergator, Wednesday, September 4, 2013 7:22 PM
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Wednesday, September 4, 2013 8:51 PM

ApolloAndy said:

This method gets just about everything wrong.



Not really.... From the non FP rider's standpoint it doesnt change anything, If there are 100 people in front of you and 20 seats not blocked off by FP you are getting on in 5 rides, there isn't a random amount of people being let in front of you at sporadic intervals.

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Wednesday, September 4, 2013 9:58 PM

But in the case of Hershey, you are letting a train go out with empty seats that weren't filled for absolutely no reason. On a low capacity train like Fahrenheit, if no one is sitting in those seats, why not fill them? And if people buy one of their cut passes, they only get to ride each ride once. I would bet they don't want to sit smack in the middle of the train on their one cut. It is just done poorly. I get where you're coming from, but the system at Hershey is awkward at best.


"Look at us spinning out in the madness of a roller coaster" - Dave Matthews Band

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Wednesday, September 4, 2013 10:05 PM

^If a train has 30 seats and a train can be dispatched every 3 minutes that means that 600 people ride the ride an hour. If you take and block off 4 rows that means only 26 people ride a train from the normal line, that means 520 people can ride in an hour. If the line has 600 people in it then instead of waiting an hour, you have to wait 15% longer then you would otherwise. You will defiantly notice a difference.


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Wednesday, September 4, 2013 10:18 PM
sirloindude's avatar

Defiantly is putting it accurately. No matter how well-publicized one of those programs is, some people still get upset about them. ;)

On a more serious note, I think the Hersheypark system detracts from the wait-reduction program more than it detracts from the stand-by wait experience.


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Wednesday, September 4, 2013 10:30 PM

Touchdown said:

^If a train has 30 seats and a train can be dispatched every 3 minutes that means that 600 people ride the ride an hour. If you take and block off 4 rows that means only 26 people ride a train from the normal line, that means 520 people can ride in an hour. If the line has 600 people in it then instead of waiting an hour, you have to wait 15% longer then you would otherwise. You will defiantly notice a difference.

If they are letting the 80 people in front of you anyhow, there is no difference.

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Wednesday, September 4, 2013 11:55 PM
Jeff's avatar

Lord Gonchar said:

The 'merge' shouldn't even be noticable.

Unless it's Disney. People using a FastPass didn't pay extra for it, they just planned ahead. And like you said, that place is hardly a world of haves and have-nots.


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

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Thursday, September 5, 2013 12:05 AM
Lord Gonchar's avatar

billb7581 said:

If they are letting the 80 people in front of you anyhow, there is no difference.

And if they aren't, there's a huge difference. So what's your point? An assumption is meaningless.

The fact is that with a row roped off you lose capacity no matter what - it's guaranteed. That's not true if the row isn't roped off.


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Thursday, September 5, 2013 11:03 AM

Unless it's Disney. People using a FastPass didn't pay extra for it, they just planned ahead. And like you said, that place is hardly a world of haves and have-nots.

Even if Disney's FastPasses are free, a hidden merge point is still needed. Some guests know how to use the system better than others. Some guests probably don't even know what FS is.

I was a Cast Member working in WDW Fantasyland in '04. I worked both Peter Pan's Flight and Philharmagic.

Peter Pan had the Merge Point in plain sight. Being in the "Merge Point" position was alright, but difficult to cut off the "Standby" queue to allow the FastPass guest thru. Especially, after the Standby guests have waited an hour+ in a line that moves like molasses. I usually allowed a Standby family or two and had to switch back to the FP line. I would say the ratio of FastPass to Standby was 6 to 1. I recall of those regular guests not too pleased with the ratio. But, our supervisors wanted to keep the FP queue moving. Long story short, it would be benefical to make the Merge less obvious. Hopefully, the updated queue will hide the Merge and/ or make the line more entertaining.

Philharmagic has the Merge Point hidden, with the queues in two seperate hallways. Guests merge in the lobby. I had no trouble with guests in the Standby queue. But, note that Philharmagic's capacity was at least double that of Peter Pan. Which is probably why Disney decided to close the FastPass line.

My point being is a hidden Merge Point is still needed. There's still a 'class system' of Fastpass holders and Standby guests. The higher the ratio, the longer than the Standby line gets and the increased likelihood of irrated Standby guests at the Merge Point.


Astroworld.....Gone But Not Forgotten

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Thursday, September 5, 2013 11:21 AM
Pagoda Gift Shop's avatar

Lord Gonchar said:

I'm not sure I buy into the idea that 'merge points' are a good thing either.

Me either. Ideally, you would have 2 separate entrances into the station and that is where the merge would happen. Sort of like Gemini at Cedar Point before they blocked off the north entrance near the front of the trains.

The more I hear about it, the more I think FastLane is really just the old FreeWay hand stamp system with a price attached and very little changed in terms of procedure.

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Thursday, September 5, 2013 11:29 AM
rollergator's avatar

Lord Gonchar said:

The fact is that with a row roped off you lose capacity no matter what - it's guaranteed. That's not true if the row isn't roped off.

Not exactly. At some parks, at some times, with some ops, the "roped-off rows" can be filled by waiting standby riders when there are no Qbot/FP people waiting on the train (tip: in those instances, you can ride faster if you queue in a row adjacent to the roped-off rows).

The truly annoying aspects are: 1) the randomness with which the policies are applied; and of course, 2) the reduced capacity if you force those seats to go out unfilled.

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Thursday, September 5, 2013 11:52 AM
LostKause's avatar

At Hersheypark last year and this year, I noticed the staff filling roped off seats with the stand-by line when they were not being filled with FOTL access patrons. I had little reason to complain about it because of the way they were doing it.

Come to think of it, I don't remember seeing anyone come up the exit to ride the rides during my visit both years. Last year probably doesn't count because the park was pretty much closed because it was sprinkling or misting all day. The visit this year was pretty busy though.

I don't care about merge points, because the stand-by line is going to have to wait longer anyways. Even if they don't know it is happening, it is. They are still getting less rides for their money than those who pay for the privilege to cut in front of them.

The whole reason I hate this stuff is that the parks have preached that line-cutting is against the rules for so long, and then they figured out that they could just let people pay to be allowed to cut, and it would somehow be okay.

I hate what Lo-Q has done to the industry.

I'll try not to add any more to this conversation because my views about it make so many people here so angry for some reason. :)


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Thursday, September 5, 2013 12:01 PM
rollergator's avatar

But Travis, yours is an unwinnable argument. Once we've accepted the fact that queue management strategies are as inevitable as death and taxes, then it becomes a matter of how to BEST implement them with minimal disruption/irritation, and without harming capacity any more than is absolutely necessary.

Parks are making money from these "schemes" as you might call them, so they're NOT leaving. I think our time is more profitably spent trying to help parks figure out how to have standby guests FEEL like the FastPassers (or whatever) are having the least intrusion possible, and being distracted/entertained while they're being "cut" so that it is minimally noticeable.

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Thursday, September 5, 2013 12:24 PM
Raven-Phile's avatar

My park will just build 2 of every ride. I'll allow standby lines at one, and fast pass on the other.

That'll solve it.


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