RnR Testing Queue-less Wait System Similar to New Dumbo

Wednesday, December 16, 2009 11:52 AM

LostKause said:
I still wonder why Gonch gets so excited when when a new way to divide classes at an amusement park comes up. We should all be against something that does that, because their may come a day when the balance tips a little too far. The amusement park used to be one of the last entertainment options in which everyone paid the same and everyone got their fair share of entertainment.

You're missing something. These queue systems can create different levels of service that could potentially save some people money. With your argument you're making an assumption that every single visitor uses the park in the exact same way you do, visits the same number of attractions and that every single attraction has the same value.

However, that's not true. Every visitor uses the park differently and that brings up a valid question of why should there be only one admission price?

Simplicity is great, but why should the person who doesn't ride a single ride be required to pay the same price as you who rides them all and multiple times?

Under the single price approach the cost of admission over time will increase and it may exclude some guests from visiting the park.

If Disney were to offer multiple levels of service, then essentially they could offer a range of prices and offerings that would vary based on how you use their park. For example: $40 admission with no rides, $70 admission and a limit on the number of rides, $100 admission unlimited rides, $120 admission unlimited rides and with minimal waits.

You could then pick the entry based on what's important to you. Under the single price point those who do nothing are essentially subsidizing your excessive use of the park. The pay-one-price model came about for simplicity, but it's easy to argue why its not fair.

Last edited by egieszl, Wednesday, December 16, 2009 11:54 AM
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Wednesday, December 16, 2009 12:16 PM

egieszl said:
If you leave the designated stand-by waiting area you must give back your group number.

So it's still just a queue area.

Meh. Baby steps, I suppose. :)

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Wednesday, December 16, 2009 12:30 PM

Meh. Baby steps, I suppose

Wrong. It's genius---it's in fact a quantum leap forward from the park's point of view. I'm surprised you, of all people, are missing this.

What was the original motivation for fastpass? To increase per-capita spending. The theory was that rather than stand in line, guests could shop, eat, drink, etc.---notice that all of those activities are revenue-producers. So, even though fastpass costs more in infrastructure and staffing, it would be more than repaid in increased per-cap numbers.

But, we all know what happened. Guests just went to another line. Per-cap numbers didn't budge. And, every other park who tried "free" virtual queueing abandoned it, because it was a money-losing proposition.

But, not Disney---largely, because Disney is sensitive to guest satisfaction, as they are trying to build repeat customers who come back year after year after year for their "one big annual vacation" to Disney World.

But, this scheme is fantastic. Guests will love it, because they are entertained while they wait. The park will love it, because the only thing they can do while they wait is watch the entertainment, or shop, eat, and drink. Sure, put a restroom inside the area, too. No problem.

Genius.

Last edited by Brian Noble, Wednesday, December 16, 2009 12:31 PM
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Wednesday, December 16, 2009 12:46 PM

Brian Noble said:
Guests will love it, because they are entertained while they wait. The park will love it, because the only thing they can do while they wait is watch the entertainment, or shop, eat, and drink. Sure, put a restroom inside the area, too. No problem.

But wasn't the point of elaborately themed queues and extensive preshow elements in Disney queues to entertain guests and make the wait more bearable while seemingly extending the ride experience?

I get how this helps Disney. Seems like an excuse to cut the long term costs and rather than spend money on preshows and themed queues, spend a fraction of that installing some montitors and a giftshop.

It does make perfect sense for Disney though, I don't dispute that. For years the idea has been to run you through a gift shop on your way out of a ride, now they're working on a way to run you through one (where you're much more captive) on the way in...which makes approximately 1000 times more sense. Get people spending while they wait. (really just pop machines in lines at the regional parks on a much bigger level)

Now it seems super-obvious what the Dumbo queue area will look like - shopping, games, entertainment, food, drink - I think we can all picture it. They're just removing the physical line-up from the equation.

We're all free range guests now. :)

Still seems like a small step towards a bigger picture. All you have to do is think of the entire park as one of these free range queue areas.

From there just consider the idea that your ticket or room key is used to reserve a spot on a ride (and the system knows how many to give and how long to make you wait based on which ticket or key you insert) and you have an entire park of increased per-cap opportunity for people to free range queue in.

Baby steps. I can dream, right?

(for the record, I want credit if the 'free range queue' term ever catches on ;) )

Last edited by Lord Gonchar, Wednesday, December 16, 2009 12:48 PM
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Wednesday, December 16, 2009 12:59 PM

But wasn't the point of elaborately themed queues and extensive preshow elements in Disney queues to entertain guests and make the wait more bearable while seemingly extending the ride experience?

Yes, and they are doing that too---see the new interactive games that debuted just a few weeks ago in the Space Mountain standby queue in Florida. But, there's a limit to how well that works for younger kids (i.e.: the Dumbo Demographic). Plus, there are reasons you want long queues or preshows, just due to physical constraints. Again, see Space Mountain for the "necessary queue"---you have to get the guests over the railroad tracks somehow. Haunted Mansion's Stretching Room->Load pre-show exists in Anaheim for the same reason.)

Still seems like a small step towards a bigger picture. All you have to do is think of the entire park as one of these free range queue areas.

No, that doesn't work. As soon as a second attraction lives inside the single "grazing space" and is accessible, guests will just see that second attraction with their time. You could try to just eliminate access, but there will *always* be attractions that are under-utilized, and you can't turn a guest away from a completely empty attraction just because they are "in line" somehwere else and not totally piss them off.

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Wednesday, December 16, 2009 1:20 PM

Brian Noble said:
No, that doesn't work. As soon as a second attraction lives inside the single "grazing space" and is accessible, guests will just see that second attraction with their time.

But they can't because all attractions now require a 'reservation' - they'd be free to make a reservation which would spit out a time based a number of factors, but most likely wouldn't let them double up...unless an attraction was being under-utilized in which case the doubling up may just be a good thing.

You could try to just eliminate access, but there will *always* be attractions that are under-utilized and you can't turn a guest away from a completely empty attraction just because they are "in line" somehwere else and not totally piss them off.

How often do you really find completely empty attractions? And especially so after you no longer let the queues work independently of each other. (see above)

No one gets pissed because with the exception of very early in the day (the normal no-wait times) you never get immediate access to a ride (like the current FastPass).

People seem to be ok with not getting another FastPass because they already have one. If everything is a reservation...well.

It'd almost be like bumping the FP ratio on a current attraction to 100% - except a little more planned and organized. Which if you think about it, is all the Dumbo queue will be (and this test seemed to be) at it's core - tickets with reserved times for everyone. It's FastPass without the freedom for the guest. I'm trying to give that sense of freedom back.

Yes, it sounds crazy and overly ambitious. I know that as I type it. But given time, technology and the crazy way Disney is able to pull stuff off...I don't know. I still think WDW will be the first park to offer a 100% reserved day. Maybe not in the next decade. Maybe not even in the one after that. But if you follow the trendline, it sure feels like that's where it's headed to me. Perhaps the problem is that I'm too eager to skip all the steps inbetween.

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Wednesday, December 16, 2009 1:22 PM

Two words: Tiki Room. (And Hall of Presidents. And Liberty Belle. And...and...and...)

Giving the freedom back reduces the payoff to the park.

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Wednesday, December 16, 2009 1:40 PM

Except you're not giving the freedom back. You're giving the guest a sense of freedom - just like these free range queues they're testing now. It's still a queue, it just doesn't feel much like one.

I imagine it'd all be very controlled the same way this new queue idea is.

I don't know what else I'm supposed to say here. I wish I could give you details and schematics and algorithms and all that good stuff, but I can't. It just seems like - knowing how over the top the Disney operation is - that if they can do it on the small scale now then doing it on a bigger scale in the future not only seems reasonable, it seems inevitable.

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Wednesday, December 16, 2009 1:46 PM

Just like parks give the guest a "sense" of value. It is all coming together now! We are minions in their overall scheme! Pawns in their gigantic game of chess! :)

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Wednesday, December 16, 2009 2:30 PM

I believe Disney was quoted as saying that theme parks are 90% illusion. In this case, the illusion is that you are not waiting in line. I like to think Holiday World has mastered the illusion of value, but that is neither here nor there.

Edit: Or maybe it was 90% appearance? I can't remember. It was something to do with visual perception, that's for sure.

Last edited by Fun, Wednesday, December 16, 2009 2:31 PM
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Wednesday, December 16, 2009 2:49 PM

You're giving the guest a sense of freedom - just like these free range queues they're testing now. It's still a queue, it just doesn't feel much like one.

I suppose if you could do the whole park, maybe. But the whole park doesn't really *need* this, because half of the attractions never develop enough of a wait except on the most hellish days. But, the cost to staff these attractions is higher with the free-range queue than without. Keeping guests "penned" (vs. free-range) simplifies the matter.

And, don't forget, large-pen queues will still be seen as a huge huge improvement over actual queue-queues. So, Disney still wins big with a simpler solution.

Edited to add: here's another wrinkle: Free-range queues also require more real estate than queue-based queues---even if the "range" is the whole park. All those people have to be *somewhere*, and it's more space-efficient to pack them into queues than not. That may itself limit the number of attractions you want to free-range.

Last edited by Brian Noble, Wednesday, December 16, 2009 2:51 PM
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Wednesday, December 16, 2009 4:14 PM

I think it would be a better idea to use cellphone reservations. Provide a free app that users can use to browse wait times and make reservations for their next ride. They can cancel them at any point and change them to another reservation. The phone notifies them if they are late, etc. Then they do not have to be at the physical ride and can hand out wherever (or go to any ride they please). Parties without cell phones can rent one.

When you get to the attraction, you wave your cellphone under a scanner and press a button to confirm you hold a reservation.

Then all that money you spend on per-attraction entertainment and facilities can be pooled into larger more elaborate offerings in the park.

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Wednesday, December 16, 2009 4:22 PM

^ That sounds like the next evolution of a qbot. Either that or a qbot/iPhone offspring!

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Wednesday, December 16, 2009 5:13 PM

One of the interesting things about this is that they are testing it on RnR. Which seems odd until you realize that the ride has a gigantic plaza in front of it for people to mill about. What is odd about RnR is that it is already a monster high capacity ride, I think it approaches if not passes 2,000 PPH*; if it weren't running 80% FastPass I doubt that it would ever have a wait of more than about 30 minutes even on busy days. As for skipping the pre-show, ask yourself this: Are trains going out empty because there's nobody in the "alley"? If the answer is "no", then skipping the pre-show gains you nothing except a longer wait in the "alley". That is why the ride has a pre-show; it's a buffer to reduce the randomness of the arrivals to the boarding queue, and it works pretty well most of the time.

It seems to me that what they are trying to do with this test is to basically build another pre-show, one that runs continuously and then allows another batch to proceed into the 'real' pre-show each time it becomes ready. The setup seems to differ from FastPass mostly in that there is no specified time for boarding...you ride "in 40 minutes or less" or something like that. It seems to me that the most problematic part of the whole thing is that everyone has to be issued some kind of credential for the ride, in order to keep everybody in order. Of course, the rate at which those credentials are handed out determines the rate at which the holding area fills up, and the difference between that rate and the ride capacity determines how full the holding area will get and how quickly it will fill.

Personally, I think the idea of using a "continuous preshow" for managing a waiting crowd is a good one. I was particularly impressed with the queue to visit with Mr. Mouse at Disneyland (I realize that Disney usually doesn't use last names, but come on now, don't you think the Big Cheese deserves a little respect?) and it seems that this "free range" thing is basically an extension of that idea.

--Dave Althoff, Jr.

*I actually don't have a measurement on this one, believe it or not...
--DCAjr

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Wednesday, December 16, 2009 6:28 PM

RideMan said:
One of the interesting things about this is that they are testing it on RnR. Which seems odd until you realize that the ride has a gigantic plaza in front of it for people to mill about. What is odd about RnR is that it is already a monster high capacity ride, I think it approaches if not passes 2,000 PPH*;

as an RNR Cast member i can tell you that with 3 trains you'll be lucky to hit 1200, with 4 about 1375 on a good day with fast groupers and loaders.

there are only a handful of rides on Disney property with over 2000 PPH quotas, Spaceship Earth, Haunted Mansion, Buzz Lightyear, and Pirates when they overload boats.

Be mindful of the fact that this test is also going on over at the Magic Kingdom at Winnie the Pooh. on these same days, RNR just gets more press for it.

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Thursday, December 17, 2009 12:35 AM

Brian Noble said:

It's genius---it's in fact a quantum leap forward from the park's point of view. I'm surprised you, of all people, are missing this.

...

Genius.

I like your perspective on this. You've made me like it a lot more.

Keeping guests inside the "free range queue" (I like that term. It sticks well)means that they can't double ride, which means that they aren't using the VQ to essensially cut lines.

Yeah. I'm liking it more and more.

Lord Gonchar said:

From there just consider theidea that your ticket or room key is used to reserve a spot on a ride(and the system knows how many to give and how long to make you waitbased on which ticket or key you insert) and you have an entire park ofincreased per-cap opportunity for people to free range queue in.

Baby steps. I can dream, right?

Why would you want to dream and get all giddy about others misfortunes? It's selfish, Gonch. For once in my life I thought that you and I were going to startagreeing on a particular VQ system, until I read the above ending toyour post. We agree on everything except that part.

If an entire park had this, andthere was no "standby" queue, I think that it would work out reallygreat, and would be fair to everyone and all that...

But then there's the Gonch idea that all VQ systems should try to be more profitable by giving some people more, and some people less, where the park starts advertising thatif you pay them double admission, then you can get on without waiting. If that happened, this whole "free range queue" thing starts to fall apart. You start limiting theregular guest, and start dividing people again. The people waiting inside of the free range queue may start feeling like they are "trapped", especially if their wait gets to be way too long...all this while Gonchlike people get to experience everything in the park over and over. That doesn't excite me.

And "baby steps" is the best way to get the public to accept something that adversely affects them. Baby steps is an "evil" way of the elite getting what they want, imo, even when it comes to VQ. lol

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Thursday, December 17, 2009 12:38 AM

I think that Gonch is not being the evil Lord you are deeming him to be, LK. I do not ever remember Gonch saying any of the things you propose.

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Thursday, December 17, 2009 12:48 AM

Well, to be fair, I did paraphrase. :)

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Thursday, December 17, 2009 1:09 AM

LostKause said:
"free range queue" (I like that term. It sticks well)

You're welcome. :)

But then there's the Gonch idea that all VQ systems should try to be more profitable by giving some people more, and some people less, where the park starts advertising thatif you pay them double admission, then you can get on without waiting.

Yeah, except it wouldn't be that simple. There'd be guests staying off property, then at value resorts, then the moderates...and so on. Or different packages and addons and such - ever looked at the WDW ticket buying process as it stands? Doing something like that (or both) would be no problem.

I don't know enough about Disney, but I suspect this goes on to some degree already - most notably the magic hours....where the whole damn park stays open longer for people paying more. Want to stay in Animal Kingdom until 8pm tonight? Oooh, sorry. It's closed to you at 5pm - after that it's only open to resort guests (who paid more).

Dude, this stuff already goes on. There's nothing radically new being thrown out here. I'm not suggesting changing the world or anything, just being realistic.

Gonchlike

[url][url]

Now there's a term I like. Why be godlike when you can be Gonchlike?

(someone needs to bring KMFDM up to speed)

Baby steps is an "evil" way of the elite getting what they want, imo, even when it comes to VQ.

If you're a conspiracist who thinks everything is an ulterior motive in disguise, then sure. If you understand how the world really works, then no, not really.

Beyond that I don't know what to tell you. Go back and read Eric's post. I believe there should be those options...and more. WDW especially is one of those places where you can (and should be able to) personalize the experience to ridiculous levels or keep it simple and vanilla - and everything in-between.

Last edited by Lord Gonchar, Thursday, December 17, 2009 1:12 AM
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Thursday, December 17, 2009 6:42 PM

Music is another thing that we have in common, Gonch. KMFDM is very underrated.

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