Virtual queue systems on trial

Posted Friday, July 13, 2001 6:43 AM | Contributed by Jeff

Disney says people are riding more, while Cedar Fair is still split on the effectiveness of virtual queue systems, which are intended to keep people in line less. USA Today reviews the systems in place at Islands of Adventure, Disneyland and Six Flags Great Adventure. The article also considers the pay-for-placement passes being offered at Six Flags Worlds of Adventure, which has been controversial among enthusiasts and guests alike.

Read the USA Today articles.

Friday, July 13, 2001 6:46 AM
Disney says that guests are riding 25% more. How is that possible with the same number or rides? If you add up the number of rides that you have in the park, multiply each by its daily capacity, that's the number of rides you can give in a day. That can't possibly change.

That's the biggest misconception of these systems, even by park operators. While it can certainly reduce the amount of time you stand in line, it can not increase the number of rides you can take.

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Jeff
Webmaster/Admin - CoasterBuzz.com
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Friday, July 13, 2001 6:57 AM
I can only hope that when I go to Great Adventure in August, that I have the same type of waits (without fast-pass) that they had. I mean, with 22 minute waits on Nitro, who needs it!

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I'd Rather Be Riding Rollercoasters
www.mycoasters.homestead.com/mycoasters.html
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Friday, July 13, 2001 7:02 AM
Sure it can increase the number of rides YOU can take, at the expense of your non FastPass counterparts. It just can't increase the total rides given.

While it is true that the total max ride capacity or park capacity is set in stone, the way that pie gets split up amongst the park patrons is the difference.

So if Disney is saying riders are taking 25% more rides, they mean the FastPass Riders are averaging 25% more rides than the non-fastpass rider.

Consider that with Fastpass you can be riding one ride while in the virtual queue for the other. You just got two rides in where you non-fastpass counterpart only got one.

However I have the article here in paper format, and it says that Paramount Parks is testing virtual queueing, anybody know which park is the lucky one? Wild Thornberries has a virtual queue entrance, but no system in place. (Don't beleive me? Go Ride Reptar, about equal with the Reptar station is a wide stairway leading up to the Wild Thornberries queue, right before the bridge, these stairs have all the neccesary ride safety signage to be an alternate ride entrance, plus a dedicated queue lane leading out to the main entracne. These stairs are currently blocked by some garbage cans and rope.





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David Bowers
Mayor, Coasterville
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Friday, July 13, 2001 7:11 AM
First of all, I don't like lines, but on the other hand I don't like to be pinned down to a schedule or "window". All week long there are appointments I have to keep... meetings at work, family commitments, dr appointments, vet appointments, what ever... I certainly don't want to have to be on a time schedule at a park.

One thing in the article that I am sort of "confused by"... the wait times for IOA and Disney I can understand "trying to beat", but those at Great Advengure? 22, 31, and 20 minutes? I wouldn't even consider trying to "beat" the line for one of the premier coasters of the season if it was ONLY 22 minutes long. Am I just extremely patient (I doubt that) or is everyone becoming more and more impatient.

I see the same thing in trip reports on this site... "It was a moderate wait... 10-15 minutes..." Moderate? What do people call "Short" now days? In my book, moderate is half an hour... anything else for a major coaster or attraction is "short". Again... have people become so spoiled?

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"I wasn't always this cynical, but then I started kindergarden..."
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Friday, July 13, 2001 7:16 AM
Coasteville Dave mentioned "virtual queuing" in the print version of the article. Am I missing something or is that not included in the web version?

So, on the verge of sounding stupid... what exactly is "virtual queuing?" I;ve heard of it, but I've never understood what it means or gotten a good explaination of it.

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"I wasn't always this cynical, but then I started kindergarden..."
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Friday, July 13, 2001 7:17 AM
When I went to SFOG I got a Q-BOT and it didn't work. The whole day a message would pop up saying you couldn't ride. It was too bad cause Acraphobia was a two hour wait. The next day everyones worked. The systems are all messed up.
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Friday, July 13, 2001 7:36 AM
An article in the Orlando Sentinel last year stated that Sea World and Universal were getting more tourists because they no longer needed to spend their entire vacation at Disney waiting in line. I dont think this was the result Disney was looking for.
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Friday, July 13, 2001 7:38 AM
I agree with SLFAKE regarding wait times, (moderate, long or short...are people so spoiled). I would absolutely love to know in advance of a park visit that I would be waiting no longer than 15 - 20 minutes at any coaster I wanted to ride. I always have this apprehension of long waits (45+ mins). Anything less and it is a big "YES. I love it!" feeling.
If the wait is 30 mins or less, I will always stand in line, so I can choose my seat.

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I know you rider Gonna miss me when I'm gone
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Friday, July 13, 2001 7:49 AM
The answer is to build more rides.

IOA needs more coasters.

And don't give me the line that the parks want us roaming the midway spending our money on food and junk. I'm there to go on rides, otherwise, I won't go at all. Sure, I'll spend some money, but the rides are why I go. If park attendence is up 13%, then the parks need to give us new rides to handle it.

I used the Express System at IOA and it's a joke. Just like the article said, you wait in line at the ticket machine, and you're lucky if you can get your ticket to scan, then again in the Express Line. And if you don't have an express pass, the regular line crawls. In the afternoon from the hours of say 1pm to 5pm, IOA experiences gridlock. EVERY ride has an hour wait or more. Now, I don't mind waiting 1 hour for the biggest ride like Spiderman, but the other rides should have smaller waits.

At least CP realized that these Express Systems don't work, good job.

And yes, I've very frustrated that IOA took away all the benefits of multi-day tickets and moved them to the hotel guests, during the year. They took away early entry, then reduced the number of express passes from 3 to 1 at a time. Because of this, I didn't visit July 4th weekend, and I have no plans on going back this year, even though I may visit BGT and SWF again.

I'm glad to hear people are boooing as others cut in front of them. And I hope the park executives are reading this.

Build more full length roller coasters that can run 3 trains (high capacity, no clones) and that's what will keep the people moving.

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Robin Fox - "I see Stars, Can You See Them Too?" *** This post was edited by robvia on 7/13/2001. ***
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Friday, July 13, 2001 7:53 AM
Coasterville Dave: I know for a fact SFoG is trying to implement Virtual queing.

On a side note, on a trip to IoA last summer, we used the Virtual Queing idea when we wanted to try Poseidon's Fury while on our way to multiple Dueling Dragon trips. Jurassic Park was the same way. It was very simple. Out front, they had two kids (teenagers, sorry) giving out little cards with a time on it. The time was around 2-3 hours later. When our time came, we met up with our little group (each show on PF holds approx. 30-40 people) and walked all the way to the front of the que line. Talk about people that looked P-Oed that we were walking up the exit line. Felt like royalty! :o)

Good thing to. Poseidon's Fury was cute, but I sure was glad I didn't wait the 2 hours it looked like everyone else was having to wait.

If they can get all the bugs out, it sounds like it could be implemented very effectively.
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Friday, July 13, 2001 8:23 AM
Virtual queueing is the subject we're talking about. The article doesn't use the term but it's the title of this news item.

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Jeff
Webmaster/Admin - CoasterBuzz.com
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Friday, July 13, 2001 8:27 AM
Rob: I agree with you that building more rides is a better solution, however you again point out that riding is what you want to do. Ditto for your comments on DCA, Tomb Raider, etc. Other people do run around spending money and seeing shows. There's nothing wrong with your opinion, but you have to keep in mind that you're hardly a typical park guest.

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Jeff
Webmaster/Admin - CoasterBuzz.com
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Friday, July 13, 2001 9:02 AM
Not that I'm in favor of the system, but I've noticed that the SF parks again have a different system in place at each of the parks that is trying it.

Would it not be more logical to have the same system in place at each park? For example, SFGAm charges $10, and you get a ticket with 4 rides on it. At SFOG, you again get charged the same $10, but you have FIVE rides with the ticket. My understanding is that parks like Disney that have the system in more then one park, it's THE SAME SYSTEM (and for the same price to...FREE) with no differences..same amount of rides per ticket, same rules, etc.

Not to get off topic here, but I noticed that SF does the same thing with season passes....at one park you can buy them for just under $40, but at others, you will pay like 80 or 90 bucks. Since the pass can be used at all the parks, would it not be logical to charge the same price to get one regardless of which park you got it at?

Maybe I'm just odd..but if I go to SF in Ohio and SF in Georgia and SF in Gurnee, and my pass is good at all places, I would think it would cost the same to get it regardless of what park I purchase it at. Back to the fast pass system..have the same option at all the parks regardless of which park I get it at, and for the same price, and offer the same amount of rides.

Less confusion between parks may lead to a better system. But, I do agree with some of the people who have posted before that I believe that people are being spoiled by waiting in line. I have no problem waiting 2 hours for a ride. I mean, I go to the park to ride the rides, and I know a lot of other people do to. I just expect that on days the park is crowded, the lines will be long. On non-busy days (cold weather, beginning/end of the season, etc) the lines will be shorter. It comes with the industry, and people are just going to have to deal with it.

--Brian

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Brian A. Plencner
E-Mail: saurses@home.com
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Friday, July 13, 2001 9:11 AM
Only time will tell where these systems will be in a year. SFOG is beta testing the Lo-Queue system here, but personally I don't think $5 is worth it unless you have limited time, and the family wants to go on everything.

I don't see too many people taking advantage. Plus the ones that do, don't even pay attention to the lines, and therefore buy something that they don't need, when there are walk-ons hither and thither.

The technology is neat, whereby you "beep" it outside of the ride, get placed in a virtual line, it will alert you when your time is drawing near. Or if you pass by something with a short wait time, it will beep and alert you with suggestions for riding it while you are there.

Presumably, they could broadcast advertisements on it later, "Thirsty? How about a fresh-squeezed lemonade?" Even though it's only Minute Maid with half of a lemon put in the cup :)

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ULTIMATECOASTER.com - In Search of the "Ultimate"
http://www.ultimatecoaster.com/
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Friday, July 13, 2001 9:31 AM
Coasterville Dave, I was at PKD a few weeks ago, and there were machines set up at the entrances to Hypersonic XLC and Volcano for virtual queue tickets, but they were covered in plastic and non-operational. So it looks like PKD is trying it out. Can any PKD regulars give us an update?
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Friday, July 13, 2001 9:52 AM
Jeff, don't get too lost in the math! Remember, it's not the number of rides available for all patrons, it's the number I get. Sure, we lose money on every transaction, but we make up for it in volume. I'm sure there's lots of other ways to state the obvious, but basically I think the whole concept of making some guests wait longer so others can walk right on the rides bites! Loading and unloading passengers takes long enough as it is, let's not make the problem worse by having guests board from the ride exits. The only way I've seen that actually seems to help without causing too much undue stress is the concept of a "single riders" line, since that actually just fills up the trains with people who already know how to board and secure the restraints...
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Friday, July 13, 2001 9:58 AM
I enjoy the spontaneity of just riding what I want to when I want to. these fastpass and virtual queues are really taking the magic out of the park experience. Waiting in line is sometimes half the excitement.
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Friday, July 13, 2001 10:54 AM
All the virtual queue systems are open to everybody. If someone chooses to stand in line that's his or her fault. SF uses the system where you get tickets for pre determined ride times. They are handed out at guest relations. For crappy rides like SFGA batman chiller it’s worth it. get a ride time for that and stand in the regular line for nitro. You can increase your coaster count without having to waste time waiting for rides that really isn’t worth it. SFOG is testing the lo-que system and from what we saw, it's working. all units were sold out at a cost of $5 per unit and $5 per person, up to 6 people. and for the lo-que system, there is never a chance of running out of tickets. for disney, universal and other SF parks, once all advanced tickets are given out, that's it. with lo-que you can always get a place in line. also SF is got a program where they open a select part of the park 1-hour early for season passholders and 1 guest only. We can give them points for trying.
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Friday, July 13, 2001 10:56 AM
I really don't think these passes are a good idea at all. Essentially, all they're doing, as many have pointed out, is providing multiple rides for a few people at the expense of others. A line that would normally be a 2 hr wait for the common parkgoer now becomes 3 hrs because of all the cheaters with passes. The media will be very quick to tell you how one group benefits, but they fail to tell you about the group that becomes disgruntled and waits longer.

Besides, I didn't realize that queue lines were that much different than those 5, maybe 10 yrs ago. I remember waiting in line for over 3 hrs when Batman opened at SFGA (IL).

BTW, my family had a FastLane experience at SFWoA (Ohio) the week of July 4th. We hopped into line for Superman (during one of the few time that it was not broken down) and it took us about 10 min to reach the station. Once there, we waited almost 1 hr longer because on every other train that was loaded, someone would come up the exit and take our seats. This happened 7 times while we were queued for our seat. Needless to say, we were not thrilled and we let park management know about it.
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