Walt Disney World takes crowd management to a new level

Posted Tuesday, December 28, 2010 1:55 AM | Contributed by PhantomTails

To handle over 30 million annual visitors — many of them during this busiest time of year for the megaresort — Disney World long ago turned the art of crowd control into a science. But the putative Happiest Place on Earth has decided it must figure out how to quicken the pace even more. A cultural shift toward impatience — fed by video games and smartphones — is demanding it, park managers say. To stay relevant to the entertain-me-right-this-second generation, Disney must evolve.

Read more from The New York Times.

Related parks

Tuesday, December 28, 2010 3:18 AM

And the article is all about a high-tech system for monitoring load and capacity and attempting to find ways to balance the park accordingly. Disney's smaller parks, Magic Kingdom in particular, are well designed for load balancing because they are interconnected in such a way that you don't have to walk all day to get from, say, Tomorrowland to Adventureland even though they are on opposite sides of the park.

Here I was expecting a story explaining the existence and operation of the Flashlight Gestapo...!

--Dave Althoff, Jr.

+0
Tuesday, December 28, 2010 12:05 PM

Anyone else think of The Simpsons after reading this?

"I repeat, we are out of Bort license plates in the gift shop!"

+0
Tuesday, December 28, 2010 12:12 PM

The primary goal of the command center, as stated by Disney, is to make guests happier —

Picking at the edges here, because I love Disney...BUT...

Why not run all your rides at full capacity all the time IF the "stated goal" is indeed the real goal? I know about maintenance/costs/etc. I just notice that those things are never in the "stated goals." ;)

Also, why they are at it...I'm not sure they need a fancy computer to tell them that when Magic Kingdom opens at 7-8 am they should have at least one spot in every land where a guest might find a fountain drink BEFORE 11:00 am! I am tired of having to walk back to mainstreet and stand in line because they can't man a drink cart. After 2-3 hours in a park, guests get thirsty.

Again, picking at the edges...but you can always improve the guest experience a bit!

+0
Tuesday, December 28, 2010 1:53 PM

I had a similar problem finding breakfast at Disneyland one morning. There were very limited options. We started in Tomorrowland, but the Terrace restaurant wasn't open, so we headed to the food stand back by IASW and the offerings were pretty weak. We asked where we could find a full breakfast menu and were directed to Village Haus, which wasn't open yet...and after asking around, discovered we had to walk to Frontierland for breakfast. Something like a simple sign in front of places where guests might look for something to eat, like a restaurant, duh, could have saved us a lot of walking (not that we didn't need it) and angst.

+0
Tuesday, December 28, 2010 4:26 PM

...and after asking around, discovered we had to walk to Frontierland for breakfast.

I had that exact experience about 3 months ago. I'm glad it is not just me. I have so little to complain about with Disney...but early (before 11:00 am) drink and food options stink (Magic Kingdom and Disneyland)!

On a related note, my in-laws are at Hollywood Studios today. They texted me that they knew they were "in trouble" when the Turkey Leg line took 35 minutes! :) The first thing that popped in my head was a High School Rocks parade leading guest straight out the park to Gatorland! Anybody that has done Orlando the week between Christmas and New Year's knows that all the parades and costumed characters in the world cannot relieve the lines. They could/should charge quadruple this week! Lucky for them it was 20-something degrees there this morning too! :)

...I warned them! They listened to me like Tek listens to my political advice! :)

Last edited by Aamilj, Tuesday, December 28, 2010 4:27 PM
+0
Tuesday, December 28, 2010 4:59 PM

Now who's obsessed?

+0
Tuesday, December 28, 2010 8:16 PM

Aamilj said:

The primary goal of the command center, as stated by Disney, is to make guests happier —

Picking at the edges here, because I love Disney...BUT...

Why not run all your rides at full capacity all the time IF the "stated goal" is indeed the real goal? I know about maintenance/costs/etc. I just notice that those things are never in the "stated goals." ;)

I agree, what I was surprised about my trip this past January was that some lines were longer on slower days because of reduced capacity. The Tomorrowland Speedway had a 40 minute wait on 1/2 with the holiday crowds still there. 4 days later when crowds were much lower, the wait was 50 minutes because they only had 2 out of 4 lanes open.

+0
Tuesday, December 28, 2010 9:42 PM

YoshiFan said:
I agree, what I was surprised about my trip this past January was that some lines were longer on slower days because of reduced capacity. The Tomorrowland Speedway had a 40 minute wait on 1/2 with the holiday crowds still there. 4 days later when crowds were much lower, the wait was 50 minutes because they only had 2 out of 4 lanes open.

They do that so they can sell more FastPasses...


...wait.

;)

+0
Tuesday, December 28, 2010 10:26 PM

I know that you know they do that because they save money on maintenance costs, Gonch. It was pretty funny anyhow...

If they sold fastpasses, it could seem to guests that they are lowering capacity to sell them. It would probably sell more too, hypothetically, of course.

It really does Disney no good to have their guest waiting in line all day. Guest who aren't committed to a line spend more money in shops and snack stands. That's supposedly why they created Fastpass in the first place.

But, It's been said here that Disney has everything down to a science, so they somehow probably know that they'll make more money with a lower capacity on a slow day, or something.

Oh now look... I've gone cross-eyed again.

+0
Tuesday, December 28, 2010 11:02 PM

They don't sell them (Fastpasses), but they hand them out like hotcakes if you do the DVC tour, complian, etc. I think they are heading toward a pre-planned day. Where every admission will get set Fastpasses throughout the day, and wait stand-by to fill in. This would assure you stay on-site all day...of course it could damper their "hopper" ticket sales. I could see a premium charged for the pre-planned day in the near future.

I'm not sure I like the direction they are heading, but I do not believe that status quo is the endgame. But I HATE lines. Personally I would like them to go back to the E tickets, etc. Seems the most economical means of controlling supply and demand. At the very least...whatever they are charging for the holidays is not enough.

+0
Tuesday, December 28, 2010 11:09 PM

Lower capacity is usually the result of reduced staffing. There are two ways to make more money: increase income, or reduce expenses. The trick is to find the right balance.

--Dave Althoff, Jr.

...who saw today what Universal Studios Hollywood looks like when it is 5,000 customers over capacity...

+0
Tuesday, December 28, 2010 11:33 PM

Aamilj said:
I could see a premium charged for the pre-planned day in the near future...

...I HATE lines...

Let me introduce to my friend Gonch. You two seem to have a lot in common. :p

Unless...WAIT A MINUTE!

Gonch, are you really Aamilj in disguise?

+0
Tuesday, December 28, 2010 11:53 PM

Aamilj does seem to say a lot of the same things I've said and adhere to, huh?

+0
Wednesday, December 29, 2010 12:03 AM

George Burns said "It's all in the delivery."

+0
Wednesday, December 29, 2010 12:22 AM

I prefer my counterarguments delivered by a man in a Ted Kaczynski beard and one of those hats worn by the Wicked Witch of the West's guards... ;)

+0
Wednesday, December 29, 2010 1:53 AM

...but I mean that, you know, in a good way. ;)

+0
Wednesday, December 29, 2010 11:16 AM

And to be fair, he looks way better than me in a beard...

+0
Wednesday, December 29, 2010 12:41 PM

Beards are back, man. Especially this 2010-2011 winter.

This has been "Gonch Style" exclusively on CoasterBuzz.

(my wife gets "Gonch Style" exclusively at home)

+0
Wednesday, December 29, 2010 12:53 PM

Lord Gonchar said:
Beards are back, man. Especially this 2010-2011 winter.

This has been "Gonch Style" exclusively on CoasterBuzz.

(my wife gets "Gonch Style" exclusively at home)

Your wife has a beard???? What kind of freak show do you live at? ;-)

+0

You must be logged in to post

POP Forums - ©2018, POP World Media, LLC
Loading...