Theme Parks and Technology: Review of the MouseWait iPhone Application
Published: February 3, 2010 at 9:19 PM
I’ve been to Disneyland four times in the last month to try out this new app as it has been going through some programming adjustments. The basic concept of the app is to provide users with accurate wait times for rides. This is based off of user inputs (currently over 33,000 and growing by about 300 per day), historical data, and guest attendance. MouseWait has a central command that collects the data and verifies the information before computing an estimated time. (i.e. you can only input in 5-minute increments, but the results are not so limited)
Unlike other wait time applications, MouseWait doesn’t just rely on users’ input. (There is one app that only displays the last user input as the wait time) MW differs from other apps in other ways too: they provide tips and suggestions, food and restaurant menus, park hours, and a message board. Some of this information simply links you to the Disneyland website, but there is no delay in navigating to another program. Other information is in-house like tips that helped me raise my Buzz score to 300,000. (Personal best today at 547,800, partly achieved because the ride stopped at the Zurg loop)
MouseWait also claims that they are a social game, which just went through an overhaul according to MW. They give each registered user a “MouseRank”. The ultimate goal is to reach the highest rating of 10. The ranking is based on wait time inputs and message board postings. Wait times are given weight based on their importance. A wait time input given one minute after the previous input with the same time will be worth less than an input given an hour after the previous. It seems inputting a wait time after a ride re-opens scores the most points.
In the recent trips I’ve become slightly obsessed with giving information, trying to raise my rating and provide a better experience for other users. However, my last trip I decided to finally start reading the wait times. At one point, in Disneyland, I saw that California Screamin’ had a wait time of 10 minutes. I walked straight over to that attraction, and it still had the 10-minute wait time. I also witnessed a 10-minute wait time for Toy Story Mania. Later on in Adventureland, Space Mountain was showing a 10 minute wait at around 2 p.m. I went Straight across the park, got in line and did not stop waking until I reached the loading platform.
What could improve this program? Wait time predictions. My drive to Disneyland could be anywhere between 30 minutes and one and a half hours. Sometimes I feel like I wish I knew how crowded the park will be when I get there. Also, notices have been popping up asking users to not enter times unless they are in the park or have special permission. A GPS indicator could be added to insure that a user is actually in the park.
Some additional thoughts:
I still need to try this program out on a very busy day to see the results.
Of course this app won’t be necessary for TPI readers during their first few hours in the park because you follow the rule of arriving early when the park opens and wait times will be at the minimum.