Published: April 10, 2013 at 9:12 PM

Thanks for the fascinating article. It's the kind of insight you wouldn't get except by actually working on an attraction at a theme/amusement park.
Brandon Townsend

Published: April 10, 2013 at 10:34 PM

Lines are for some the worst part of visiting an amusement park. My family has become spoiled with Universal Express, FastPass and similar line shortening features. Now we won't wait more than 20 minutes for an old familiar ride.

However, Disney does such an excellent job on some newer attractions (i.e. Expedition Everest) that I find myself wishing I could spend more time looking at the line dioramas as I speed through with my FastPass. Then there's the long, tedious slog through the Peter Pan queue to bring you back to reality.

It seems it would be easy to make all lines a little more palpable with technology and imagination. Why not let people use the ubiquitous cell phone to play Disney trivia about the ride and characters you are in line for? Or name that Disney tune? Or at Universal movie trivia and games? But maybe that would distract people and slow down the hourly ride count for the sweating masses?

Published: April 10, 2013 at 10:56 PM

Of all the major E-Ticket rides at Disney and Universal, what are the five best and five worst when it comes to average hourly ride capacity?

Aaron McMahon

Published: April 10, 2013 at 11:33 PM

I haven't been in any of the interactive queues but they seem a little counter-intuitive: if people are constantly moving through the line, how are they going to play in the activities?

I prefer the queue for the Simpsons Ride: play old episodes of the Simpsons with some snippets of the attractions plot but nothing you need to know before going to the pre show and attraction.

Published: April 11, 2013 at 9:09 AM

Good Article. I think this is one area that Six Flags is the worst! Countless time where lines are long and too many empty seats! Six flags does not offer the single rider line such as Universal or Disneyland. I'm all for picking your seats but when the majority of people want to sit in the front or back, it leads to a lot of empty seats in the middle.

Also, Six Flags is the worst when it comes to how many trains they run. Seriously, you only running two cars in the summer! I've been to a few Cedar Fair parks during the down season that run more trains than Six Flags.


Robert Niles

Published: April 11, 2013 at 10:23 AM

I think that interactive queues are fine -- so long as people learn to go around people who've stopped for an interactive feature. But given how ingrained the "don't cut" lesson is for most courteous theme park visitors, that's gonna be tough to get people to do.

Also, the highest capacity ride at the Magic Kingdom when I worked there was Pirates. I'll defer to other current and former ops readers on other attractions.

Ray Schroeder

Published: April 11, 2013 at 10:44 AM

It irks me whenever I see a ride leave with empty seats. Why don't all the E ticket rides have a single rider line? That way all the seats are filled.
Aaron McMahon

Published: April 11, 2013 at 2:52 PM

Duel loading stations and single rider lines are great though they require more staffing, management and maintenance than most regional parks have, especially compared to Disney and Universal.

One technique that I admired was at Hershey Park's Fahrenheit. The coaster is with trains that features three four person cars. Of course this is very low capacity for a new thrill ride.

To compensate they have one employee confidently and politely telling odd number groups move to the middle car and even groups to the front and back. This keeps the line moving steadily and trains leave without empty seats.

I've heard that the new Superman coaster at Discovery Kingdom uses this technique to beat low capacity.

Anon Mouse

Published: April 12, 2013 at 9:22 AM

Many stations seem to hold many train cars at the end of the ride. Aren't they out of the last zone before unloading? With one car at the incline, one car at the loading dock, there could be 2 or more cars waiting to be unloaded. If for any reason there is hesitation, all cars could be at the station to prevent a cascade stop.

One thing I hate about the high capacity rides and the switchbacks is the lines are constantly moving. The guest is constantly walking, yet we are NOT getting to the ride any faster. Last year, I had to wait 1 hour to get on the Universal Studios Hollywood tram ride despite a constantly moving queue line. I was exhausted by the time I got on the tram. They need a new way of moving the guests without having the guests to move.

Eric G

Published: April 14, 2013 at 11:04 AM

Anon Mouse- A moving queue line irks you? That's crazy. I love a line that keeps moving. It's so frustrating to stand in one place. Sounds to me like you need to get in shape if you tire from walking around like that.

Cascade stop may be the #1 cause of downtime on a few of Disney's roller coasters, but for the majority of the roller coasters in the world that is not true and it's a non-issue.

Big Thunder Mountain is one of the real exceptions since the block brakes reside at a low point below lifts B and C, so when there is a delay in dispatching at the station and those brakes are engaged then the trains that stop in that position have to be unloaded and winched to the lifts.

Space Mountain and Matterhorn resets are complicated because of the sheer number of trains cycling.

However, most roller coasters don't need to be reset when a train is stopped at a mid-course block. The computer brain will resume the motion of the trains when the block ahead is finally cleared.

I'm surprised there was no mention about seat belts and loading gates since both are real capacity killers.