Disney World's wait time systemWalt Disney World: Do the ride times lie?
From Greg SSo, I just came back from a 10 day trip to WDW resort. I had a blast, and I believe I got lucky in that in all the days we were there, the LONGEST we ever waited for a ride was 35 minutes. Not bad at all. Some nights rides were litrally EMPTY (See: Splash Mountain, Big Thunder Mountain, Mission: Space, etc). But I digress.
Posted August 31, 2006 at 10:36 AM
What this topic is about is, the little bit of information given to you prior to your entrance to the ride. It's the wait time. Yes, it's very helpful, and I believe one of the better inventions since sliced bread, but WDW's times were 9/10 inaccurate. Were they underestimating the ride times? No. Were they overestimating the ride times? Yes, yes, and yes!
Their new system(correct me if I am wrong) goes as such. They have these cards that they hand to one of the guests once they step foot in the line. Once this said guest is given the card, it starts to count how long the person is waiting until the person gets to the station, hands the card to a cast member for them to put it on this machine, that then states the length of their wait. This wait time is then considered the length of the wait out front of the ride. These are the problems with the system.
1. The guests with the card may be careless, and not give the cast members the card until AFTER the ride. I've seen this happen most often.
Dinosaur stated it's wait was 60 minutes. We waited 20.
Splash Mountain said a 45 minute wait. We waited 15 minutes.
Test Track said 160 minute wait! We waited 35 minutes!
Mission: Space stated 20 minutes. I walked on.
Obviously, this system is annoying(it beeps very loud when it needs a card) and it seems very ineffective. The concept is clever, it just needs to be executed properly.
Now, to get to my questions:
1. When was this system distributed in the park?
I am just curious about this, and if anyone else has seen this.
Comments in chronological order. Most recent at the bottom. Scroll down to respond.
From Tom CWhen I worked at MK we did not have that system yet, we based the wait time by the amount of Queue we had open, or how many people were in the queue. We tended to over estmate, but for the most part we were pretty accurate. I'm not sure why disney went away from that system. It worked. But then again, so did rotational bumps, and they replaced that with CDS..... so go figure.
Posted August 31, 2006 at 12:49 PM
From Erik YatesIts not only at WDW, but at all parks. You can usually get a walk on ride if it says anything less than 20 minutes, and if you get 20 minutes or over expect 35 to 45 minutes.
Posted August 31, 2006 at 1:54 PM
I dont know about the system, but I think a big thing that has an effect on it is the amount of people who use the fastpass system at disney. If they get a lot of fp's then I think the system takes in account for that, and if you have people that dont show up until their later time it probably effects the queue a bit.
From Sean RustThey calculate them by sending a guest through with an electronic card, so the wait time is actually the wait of a person that just waited in line, so it can be delayed.
Posted August 31, 2006 at 3:07 PM
From David KirbyI agree - it seems that rides displaying a 20 minutes wait often have a wait much shorter. They only time I found any wait time to be really innacurate was Mission: Space, which I waited for for 2 hours when the wait time said 85 minutes
Posted August 31, 2006 at 6:40 PM
From Greg SWell, considering I've seen this at other parks, I know Walt Disneyworld isn't the only park with this problem, but they were drastic differences most of the time. As compared to Disneyland, Knott's, Six Flags, or Canada's Wonderland.
Posted August 31, 2006 at 11:09 PM
I do believe it's the new system. I assume they just have not completly nailed it.
From Anthony MurphyI also believe it is based on the overall distribution of the park as well! If there is very big attractions in the same area, the lines and wait time will be insane. I think this is the problem around Splash and Thunder Mountain. Tower of Terror and Rockin Roller Coaster has this issue too.
Posted September 1, 2006 at 6:11 AM
For the most part, the lines have always been shorter than the wait time for me.
From Kimberly JohnsonWe would prefer you be pleasantly suprised than stuck in line when you think you should be off doing something else. ;)
Posted September 4, 2006 at 8:26 PM
For the most part, line times are based on the # of people in line BUT we use the cards as a general tool to see how long that is.. It's not the best method but it's used as more of a check.
Also, we can never be truly accurate on Fastpass rides-- we don't know everyone is going to ride when they're "supposed" to. :)
From Tom C"Also, we can never be truly accurate on Fastpass rides-- we don't know everyone is going to ride when they're "supposed" to. :)"
Posted September 5, 2006 at 5:54 AM
Again, another flaw in the Fasspass system.
From Scott SealBut something that could be fixed easily. It's not a flaw in the system, it's a flaw in the enforcment.
Posted September 5, 2006 at 3:54 PM
From Greg S"We would prefer you be pleasantly suprised than stuck in line when you think you should be off doing something else. ;)"
Posted September 5, 2006 at 5:43 PM
This is very true, yes, but ride times can be intimidating to some, and they might not want to wait in a line they THINK is x amount of mins when it is actually LESS. This happened to me 4 times. I would see a line wait, say to some of my friends and family, "Lets do this!"
"No, the wait is too long."
This happened more than once with me. Actually, this happened about 5 times with me. I also see people who WANTED to go on rides see the wait, and just say, "Oh forget it."
I know it's there choice, but, they are not riding because of WHAT you guys tell us the wait is.
Although I'm having some issues with this, I feel WDW is better with this than DL. Reason? I was TOLD Monster Inc. ride was a 60 minute wait. I waited 80 minutes. It was terrible. That type of ride length issue has happened many-a times at DL. Especially during Summer.
From Rachel SchneiderYou can use CoasterQ.com to find the wait times for all attraction at the Disneyland and California Adventure parks. That way you can plan your itinerary for the day around the times of the lines. It may require walking a bit more, but at least your are in line a lot less. I used it, and if everyone enters wait times into CoasterQ the times will become very accurate. It is an excellent tool to have, you can create an itinerary and view the wait times of the rides in your queue.
Posted April 16, 2009 at 1:47 PM
Go to http://www.coasterq.com/
CoasterQ has a list of all of the theme park rides AND the best part is, CQ provides the attraction wait times for all lines in the park. You can create an itinerary of rides and watch the wait times for all of them. CoasterQ works off of user inputs of times, so the more people that use it, the more accurate the times will be. They currently have all Disney parks and Universal parks, and every week are expanding to include more parks. You can use the web browser on your phone to find and enter line wait times. CoasterQ works well on almost all browsers and works great on the iphone.
From Tim Wsomethin about these times seem a bit wierd to me. its still sprink break and only 40 minutes for soarin? and only 50 minutes for toy story mania. when i last went in february both rides were always over 2 hrs long. this site seems a little off...
Posted April 16, 2009 at 2:10 PM
From steve leeI'm waiting for the Disney approved iPhone ap. It's only a matter of time. The only problem is, I'd sit at my desk and look at it all day long.
Posted April 16, 2009 at 2:33 PM
From Yen SidI feel the need to stand up for the Fastpass system. This system has literally revolutionized the experience at WDW. If you utilize the system properly, you can now experience many more attractions than you could without it, without waiting in nearly as many lines. Plus, let's give Disney some props for keeping it FREE, even as the imitators (Universal, Six Flags) charge big bucks for their knock off versions.
Posted April 17, 2009 at 5:42 AM
This discussion has been archived, and is not accepting additional responses.
Stories from a Theme Park Insider
What's it like to work in a theme park? Stories from a Theme Park Insider takes you inside the famous tunnels and backstage at Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom for a look at how theme parks really work, sharing the funny moments and embarrassments that can happen when your job is someone else's vacation.
Order now: Kindle | iBooks | Paperback | Kindle (UK)
Theme Park Insider Guidebooks
Top U.S. Theme Parks
Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom
Other Top International Parks
Readers' Top Themed Rides
Top Roller Coasters
Top Theme Park Shows
Features, News and Advice
2014 Blog PostsJan. Feb. Mar. Apr.
2013 Blog PostsJan. Feb. Mar. Apr. May Jun. Jul. Aug. Sep. Oct. Nov. Dec.
2012 Blog PostsJan. Feb. Mar. Apr. May Jun. Jul. Aug. Sep. Oct. Nov. Dec.
2011 Blog PostsJan. Feb. Mar. Apr. May Jun. Jul. Aug. Sep. Oct. Nov. Dec.
2010 Blog PostsJan. Feb. Mar. Apr. May Jun. Jul. Aug. Sep. Oct. Nov. Dec.
2009 Blog PostsJan. Feb. Mar. Apr. May Jun. Jul. Aug. Sep. Oct. Nov. Dec.
2008 Blog PostsJan. Feb. Mar. Apr. May Jun. Jul. Aug. Sep. Oct. Nov. Dec.
2007 Blog PostsJan. Feb. Mar. Apr. May Jun. Jul. Aug. Sep. Oct. Nov. Dec.
2006 Blog PostsJan. Feb. Mar. Apr. May Jun. Jul. Aug. Sep. Oct. Nov. Dec.
2005 Blog PostsDec.
2004-2005Staff column archive