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Theme Park Line Queues

How do theme parks calculate the wait times that are displayed electronically?

From Drew F
Posted January 10, 2014 at 3:39 PM
Hi there,

I'm curious as to how theme parks track the wait times for their lines that they display electronically at the entrance of the ride.

I know they previously used an electronic card system that a random park-goer would carry with them from the beginning until the front of the line. Then that card would be scanned by a park employee.

Is this still how the wait times operate? I'm sure it varies from park to park but do the major players like Disney and Six Flags still use this system.

Thanks in advance!

Comments in chronological order. Most recent at the bottom. Scroll down to respond.

From Andrew Dougherty
Posted January 10, 2014 at 5:23 PM
I'm like 99% sure that Disney does that with the Tower of Terror wait times. Not to sure on the other attractions.

From steve lee
Posted January 11, 2014 at 11:17 AM
I saw the card system still being used last month at Magic Kingdom on "it's a small world," so I'm thinking it's still pretty widely used by Disney.

From Russell Meyer
Posted January 13, 2014 at 12:38 PM
Disney uses prox cards for just about every attraction, and the wait-time signs automatically update as cards, given to random guests at specified intervals, reach the end of the line.

Most other parks simply use visual landmarks to set their wait times. I.E. if the line is out the door and past the first switchback, it's approximately 20 minutes.

From Chad H
Posted January 20, 2014 at 3:13 PM
From my time at Blackpool pleasure beach... Im fairly sure they used the Dartboard method - as in throw a dart at a dartboard and post whatever score you get.

Ok, maybe that was a little harsh, but the wait times had no relationship with reality.

I'd like to see more information on this sort of theme park tech and process... maybe how a few other behind the scenes decisions are made...

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