Park of the Week: Efteling

What's new on the discussion board: Coasters are fast, but lines are slow

December 28, 2010, 11:29 AM · Here are the top new threads this week on the Theme Park Insider Discussion Board, along with links to a couple of recent theme park-related news stories:

Daniel Etcheberry is thinking about Ferrari World Abu Dhabi's new Formula Rossa and asks Will there ever be a limit in roller coaster's speed?

Formula Rossa at Ferrari World

Ricardo Marmugi is on his way to Central Florida and has asked for some 4 Day Orlando Parks Plan Help.

Terri Pierce wants to know when to expect an announcement about dates for next year's Mickey's Christmas Party at Walt Disney World.

Long-time Theme Park Insider reader and commentor Joshua Counsil takes us off-topic for a thread and asks about San Francisco: Must-Sees?

Two news items no one's submitted for discussion yet, so I'll throw them out here:

First, another tourist has lost his life in a bus accident at Walt Disney World. The 69-year-old Massachusetts man walked in front of a Disney bus in the Port Orleans parking lot on the day after Christmas. It was the second fatal bus incident at Disney World this year.

People don't think of Walt Disney World having a permanent population, but on any given day, Disney property has as many people on it as you'd find in a mid-sized American city. Basic probability dictates, therefore, that you'll have accidents and even fatalities on property from time to time. Given that Disney World's population consists almost entirely of people who "just moved in," and have no knowledge or experience with things such as where buses go and when, I'm surprised that there aren't more such incidents, frankly. Stay sharp, folks, and help those around you.

The New York Times discovers that (gasp!) Disney World has lines and (double gasp!) Disney actually monitors and manages them. Seriously, though, leads and supervisors have been charged with monitoring and managing their attractions' queues since the parks first opened - some more effectively than others. All that's (somewhat) new here is that Disney's trying to centralize and automate queue management now.

Ultimately, if a theme park wants to reduce wait times the most effective thing it can do is to employ experienced attractions hosts at its load positions. (See previous link.) Great loaders can suck in a line faster than a former child actress in a New York disco. Of course, having great workers at load requires a park to be willing to pay and treat its employees well enough that they stick around long enough to become well experienced. And that brings us to a whole 'nother discussion.

Replies (4)

December 28, 2010 at 1:06 PM · Interesting article on line management at Disney. Its kinda cool to see how the manage lines like that!

As for the accident, while its a terrible thing, Disney actually has a pretty good safety record when it comes to guests.

My question is why all these accidents lately in the past few years with the busses, monorails, and other injuries.

December 28, 2010 at 1:40 PM · "Great loaders can suck in a line faster than a former child actress in a New York disco." You win the award for funniest thing I've read all day. Good job!
December 28, 2010 at 1:43 PM · As for the accident, it always lingers in my mind the next time I visit a theme park. Sad, and makes you remember that life can be taken away at anytime & anywhere.

Great article about line management... that's a great way to get crowd control into places when it's needed the most. That would be sweet if someone eventually wrote a book about "strategies for theme park crowd control", but that would be giving away trade secrets! I just don't care for the Space Mountain game. I'd prefer in-line entertainment to be more like Pooh Bear's or Indiana Jones'. More being part of the theme of the attraction, less of a game dropped in because it "kinda" fits in.

Btw, I snorted at that line about the former child actress comment. *pun intended*

December 28, 2010 at 4:22 PM · When it comes to future ride design, if multiple parallel load/unload zones can be designed for boat rides, why not include more capacity to load guests than the ride throughput rate by adding a third load point. That way if the next boat is not available, the system will skip to the next available boat ready to pull out and put the next unload in that line. Yes PotC may have had problems but a good load system and software could easily handle this.

Also, the extra load capacity will cover for inexperienced loaders, wheelchairs, load safety isssues, or a broken loadout line. Due to the nature of a rides operation, I suspect the unload/load positions would be the most likely place for a mechanical failure compared to the simpler continuous operation elsewhere in the ride.

It costs a quite a bit more for the extra equipment, space, staff, and line complexity but it keeps throughput up when there are problems. Use the third line for fastpass and VIP loading and add special equipment for ADA/wheelchair loading to the line.

Off peak take one load position out of service. The third line, if positioned right, could also simplify and speed up putting boats in and taking boats out of service from the holding area as traffic and queue length changes. The new boat coomes in from holding just before load and goes out of service after the loadout. Moving the new boat in means only skipping a boat going to unload and instead accepting a new boat. Similarly, just redirect the out of service boat down the out of service line. The equipment is already there.

And not only do you need to suck the line in, you need a blow to get high capacity out at unload...


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