Vote of the week: What to do in an interactive queue?

June 1, 2012, 11:37 AM · How much fun do you want to have in a queue, before you get to a theme park ride?

Traditionally, queues have simply provided a place to wait while the crowd ahead of you files onto a ride. Now and then, Disney or Universal would try to make the wait a bit more interesting, with the immersive themed decor of the Magic Kingdom Pirates of the Caribbean or the old Islands of Adventure Dueling Dragons queues.

Universal reestablished the standard for immersive queues with Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey, which offers a walk-through tour of Hogwarts Castle, a queue that's so popular some visitors wait in an exterior queue to walk through the castle portion even though they don't want to go on the ride itself.

Disney's responded with some queue innovations of its own. It's been adding "interactive" elements to the Magic Kingdom's Space Mountain and the Haunted Mansion, where you can not only get up close and touch props from the Mansion's graveyard, but also make some of them respond - mostly with sound or water effects.

A nice tribute to the voice of the Haunted Mansion

Disney's done this sort of thing before, notably in Disneyland's Indiana Jones queue, but now Disney seems to be making this a "thing" - we've been promised interactive elements in the queue for the upcoming Little Mermaid ride in Fantasyland, for example.

So here's my question for you: Does it matter? Would you rather stop and play some of the interactive games in the Space Mountain queue, or hurry your way onto the ride? At Haunted Mansion, the choice is explicit - you can choose to queue on the side with the interactive elements, or move directly into the foyer. Which side do you select?

Please tell us in the comments what you think of interactive queue elements, and what - if anything - you'd like to see theme parks do better with their queues. As always, thank you for reading Theme Park Insider!

Replies (20)

June 1, 2012 at 11:44 AM · They can also hold up the line...
June 1, 2012 at 11:45 AM · Interactive queues will be the death of well thought out placemaking and immersion.
June 1, 2012 at 11:55 AM · Very interesting post! My vote is of course to move along - I always skip the graveyard at Haunted Mansion, and I cringe when I see people touching all of the germy things at Pooh (gives new meaning to Pooh... LOL!). The reason for my post is when people give you the 'stink eye' for walking past them when they stop at the interactive items. If you pause for a moment to run your hand along the goo at the Pooh ride, or check out something at RNR in the queue, I of course wouldn't push past you. But when you pull over with your family to play on the toys for 3 or 4 minutes and I walk past, is that wrong? Are we expected to wait until you are done? What is the interactive queue etiquette on play wait time before rudely pushing past? ;)
June 1, 2012 at 12:06 PM · I think the level of immersion in the queue has a big effect on whether I interact with it or not. The queue for the haunted mansion enriches the environment and the story while being interactive. I interact with it because to not do so would leave out a portion of the story. On the other hand, in queue game for Soarin' doesn't add much to the focus of the coming attraction so I feel less compelled to engage in it. A good middle ground would be the in queue game for Space Mountain. It has a background set up that pertains to the attractions in more than a tacit way (flying is not a strong enough connection, sorry Soarin')and works well within the environment.
June 1, 2012 at 12:11 PM · I suppose it depends on what kind of "interactive elements" we're talking about, not to mention what kind of wait time. If the interactive queue is noisy and repetitive, I want to speed by it as quickly as possible. That gets annoying. If I'm on a long line that's moving very slowly, and there are short game-type elements, I don't see the harm in trying to enjoy my extended stay.

Until the small child undoubtedly waiting behind me begins crying because the "mean bald man" won't let him have a turn, at least.

June 1, 2012 at 12:33 PM · For me it would depend...

Does the interactive element mean I end up waiting longer in line for an attraction? If so then I'd probably rather just keep on trucking toward the boarding station. Unless of course it's low season and the wait is minimal anyway, in which case an extra few minutes playing with interactive elements is a fun addition to the whole experience. But when it comes down to it, isn't it really a question of 'is it worth waiting for an additional 10 minutes in line for Haunted Mansion in order to be able to make a few musical sounds by touching gravestones?' If I'm 5 years old, then maybe... But seeing as I'm 50 I think I'll just keep on moving along, thanks all the same...

(By the way, don't assume that my apparent grumpiness means I don't think interactive next gen technology is anything other than a great addition to the parks. It's Disney being Disney and adding extra value and extra magic to their parks and I'm all in favour of that. So long as it remains optional....)

June 1, 2012 at 12:45 PM · I voted interactive elements, because it would get me off of my phone in line (in fact, as long as the queue is themed good, I'll look around). I love Haunted Mansion's interactive queue, and I go in if it's not backed up. I'm hoping Ariel's Undersea Adventure can make a great interactive queue.
June 1, 2012 at 1:13 PM · Possibly only do the interactive queue once when it's introduced, then go straight to the ride subsequent times.
June 1, 2012 at 1:14 PM · I vote for interactive queues. Most of the time there is a wait for rides. Unless someone is playing with the musical instruments at Haunted Mansion for 20+ minutes. It's not likely that it's going to impact my wait time.

Also, I wouldn't call Ravenscroft "the voice of the Haunted Mansion". He is *A* voice but surely *THE* voice is Paul Frees.

June 1, 2012 at 1:42 PM · It depends. If we have our kids with us, then yes, we will play with the interactive elements. If it is just my husband and I, then no. We will go straight to the ride. Some of my favorite photos of my boys were taken along the interactive queue of the Haunted Mansion.
June 1, 2012 at 1:44 PM · It really depends on the queue. I like the Haunted Mansion one because you can skip it and there are some fun elements. On the other hand, the Winnie the Pooh queue is really obnoxious and slows down the line. It's also extremely loud and mind-numbing.

I do wish they'd focus more on keeping the ride maintenance up to date and improving that part of it instead of add interactive elements that a lot of visitors skip.

June 1, 2012 at 1:46 PM · I like when the interactive elements are located along the queue (as in Forbidden Journey). At Haunted Mansion, the sectioned off area makes me want to visit it less, but when the interactive element is sitting right there next to me, I figure that since I'm already in line, I might as well enjoy it. Something that moved with you would be very cool too, that way you don't have to stop and hold-up the line, just a thought.
June 1, 2012 at 2:06 PM · Depends on the ride. If it's a world-class roller coaster with an interactive element, then I'll detest anyone who holds the line up with it. If it's a ride that has a large rider capacity, like The Haunted Mansion or Terminator 3D, then I would definitely go for it.
June 1, 2012 at 2:18 PM · I may race past the interactive queue the first time I visit a ride, but on subsequent visits I will take time to smell the roses. I am very pleased with all the immersive, themed elements being added to attractions these days, whether in the queue, during the ride itself, or in the post show area. IMO, there can never be too much immersion!
June 1, 2012 at 3:09 PM · Interactive queue? whazzat?

If there's a coaster at the end, that's the only interactivity I need.

June 2, 2012 at 8:34 AM · Isn't NexGen is going to eliminate the waiting in lines - for those that can afford it.
June 1, 2012 at 11:46 PM · I think guests like knowing what the effects are and having that "insider" info. It is very noticeable on Indy in Anaheim, with everyone pushing ahead to be the one to trigger the effect - bamboo pole that lowers the ceiling, pulling on the rope in the well... It gets to be a way to show off being a fan, in a way. There is no age limit on anyone feeling that way, either.
June 2, 2012 at 6:33 AM · I pay an enormes amount of money to get into attraction, not to stand in a que with very very medeocer entertainment and horrible games. If I want to play an awesome game I fire up my PS3 if I want to ride a attraction I go to a themepark.
The only good interactive que I know is the Mummy Ride. You can scare guests with airblasts and stuff in another part of the que. So fun.
Disney is putting an enormes amount of money in these interactive ques but the would better put it in longer attactions that can gobble up more people.
June 5, 2012 at 9:14 AM · I experienced the new queue for Haunted Mansion just this past weekend- and while I was happy to check it out, and I enjoyed it- it's not something I'll need to do again. Straight through for me next time! (Although I haven't found the wedding ring yet- maybe I'll have to go through again, just so I can try to spot that...)
June 5, 2012 at 10:02 AM · I'd check out the interactive stuff the first time. But beyond that? It depends. If I can go directly through a great themed queue like Indy w/ interactive features, then I think that's the way to go. But if it's just little videogames, then I'll skip them.

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