Universal Orlando has been rolling out new lockers around several of its attractions. But some fans are not happy about the changes.
Universal provides complimentary lockers outside attractions where riders cannot bring large packs or purses... or any personal items at all. Locations with the free lockers include Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts; Men in Black Alien Attack; Revenge of the Mummy; Hollywood Rip, Ride, Rockit; Incredible Hulk Coaster, and Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey. (Paid lockers are available outside Dudley Do-Right's Ripsaw Falls, Popeye & Bluto's Bilge-Rat Barges, and the Jurassic Park River Adventure.)
The new lockers use your Universal park ticket to open and close, changing from the finger scans that they used before. Some fans report that this is a big upgrade, as it seems to be much easier for the scanners to read the tickets reliably than they could people's fingers. The lockers are timed to provide enough free time to allow you to get through the queue and ride, then return and claim your belongings. Universal's system can account for downtimes and extend your free period should the ride's wait balloon while you are in the queue.
While fans seem to be welcoming the new lockers and their easier opening system, many are not happy that Universal is now charging for the larger-sized lockers at these locations. The free lockers will hold a pursue or fanny pack, but if you're carrying a diaper bag or backpack, you now will need to pay $2 for the larger-sized locker.
A few thoughts: First, a reminder that Universal, like most theme parks, offers a free package pick-up and delivery service. So there's no need to lug your purchases around the park, pushing you to need the bigger lockers. If you are staying on-site, Universal will deliver your stuff to your room or hotel's front desk. And if you're worried about luggage space and willing to pay the postage to have your souvenirs shipped home, Universal will make those arrangements for you, too.
Second, if you are carrying a diaper bag, you can keep it with you if you use Universal's child swap. I am assuming here that the diaper bag means that you have a child with you who probably doesn't meet the height requirements for these rides. But many visitors still don't know that child swaps are a thing, so if you have a kid who's too short to ride but you still want to go, ask about them.
Third, while safety remains the top priority for everyone, I think we can safely assume that fans also appreciate those dark rides where they can carry their bags aboard, too. And if bags can't be safely carried onto a ride, having a bag drop closer to the load station is also appreciated.
While many regional parks use bag drops at the load station, the honor system that guides those might not work at a more popular park, such as Universal. And Universal has banned all personal items from the queues at Hulk and Rockit in part because too many fans were stashing cameras, phones, and other items that ended up falling from their pockets, endangering other riders and fans below. Since Universal would need to staff a checkpoint after the bag drop — to ensure that everyone's pockets are empty — putting that at the attraction entrance saves on labor and helps keep the line moving close to load, since all explanations about the policy happen at the entrance instead of at the load station.
But passenger convenience is as much a design challenge as any other factor in a new theme park attraction. And as Universal looks to expand, and balance its collection of ride experiences, adding a few more family dark rides where people can bring their stuff certainly would be appreciated.Tweet
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