Disneyland may begin testing a virtual queue for its Indiana Jones Adventure attraction starting tomorrow, the resort just announced. This would be the second use of virtual queueing at the resort, following its ongoing use on Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance.
The Indiana Jones virtual queue will not work in the same way as the Star Wars boarding groups, however. Disneyland will be testing this on a hybrid basis, with the regular standby queue opening with the park in the morning. But at some point in the day - to be determined and in part based on crowd levels - Disneyland may switch Indiana Jones to a virtual queue, which guests will enter through the official Disneyland app.
You can be in the virtual queue for both Indy and Rise at the same time, but you can enter the Indy virtual queue just once per day. You must have entered Disneyland that day to be eligible to enter the Indy queue.
For theme park fans in southern California, the hybrid use of virtual queuing should be familiar if you have visited Universal Studios Hollywood since its reopening and tried to get on The Secret Life of Pets: Off the Leash, which is pretty much doing the same thing. It's a walk-in when the park opens, but if the queue builds up to a certain point, the park opens the virtual queue for fans to enter instead of showing up to the attraction and waiting there in a physical queue.
Moving to a virtual queue should help Disneyland better manage crowd flow through Adventureland, which long has been the site of some of the worst pinch-points in the park. Physical distancing requirements and lower capacity for indoor attractions only make it more likely that Indy's physical queue will spill out into the narrow land without a virtual alternative.
Disneyland is using the Indy virtual queue on a test basis, so it might or might not become a permanent addition to the park after Covid restrictions lift. There's no guarantee that the virtual queue will or will not be in place at any given time during this phased reopening, either. So check the Disneyland app when you are in the park for instructions on whether to head over or get in the virtual queue to ride Indiana Jones Adventure.
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When I visited Universal Studios Hollywood about three weeks ago, the new Secret Life of Pets ride was a walk-on at the start of the day, like Robert said, and used the virtual queue later in the day. I was able to get a reservation for the 1 to 2 pm time slot, but when I returned, having the virtual reservation just meant you got to enter a long outdoor queue on the side of the ride building.
I expected to be able to walk right through the indoor queue to the ride vehicle, but there was just as much waiting inside the building (although the animatronics were really cute). It was about a 30 minute wait for each of the two sections of the queue. I had thought the idea was to avoid indoor queueing as much as possible, which was not how the ride queue was set up.
I would not want to emulate the the Universal Orlando system. It works fine for the Fallon ride, but for pretty much everything else...it sucks.
I don't mind virtual queues when rides are designed explicitly with them in mind. However, I've found that when a virtual queue is installed on an attraction that was designed to operate with a traditional queue or some type of hybrid queue, it does not work as well with a virtual-only queue. Indy's queue is very dependent upon its standby queue (and guests riding single rider and via FP knowingly bypassing key portions of the queue - but can still see important elements). Creating a virtual-only queue will either force Disney to overload the queue (increasing wait times to load in the physical line) or making the line too short. If the line is so short that people are zipping past the key elements within the standby queue, the attraction as a whole is diminished, and for those guests that actually take the time to look at and interact with queue elements, it will slow down the flow of guests to the loading platform, causing fits and starts in the boarding process (exacerbated by social distancing requirements). The length of the walk back to Indy's loading platform is a huge problem that will make managing a virtual queue very difficult.
I think a virtual queue on Indy using the existing line configuration and popular theming elements will just make things worse and decrease throughput on a ride that's struggling to optimize capacity under pandemic procedures.
What they need to do is bomb the unnecessary food stand across from Indy and just expand that thoroughfare. That food place is so small, I can't understand why they insist upon maintaining it right at the pinch point.
(While they're at it they should also bomb Tarzan's Treehouse, which is a crime against nature and a sin against the Swiss Family Robinson treehouse. It's like going to your deceased grandma's family home and discovering it's been occupied by crack addicts, just bomb the thing and spare us the indignity.)
I'm mixed about this. On one hand, Indy is probably the most impacted ride at the entire resort by California's current restrictions. As indoor queuing is prohibited and guests cannot remain indoors for more than 15 minutes, the ride is forced to put its entire queue line into the small area of outdoor switchbacks, which can only hold a line of around 15-20 minutes with distancing in place. Therefore, while forced to operate under pandemic guidelines, I think this is a good idea as it will prevent the line from overflowing and mobbing Adventureland, which is already one of the smallest lands in the park. I'd also be okay seeing this switch for other attractions with limited outdoor queuing space.
On the other hand, I strongly oppose any system that limits what guests are able to do with their time at the parks. The Rise of the Resistance boarding groups have bothered me since day one, and as Indy is a ride I typically do two or three times per visit, a limit of once per day would absolutely make me much less interested in visiting (and if multiple favorites adopted such a restriction, that would be enough for me to not get another pass). Therefore, the setup as proposed is not one I'd support once attraction capacity can return to normal. I'm not against virtual queuing in the long term, especially given how space constrained Disneyland is, but if it is implemented it needs to be free of restrictions on its usage and be the sole method of access to attractions at which it is utilized.
That's a great point AJ. If I'm paying for a ticket to Disneyland, and want to spend they entire day standing on line for the same attraction over and over again, I shouldn't be prevented from doing that. For a newer attraction like ROTR, I can understand the 1-ride-per-day limitation to allow more people to experience the ride for the first time, but Indy's been around for over 25 years, and there probably aren't very many people walking through Disneyland's gates that have never ridden it before. Artificially limiting guest access to a ride that's been around for a quarter century is pretty ridiculous, and in a way is counter to the fan culture that Disney has created and promoted where guests are willing to wait hours for their favorite attractions.
Agreed with both of you. That's the same sort of gripe I have with Fastpass+.
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I hope it’s similar to the Universal one. I love that system.