I mentioned yesterday that the Disney Water Parks are testing a new “Virtual Queue” system to help guests wait less for the most popular water park attractions. One of my readers, Kristi, was at Blizzard Beach yesterday and took part in the test at Downhill Double Dipper. Here’s how it works and some pros and cons of the test.
How the initial day of testing worked at Downhill Double Dipper at Blizzard Beach:
- Arrive at the base of the attraction, approach the table and choose a return time that fits your schedule.
- You are given a small plastic card with the attraction name on one side and the return time on the other side. You place it on your wrist with the provided rubber band. Each guest must get their own return time card.
- The return times are provided in 15 minute blocks of time.
- Go to the load area of the attraction and exchange the wristband for the right to board the attraction without using the stand by queue. A Cast Member is stationed at this merge point and holds the regular queue while the Virtual Queue guest enters.
- Using Virtual Queue is optional during the test, but will save you time for boarding an attraction during the testing. Kristi reported an approximate 10 minute total wait for Downhill Double Dipper during this test. During the summer months, this attraction averages about a 45 minute wait.
Here’s some pros and cons of the initial first day test:
- Saves time waiting in line for the most popular water attractions.
- Allows you to know exactly when you can board.
- Allows you to experience other attractions, eat or get a drink
- The parks have very few clocks. They provided clocks at the distribution and return areas, but almost no one wears a watch in a water park, so there’s no way to know what time it is.
- It’s only a 15 minute block of time. The goal is to limit your wait to 15 minutes or less for most attractions, but the initial test limits your block of time considerable versus the 60 minutes that is customary with Fastpass+. If you are somewhat near the attraction, 15 minutes is no big deal. If you are eating lunch or on the other side of the park, the window is pretty limiting.
- It will make the regular stand by queue wait even longer. If you aren’t doing the test and eventually using the actual system they develop, you’ll be waiting even longer for the most popular rides. Of course, if you are reading this, you’ll use the system!
- Many of these little test cards will end up in Disney collector pockets.
The system is still in feasibility and usability study at this time, so there’s no way to know how it will be actually implemented in the water parks yet. Will they give us a band that has a small clock? Will they give us a band that lights up when it’s time to go ride? It’s good to see that Disney is willing to adjust to consumer demand and offer a system that can reduce waits for the informed consumer.
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