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TimMc333

Ride Queue Times

18 posts in this topic

I noticed MW have recently placed queue times on boards around the park. This is a good idea, but currently has some flaws.. Unlike the electronic systems used in other parks around the world, MW uses a board with a magnet showing the appropriate wait times. The main problem I noticed is that the boards don't get updated NEARLY as often as they need to. If you look at the board and it says the queue for WWF is 20 minutes, by the time you walk over there and line up you end up waiting for an hour... There is a message on the boards saying the usual "this is only a guide" and all that, but from my experience the times are way off. The other issue is kids (or childish adults) who walk by the boards and change the times around... Today the Superman Escape queue said "20 minutes" for most of the day but I can tell you it was more like 45 minutes. Obviously the times kept getting... altered... by someone. The queue times are a good idea and all, but at the moment it just doesn't work. Thoughts?

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I completely agree. After visiting Wet'n'Wild on a very busy day it didn't take long to realise that I need to completely disregard everything the boards tell me.

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So the boards are back again. They seem to be brought out at all three parks during peak holiday season. This is at least the second year I remember seeing them. I think wet'n'wild ended up using whiteboard markers over magnets last time, I little less prone to being messed with. Jay

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I think wet'n'wild ended up using whiteboard markers over magnets last time, I little less prone to being messed with.
But then the times just got wiped off so it was pointless anyway. Electronic boards would work much better but obviously the cost would be greater.

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My solution: just put a hinged Perspex cover over the board with a gas strut. My tongue in cheek solution: Smear petroleum jelly on the magnets to discourage people from touching them. The attendant would use a pair of tongs to adjust the magnets.

Edited by Gazza

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Dont even need a gas strut - hinge it sideways and lock it on the side. We've talked before about the electronic option, but its just not feasible. The parks operated for years without them, it is a convenience, and not something to be relied upon, and they're only ever needed during christmas and easter. Granted, it would be GREAT to have proper electronic boards. But if we're going to go to all that expense - heres a spitballed idea i've been wishing for (which would never happen) - Have each person either utilise their existing ticket, or some type of wristband (like splash cash) with a barcode. Have a barcode scanner at the entrance to every attraction (with a turnstile). You scan into the queue, and when you reach the grouper \ boarding area - you scan out of the queue and onto the ride. If you didn't "scan in" then you can't "scan out". (And if you leave the queue to go elsewhere you have to "scan out" of the queue again) The benefits are many:

  1. Scanning in\out would give an accurate up-to-the-minute queue time that could be displayed at the queue entrance (and by wifi - screens around the park and the other queuetime boards at the front of each ride)
  2. It would completely eliminate queue jumpers or "place savers". The "scan out" scanner would not permit you into the grouping area until all those who had scanned ahead of you have scanned out.
  3. It would give park management an immediate knowledge of capacity \ queue sizing, and enable them to respond accordingly with additional staff \ additional trains etc etc.
  4. The technology would be adaptable to fastpath systems as well.
Of course, it's a complete pipe dream, and unlikely to ever occur, but it's a nice thought.

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Granted, it would be GREAT to have proper electronic boards. But if we're going to go to all that expense - heres a spitballed idea i've been wishing for (which would never happen) - ........
It's funny, I have had discussion about essentially that exact idea with friends while at the parts a year or two ago when the signs appeared. Ours varied in that it would count the people in and out of a queue automatically which loses the advantage of eliminating queue jumping but removes the trouble of having to scan in and out. The great thing about a system like that is it automatically takes into account the efficiency of staff operating the ride in the queue time esitmates and would also be able to be recorded and used in training and assessment of ride operations. Jay

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[*] It would completely eliminate queue jumpers or "place savers". The "scan out" scanner would not permit you into the grouping area until all those who had scanned ahead of you have scanned out.
Only problem I can see there is what if someone had joined the queue then had to leave for some reason? wouldnt that not let anyone on to the ride until they scanned their ticket? I know, common sense would most likely to prevail, but wouldnt that allow people who jumped the queue to claim that someone left in front of them?

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Only problem I can see there is what if someone had joined the queue then had to leave for some reason? wouldnt that not let anyone on to the ride until they scanned their ticket?
I covered that:
If you didn't "scan in" then you can't "scan out". (And if you leave the queue to go elsewhere you have to "scan out" of the queue again)
So basically you'd have a scan-out at the grouping area, and a scan-in\out at the entrance. So if you leave the queue, you have to scan-out to leave (so there'd be an exit turnstile as well as an entrance turnstile.) It wouldn't increase staffing levels as you would have existing staff at the front of the attractions that would require it - such as scooby and superman. For accessibility - wheelchairs and strollers and so on, use the exit ramp where applicable.

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The problem with these boards is that they are hard to keep acurate as has been stated above. The problem when we did us them at Wonderland was that it was so busy and it was all hands on deck so there was no one available to go and change the board. The other problem I have with these boards is, how do you judge the length of a queue? Yes you can make a guestimate but it also depends on the operator(how fast and effiecent they are), how many people you have operating the ride (loaders or unloaders or not) and even weather condiditions(if it's hot generally people work slower and some rides operater slower in wet weather). The only advantage I can see in these boards, is for the operators, generally if people see an hour wait on a ride they won't or will be reluctant to join the queue. This then reduces the pressure on the operator of the ride. Bussy

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The other problem I have with these boards is, how do you judge the length of a queue? Yes you can make a guestimate but it also depends on the operator(how fast and effiecent they are), how many people you have operating the ride (loaders or unloaders or not) and even weather condiditions(if it's hot generally people work slower and some rides operater slower in wet weather).
I recall at Disney World they were handing people these cards that they scanned as they enter the queue, then you give it to the operator at the ride station and they scan it back in. This gives a completely up-to-date queue time. But again, this just costs more money (of course, Disney can do it!).

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^^^ I have had that same experence at MW. The attendant at the front of Sccoby has, on a few occasions handed me or my friends a ticket to give to the ride operator when we reached the front of the queue.

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Disney Parks have a system that involves infrared counters at the entry and exit to each attraction (pretty sure they all have em). This allows them to be able to not only count the numbers of people each ride hits in any given day but also assists all aspects of the rides Operation. The information is recorded back of house and provides an acurate wait time projection to patrons. I wrote a proposal years ago after spending quite a bit of time studying their processes.. A great idea but for our Parks it all comes down to dollars. MW used to hand out 'time wait cards' every hour to a random guest as they would enter a queue to measure the average wait for times throughout the day and would schedule their staffing accordingly. I am sure a similar, far more budget friendly approach than Disney's is still in place there today

Edited by MickeyD

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^^^Correct from all accounts. I have been handed a card at both Scooby and Superman with a time written on it. The loader writes the time on it when we get to the front, and the message is passed on as to how long the card took to get to the front. It's low-tech, but it works. As to being able to update the boards, Bussy I know exactly where you're coming from. I wasn't in operations but I know how busy you get with a full park. My idea as far as updating the boards is simple - generally a supervisor does the rounds - checks on each ride to see how everyone is going (at least a good soup should do it) and as they walk around, they would pass the boards (as they're all in high traffic areas), and update it as they pass by.

Edited by AlexB

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The way they did it at Thorpe was that the greeter would just phone in to someone, rather than someone walking around. There still can be a time lag though; I was heading to X:/ No Way Out because the queue time said 5 minutes, after queuing for longer than that outside and finally nearing the entrance to the building I politely asked "Is the wait time really 5 minutes" (I was worried I might have to do further queuing inside the building, luckily not though) and the bloke said "Whoops, better update that actually, before jumping on the phone".....True story!

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