Home » If You’ve Ever Waited in Line at a Theme Park, This Mystery Number Has Affected You

    If You’ve Ever Waited in Line at a Theme Park, This Mystery Number Has Affected You

    Great Movie Ride Queue

    Former Disney Cast Member and Universal Team Member Amy explains why theme park queues can sometime feel a little rushed…

    Occupational hourly ride capacity, or OHRC, is the maximum number of guests that an attraction can move through in an hour. Every attraction has an OHRC somewhere in its guidelines, and this magic number is something that management often pushes Cast Members and Team Members to hit. If an attraction is hitting its OHRC, it’s theoretically providing the best possible guest experience by getting everyone through the queue quickly, and offering the magical ride experience to as many people as possible in a given period of time.

    Unfortunately, hitting OHRC isn’t that simple, and can become a frustrating hassle for the Cast and Team Members who struggle to hit it.

    1. It diminishes guest experience

    Great Movie Ride Queue

    While some guests are all for rushing onto the ride, there are others who prefer to savor the experience. They want to take their time finding all the hidden Mickeys in line, linger over the creative features in the pre-show area, and stroll at their own pace through the building. OHRC is particularly problematic in places like the Halloween Horror Nights houses, where guests want to slow down, creep through, and scream through the scares.

    No matter how engaging the experience is designed to be, Cast and Team Members are still encouraged to push guests through as quickly as possible. Though people can theoretically pass by those who linger to take in all the Potter-ness of the Hogwarts Express stations, slower parties almost always create a backup, as others wonder whether they should pass or struggle to squeeze by.

    The name of the game is speed when it comes to OHRC, and guest experience doesn’t have much of a place in this area. When you’re pushing the guests to get in the vehicle quickly, they often miss out on some of the smaller details they might have enjoyed along the way.

    2. It leaves little time for questions

    Seuss Trolley Vehicle

    When you’re worried about filling up every vehicle to capacity, you don’t have as much time to field guest questions, particularly in positions like grouper or load, where moving guests through is a primary concern. This is an inconvenient time for a party to start wondering whether they’re about to get on a roller coaster, or inquire about the cool Imagineering features in the area, but that won’t always stop them from trying.

    As a Cast Member, it can be frustrating to have to rush through the process of getting guests settled, passing over questions and concerns that you don’t always have time to answer fully.

    3. It creates a hurried loading process

    Dr Doom's Fearfall

    Loading ride vehicles usually goes smoothly. Most parties are aware of how many people they have, know how to follow directions, and get in line promptly. However, there are always occasions when things get sticky. At Universal, it’s not uncommon to encounter guests whose body proportions are such that they won’t fit in the constrictive ride restraints. Guests with prosthetic limbs, loose shoes, and common flyaway items like hats and sunglasses are a major concern on many of Universal’s roller coasters.

    OHRC demands that you load and dispatch vehicles in a limited amount of time, yet you have to scan every guest for safety quickly and efficiently in this time. Trying to keep one eye on the clock and the other on guests who are trying to lap-seat a child or hold onto a video camera during their ride can create a much tenser environment than guests realize.

    4. It can seem impossible to satisfy

    Empty queue

    In some areas, OHRC seems like a mythical creature you’ll never quite capture. There are a number of things that will pull down OHRC. Slow guests in a particularly engaging queue can make it nearly impossible to pull people through in the allotted amount of time. You can’t meet OHRC if the queue is empty, either. Attractions almost never hit their OHRC early in the morning, particularly at the back of the park, because guests simply haven’t gotten there yet.

    OHRC is more of a concern in some areas than others, and there are always seasons when managers are pushing these numbers harder than others. When there’s a big push to hit the numbers, however, it often feels like there’s a corresponding spike in frustration among Cast and Team Members who find the magic numbers seemingly impossible to hit in certain situations.

    5. It makes interactive queues pointless

    Seven Dwarfs Mine Train queue

    Interactive queues are one of Disney’s favorite new features. They give you a wealth of games and mini-shows to experience while you’re waiting in line. You can explore some of the latest and greatest in Imagineering as you explore the special effects, meet engaging audio-animatronics, and try to solve crafty riddles. That is, if you have time.

    If the line is short and you want to meet OHRC, the interactive queue becomes pointless. In fact, it’s more of a hindrance than a help. Setting a target number of guests that you need to push through the line is in direct opposition to the idea of giving them something slow and leisurely to enjoy on their way up to the ride.

    Though guests are rarely aware of OHRC, they can feel the frustrating effects of Cast or Team Members trying to hit it. Just keep in mind that the quicker you do rush onto the ride, the more you’ll ultimately fit in your day, even if you do miss some details along the way.