In this week's poll, we ask if you think that restaurant-style "virtual queuing" will replace traditional lines in theme parks.
With the intriguing news this week that Disney has unveiled the new interactive waiting area for the hugely popular Dumbo the Flying Elephant ride at the Magic Kingdom, it poses the question of whether this revolutionary style of queuing is likely to be seen throughout all theme parks in the future.
Dumbo is notorious as a ride that suffers from a chronically low capacity, and therefore painfully long wait times. As it is a favourite of smaller children, it isn't a ride that parents can just avoid - and they are then at the mercy of the long queues with tired, upset and frustrated children (and partners!).
The new system involves guests being handed a circus ticket-themed pager, which will notify them when it is their turn to ride the Dumbo attraction. By itself, that's nothing too special - restaurants have been doing this for years, and similar systems are available to guests willing to pay a premium at many theme parks. The real beauty, though, is that while they wait, kids and their parents will be able to take part in interactive games and other activities located in the circus tent.
For Dumbo, this new style of queuing system can only be an improvement on the previous situation. But will it work for all rides and attractions? Can you imagine being able to roam freely and explore Hogwarts Castle whilst waiting for your pager to alert you that it is your turn to ride Harry Potter the Forbidden Journey at Universal's Islands of Adventure, for example?
Due to the problem of long wait times for popular attractions, many theme parks have taken it upon themselves to spice up the queuing areas of their rides. A great example is another Islands of Adventure attraction, The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man, which immerses guests in the comic book's world and builds anticipation ahead of the ride experience. Still, there's no escaping the fact that it's a queue - and the novelty can wear off after a while.
The new style of virtual queuing system potentially offers designers much more freedom to develop a pre-ride experience that can be enjoyed time and time again. It also removes that heart-sinking feeling for guests of rounding the corner to find yet another section of slow-moving queue.
Are there downsides, though? Virtual queues and interactive wait areas won't come cheap, and parks may still be tempted just to through up a mass of fences instead. And could guests actually miss the sense of progress that comes from a line inching forwards, becoming frustrated that their pager hasn't buzzed yet?
So, do you think that virtual queuing will replace lines at theme parks in the future? Let us know what you think by voting in our poll below.
Will "virtual queuing" replace lines at theme parks?
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