Earlier this year, Universal Orlando Resort opened its first water park, Volcano Bay. And as you might already know, this park was built from the ground up to utilize a virtual queue system that gets rid of lines altogether, instead having guests reserve a time to return to slides they want to experience. However, Volcano Bay’s first few days haven’t exactly gone well, and it is clear that Universal needs to tweak this system over the summer to make sure that guests have amble opportunities to experience this park’s various attractions without having to deal with multi-hour waits and “ride full” notices in the middle of the day.
However, even though Universal has had a little bit of trouble with this system out of the gate, the park is continuing to bet big on virtual queue technology. Not only does the current Race Through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon attraction utilize this technology, but Universal announced a few days ago that the new The Fast and the Furious: Supercharged attraction, which is expected to open next year, will also use a virtual queue, with no standby option available.
Though comparisons to Walt Disney World’s FastPass+ system are inevitable (after all, Universal’s in-park system allows guests to reserve times to ride attractions with their phone similar to My Disney Experience), there are some key differences and issues that Universal will need to address in the years ahead as they expand and continue to develop this new virtual line system
Where to put guests?
One big issue that guests ran into at Volcano Bay during its opening days was a lack of things to do. While Volcano Bay does have a beach, lazy river, and kiddie areas for guests to enjoy while they are waiting to experience an attraction, if Universal is serious about expanding this virtual-only queue system, there may be an issue with what to do with guests who are not in line.
While Universal Studios Florida and Islands of Adventure both have great dining spots and a smattering of live entertainment, this simply isn’t enough for the majority of guests who won’t be waiting in line, and may end up just wandering the parks listlessly while waiting for virtual queue return times.