You have reached your limit of free articles this month.

Enjoy unlimited access to SpringfieldNewsSun.com

Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks.

GREAT REASONS TO SUBSCRIBE TODAY!

  • IN-DEPTH REPORTING
  • INTERACTIVE STORYTELLING
  • NEW TOPICS & COVERAGE
  • ePAPER
X

You have read of premium articles.

Get unlimited access to all of our breaking news, in-depth coverage and interactive features. Starting at just 99c for 8 weeks.

X

Welcome to SpringfieldNewsSun.com

Your source for Clark and Champaign counties’ hometown news. All readers have free access to a limited number of stories every month.

If you are a News-Sun subscriber, please take a moment to login for unlimited access.

More theme parks make sure waiting in line is long on fun


By Hugo Martin

Los Angeles Times

With theme park lines only getting longer, theme parks are investing big money to make wait time less boring, more comfortable and, in the process, seemingly shorter.

The efforts make good business sense because long queues are one of the biggest gripes of theme park guests.

“If you reduce the wait, whether real or perceived, it is critical,” said Jim MacPhee, senior vice president at Walt Disney World Parks, which has launched an extensive effort to inject more fun in ride lines.

It’s a trend that has surged in the last year, with new examples for interactive queues opening up at Florida and Southern California theme parks including Disneyland, Universal Studios Hollywood and Six Flags Magic Mountain. The queues feature videos, interactive games and animatronic characters to entertain waiting riders.

At some parks, jugglers and other entertainers are dispatched where lines are extra long.

Attendance for the top 20 major theme parks in North America has grown 7 percent from 2007 to 2012, according to estimates by Aecom, a Los Angeles engineering and consulting firm.

Because of the growing crowds, theme park insiders say, the average visitor has time for only nine or 10 rides per day. That means a lot of time is spent standing in lines.

One of the first efforts by theme parks to address long lines came as early as 1999 when Disney parks introduced the Fastpass, which lets park visitors return to a ride at a scheduled time to use a shorter line. The idea of “virtual queuing” was eventually introduced at other parks such as Six Flags, which offers guests the Flash Pass. The passes are free.

Visitors who are willing to pay extra can buy front-of-the-line or VIP passes at most theme parks to get access to shorter lines.

For everyone else, the lines are still long but, in some cases, more entertaining.

Disney World in Orlando has been adding games and other distractions to the lines for several years. But some of the most elaborate entertainment has been added in the last two years as new rides are installed or old attractions are renovated.

“When the opportunity presents itself, we will add an interactive queue,” MacPhee said.

In the line for the Haunted Mansion, guests can touch gravestones that play music or squirt water.

In the line for the Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, visitors can use their hands to write on a wall of simulated dripping honey or play music on plastic pumpkins and watermelons.

The distractions were vital on a recent summer day when the wait time for the Winnie the Pooh ride was more than an hour.

Kelly Ferreri, who travels from Pennsylvania to Disney World every year with her family, watched her three children, ages 1, 3 and 6, play with the pumpkins and honey wall as she waited in line.

“It’s definitely beneficial,” she said of the games. “It keeps kids entertained for all the time that they would be standing in line. It’s beautiful.”


Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Business

RECALL: Beer company issues recall impacting Ohio
RECALL: Beer company issues recall impacting Ohio

Beer company Sierra Nevada has voluntarily recalled some beers that could have small pieces of glass within the bottles. The company announced recalls after inspections at the company’s brewery in North Carolina found a limited number of bottle were flawed. The flaw could result in loss of carbonation and a small piece of glass could break off...
Speedway to hire 1,000 workers across 9 states
Speedway to hire 1,000 workers across 9 states

Speedway will hire 1,000 workers in nine Midwest states and will host open interviews at each of its stores in the region later this month. The convenience store chain, with a headquarters in Enon, will host open interviews from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 25 at every one of its stores in nine states, according to information from the company...
Holiday debt blues? Here’s help getting on track
Holiday debt blues? Here’s help getting on track

John North is president of the Dayton Better Business Bureau. With the holidays behind you, the new year is a great time to get your finances back on track if you’ve slipped a bit. By dedicating yourself to using credit responsibly and sticking to a sensible plan, then you can effectively pay down your debt. According to debt.org, total U.S....
New shopping center proposed at long-vacant Springfield site
New shopping center proposed at long-vacant Springfield site

A new retail development is likely coming to the east side of Springfield at a longtime vacant property, the first major commercial growth there in several years. The Springfield Board of Zoning Appeals approved Wednesday night a variance for the former Roberds site in the 3000 block of East Main Street. City documents filed by developer Springfield...
Gmail phishing scam may lead users to give up login info
Gmail phishing scam may lead users to give up login info

A new phishing scam is allowing hackers to gain access to unsuspecting Gmail users' accounts and target their login credentials, according to recent reports. Mark Maunder, CEO of security service Wordfence, described the scam in detail in a blog post, adding that it is also targeting other services beyond Gmail. Tech Times reported that the scam involves...
More Stories