Before the advent of smartphones and video games, Disney World bosses didn’t think too much about queues. But now that everyone’s impatient—and tweeting that impatience—they’ve employed heaps of new tech to track and organize growing lines for rides.
Underneath the Cinderella Castle at Walt Disney World in Florida, there’s a “nerve center” which has rows of TVs showing queues of people in either green; yellow or red outlines; denoting the time periods they’ve been waiting. Video cameras trained on queues feed the information into this underground fun-bunker, and overlay it with digital park maps.
While there will always be queues—you could argue that a line of people shows the ride is popular, therefore encouraging you to join the end of it—Disney honchos do try to keep people happy while waiting, claims the NY Times. They can either send more boats to collect you, if you’re waiting for the Pirates of the Caribbean ride for example, or radio in to one of the mascots to amble over and entertain. Video game stations by Space Mountain help while the time away, and an iPhone app gets people to where they’re going faster, thanks to GPS-enabled directions.
Disney World might look like just a theme park, but behind the scenes they have staff analyzing hotel reservations and flights, cross-referencing the data with previous years’ attendance, so they know how many rides can expect to be in use. In the last year, thanks to all of this tech they’ve employed, the average customer has been using 10 of the 40 rides available—prior to the last 12 months, it was just nine.
In the future, though, Disney is expected to use some more “magic” with its customers, with NFC built into wristbands for paying for items, as well as allowing mascots to remember and greet returning customers. It’s not quite Tinkerbell levels of magic, but isn’t technology almost there, when you think about it? [NY Times]
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