Theory and practice of queue design

Discuss

25 Responses to “Theory and practice of queue design”

  1. matman says:

    If you’re into erudite analyses of Disney theme parks, I heartily recommend Long-Forgotten, which is a blog that focuses primarily on Disneyland’s Haunted Mansion. The author, who is a biblical scholar in his day job, argues that the Haunted Mansion, unlike most Disney theme park attractions, rises to the level of High Art.

    (I know the biblical scholar part may turn some people off, but he’s a real scholar, not a fundamentalist.)

    longforgottenhauntedmansion.blogspot.com

  2. bkad says:

    Having never been to a theme park before, I had no idea there was this kind of thought put into people waiting in lines! Makes sense, I guess.

  3. Ugly Canuck says:

    Well like David Bowie sang, “Remember – everybody has to wait in line”:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gC0CocHe2hE

    One day he’ll get his faculty together…

  4. Anonymous says:

    Why aren’t there body scanners at these parks?

  5. spocko says:

    I was hoping that someone would throw in the phrase that I heard about the Disney queue. The Waiting Adventure!

    I love that phrase. Turn something boring into and adventure!

  6. George Taylor at Imaginerding says:

    I have been a fan of Foxxfur’s Passport 2 Dreams since its inception. Her insight is amazing and, arguably, she is writing the very best stuff on themed design in the blogging world. Her work helps to legitimize what the Imagineers have been doing for more than 50 years as well as framing their work in a historical and pop culture setting.

    I have been very fortunate to have her guide me through the parks and discuss themed design in relation to its environment. Talk about eye opening!

    • Cory Doctorow says:

      I’m insanely jealous! I’d love to meet her someday (and, more importantly, so would my literary agent, whom I’ve turned on to her work and who would like to talk about a book project!)

  7. TheMadLibrarian says:

    Given the choice between an unamusing queue, and one which at least tried to be entertaining, guess which I’d pick. BTW, many parks now implement the “XX minute wait (approximately) from this point” signage in the lines. I don’t know about leaving the line for a bio break, then trying to return, however; it might be viewed as line jumping.

    Craw, by all means, stay away from theme parks and leave them to people who like them.

    • TheCrawNotTheCraw says:

      “Craw, by all means, stay away from theme parks and leave them to people who like them.” – Good advice.

      I also stay away from parades. They are boring beyond belief.

      But thanks, BB/Cory, for trying to make the subject interesting. I appreciate that much.

  8. Anonymous says:

    It’s sad that, as a theme park aficionado but now disabled, I no longer get to enjoy the normal queues at Disney. Except on the newest rides, wheelchair using guests enter from the exit and/or wait in plain corridors. Don’t get me wrong, Disney has done more than most park operators to make all it’s areas accessible to wheelchair using guests, but in those areas where access has been added after the fact, it’s not the same experience a non-disabled guest gets.

    Disney does provide disabled guests with great maps of where wheelchair queues are for each attraction and whether or not the wheelchair can be accommodated on the ride itself or if the guest will be expected to transfer onto the ride.

  9. mbaren says:

    Okay, fascinating, but link please! :)

  10. hershmire says:

    Oh, hay, here’s a link.

  11. sam1148 says:

    The Back to the Future Queue, at Universal Florida was excellent.

    Each little cluster of switchbacks had a story to tell.
    Missing the queue on low ride times, would diminish your experience.

  12. manicbassman says:

    ah yes… went to Drayton Manor last year… all the queues were designed so that you couldn’t see how long they were when joining… some of them were half an hour long and it was very difficult to actually determine how close to the front you were while in the queue… some parents are getting very anxious with kids screaming to go to the toilets but they didn’t dare leave the queues…

  13. TheCrawNotTheCraw says:

    What fun!

    Waiting in interminable-but-artistically-designed queues in a sterile, expensive theme park to see Las Vegas-style amusements with cartoon characters.

    Bah, humbug.

    P.S. Orlando is a dump.

    • adamnvillani says:

      Waaa! I am the enemy of fun! I hate fun! I am rational! Fun is not rational! I am cynical and this makes me better than sheeple!

      • TheCrawNotTheCraw says:

        Waaa! I like fun! My idea of fun is not standing in line with thousands of other people! I don’t consider them sheeple just b/c they like this! I am not cynical, but not obvilious to manufactured inconveniences, either! I don’t consider myself better than other people, but if a person considers *themselves* to be a sheeple, we probably don’t have much in common!

  14. Christopher Merritt says:

    Queue design is a very important part of attraction design. Disney of course has done the lion’s share of the best of them, but I do believe that the credit for the first “hidden switchback” queue goes to Wendell “Bud” Hurlbut – designer of Knott’s Berry Farm’s Calico Mine Ride, which opened 1960. You could make a case for Pacific Ocean Park’s Banana Train ride as well – but that queue was still mostly visible from the entry point…

    http://www.knottspreserved.com/Site/1960_-_1970/Pages/Calico_Mine_Train_-_1960.html

  15. 3dfreekshow says:

    Great article.. that someone can take the time to see this design from such a high level interactive process… thanks for the insight.. gave me a few great ideas! I do believe this sort of innovation can better enhance experiences for upcoming virtual environments.

  16. Anonymous says:

    Isn’t this an applied example of what magicians have been doing for centuries — misdirected attention, only what designers are doing here is directing attention away from … boredom?

    Dennis D. McDonald
    Alexandria, Virginia

  17. dbspin says:

    Forgive my ignorance – I’ve never been to Disneyland, but why have these kind of queue at all? Couldn’t they use issue visitors with fobs when they enter the park that register their interest in a ride, and buzz when the ride is ready (taken into account transit distance from where they are now in the park, etc)?

    • Fett101 says:

      That’s essentially what the Fast Pass system does. You get a ticket which tells you to come back at a certain time and wait in a much smaller line.

      There’s simply far too many people and the park is far too big for any sort of reservation buzzer to work.

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