January 17, 2011

More on Queuing: Disney World Edition

I recently had a discussion with my wife while waiting in a long queue at a wedding reception about queue management. One thing I found out is that I have been saying "balking" wrong (pronounced "bawking" like a chicken - no 'l'). We discussed ways that the bride and groom could have managed the line different to make the time pass a bit better, like more pictures and stories to see about the bride and groom, maybe a sign saying "expect 10 minutes from here", fast pass given to special guests, etc.

Here was an interesting New York Times article I stumbled on with some things that Disney does (hat tip Design For Service).  It is good article about taking queue management to an extreme and is worth a read.  Here are some excerpts:

In one corner, employees watch flat-screen televisions that depict various attractions in green, yellow and red outlines, with the colors representing wait-time gradations.
If Pirates of the Caribbean, the ride that sends people on a spirited voyage through the Spanish Main, suddenly blinks from green to yellow, the center might respond by alerting managers to launch more boats.
Another option involves dispatching Captain Jack Sparrow or Goofy or one of their pals to the queue to entertain people as they wait.
The following sounds like revenue or demand management applied to queuing:
What if Fantasyland is swamped with people but adjacent Tomorrowland has plenty of elbow room? The operations center can route a miniparade called “Move it! Shake it! Celebrate It!” into the less-populated pocket to siphon guests in that direction.
 Behind-the-scenes systems — typically kept top secret by the company as it strives to create an environment where things happen as if by magic — are also highly computerized. Ride capacity is determined in part by analyzing hotel reservations, flight bookings and historic attendance data. Satellites provide minute-by-minute weather analysis.

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