Monday, January 19, 2009

Disney key points to master the lines

Shopping in a total experience, from the entrance to the exit of the store. Disney since the early years understood this basic law and in his resort parks is extremely attached to details (retail is detail, no ?). Walt Disney was a fabulous utopian and he defined his resort as a small "perfect" society. With around 40 attractions and so many visitors, lines are compulsory. The magic of Disney is to have implemented a smart management of the lines to avoid most of the drawbacks and keep intact the fabulous souvenir for the customer.

Lines management in Disney include the following principles :

- Keep moving : the lines are always dynamic, you don't wait staying on the same spot but it's a continuous walk. No time to despair, just get the impression that it's useful, a perfect illusion of progress !

- The basic principle of first come, first served is strictly observed. The "fastrack" option allows you to cut some queues but always in a democratic way. Nobody can "keep you the place" which has disastrous consequences for the others (have you ever noticed the impact on others of someone with more than 10 products in the fast check out at the supermarket ?).

- You never see the final destination from the beginning. Usually, you don't see the people waiting at the entrance. The real queue begins after having walked some meters... unless it's the end of the day where Disney cast member let see the people wait at the entrance to discourage others to get here.

- There's always something to look at. The mazes are constructed like a snake in a sense that you regularly get contact with the same people. Visitors become part of the attraction. Also, some visual distraction are disseminated with great sense of details. You get some (very) short views about the coming attraction that makes the suspense growing !

- At the entrance of the attraction, you get information about the average waiting time. Have you ever noticed that this information is a bit overestimated ?  Other way to give a good impression (a bargain time !).

More interested in the anthropology of Disney Resort Parks ? Have a look at Vinyl leaves - Walt Disney World and America by Stephen M. Fjellman

Photo credit express monorail,  clydeorama and danregal all on Flickr


martial said...

Let's try one of my tips now : you simply buy an expensive room in the best hotel in the park, and then get a free access to the attractions, no queue, bypassing the crowd…..Is this really first come first serve ????

Grégoire Kaufman said...

Interesting hint Martial. But don't you think that your idea to allow privilege to the richest would break the rule of equality between clients. I mean, people really dislike that someone else break the line and pass in front of you when you have such a long wait ?

In the US (at least), Disney developed the Fast pass, a system that allow any visitor to get 1 attraction / hour with less than 15' wait with previous slot booking and... free of charge !