Theme Parks Want You to Sit on a Couch Instead of Wait in Line

Credit: skift.com

Universal Orlando Resort  / Associated Press

Theme parks are trying to make waiting in line less painful. A new ride featuring Jimmy Fallon at Universal Studios in Orlando has "virtual lines" that lets visitors explore or watch live entertainment while they wait. Universal Orlando Resort / Associated Press



Skift Take: Theme parks have been finding ways for the last several years to help visitors cut to the front of lines or at least endure the wait with distracting games. Eliminating queues altogether will take some logistical heavy lifting, but we bet the effort would pay off with guests spending more money in their newfound free time.

— Hannah Sampson

At Universal Orlando Resort’s new “Race Through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon” ride, waiting in line has been replaced by lounging on couches and listening to a racy barber shop quartet sing until it’s time to enter the ride.


Universal is leading the theme-park charge into “virtual lines” that give visitors options for exploring a park or watching live entertainment instead of the tedium of looking at someone’s back as you inch forward step by step to the thrill ride.


“It’s kind of a bit of a science experiment for all of us,” said Jason Surrell, a Universal creative director said about the “queue-less” waits. “We’ve known for years that waiting in line is one of the biggest dis-satisfiers in our guests’ day.”


Universal is also trying the concept at another attraction. Later this year, when Universal opens its new Volcano Bay water park in Orlando, visitors will be given wristbands that will alert them when it’s their turn to get on a ride.


“I think it represents the future of what we’re going to be doing in themed entertainment,” Surrell said. “I kind of joke that this is the first step on a journey that will eventually lead us to a generation that doesn’t even know about theme park lines. It will be ‘What do you mean, wait in a queue? What’s that, Grandpa?'”


Virtual lines are the latest evolution in theme parks’ efforts to shorten or eliminate waits for rides, or if waits are necessary evils, to improve the experience of biding one’s time.


Almost two decades ago, those efforts were concentrated on elaborately-designed “pre-ride” lines such Universal’s The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man, which goes past an elaborately-detailed “Daily Bugle” newsroom.


A few years later came the ride reservations systems of the FastPass and Express Pass at Disney and Universal parks, respectively, in which ride-goers are assigned periods of time to show up for rides. But those reservations need to be made ahead of time, for the most part, and visitors can only make them on three rides a day.


Universal opens that concept to everybody, not just advanced planners, with its two new attractions, while also offering entertainment during the wait.


“Everybody is trying to do this, working not only on the rides but how to get you on the rides,” said Dennis Speigel, who heads the theme park consulting firm, International Theme Park Services. “Universal is at the forefront right now.”


The Jimmy Fallon attraction and the Volcano Bay water park take different approaches to virtual lines.


At the Jimmy Fallon attraction, which opens next month, visitors enter an area made to look like the lobby of a Rockefeller Center building. Instead of getting in line, they can meander through the lobby looking at photos and memorabilia of past and present “Tonight Show” hosts and watch TVs playing clips of hosts Steve Allen, Jack Paar, Johnny Carson, Jay Leno and Jimmy Fallon. Up a flight of stairs are a lounge with couches, half a dozen consoles with touch screens displaying “Tonight Show” videos and a theater stage. Visitors can hang out in the lounge area, charging their phones or talking while they wait. They can dance or take photos with an actor in the costume of Hashtag the Panda, a staple character from Jimmy Fallon’s show or listen to a performance from “The Ragtime Gals,” an incarnation of the barber shop quartet which is also a staple of the TV show.


Visitors will be notified it’s their turn to go on the ride either through a message on their phone app or a more old-fashioned color-coordinated scheme. Those visitors without the app will be given a colored ticket and when it’s their turn, lights in the waiting area will flash their color and the singers will announce the color.


Universal hasn’t released many details about how virtual lines will work at Volcano Bay, other than to say a watch-like device named “TapuTapu” will be given to visitors. It will flash “Ride Now” when it’s their time to go on a ride.


Technology and our growing impatience with waiting are driving the move toward virtual lines, Speigel said.


The proliferation of cell phone apps, along with the development of wristbands that emit radio signals, pioneered by Disney and able to track movement, made the virtual lines technically possible. America’s growing impatience with waiting, from speed dating to Amazon Prime’s two-hour deliveries makes it culturally imperative.


“Nobody wants to stand in line. We want to be first,” Speigel said. “It’s just the way society is evolving.”


Copyright (2017) Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


This article was written by Mike Schneider from The Associated Press and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.







Top Stories

You HAVE to See The Egg Recipe the Internet Can’t Stop Talking About

If cloud eggs haven't made their way into your social feeds, just you wait.
  • 9 hours ago
  • 12

The New York Film Academy opens its latest outpost in Mumbai

As if budding filmmakers needed more reasons to stay in Mumbai, the New York Film Academy (Nyfa.edu), an international film and performing arts school, has announced its new location in the city, in Lower Parel. The school will offer two short-term courses: an eight-week filmmaking workshop and a four-week acting workshop. Students can expect to find […] The post The New York Film Academy opens its latest outpost in Mumbai appeared first on VOGUE India.
  • 1 day ago
  • 10

Video: Changing Behavior of Asian Travelers Is Reshaping Brand Expectations

It won't surprise anyone that Asian travel is a big theme. But this presentation covers a few changes in consumer behaviors that travel brands ignore at their peril. -Sean O'Neill
  • 7 hours ago
  • 9

Highest Paid Travel Tech CEOs and 5 Other Digital Trends This Week

These are the digital trends we were talking about this week. -Sarah Enelow
  • 2 days ago
  • 8

This simple yoga technique can boost focus and make your skin glow

You know it’s called a monkey mind because it keeps jumping from one thought to another. Ancient yogis estimated that we think—on an average—about 60,000 thoughts a day. Today you can multiply that number by at least a 100. It’s no wonder we find it difficult to focus on a task, and that we are […] The post This simple yoga technique can boost focus and make your skin glow appeared first on VOGUE India.
  • 21 hours ago
  • 8

Latest in Travel

22 oversized shirts you need if you love combining style with comfort

Summer is here, and  you’ll be looking for a stealthy new way to show some skin. Enter the oversize button-down shirt, the simple transitional staple you never knew you needed—until now. Even if you’re no stranger to the supersize style (nothing beats a boyfriend’s button-down for bed) and remain unfazed by the no-pants trend (Rihanna, […] The post 22 oversized shirts you need if you love combining style with comfort appeared first on VOGUE India.
  • 15 minutes ago

Bollywood’s fresh-out-of-bed Instagrams are unbelievably flawless

Among all social media platforms, Instagram wins for real-life-like content—Facebook usually requires work (well-thought-through statuses, curated vacation photo albums and carefully-selected profile and cover images) while Snapchat documents even the most random moments of a person’s day. When it comes to Bollywood celebrities, their Instagram profiles are a direct peek into their lives—which movie they’re promoting, […] The post Bollywood’s fresh-out-of-bed Instagrams are unbelievably flawless appeared first on VOGUE India.
  • 15 minutes ago

The most refreshing body scrubs to put in your cart right now

Think body scrubs and the first thing that comes to your mind is probably sugar. From sweet store-bought versions to actually using organic sugar mixed with coconut oil, it’s one of the most popular variants and caters very well to those with extremely dry skin. However, for the rest of us who’d prefer ingredients less […] The post The most refreshing body scrubs to put in your cart right now appeared first on VOGUE India.
  • 15 minutes ago

Where to stay in Sri Lanka in under Rs 7,000

Are you looking to get away from the daily grind for a few days but haven’t saved enough during the year to spend on an exotic summer vacation? We understand satisfying your wanderlust can often feel like a bit of a splurge, but don’t pack away your passports just yet. Click through our slideshow and check […] The post Where to stay in Sri Lanka in under Rs 7,000 appeared first on VOGUE India.
  • 15 minutes ago

All the trends that will be big this holiday season

The term ‘cruise fashion’ was conceived out of necessity. Back in the day, sophisticated travellers would request couture houses to create special collections during holiday season which would be shipped from Paris to New York on cruises. This information was shared by way of short videos before the Dior show took place in Los Angeles. […] The post All the trends that will be big this holiday season appeared first on VOGUE India.
  • 15 minutes ago

Kareena Kapoor Khan and Amrita Arora Ladak’s BFF workout

Everyone knows that the best way to maintain a workout schedule is to exercise with a partner. And if you’ve been avoiding the gym this summer, Kareena Kapoor Khan and Amrita Arora Ladak’s latest Instagrams will bring you right back on track (and into your forgotten track pants). The best friends, who also attend the […] The post Kareena Kapoor Khan and Amrita Arora Ladak’s BFF workout appeared first on VOGUE India.
  • 1 hour ago

The next big thing in the It-girl’s wardrobe? Naked pants

Summer style calls for crop tops, swimsuits and short shorts. As the sun and the sand beckon and we get our sun dresses out, international celebrities are sporting their best beach style—only it’s nowhere close to the beach. Crochet is a summer staple, but this season, its evolved from the cute summer blouse to the […] The post The next big thing in the It-girl’s wardrobe? Naked pants appeared first on VOGUE India.
  • 1 hour ago

How Dior, Balenciaga, and more labels are finding inspiration in the past

Fashion always seems to be looking back to another, oft-considered “better” time. In 2014, the ’70s were everywhere; in 2015, it was the ’90s. We have a sneaking suspicion the ’60s are due for a resurgence—this year marks the 50th anniversary of the Summer of Love, after all. Lately, a few designers have taken a […] The post How Dior, Balenciaga, and more labels are finding inspiration in the past appeared first on VOGUE India.
  • 1 hour ago

10 sunny yellow dresses for days you need cheering up

Citrus yellow has long-been hailed as the definitive shade of summer. And quite right, too. Why, what better hue to radiate seasonal joy than the colour of sunshine itself? However, when it comes to considering this sartorially you may want to veer away from zesty tones and acid brights, which can appear jarring on the […] The post 10 sunny yellow dresses for days you need cheering up appeared first on VOGUE India.
  • 1 hour ago

Irrfan Khan’s summer wardrobe might just be cooler than yours

Irrfan Khan is a maverick. He has forged his own inimitable path through his cinema. As varied as his choices may be, he has always wowed us with his work. But Khan’s individuality extends beyond the powerhouse of talent that he is. His appearances show fashion that is unique, embracing a wild, fun and distinctive […] The post Irrfan Khan’s summer wardrobe might just be cooler than yours appeared first on VOGUE India.
  • 1 hour ago

Gucci rewrites history in Florence’s Pitti Palace

Gucci’s Alessandro Michele is as much a historian as he is a creative director. For Gucci’s Resort 2018 show, Michele brought the brand back to its home in Florence, imbuing his collection with heritage, irreverence, and some kitschy charm. Here are the six things to know about the 115-look show. The SettingFlorence’s Pitti Palace was the […] The post Gucci rewrites history in Florence’s Pitti Palace appeared first on VOGUE India.
  • 1 hour ago

10 lessons in power dressing from Claire Underwood of ‘House of Cards’

To celebrate House of Cards season five coming to our Netflix accounts on May 30, we’re taking lessons in power dressing from one half of the ultimate power couple: Claire Underwood. Robin Wright’s House of Cards character Claire Underwood isn’t just formidable when it comes to politics – her reign continues in the sartorial department. […] The post 10 lessons in power dressing from Claire Underwood of ‘House of Cards’ appeared first on VOGUE India.
  • 1 hour ago