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  1. #1

    • Armchair Imagineer
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    Low Capacity Rides -- Why Does Disney Still Design Them?

    I am ecstatic that California Adventure has gotten off to a great start! But I am concerned about the attraction wait times noted in the following photos (taken from the MiceAge report posted today):
    Name:  little mermaid wait.jpg
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    The Little Mermaid attraction has a high ride capacity and although it remains popular, the wait times are excellent.

    Name:  luigi tires wait time.jpg
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    But on the brand new Luigi's Flying Tires, the wait time is very long.
    Why does Disney keep designing low capacity attractions? Certainly the Imagineers have the talent to design "C" and "B" Ticket attractions with high rider capacity. What is their reasoning?

  2. #2

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    Re: Low Capacity Rides -- Why Does Disney Still Design Them?

    The "Emperor Has No Clothes" Answer:

    Imagineering is not what it used to be (circa 1980-1994). Yes, they get roadblocks and obstacles thrown up in front of them constantly by upper management and the bean counters and the lawyers, but even so, they make mistakes constantly nowadays and when they make them, they often don't learn from them and make them again. Too many extremely old yes-men and too many newbies that only want to change the attractions everyone loves already and treat them like their own personal sandbox.

  3. #3

    • Boise Mouse
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    Re: Low Capacity Rides -- Why Does Disney Still Design Them?

    We didn't make it to Cars Land during our trip, but from what I have seen, Luigi's Tires is a mess of a wait. I guess getting to the parks early will be more important now than ever. Do you think it has alleviated the TSM wait at all? (That's my favorite ride I think, but the wait is simply too long unless you are there at RD.)


  4. #4

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    Re: Low Capacity Rides -- Why Does Disney Still Design Them?

    It's good business sense to make low capacity attraction because it keeps guests in park longer. If all attractions were people eaters like mermaid then guests would go on every attraction early in the day and cut day their day in the park.


    Shorter days equal less spending on food and merchandise.

  5. #5

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    Re: Low Capacity Rides -- Why Does Disney Still Design Them?

    Good question. Unfortunately, capacity isn't something you can just decide to increase or decrease willy-nilly, without affecting other parts of the experience. There are always tradeoffs, every time. That's not to say that lower-capacity ride systems are BETTER, but they can often have advantages not afforded by lower-capacity ride systems.

    You cited Mermaid as an example. Mermaid does indeed have a pleasantly high capacity, like any decent Omnimover. That's a good thing for Disney and for its guests. But there are disadvantages, too. Omnimovers attain their high capacity by reducing the spacing between ride vehicles to a bare minimum, and they do that by coupling them all together. This means that no matter where you are, you will always be surrounded by a visible line of ride vehicles. There will never be any sense that yours is the only vehicle experiencing this adventure. It also means that the vehicles cannot change their speed in different scenes, since all changes have to occur attraction-wide simultaneously. By extension, that also means you'll experience more of what most people call "breakdowns" (actually caused by guests taking too long to load or unload in most cases). In a non-Omnimover, a single ride vehicle can be delayed for a moment without affecting the rest of the ride vehicles, but not so with an Omnimover. If one stops, they all stop. Yet another negative side effect of minimal vehicle spacing is that you can't time events to the vehicle's passing. In other words, the entire attraction has to simply operate in continuous loops that provide more or less the same content at any point in time, since you never know when you're going to enter the scene. Last but not least, the continuous motion of the ride vehicles necessitates a moving walkway for loading and unloading, which makes both processes more difficult and potentially more dangerous when some guests inevitably ignore the fact that the ground is moving.

    So yes, Omnimovers are great for capacity, but they bring their own challenges, and that's the case with ANYTHING you could possibly do to increase capacity. For example......you can increase a ride vehicle's capacity by making it wider, but that means the scenes need to be wider and the whole attraction needs to be larger (more $$$, less intimacy). You can also make the ride vehicles longer (as roller coasters do), but then you've got syncing issues to deal with. If you're not going with an Omnimover system, you can only reduce vehicle spacing so much before safe operation becomes impossible. You can make the entire ride faster, reducing the dispatch interval, but that means the attraction is over more quickly and probably will be thrilling enough to exclude certain demographics. You can add multiple tracks/theaters/cabins/etc, but that means more space, which again means more money.

    See what I mean? Anything you do to increase an attraction's capacity has downsides, too. Same goes for "flat rides." There are only two ways to increase capacity: shorten the dispatch interval (meaning shorter ride and/or faster unload/load/restraint check) or increase the number of people who can ride simultaneously (meaning bigger attraction, requiring more money in construction costs AND operation costs, because you need more CM's to check all the restraints in the same amount of time). For example, let's say they made Luigi's half as long and twice as physically large. The capacity would be a lot more impressive, but Disney would need to pay a lot more money when building the attraction and when staffing CM's at the location, and people would be really disappointed by how short the experience is.

    Whew! Aren't you glad you asked?

  6. #6

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    Re: Low Capacity Rides -- Why Does Disney Still Design Them?

    I love that even in this photo, those damn Racers aren't working.

  7. #7

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    Re: Low Capacity Rides -- Why Does Disney Still Design Them?

    Quote Originally Posted by CMinParadise View Post
    You cited Mermaid as an example. Mermaid does indeed have a pleasantly high capacity, like any decent Omnimover. That's a good thing for Disney and for its guests. But there are disadvantages, too. Omnimovers attain their high capacity by reducing the spacing between ride vehicles to a bare minimum, and they do that by coupling them all together. This means that no matter where you are, you will always be surrounded by a visible line of ride vehicles. There will never be any sense that yours is the only vehicle experiencing this adventure.
    Unless the vehicles travel sideways, like they did with Horizons.

    Quote Originally Posted by CMinParadise View Post
    It also means that the vehicles cannot change their speed in different scenes, since all changes have to occur attraction-wide simultaneously. By extension, that also means you'll experience more of what most people call "breakdowns" (actually caused by guests taking too long to load or unload in most cases). In a non-Omnimover, a single ride vehicle can be delayed for a moment without affecting the rest of the ride vehicles, but not so with an Omnimover. If one stops, they all stop. Yet another negative side effect of minimal vehicle spacing is that you can't time events to the vehicle's passing. In other words, the entire attraction has to simply operate in continuous loops that provide more or less the same content at any point in time, since you never know when you're going to enter the scene. Last but not least, the continuous motion of the ride vehicles necessitates a moving walkway for loading and unloading, which makes both processes more difficult and potentially more dangerous when some guests inevitably ignore the fact that the ground is moving.
    Omnimovers aren't the only high capacity answer. If you have a ride that loads at a steady pace then vehicles accelerate once they leave the loading area, you can create some space to make it feel like a more intimate experience. Examples of this include Peter Pan's Flight at Walt Disney World and the original Journey Into Imagination.

    If you use this to create some space between vehicles, you can also adjust speed along the track as long as those speed changes are consistent for all vehicles. Which they should be on a theme park attraction. This was done on the Peoplemover where vehicles slowed down as they entered the buildings and sped up again once they were back outside. Of course higher speed does translates to a bigger attraction but that really has nothing to do with the ride system or how guests are loaded.

    The important number for capacity is how many people you can get on the ride over a period of time, not how many can be on the ride at once, so the ride length, speed, and space between cars are more up to artistic and budgetary concerns than capacity issues.
    It bothers me when people selectively edit quotes to support whatever point they are trying to prove.

  8. #8

    • Minion
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    Re: Low Capacity Rides -- Why Does Disney Still Design Them?

    Another aspect too is the LFT is brand spankin' new, so that affects wait time as well. In addition to the wonderful post by CMinParadise, it's also important to take ride length into account, not just volume. For example, POTC at WDW is shorter than at DLR, and I felt it really detracted from the entire ride, feeling so truncated. I'd rather wait longer for a more satisfying ride at DLR than be moved through the line faster at WDW but have less of an experience. I don't like waiting in line, but I don't want to be rushed through the parks either.

    Plus not all rides lend themselves to high capacity capabilities, and I think that's okay because it does take all kinds of attractions. If the entire resort were a big collection of omnimovers, I don't think I'd go. TLM and LFT are completely different ride experiences. Comparing the wait time and capacity is just apples and oranges.

  9. #9

    • Minion
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    Re: Low Capacity Rides -- Why Does Disney Still Design Them?

    Do anyone you feel like RSR is always down because they are trying to manage the crowds I checked back 3 times this past Monday and each time was down

    It's a music Celebration
    Come on, come on, come on
    Strike up the band,
    Feel the beat, what a great sensation
    Come on, come on, come on
    Move and clap your hands,
    Get into the Spirit
    Let everyone hear it,
    So come on, come on

  10. #10

    • keh!
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    Re: Low Capacity Rides -- Why Does Disney Still Design Them?

    The wait times aren't ALWAYS true. i got in line for RSR with a standby wait time of 120 minutes, we waited 90 minutes. last monday Luigi's Flying Tires read at 75 minutes, we got on in 35 minutes.

  11. #11

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    Re: Low Capacity Rides -- Why Does Disney Still Design Them?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dapper Dan View Post
    Unless the vehicles travel sideways, like they did with Horizons.
    I assume you mean the vehicles were always rotated so they were perpendicular to the direction of travel? Sorry, I never got to ride Horizons. If that's what you mean, that's true, although that brings its own design challenges.

    Omnimovers aren't the only high capacity answer.
    Definitely not, I was just using it as an example because that's what the OP mentioned.

    If you have a ride that loads at a steady pace then vehicles accelerate once they leave the loading area, you can create some space to make it feel like a more intimate experience. Examples of this include Peter Pan's Flight at Walt Disney World and the original Journey Into Imagination.

    If you use this to create some space between vehicles, you can also adjust speed along the track as long as those speed changes are consistent for all vehicles. Which they should be on a theme park attraction. This was done on the Peoplemover where vehicles slowed down as they entered the buildings and sped up again once they were back outside. Of course higher speed does translates to a bigger attraction but that really has nothing to do with the ride system or how guests are loaded.
    Very true. You still have to deal with the slight danger and inconvenience of loading and unloading in moving vehicles, but it's still a nice system.

    The important number for capacity is how many people you can get on the ride over a period of time, not how many can be on the ride at once, so the ride length, speed, and space between cars are more up to artistic and budgetary concerns than capacity issues.
    You're right that the number of people on the ride at one time has nothing to do with hourly capacity, but ride length, speed, and vehicle spacing absolutely do have an effect on it. For instance, if you hold the number of vehicles and the length of the track constant, speeding up the ride means a faster dispatch interval, which means more guests loaded each hour. If you decrease the space between ride vehicles (and add more vehicles) and keep everything else constant, you also get a faster dispatch interval that way.

    Just another example of tradeoffs I just thought of. One of the ways that Pirates and Small World keep their capacities so high is by not having any restraints to check. That speeds up the load/unload time, which is a component of the dispatch interval. The tradeoff there is safety-related: you can't design the attraction to be especially thrilling, and you also have to accept the increased risk of guests getting out of their seats.

  12. #12

    • Johnny and Me!
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    Re: Low Capacity Rides -- Why Does Disney Still Design Them?

    Quote Originally Posted by DARTH MAUL View Post
    I love that even in this photo, those damn Racers aren't working.
    They are working; the numbers on the wait time board don't go past 120 minutes. If it were broken, the window would be blank.

  13. #13

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    Re: Low Capacity Rides -- Why Does Disney Still Design Them?

    CMinParadise, Horizons - which IMHO - was the greatest Disney attraction in the history of the world EVER, had a unique vehicle in which all people were seated facing to the left, from the direction the vehicle was traveling. Kind of like the sideways seating in the Disneyland Railroad. Each vehicle held up to four people, providing a real intimacy. However, like all Omnimover-type vehicles, you did see the other riders/vehicles at times. I will say that I never felt like it reduced the enjoyment of the ride in any way.

  14. #14

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    Re: Low Capacity Rides -- Why Does Disney Still Design Them?

    CMinParadise had great points and it was also mentioned that when rides are new it creates challenges to any smooth operation whether from bugs or confused riders and possibly increased numbers of riders that need assistance.
    The thing I take from all of this is an appreciation of how much work it must be to take all the mentioned aspects of ride developement and challenges and to still create something unique and worth waiting in line an hour for in the first place. Not to mention riding many more times as I'm sure most people here would do.
    "...It's dead wore out I be...a might too fast these light footed wenches be, for the likes of an old swagbellied pirate such as I..."

    "*click-click-click-click-click-click-click.......sploosh!!*"(Sir Didymus)

  15. #15

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    Re: Low Capacity Rides -- Why Does Disney Still Design Them?

    Quote Originally Posted by CMinParadise View Post
    Same goes for "flat rides." There are only two ways to increase capacity: shorten the dispatch interval (meaning shorter ride and/or faster unload/load/restraint check) or increase the number of people who can ride simultaneously.
    I'm pretty sure this is what you're saying, but just wanted to emphasize the point: increasing the size of an attraction in order to increase hourly capacity only applies to "flat rides" - those where the entire attraction loads/unloads at the same time. So, Dumbo, Luigi's, etc.

    However, for continuously loading attractions like Pirates or RSR, the size/length of the attraction doesn't matter. Pirates could be only 4 minutes long or RSR could be 15 minutes long and the hourly capacity wouldn't be affected.

    Again, this seems to be what you are saying. I'm just repeating it for clarity.

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