Posted: 2:37 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 1, 2012 Disney spends millions to shorten ride wait times
ORANGE COUNTY —
As with all magic, it's what you don't see that pulls off the trick.
A visitor to Walt Disney World would have no idea about the park's multimillion dollar project to shorten ride wait times.
"We want our guests to have a hassle-free experience. Let's face it, waiting in line is a hassle," said Brian Britain, vice-president of park operations for Disney World.
So when Space Mountain was closed, crews sped up the vehicles at the loading dock by a half second.
It's a miniscule amount of time with a big payoff.
"By saving a fraction of a second, we're able to provide a half million more guest experiences," said Britain.
At Pirates of the Caribbean, a water jet now loads boats a split-second faster and 700,000 more guests each year can hop on board, according to Disney.
There have also been some major changes, like the new Dumbo Flying Circus, where there is no line.
Riders get a pager. The children can play in the indoor playground and the pager goes off when it's time to fly.
All of the changes are overseen in one of Disney's top secret rooms. Park officials monitor multiple cameras, use complicated algorithms, and computer simulations to calculate exact wait times.
"What our operators do here in the dock, is they input the data into their computer and then it will tell us, based on where guests are in the queue," said Britain. "It will allow us to post a wait time that's more accurate."
Disney said they are right on a wait time, almost to the second.
So far, about 20 of the busiest rides at Disney World have been tweaked as part of the "added capacity" program.