Beyond FastPass+: How Amusement Parks Can Cut Lines With Digital Queuing

Have you ever been to an amusement park right when it opens? The first thing people do is run full-tilt to get a place in line for the most popular rides. As a ritual for amusement park die-hards, this race can be a rush, but it really represents people making the best of a bad situation. Waiting in line for rides has been an unavoidable burden of the amusement park experience, and the thought of getting footsore on the baking asphalt while packed in a serpentine queue has soured people on many a trip to amusement parks.

The good news? The digital age is here and everyone has a smartphone - that means with online queueing, amusement park patrons no longer need to waste half their day just waiting around. They can join a virtual line!

When they're not taking over the world with superheroes and Star Wars, Disney runs several successful theme parks, which now include the FastPass+ system. These bracelets allow visitors who've scheduled their visit at least 60 days early skip the line at up to three rides per park per day. FastPass+ is the buzz of the theme park industry, and it's a wonderful idea. But there's no need to rely on a fancy bracelet or limit your visitors to three skipped rides a day when all you really need is a phone and an app to avoid standing in any lines.

The FastPass+ system relies on booking far in advance and limiting the number of line-skips per wristband to account for the logistics of people avoiding lines in a busy theme park. But with a simple digital queuing app, amusement park visitors can book all their rides in advance or in the moment, wander the park as they like, and receive regular updates sent to their smartphones on when it's their turn to visit a particular ride. FastPass+ users are told to save their skips for certain popular rides and to endure the line for others, but with a virtual line for every ride, show, and restaurant, amusement parks could make long customer lines a thing of the past - replaced with more of those churning crowds dotted with balloons and cotton candy that really define the park experience.

And these big crowds could mean big windfalls for amusement parks and carnivals. When people are not stuck waiting they are instead free to visit concessions stands, splurge at gift shops, play carnival games, and even sit down for a meal. The more activities a patron squeezes in per visit, the more opportunities they have to create revenue for their hosts. Being stuck in line means you can only watch as other people walk by with funnel cakes and bags of popcorn, while being free to wander means you can go grab whatever you want and still enjoy the rides when it's your turn. With a digital queueing system, the days of long lines for the hottest rides will be over, and all those excited park-goers will be free to shop, chow down, or just enjoy their experience.