Walt Disney World parks are finally looking to reopen! We are so excited about this news and have been anxiously waiting to learn more about how they will manage social distancing throughout the parks. It seems that one of the biggest challenges would be spacing Guests throughout the switchback queues (Disney prefers to use the word queue when discussing the “lines” or waiting areas for attractions) So, how you wait in line at Walt Disney World may be changing.
Why do I think This?
Several things indicate that processes will be changing at Walt Disney World.
Clearly Disney World is going to have to adjust how the queues are currently set up to facilitate social distancing. Changing the physical configurations of the queues to keep parties 6 feet apart will require more space and accommodate fewer people. Having fewer people in a larger space will not be a problem while the park capacities are significantly lower but Disney must look ahead. They will be looking at how they can increase their capacity while keeping crowding to a minimum. If they are going to make changes to facilitate this they might as well be changes that will enhance the Guest experience long term.
Disney Genie app
Putting systems into place to enhance the Guest experience is something Disney World has had in the works for a while.
In August of 2019, Disney announced that they would be releasing a new Disney Genie app in late 2020. The app was described as a planning tool that would revolutionize the Disney vacation experience. Based on your interests, the app will generate a customized itinerary. Guests can tell the Genie app what kind of experiences they are interested in and it will generate a personalized, optimized plan for your day. The p[an can be modified at any time and the app will offer recommended alternatives. Even before all of this craziness started, Disney had a large interest in guiding guests where they would like them to go for capacity and traffic flow reasons. Now more than ever The Disney Genie app would greatly assist Disney with managing both of these issues.
FastPass+ is Disney World’s current “virtual queue” system of reserving a place in line for select park attractions. It has never really panned out the way Disney had hoped and they have been trying to bandaid this flawed system for years. The fact that a FastPass+ reservation has to be made 30-60 days in advance, are almost impossible to get for popular attractions and you have to navigate a confusing tiered attractions system that has mostly led to Guest frustration with the whole process. There have been rumors for years about Walt Disney World implementing a paid FastPass system similar to those at Disneyland and Shanghai Disney. Despite the added cost, these systems have been well received by Guest and are more user friendly. A new paid FastPass system may be integrated into the Disney Genie app.
Shanghai Disneyland’s Disney Standby Pass
Shanghai Disneyland has started to trial Disney Standby Pass. This online tool allows Guests to reserve a time to ride select attractions. At this time the Disney Standby Pass is only available for The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh and Seven Dwarfs Mine train.
This is how it works:
- After entering the park, Guests open the Shanghai Disney Resort Official app and select “Get Standby Pass” and scan QR code on park ticket
- Create a party by linking your group member’s park tickets. All members of your party must be in the park
- Select the attraction you want to get a Standby Pass for
- Select and confirm an available time
- To Redeem, go to the attraction’s entrance at the designated time and show your QR code on your app or park ticket
Things to know:
- Disney Standby Passes will be released in the App on an hourly basis, based on that day’s official park operating hours.
- The quota for each day is limited and will be allocated on a first-come, first-served basis.
- Guests with a Disney Standby Pass must enter attractions via the designated Disney Standby Pass entrances. Everyone in the party must have their own Disney Standby Pass, which is linked to their park tickets.
This system seems be run very similar to the virtual queue used for Rise of the Resistance. It really is not all that different than a Disney World FastPass except you don’t schedule them 30-60 day s before arrival! It is still not completely clear if all of the Disney Stanby Passes released for the entire day right at park opening or if they are released through out the day. There have been conflicting reports on this.
How You Wait in Line at Walt Disney World May Change
With all of the changes in park operations and things like the Disney Genie app already in the works, I think it is fair to assume that waiting in line at Walt Disney World will not be the same. Ideally, Disney will use the technology they have to implement some kind of virtual queuing system that does not require us to schedule rides months before our trip. I am also hopeful, but not very optimistic about, keeping an unpaid FastPass type system in place. And we can only pray that whatever they come up with will not require a degree in Disney terminology, a spreadsheet, and 15 Disney export opinions for us to decipher. This is actually a great opportunity for Disney World parks to improve the overall Guest experience.