Virtual Queuing in 2021

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Burbs, 9th Feb 2021.

  1. Matt N

    Matt N TowersStreet Member

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    I’ve got to admit that I think this virtual queueing could possibly be really good, if it comes to fruition, and dependant on what form it takes.

    If it was free, like Fastpass+ at WDW, I think that would be terrific; we found Fastpass+ to be absolutely brilliant on our last Disney trip, so I think it would be good if something similar came to Alton Towers!
     
  2. Alsty

    Alsty TowersStreet Member

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    That link refers to Fastback tickets. Maybe there is a completely new system called Fastback? :smirk:
     
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  3. AT86

    AT86 TowersStreet Member

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    So it does! Lovely example of Towers attention to detail there.
     
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  4. AstroDan

    AstroDan TS Forum Team Team Member

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    No. Just no.

    I couldn't disagree with you more. ATR has far less capacity in its rides, hours - whilst improving - are inferior to most WDW parks and do you REALLY want to be plotting out your day at ATR like a military style operation!?

    This is potentially paper pushing.

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  5. Matt N

    Matt N TowersStreet Member

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    I appreciate that that kind of thing doesn’t appeal to everyone, but I must admit that I quite liked having some form of Fastpass available to everyone. And it doesn’t even govern your entire day; to begin with, WDW’s system only lets you reserve 3 ride slots at a time, and there is the option to pick up more later in the day if any are available. That’s how we scored some very convenient Flight of Passage Fastpasses on one of our trips to Animal Kingdom, for example. I don’t think FastPass+ governs your entire day, by any means; it didn’t when we went to Disney, anyway. It just offers the option to give every visitor a guaranteed place on a ride, and a short wait to go with it. We still found a fair degree of spontaneity within our park days, while also having a bit of structure to work around.

    I admit that I’ve personally always liked having a bit of a structure and routine to work around; being autistic, I’ve always liked to plan these things in advance to a degree, and to have a bit of a structure to work around. I’ll admit I’m not a very spontaneous person. Of course, it can’t plan your entire day, and I do like having a degree of spontaneity when visiting a theme park, but having a couple of ride slots to design my day around works quite well for me, I’ll admit.

    Admittedly, however, I can appreciate your concerns about Alton’s capacity to deal with such a system compared to WDW’s, and I’m also not sure if Alton would be able to afford a system quite as slick as WDW’s (I’ve heard that the implementation of FastPass+ was a huge digital infrastructure project costing an alleged 8-figure sum, which Alton almost definitely wouldn’t be able to afford.).

    I’m not saying that I felt like Alton needed this kind of system per se; I was perfectly happy with the way things worked last year, personally. I’m just saying that if such a system did arrive, I would quite happily accept it, and I do think it would be a nice thing to have. I appreciate that this sort of thing isn’t for everyone, however, and if it’s not for you, then that’s fair enough!

    Out of interest, what do you mean by “paper pushing”?
     
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  6. Rob

    Rob TS Forum Team Team Member

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    I personally think that the Fastpass system works better as Disneyland Resort rather than Walt Disney World. I dislike having to reserves rides months in advance!

    Clearly that is not going to be the case at Towers though. I'm still hopeful that their virtual queue system will simply be a replacement for fastrack.
     
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  7. imanautie

    imanautie TowersStreet Member

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    I hope it replaces rap as well, it takes some of the enforcement of timeouts out of staff hands.
     
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  8. jon81uk

    jon81uk TowersStreet Member

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    There is no way that any park in the world that currently offers paid Fast-track or express pass or flash-pass or speedy pass or q-bot will switch back to a Disney-style free system.

    The exception is where (as has been discussed) it is tried as the only method of queuing, for covid or other capacity reasons. But Volcano Bay proved it is hard to get 100% virtual queues working correctly.
     
  9. AstroDan

    AstroDan TS Forum Team Team Member

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    Simply that somebody, somewhere within the organisation is thinking up systems to use at Alton Towers that are either not needed or not logical.

    It then makes those responsible look like they're doing things but actually the work serves no purpose.

    Pushing papers to different locations on a desk. E.g. A waste of time, money and effort.

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  10. Rick

    Rick TowersStreet Member

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    Haven't you and thousands (feels like millions some days...) of other RAP users been a huge beneficiary of staff members sticking 10 minutes down for a 90 minute queue?
     
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  11. imanautie

    imanautie TowersStreet Member

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    Overall no, it makes it less accessible when they make rap effectively free fastrack, so having timeouts enforced by the system would be good if they can actually keep the data up to date.
    I know it seems like I'm arguing against my own interests, but it's in my interests for them to remain accessible
     
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  12. Rick

    Rick TowersStreet Member

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    Accessible = shorter wait with less people?
     
  13. Funcone

    Funcone TowersStreet Member

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    Looks down in horror at their RAP. "You've put 60 minutes"
    "There's a 60 minute queue"
    "You need disability awareness training"
     
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  14. imanautie

    imanautie TowersStreet Member

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    For me accessible= less people.

    It's not about the wait between rides, it's the people in the rap queue, I would much rather wait the full main queue time between rides if it meant I wasn't stuck in a queue pen packed so tightly (even during covid...) That I can't stim freely.

    Virtual queue could very well help by enforcing timeouts properly.
     
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  15. spinba11

    spinba11 TowersStreet Member

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    The only time I felt hard done by with the lockout time was when I waited at the smiler from 9 to 10 to be one of the first ones on and the host put 60 minutes on, now that’s unfair I think.
     
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  16. pluk

    pluk TowersStreet Member

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    You queued for an hour to use your pass that you have because you are unable to queue. Good stuff.
     
  17. RoyJess

    RoyJess TowersStreet Member

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    I can vouch that @spinba11 is a genuine RAP user (unlike others that take the P out of the system), without knowing each individual circumstances, it's unfair to tarnish everyone with the same brush.. I can only assume that 60 minutes was put on the RAP car because by the time it open, the queue time was 60 minutes. Life sucks for those that are genuinely disabled.
     
    Last edited: 16th Feb 2021
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  18. jon81uk

    jon81uk TowersStreet Member

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    I still think that Disney have got the balance right, make as many queues as possible wheelchair accessible. So those in wheelchairs join the standard queues in a lot of cases. For autism and similar where it is a sensory reason they can't join the line then come back after the standby wait time and this is managed in the app. When they return they join via the fastpass entrance. I think there are only a handful of rides where there is a third entrance and a couple where its enter via the exit for wheelchairs.

    If AT had more queues where a wheelchair could at least manage most of the queue (maybe a lift at the end if needed) it would sort out quite a few of the issues in my opinion (as someone who doesn't need a wheelchair).
     
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  19. John

    John TowersStreet Member

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    RAP was CREATED for wheelchair users. It's the entire reason it exists, it's simply been extended to allow more people to use it.
     
    Last edited: 16th Feb 2021
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  20. Kraken27

    Kraken27 TowersStreet Member

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    Exactly. Let's go back say 25 years & what most people would have considered to be "disabled" then would have been someone in a wheelchair / unable to walk or stand for a length of time. Hence the disabled access via ride exits - a/k/a RAP, in it's early incarnation.

    As times have moved on, more conditions have fallen under the disability umbrella, hence the demand for RAP has increased significantly.

    Back when I worked at Towers, if you turned up at Guest Services [as it was then] in Towers Street with a hearing aid on and played up your hearing loss a bit, it was an instant red wristband for ride exit access all day. Ditto for a suitably bandaged up "sprained ankle". They gave the wristbands out like confetti. And this was in the days when [genuinely] disabled guests got half price admission too. At least Towers / Merlin now demand suitable evidence.

    The Disability Discrimination Act changed a lot. You can't positively discriminate, i.e. offer half price admission, to disabled guests. They now pay full price, but get a free carer in for free. This is right.

    With regard to the "lockout" time. On the face of it, yes, they should have to wait the equivalent of the current normal queue time before their next RAP ride. But think of the topography of Alton Towers - it's quite steep in places, so a wheelchair pusher is going to get knackered. When I worked there we would let them have a couple of rides via RAP in close succession, then politely tell them that's it, go away, come back later in the day. In 99% of cases it worked (this is relating to wheelchair bound guests).

    I suspect the real abuse of RAP is coming from a minority of guests who are 100% able-bodied, but who have a condition that prevents them from using the normal queueline. RAP was always intended as "you are unable to queue for [whatever reason] so board via the exit, enjoy your ride, then move on and enjoy other rides" - not - "ride, re-ride & re-ride via the RAP entrance".

    I am sorry if this post sounds harsh in places, but as an ex-Towers employee I have seen guests use the RAP system exactly as it was intended - and those who take the p155 big-time.
     
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