Tuesday, January 27, 2015

WDW Interactive Queue Entertainment; What's next?

As I've mentioned in previous posts, YouTube is your friend.  I was watching a recent video that showed the new Interactive Queue Entertainment updates that were made to the Peter Pan attraction at WDW.

The things they come up with are great and always an improvement on the past.  The shadows are sooooo sharp and you can't really tell the difference of the animation and the guest.  Tinkerbelle in the bedroom is very cool as is the clap, Pixie Dust room.  I can't wait to try those things out.
The Disney Imagineers have been busy with these great side projects that has been going on for a decade or more.  There had to be someone, somewhere in Disney Mgmt. who asked, "How can we improve the Guest's experience in the parks?"  Or better yet, "How to make the guy that just spent a lot of $$$ forget that he is on a long line?"  Either way, the ideas they've come up with have been really good.
To explain further, I'm not talking about pre-show movies like they have in Muppets or Monster Inc., but the activities or entertainment to help you enjoy your Stand-By Line experience.  And, as far as I've determined, there are three main type of these Interactive Queue Experiences(IQE).  The first is the large animatronic kind of distraction.  Buzz Lightyear and Mr. Potato Head are two great examples.  As well as Stitch. 
The second type of IQE's are the physical kinds of activities like the games and the touch-me or better yet, waving activities.  The new things on Peter Pan are a great example of this.  I think the Soarin' Queue might have been the first kind and wow have they come a long way since.  The Seven Dwarfs Mine Train has some great ones.

The third kind of IQE is the general overall look of the attraction kind of queue.  Almost every ride queue at a Disney park has a great overall look.  There is so much detail packed into a regular line area that for 30 years nothing was really needed to be done to improve the line standing situation.  Think of walking through Pirates or Splash Mountain or even the Jungle Cruise's queue.  Those queue's with no electronic help at all are pretty awesome.  Take a look below at us walking through the Splash Mountain line once we go inside.  You totally believe that your moving from our world and going underground and getting ready to enter the world of Briar Fox and all his friends and enemies. 
Same with Pirates.  That fort is one of the most realistic areas on property.  Another thing to note is the music.  Every attraction queue has it's own music.  On second thought, every pathway and restaurant has their own theme music, that's how immersive Disney Imagineers make it.  In my opinion, audio is just as important as visuals in almost every form of entertainment.

The Magic Kingdom in particular is being taken over by these Queue upgrades.  There are now IQE's on Pooh, Haunted Mansion, Big Thunder, Space Mountain, Buzz Lightyear, Peter Pan, Seven Dwarfs, Little Mermaid and Dumbo.

The question now, is what's next?  Of the remaining attractions that have extensive lines in the Magic Kingdom, there are 3 really good candidates.  My thinking is that these 3 attractions, Pirates, Splash Mountain, and the Jungle Cruise are the next to get an IQE.  All 3 of them are kind of already set up for it in that they have inside controlled areas. 
 Pirates could be as easy as including some animatronic characters on the Queue.  How about a pirate in a cell?  It would react to people passing by and talk.   Or perhaps windows out to the harbor from the fort as we walk through it showing the approaching pirates.  If the guys playing chess where not on the Fastpass line I'd say animate them.  Seems like a waste if people are speeding by it on fastpass.
The Jungle Cruise has a lot of great things to look at and read while your on line.  But on crowded days when they open up that back area of the line, it can get boring.  The extra line is so long, there's a water fountain at the other end of it before your turn and come back.  Maybe a bank of two way radios where you can listen into conversations between "imagineered" skippers?  Or some of the Under the Sea crab like technology in a form suitable for the Jungle Cruise.  I could also see holographic maps of the Jungle and a electronic version of the deceased remote control boats.  Same kind of screens and controls like Space Mountain, but a jungle course where you can drive boats.  Or imagine the car driving game from Post-show at Test Track but mounted on the wall.
 Splash Mountain is another attraction that has a substantial line that sometimes backs up.  With two distinct areas in this queue, there are a lot of things that can be added to take the guest's mind off the wait.  The outdoor section as you go around the switch backs could have some interactive activities but they must somehow match the really nice landscaping they have back there.  As much as I don't want people to just look down out there, a similar game like the iPad like gem game as they have on the Seven dwarfs queue would work well.  Maybe something like catch the Briar Fox.  Another idea would be to use the trees involving the birds of the story to get people to look around. As you go inside and down into the tunnel to where the logs are docked, the entire left wall can be utilized in an number of different ways.  Touch screens and various other 3D holographic games themed to Splash.  It'll be fun.
So what do you think?  What is the next attraction to get one of these Interactive Queue Entertainment makeovers?  I only discussed the Magic Kingdom in this post and plan on talking about others down the road.   Thanks to WDWNews Today and Ricky at Inside the Magic for some of the YouTube help.