|Bella plays the organ in the Haunted Mansion’s new interactive queue|
Wait on line for 20 minutes. Ride for 3 minutes. Walk to next attraction. Wait 40 minutes, ride for 2 minutes. Next attraction, wait 20 minutes but get to sit and see a show for 15 minutes. Back out into the heat, maybe get a bite to eat, but then it’s back to repeating the waiting game.
Sound familiar? For some, that’s what a Walt Disney World vacation boils down to. The good news is that Disney is working hard to fix that…
Part of the magic of a Walt Disney World vacation is the immersion into an incredible world brought to life by some of the most imaginative people around. Even we sometimes lose sight of that in the rush to get from one attraction to another. You can easily spend most of your day waiting in line if you let hitting as many attractions as you can dictate your schedule.
“Time is money”, and you’re already paying enough for admission to the parks without spending most of the time you are there standing in line. In an effort to engage guests more and help them stay immersed in the parks, Disney has been reworking some of its ride queues and adding interactive features to its parks. The goal is obvious: To give guests more for their time and money. And who doesn’t want that?
“Queue” is a fancy word for line. In the old days, the line was most often just a simple series of rows which guests snaked through, back and forth, back and forth, getting slowly closer and closer to entering the attraction. In time, those lines have evolved into more immersive, detailed areas that attempt to bring you into the world of the attraction before you ever reach the point where you enter.
The newest evolution is the interactive queue, where as a guest you are not just presented with a world to look at, but are invited to interact with it as well. This newest step by Disney turns the line into an attraction unto itself, almost a pre-show. In some cases it works too well, causing people to stall in line to keep playing with the interactive elements. WDW’s redesigned Haunted Mansion queue offers guests a choice: a non-interactive, but presumably faster line, or the slower, interactive line.
|At WDW’s Haunted Mansion, you can choose to move straight through the line,
or to take the more interactive route through the Cemetery.
Getting you off the line
While the improvements to attraction queues are great and help make waiting more bearable, Disney has also been implementing technology to make the parks themselves more of an interactive experience. Interactive scavenger hunt type games have guests exploring new and often-overlooked areas of the parks. The best part of it is that they are all included in your park admission! Here are the ones that have been introduced so far:
1. Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom (Magic Kingdom)
|My daughter, nephew and nieces enjoyed playing Sorcerer’s on our last trip|
This interactive game sends you around most of the Magic Kingdom on a quest to thwart Disney villains by using special game playing cards at interactive portals. We tried it for the first time on our last trip, and thought it was pretty cool. The RFID technology in the playing cards allows for you to interact with the on-screen action. With many different cards, you can experiment and have a different experience each time you play! An added bonus to this game is that you get to keep the free collectible cards, and can earn more cards by coming back to the park another day, or by completing different levels.
2. A Pirate’s Adventure – Treasures of the Seven Seas (Magic Kingdom)
|Photo: ThrillGeek.com (link will open in new window)|
This is a new game that just started this summer at the Magic Kingdom. It resides solely in Adventureland. The premise is that you are recruited into Capt. Jack Sparrow’s pirate crew and embark on missions to find hidden or lost treasure. There are 5 missions in all. This game uses a single RFID talisman in conjunction with unique maps for each of the 5 quests. It’s less interactive than Sorcerer’s of the Magic Kingdom, but also requires less of your time.
3. Agent P’s World Showcase Adventure (EPCOT)
This replaced the former Kim Possible quest. This fun, interactive experience based on characters from the popular Disney animated show “Phineas and Ferb” has you exploring the World Showcase to help Agent P. stop the latest scheme of the evil Dr. Doofenshmirtz. Armed with an “interactive hand-held device” (cell phone, which you do not keep) you follow clues around the World Showcase to complete each quest. Each pavilion hosts a unique quest, so guests can stay occupied for quite a while with this one.
4. Wilderness Explorers (Disney’s Animal Kingdom)
This brand new experience at Disney’s Animal Kingdom makes your whole family honorary Wilderness Explorers. Grab a field guide and explore the park where you can find many ways to earn your Wilderness Explorer badges, just like Russel from the movie, “Up!” We can’t wait to try this one because we all love animals and this one looks like it’s not just fun, but also educational!
*There is currently no interactive game at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, but I can certainly see an opportunity for some there. If Disney continues to see success with these innovative guest experiences, you can be sure there will be more to come!
My Magic +
We’re hearing a lot about the testing of new technology such as the new Magic Bands and Fastpass+. If what we’ve heard is any indication, the folks at Disney are only going to make things more interactive for their guests, from the planning stages all the way through how you share your memories once you’ve gone home.
Other Ways to be Interactive
We’ve seen how hard Disney is working to make the guest experience better, but we’ve seen plenty of great ideas coming from the non-technological realm as well. Here are some of our favorites:
Disney Parks Bingo
Play Bingo by marking off popular park attractions, snacks, and characters. Find a card for all 4 Walt Disney World parks on their Pinterest Page (link will open in new window)
Hidden Mickeys are representations of Mickey Mouse (most of the three circle version) subtly put into the parks’ attractions, buildings, decor, etc. by Disney Imagineers. There are so many to be found, that entire books have been compiled!
Character hunting is a lot of fun as well. You can keep track of the characters you meet with an autograph book!
Pin trading is a great way to interact with Cast Members as well as other guests. Check out our post about Pin Trading HERE.
Drinking around the World, Cupcake crawls, snack crawls… There are so many great things to eat and drink in Walt Disney World that you can probably come up with just about any “crawl” you want. My personal favorite is the cupcake crawl. It’s a lot of calories, but that’s all the more reason to bring a friend and share!
Photo Scavenger Hunts
|Hula Hoops could count as letter “H” on an alphabet photo scavenger hunt!|
Everybody takes pictures at Walt Disney World… and I bet if you compared all the guests photos you’d find a lot of the same shots over and over. That’s why I think a photo scavenger hunt is a great way to add a little more fun into your vacation, and end up coming home with some unique vacation photos! One simple idea is a photo scavenger hunt based on the alphabet, where you need a picture of things beginning with different letters! There are so many ways you can go with this!! And it’s not just limited to the parks. The resorts can be fair game as well, or any other place on Disney property.
A Walt Disney World vacation does not have to be the ol’ wait, wait, wait, ride, wait, wait, wait, ride idea, not with so many alternatives to immerse yourself in all aspects of the Disney experience. So take a break from the lines and find some fun in the details that Disney works so hard to put into its parks!
Have a great idea for a family fun way to tour the parks? We’d love to hear it!
Thanks for reading!! Hope to see you in our “home away from home” real soon!!