Let me throw this out there to start — I LOVE Disney Parks. In addition to just being, well, FUN, they are also marvels of modern engineering, and it is astonishing to me that they can do what they do at the scale that they do it every single day and night. Considering what they seek to accomplish, the efficiency is pretty incredible, and its amazing that we don’t have to deal with more Walt Disney World problems than we do.
With that said, there do indeed exist imperfections. What Disney may not realize, however, is that the solutions to these minor annoyances exist right under their noses right now! That’s right, by just borrowing ideas from other aspects of its parks, Disney can make its already great parks even better! Read on for a few realistic and not-so-realistic, blue sky hopes for the future of the parks to find out how!
When you go to Walt Disney World, you can bet you’re going to have to stand in some lines. What about when you, umm, have to go while you’re at Disney World? Unfortunately, lines are a reality at the bathrooms as well, and I have been advised by my wife that this issue manifests itself even more in the ladies’ room. Of course, some of this is unavoidable. There are lots of people, there are only so many stalls, and the demand for toilets is, shall we say, extremely inelastic when you’ve got business to attend to.
Compounding the problem is that often, a visit to the bathroom at Disney is a family affair, so you’re not just waiting for adults who are seasoned in the fine art of the quick restroom visit, you’re waiting for those adults plus whatever children they have in tow who, despite their best efforts, slow the process down. I’m a parent myself and I get it, so I’m certainly not casting aspersions here, but it is unquestionably a real phenomenon — you’re dealing with bathroom-goers who are comparably new to the whole “let’s just get this done quickly” thing.
How about if Disney were to take a page from its ride management expertise and utilize a single rider line for the bathroom? That way, if it’s just you and you need to hit the restroom, you can at least be assured that you’re only standing behind people that share your sense of urgency and the physical ability to do something about it. As with the attractions, the single rider line might not always save you time, but it probably will!
Ho-Hum Ride-Through Attractions
The Jungle Cruise is a classic Disney attraction, but it’s also the sort of thing where it’s the Skipper more than the attraction itself that really makes it what it is. The ride itself, while fine, wouldn’t be near as much fun if it were just a silent ride through; conversely, if you’ve ever really had an outstanding Skipper that can deliver a corny joke that you’ve heard dozens of times with just the right sense of comic timing, you know what a positive impact it can have on your experience.
I will be frank: while I understand and appreciate its status as a classic Disney attraction, I tend to find it’s a small world a little, um, dull. Actually, it’s a little worse than that for me, because, you know, THAT SONG. My daughter loves it so I’ve developed a soft spot for an attraction that I wouldn’t ride on a dare prior to becoming a dad, but in my opinion, it could use an upgrade (or at a minimum, a distraction).
I get that this might not be the most popular opinion among purists, but for me, what better way to upgrade this classic attraction than to give it the Jungle Cruise treatment? Each boat gets its own colorful narrator, who peppers you with jokes and observations about the denizens of Mary Blair’s imagination. I, for one, would look MUCH more forward to small world if there was some snarky commentary keeping me entertained along the way.
Extreme Dole Whip Demand
You may be familiar with my unnatural, and frankly troubling, level of love for the Disneyland corn dog and, indeed, I bask in its resplendence pretty much any time I can. While I have now sampled the corn dogs at all of the Disneyland Resort locations that offer them and can attest that they are all very tasty, I still have a special affinity for the original version found at the Little Red Wagon at the end of Main Street U.S.A. Part of it, no doubt, is nostalgia, but another part of it is the focus and commitment to one thing there — you are going there to get a corn dog, and that, my friends, is the only thing you are getting. Even when there’s a pretty good line, it’s fairly quick, because you’re either getting a corn dog, or you’re in the wrong line entirely.
Here’s an understatement: Dole Whips are awesome. You know what’s less awesome? Waiting for a Dole Whip. The misery can be managed somewhat at Disneyland by getting one inside the queue area for the Enchanted Tiki Room, but it’s still not as quick as it could be. Part of it, I think, is that there are choices to be made and orders to be placed. It’s not like there are an overwhelming number of choices — especially at Aloha Isle where you’re either getting a Dole Whip or a Dole Whip Float — but there are indeed choices, and choices slow things down.
Are you ready for a revolution? Most people are getting a Dole Whip anyway, so how about you take the laser focus of the Little Red Wagon and the incredible efficiency of omnimover rides like Under the Sea — Journey of the Little Mermaid — where the queue basically never stops moving — and apply them to Dole Whips? If you’re in this line, you’re getting a Dole Whip. Period. Want a Dole Whip Float? Want a Dole Whip for one person in your party and a Float for someone else? See you at Aloha Isle. For the rest of you, though, the only question you have to answer is how many. Hold up the appropriate number of digits, tap Mickey to Mickey, grab your delicious tropical treat, and be on your way. It’ll be like conveyor belt of deliciousness. Easy peasy.
Limited Monorail Coverage
One popular request that seems to percolate up from time to time is for the monorail to go more places. No doubt, that would be great, and I’m really excited about the prospect of the rumored gondola system that is being kicked around the Disney-net, but there’s an even better way to expand the transportation system at Disney World. I don’t know about you, but I LOVE the Tomorrowland Transit Authority PeopleMover. It’s such a peaceful, easy going little experience, but perhaps more importantly, its omnimover loading system is a model of efficiency. Even on busy days, it’s rare that there’s any sort of wait, largely because the attraction doesn’t stop and can absorb crowds as they come.
Disney has already introduced express transportation from inside one park to the inside of another. All indications from the people I’ve spoken with that have used it have had mostly positive things to say about the service. Unfortunately, the service is provided using buses, which suffer from the disadvantages of only being able to be in one place at a time, so if it’s not there when you show up, you’ve still got to wait for it, “express” or not. Oh, and there’s also that minor detail of needing to be stopped for you to load and unload.
Picture this: each park has a centrally-located TTA station, you hop on and head towards a central hub that will route you to whichever park you prefer, or even Disney Springs. Sure, it’ll probably need to go a little faster and might have slightly more protection from the elements available when you need them than the version we all know and love, but it would be great to see Walt’s dream of the PeopleMover being a legitimately useful form of transportation come to fruition. Bonus, just like the express transportation system, you’re going directly into the heart of the parks, and don’t need to deal with security and lines at the gate again! Shy of teleportation, I can think of no better way to enhance the park-hopping experience! C’mon Disney, let’s see it happen!
So, what do you all think? Would you like to be able to grab a Dole Whip while barely breaking your stride, or hop from Hollywood Studios to Art Smith’s Homecoming for lunch via a high speed PeopleMover? Any other ideas for how to take things that already exist in the parks to make things even better? Let me know in the comments!
If you enjoyed this somewhat ridiculous article, you might want to check these out as well:
- Disney Maladies (and How to Treat Them)
- Walt Disney Work: Best In-Park Locations to Get Substantive Work Done
- Best (and Worst) Attractions to Get Stuck on
- Best Places to Spend All of Eternity At Walt Disney World
- Walt Disney World Zombie Apocalypse: Tips and Tricks
Special thanks to Guy Selga for his assistance with this article!