Sunday, October 2, 2011

I know what you're thinking, “MATT! It's just a place to stand while you're waiting your turn for an attraction!” No. It's a bit more than that. If done properly the queue itself can be entertaining. Sure not as fun as the ride, but it's better than waiting around in an empty void, shoulder to shoulder with strangers. Below is an example of a queue found at another theme park (which will not be named).

Notice the cold metal, messy concrete filled with dead leaves, fluorescent lighting, and the plain white columns. If it weren't for the stanchions I'd say it looks like a gas station. I can't even tell what ride it is for. There's no set theme. I can't even make out an end, or beginning to the queue itself. This could be the line for the bathroom for all I know. Here's another example.

We see more bare metal, and signs that people just don't care what happens to the surrounding environment (the spots of chewed gum right next to the trash can). Even the trash cans are boring! I'll save that for another post though. To me (and I'm sure to all of you), it's very uninviting. I'd have more examples of this, but honestly all of the pics look the same. Now we'll look at what Walt Disney World has to offer in the ways of the queue. I'm going to use Pirates of the Caribbean as my primary example.

This is the entrance to Pirates of the Caribbean. If you'll notice on the right and faaaaaaar left we see a sign that says “Castillo del Morro”. It is welcoming us inside of a Spanish castle. We see the use of wood, and aged metals. Even the stanchions are decorative. A lot of thought and care has gone into this area as it is the most important part of the queue. It draws the guest into the ride. There is no chance that someone will ever feel the need walk up to a cast member to ask what ride they are entering (even if the cast members would be more than happy to help out). We'll go a bit deeper.

Now we're really getting into it. Inside we see the theme carrying throughout. We have lanterns to simulate candle light. We have a mast and sail of a boat off in the distance. Notice that there are two separate lines to get in. This is so that there isn't a mass overflow of people hanging outside of the ride blocking the walk way. This keeps everything neat and tidy. No one seems upset to be standing in line. It's even a nice temperature inside to cool you down from the hot Florida weather. We'll continue walking.

At this point the stanchions have been removed from the equation. The area is approximately 3-4 people wide and we are still inside of an old Spanish castle. The aging has been purposefully added to give the area character. It makes it feel as if people used the space. To keep it even more interesting we can peer through the windows on the right to see something like this:

Here we see a pair of pirates that have been in prison just a biiiiit too long. They're locked in an unbeatable stalemate during a game of chess (As designed by animator/imagineer Marc Davis). This is an example of staging. It's a sight gag to keep folks interested while they're waiting to get on the ride. If you'll notice there is no blood, or signs of violence. They're only skeletons because they've been waiting so long.

A little further up we see more evidence that we're in a castle. There's turrets, powder kegs, broken pieces of a crows nest, and even a cannon. Nothing feels more piratey than a cannon. You'll also notice that we're heading toward the outside of the castle. I know it seems a bit long, but keep in mind of the heavy traffic that WDW gets during the busy season. You have to make sure there's enough room for everyone. We're nearly to the end of the queue!

At last we've come to the end of our journey. Well...maybe it's the beginning since the whole point of the queue is to get to the attraction. Even at the precipice of the ride we're outside of the castle surrounded by more powder kegs, castle catacombs, and boats. We're even standing on a pier! If you'll notice the line splits in two again. It's all about keeping people moving even if things get busy.

I've shown you the horrors of waiting in line, and how much better waiting in line could be. It all lies in the theming, and the details in that theming. When you step into Pirates of the Caribbean you still remember that you are in Adventureland, and it carries itself even inside of the attraction. Really thats the whole point of WDW. You forget about everything going on outside, and you can allow yourself to imagine.

The ride queue plays no small part in this.

Below I am sharing a Photobucket link to other queues scattered throughout the parks. Just take some time to look at all of the little things they've added to keep the illusion alive.

For other WDW Queues Click here!

No comments:

Post a Comment