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Disney Parks - Experts in Crowd Management

Disney wants guests to be happy and happy people don't spend hours waiting in line for a ride. Some Disney tips and tricks for keeping lines short and waits pleasant.

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A trip to a Disney park can be a dream come true or a nightmare depending on how much time you spend stuck in a line (especially on a hot day).

The folks at Disney have become masters of crowd control, line management and (where lines aren't avoidable) making waiting in line as fun as can be possible.

Here's a link to an article in the New York Times that talks about the "Disney Command Center" whose entire goal is to keep waiting short and enjoyable:

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/12/28/business/media/28disney.html

They receive alerts when spots are 'hot' (meaning wait times have reached a certain threshold).

If something can be done (opening another register, adding another train, etc) they will alert the ride/restaurant operators of the changes to make.

If the wait can't be made shorter, they will send characters over to entertain the guests.

Disney has also made the queues for many of their rides interesting to look at with hidden surprises (such as a rope you can pull that will 'collapse' the ceiling) or video games that you can play while in line.  They also frequently have cooling 'misters' built in to outdoor waiting areas that can be activated to cool off the waiting guests.

Polling places might not have the budget to implement all of Disney's line-busting ideas; however, many of their techniques could be used to ensure that people spend less time in line.  Additionally, waits could be made more pleasant for those who do have to stand in line (which would be especially important for people that can't physically stand up outside for 45+ minutes).

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I like this analogy. Disney is great at managing crowds which is important for voters. I suspect there are other things we could learn from them as well - they are in the service business (which you could argue the voting system is in parts as well), so every interaction with the customer (e.g., buying a ticket, getting a drink, making a complaint) is designed to reinforce the experience they are trying to create. They also need to make sure this is consistently followed by the thousands of staff they employ, so learning about recruiting, training, managing staff etc. could also bring some insight.

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