Today, Disney’s Chief Medical Officer Dr. Pam Hymel outlined a series of potential options they are exploring ahead of the parks reopening. At this time, only Shanghai Disneyland has announced a reopening date.
Disney is unsure at this time when their other parks will reopen. However, when the remaining parks do reopen, there may be many new measures in place to ensure guest and Cast Member safety. One of these measures is one we have previously talked about as a possibility once the parks resume business operations: Virtual Queues.
In addition to measures such as a phased reopening where restaurants and shops may reopen ahead of the parks, Hymel pointed out potential protocols on physical distancing and capacity.
In her letter, she states, “We’re also exploring ways to use technology to aid us in these efforts, like with our Play Disney Parks App and through virtual queues at Disneyland and Walt Disney World.”
We’ve spoken on the possibility of virtual queues when the Disney parks reopen, and it seems as though Disney is strongly considering it as something they could implement once the parks do reopen. This would allow for easier physical distancing amongst guests.
While it is not clear yet exactly how a park-wide virtual queue system would work, there are a couple of examples we can point to as indicators. First, Disney’s FastPass+ system in Disney World and MaxPass in Disneyland may offer insight into how a larger-scale virtual queue system may be rolled out. Reservations for an attraction could potentially be made on a smart device on My Disney Experience or the Disneyland App, much like a digital FastPass.
Once a guest actually enters a queue area when their time is called, Disney may be able to better distance guests apart from one another, since there would be an overall lesser flow of people entering a ride at any given time. We may also see shorter return windows to allow for even more efficiency (right now, FastPass return windows are one hour long).
Another example we can look at is the virtual queue system implemented for the opening of Rise of the Resistance in Galaxy’s Edge. This system allows for guests to be assigned a return time to access the attraction, and only a certain, finite amount of return times are distributed each day. Again, this would give Disney more control over how many guests are entering a queue area at any given time.
So, will we see a system that is more similar to FastPass+ at Disney World? Will these virtual queue reservations be made ahead of time, or same-day like MaxPass at Disneyland? Or will we see something more akin to the virtual queue experience for Rise of the Resistance?
It’s possible Disney will implement an entirely new system that is a hybrid of the two, or it can be like something we have yet to experience in the parks. One thing is certain: it appears as though Disney is taking the idea of virtual queues very seriously, and we are potentially looking at it being a part of our future theme park experiences, at least in the short term.
What do you think of this potential new distancing protocol in Disney Parks? Share your thoughts with us in the comments!