December 28, 2010
Skip the line, Disney gets innovative
It’s not just the Cinderella Castle or Pirates of the Caribbean at Walt Disney World that can make you go WOW. A look inside their underground bunker called the Disney Operational Command Center will generate a new-found awe for this megaresort. To keep guests at the ‘Happiest Place on Earth’ happier, Disney World has mastered the art of crowd control. Over the last year, the place has outfitted an underground, nerve center that can address every single hiccup happening at any corner of Disney World at any given time. The center uses video cameras, computer programs, digital park maps, flat-screen televisions that can depict the attractions in green, yellow and red outlines – with each colors representing wait-time gradations, to spot gridlock before it happens and deploy countermeasures in real time. It also allows the center to reduce queues, draw crowds to corners that are less populated, open additional registers or dispatch greeters wherever necessary.
Disney has always been in the forefront of technological innovation. It’s behind-the-scenes systems are highly computerized. From ride capacity which is determined by analyzing hotel reservations, flight bookings and historic attendance data to satellites that provide minute-by-minute weather analysis or FastPass systems that allows visitors to skip lines for popular rides. Keeping with trends, Disney has also been experimenting with smartphones and recently launched the Mobile Magic, a $1.99 app that allows visitors to type in “Sleeping Beauty” and get directions to her! Engineers are also looking at bigger ideas that include wristbands that can store personal information including name, credit card numbers, favorite Disney characters or even a memory built into characters, so they recollect your name!
Imagine, a Prince Charming, who remembers your name! Fantasy world, indeed.