Expanded Lightning Lane entry process testing at Walt Disney World's Haunted Mansion

May 16, 2023 in "Haunted Mansion"

Haunted Mansion Lightning Lane touchpoint test
Posted: Tuesday May 16, 2023 10:19am ET by WDWMAGIC Staff

Disney is testing an expanded Lightning Lane entrance at Magic Kingdom's Haunted Mansion.

The original two Lightning Lane touchpoints are covered, and three mobile touchpoints have been set up just inside the entry gate.

The test has been ongoing for a couple of weeks as Disney evaluates the effectiveness of the additional touchpoints.

Before the additional capacity, guests were bunching up at the touchpoints, reducing throughput into the Lightning Lane.

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HauntedPirateMay 19, 2023

Oh, you're a 1%'er, I see. ;)

KamikazeMay 18, 2023

Queue* And its not complex. It really isn't. I realize that people will have issues occasionally for various reasons, but standing there 5 wide blocking everyone else isn't the solution.

matt9112May 18, 2023

So getting into a que is something you think is ok to be complex? I agree with not dumbing everything down. When are chicken nuggets going away? When is cheap east IP infusion going away? Getting into a que can only be so complex. It’s one of those things.

SteveAZeeMay 18, 2023

Is there room to add a 'smart lane' to all entrances?

KamikazeMay 18, 2023

Its been that way forever, honestly. When to arrive, what attractions to do when, etc - the more informed the guest is, the better their day is. Not everything needs to be dumbed down to the lowest common denominator just because half the population is dumber than average. If they can't handle doing X, then its on them.

matt9112May 17, 2023

No but it does underscore how these things SHOULD BE kept as simple and basic as possible. Getting in line/attempting to ride a ride shouldn’t be some complex process. Because of the guest that disney can’t control.

brettf22May 17, 2023

I need this on a tshirt.

FerretAfrosMay 17, 2023

That's not what I'm advocating for. Theme parks have always allowed more-informed guests to be more successful than less-informed ones. Whether it's knowing that a B-ticket for Alice in Wonderland is better value than a C-ticket for Snow White's Adventures, that queues are shorter during parades and fireworks, how to navigate rope drop, or which restaurants need reservations months in advance, having some knowledge has always given guests advantages over others. What I'm suggesting is a system that allows those uninformed guests to have a successful day, and to not negatively impact park operations as a result of predictable and routine situations. Under the current system these issues cause the LL queue grind to a halt and back up into the walkway, and require a team of CMs from different departments to resolve. Disney claims to be a premium experience (let alone the upcharge for LL) and a leader in customer service, yet management can't seem to anticipate problems that regularly occur. This doesn't need to be complicated, and it shouldn't be. A day at a theme park should not involve this much bureaucracy. EDIT: Of course, all of this has been dramatically exacerbated by the attendance growth of the last ~20 years without the corresponding capacity increases in the parks. This increases the necessity of a system like LL to get anything of value out of a day in the parks, and increases the spillover consequences when something inevitably goes wrong with the system. But we’ve seen management ignore the cause of the problem for long enough that the best we can hope for is addressing the symptoms.

MisterPenguinMay 17, 2023

By definition, half of the population has a below average intelligence.

ppete1975May 17, 2023

its the same as the front gates, it seems one of out of 3 people have issues, either magic band, account or knowledge. I have seen lines not move for 5 minutes due to one person having an issue. The easy solution would be to have the main checkpoints and if you have an issue that isnt quickly fixed to be directed to another checkpoint or a group of them where a cast member could assist you, while the rest of the line moves smoothly.

AylaMay 17, 2023

IME, they're rarely pulled aside. They stand where they are (in front of the tap ins) and continue to hold up the line until the problem is resolved.

CaptainAmericaMay 17, 2023

I'm 100% comfortable with a system that allows smart guests to be more successful than clueless guests.

FerretAfrosMay 17, 2023

It's no secret that "the average guest" turns their brain off when they come to the park; there's a decades-long running joke about guests asking "when is the 3pm parade?" that illustrates this very premise. And if the "average" guest is dumb, statistically you have to assume that about half of the population of the park is even dumber. It may not be Disney's responsibility to fix that, but it is their responsibility to create a system that those folks can work within. It's no different than designing a theme park that is able to operate comfortably under weather conditions that can be reasonably anticipated. That's not to say that the parks need be functional during a Category 5 hurricane, but there should be shade from hot summer sun, shelter from storms, adequate drainage for rain, etc. But of course, Disney has struggled to design theme park spaces with those basics recently as well. Especially because FP+ and LL weren't something that anybody wanted, but rather were forced upon guests from the top-down, these sorts of things need to be taken into consideration. If you're forcing a new system to replace one that was mostly intuitive and works fine, it's your responsibility to make sure the new one is an improvement (or at the very least, a lateral move) over the old. And I'm not sure that the current system is an improvement in any meaningful way, other than to Disney's balance sheet. While guests may not have PhDs in theme park planning or fully understand the (let's face it, not very user-friendly) digital interface, they're not total morons. They know that something has gone wrong, and that there is a growing line of other guests impatiently breathing down their necks while they block up the path. It is discourteous to leave them there like that, rather than discretely addressing the issue out of the way from the near-constant flow into the queue. It's also discourteous to the other guests queueing up behind them who (presumably) paid extra for the privelage of having to wait for somebody else's unrelated issue to be resolved before they can get on the ride. I have no idea what the current training protocol is, but if CMs are being told that discretely resolving issues is discourteous, that is a massive management failure of a company that once claimed to be a customer service leader. Yes it ultimately comes down to the tone of the CM addressing the issue, but it's hard to imagine guests getting upset about being asked to step aside while their issues are dealt with; they know they're in a crowded theme park, so it's not unreasonable for them to need to make room for other people as well. Additionally, these issues pop up constantly at nearly every attraction in all four parks all day long. Having to wait for a specialized guest relations cast memeber to resolve them is ridiculous. The attraction CMs should be trained and empowered to deal with most of the routine issues on the spot. Yes, there are some bigger issues that may require more specialized solutions (particularly anything involving payments), but most of the problems are rather routine and should be able to be resolved quickly and easily. Having to call in CMs from another location wastes the guests time, creates redundant staffing, and ultimately cheapens the whole experience into a cattle call rather than the best-in-class that Disney claims to be. As for the pysical configuration that's currently being tested, it took a solid 5+ years for them to really figure out how to set up queues to somewhat-efficiently handle FP+. They had to train guests on how to use it ("touch Mickey-to-Mickey"), add and/or rearrange the touchpoints, create pre-touchpoint queue space to keep walkways clear, relocate CM podiums, add mobile iPads, etc. until they settled on a flow that worked for the particular location, space, and capacity. Very few (if any) attractions kept their original configuration with no changes throughout the FP+ era, and there really wasn't a "one size fits all" solution for how to configure the attraction entrances. And, although they function similarly on a surface level, LL is far more complex in terms of "what could go wrong" with a particular guest's reservation, and Disney's infrastructure (both physical and procedural) needs to be able to handle it. It should have been in place when they rolled out LL more than a year ago. That they still haven't figured out a smooth way to deal with these constant daily issues is nothing more than a basic customer service failure.

willfMay 17, 2023

As someone who used to be one of the plaid vest brigade, yes, this, alllllllllllll the time.