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Why Does Waiting in Long Lines Make the Ride More Memorable?

Updated: Jun 3, 2022

Waiting in line can be the worst. You are finally entering the Amusement Park and can’t wait to ride all the amazing roller coasters and eat the delicious junk food. But what do you see? Long unending lines as far as the eye can see.

Despair not, as long lines are not always a waste of time. Long studied phenomenons like how waiting in lines can bring out the worst attitudes in people, have led to theme parks paying active thought when designing queuing styles. A pioneer in queue design, Disneyland offers lots of inventive ways in which they design waiting areas so that guests don’t even feel like they are wasting time in line.

Firstly, knowing that you will be waiting for a certain amount of time will always be better than not knowing how long the wait is going to be for. People respond better when they have a rough idea of how long they might have to wait. And Disneyland excels in that by regularly over estimating the time they might need to wait but actually pulling lines faster. Think of it this way that guests might need signs saying they have to wait 60 mins in line but they might get their turn in 40 minutes, thus making them feel like they saved the extra 20 minutes.

Secondly, most people feel that time goes by quickly when they are waiting in a group setting as they are able to have conversations with like minded people around them waiting for a similar experience. That’s why people in line at a water park will often be upbeat and excited for the shared experience that they are awaiting.

People also don’t mind waiting a long time when the value they associate with the product is high. Think of it this way that people get in long lines for the latest iphone as compared to a less compelling service like waiting for the bus. We’ve all seen long snaking lines of people for blocks, all trying to get their hands on the latest tech gadget and the iphone tops the list.

Another way to build more hype around a product or experience is to limit the access by letting people in slowly, even if there is space. Think of it like creating an exclusive list of invitees for a new club where only a limited number of people may join. The more prestigious and exclusive the list, the more willing people will be to wait for their turn. An exclusive new rollercoaster ride with a 3 hour waiting period will still see a full lobby of people waiting for a turn since the element of exclusivity is abundant.

So waiting in line and then getting to a particular amusement park ride will actually enhance and add value to the whole experience as psychologically speaking your brain will interpret the ride as valuable and an enriching experience received after a long wait..

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