Orlando, US: To handle over 30 million annual visitors, Disney World long ago turned the art of crowd control into a science. But the putative Happiest Place on Earth has decided, it must figure out how to make crowd control technique more efficient, New York Times reports. And, so it has spent a year in outfitting an underground nerve centre. Located under Cinderella Castle, the new centre uses video cameras, computer programmes, digital park maps and other whiz-bang tools to spot gridlock before it forms and deploys countermeasures in real time.
In one corner, employees watch flat-screen televisions that depict various attractions in green, yellow and red outlines, with the colours representing wait-time gradations.
The primary goal of the command centre, as stated by Disney, is to make guests happier —to increase revenue in its USD 10.7 billion theme park business. “Giving our guests faster and better access to the fun,” said Thomas O. Staggs, chairman of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, “is at the heart of our investment in technology.”
But the command centre reflects how Disney is deepening its reliance on technology as it thinks about adapting decades-old parks, which are primarily built around nostalgia for an America gone by, for 21st century expectations. “It’s not about us needing to keep pace with technological change,” Staggs said. “We need to set the pace for that kind of change.”
For instance, Disney has been experimenting with smartphones to help guide people more efficiently. Mobile Magic, a USD 1.99 app, allows visitors to type in “Sleeping Beauty” and receives directions to where that princess (or at least a costumed stand-in) is signing autographs. In the future, typing in “hamburger” might reveal the nearest restaurant with the shortest wait.