A new year is a new start for many as we adopt resolutions and plans to make this coming year better than the last. Some people strive for new diets, more exercise, spending more time with loved ones, or finally finishing the Next Great American Novel they have been writing for years. For me, I am focusing on my diet, less alcohol, and being more social (safely, of course).
The Orlando theme parks should also consider their own resolutions as we march into 2021. Here are my suggestions on where they can start.
Security scanning before entering theme parks has previously been.. inconsistent.
For years, Disney has had its own private security poke your bag with sticks with select people being asked to walk through metal detectors. At Universal, all guests must send their belongings throughs a scanner and everyone walks through metal detectors. SeaWorld shakes it up by having bag poking sticks AND mandatory metal detectors. There has to be a better way!
Six Flags found a better way: Evolve Express security scanners. Instead of multiple checkpoints and long lines guests instead walk past a scanner, similar to the anti-theft devices at stores, and their bags are scanned. If there is a need for more checking an iPad will alert the employee.
Disney has already begun deployment and Universal is testing the units for Team Member security. Our resolution for the parks is for a full deployment of these new scanners – they are quick, efficient, and less invasive than other methods.
Disney Child Swap
One of Universal’s smartest features is their themed child swap waiting rooms. For attractions with height requirements, the whole party waits in line till they reach the load area. When at load the parties not riding wait in an indoor waiting room at load with entertainment, restrooms, changing tables, and benches.
Our resolution for Disney would be for them to look into offering a similar option for their new attractions with height requirements. Instead of having to wait through a full FastPass queue alone to ride the whole party can wait together and then swap off riding right at load. We would love to see these waiting rooms start with TRON and Guardians of the Galaxy.
Parking at Disney is a tactical deployment operation only rivaled by the repatriation of citizens from foreign countries, Air Force flight maneuvers, and your grandmother cooking during the holidays. The lots are fully staffed as Cast guide cars into spots quickly and efficiently. Universal’s parking on the other hand can better be described as herding cats or a team of five-year-olds trying to play soccer. One time when parking at their garages we ended up being directed back out of the garage and forced out and onto I-4!
Our resolution is for Universal to improve its parking signage and operations to match its world-class operations in the parks.
A Universal Unified Ticketing System
I am not the biggest fan of MagicBands, MyDisneyExperience, and FastPass+. The changes to the parks plus the added complexity of planning a vacation made something relaxing into a second job. Plus all the expensive technology has quickly depreciated (a wrist wearable that can open rooms, access tickets, and purchase things with – quick, am I describing MagicBands or the Apple Watch?)
But one universally great aspect is the unified ticketing system. When I’m at Disney all my passes, cards, and more are tied together and accessible through a MagicBand or card. But at Universal, it feels like we are back in the 1990s: room keys, Express Pass, park tickets, and more are all separate tickets or cards. My resolution for Universal will be to unify all those different items into one card or pass that is easily stored.
Reward Your Annual Passholders More
We know about food, merchandise, and room discounts at Disney, Universal, SeaWorld, and more. After a crazy 2020 with lots of changes to parks, we would like to see the return of more annual passholder rewards and benefits. Bring back lounges, special operating hours, attraction previews, and more. Reward your most loyal and fervent supporters with reasons for them to proselytize to the masses.
Do you have any resolutions you wish the parks would take up? Leave them in the comments below!