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There are two things that can make or break a visit to a theme park, and often, if you plan your trip way in advance, you’re limited in your ability to plan around them.

Firstly, there’s the weather. It’s safe to say if you visit a park in August, you’re not likely to encounter any terrible weather, but that brings us neatly onto the second variable: queues.

Like the weather, educated guesses go a long way, but like the weather, at the end of the day, it’s in the hands of the gods.  

Toverland entrance

Much of Toverland is undercover meaning it can open all year round 

Some parks have tried to compensate somewhat for less than desirable weather.

Disney, for example, were very mindful of the fact they were building Disneyland Paris in a more often than not wet country, so much of the park has covered walkways, almost all the rides are undercover, as are the queues.

Toverland and Fantasy Island are also parks that try to keep any rides they can undercover.

While rain will always be a limiting factor, this isn’t to say that you can’t try and defend against it.

But, more so than the weather, queues are something that the parks are – or at least should be – keen to keep as short as possible.

Much of it is down to guest satisfaction, and to debunk the long-standing stigma with the association between long, boring queues and theme parks. Yes, there is the ulterior motive in keeping guests happy – a happy guest will revisit, and theme parks’ trade relies so heavily on repeat visitors.

But, there’s also the shameless but understandable reasoning that while a guest is in a queue they’re not being distracted and lured into buying food, souvenirs and playing up-charge games.

Parque Warner Madrid entrance

New parks have the luxury of being able to plan themselves around queues 

Indeed, it makes good business sense to keep people out of queues for as much of the day as possible.

So, how does a park go about keeping queues short? Much of it is down to good park design – keep the larger rides away from the entrance and evenly spread them throughout the park to balance queues during the day.

While parks like Parque Warner Madrid and PortAventura were planned around these ideals, for older parks like Alton Towers and Phantasialand, they are limited by other factors as to where they are able to install rides, these factors often taking precedence over crowd flow – limitations such as space available and where the local authority will enable them to add rides.

But there are two other main ways of dealing with queues. Firstly, dealing with the queues you have. Secondly, and – it has to be said – most attractively, making sure the queues don’t appear in the first place. Continues...

Coaster Kingdom Magazine
Issue 18: May 2006

Issue 18
Why the Long Queue?
Coaster Kingdom looks at why parks hate queues as much as us and what they're doing about them.

Open Mic - John Thorp
Chocolate Towers
Guest writer John Thorp reviews Chocolate Towers and Be Discovered in our new Open Mic section.

In The Picture
In The Picture
Click to enlarge image