It’s no secret, I spend way too much time at Disneyland. But a few months ago I spent some time at Disneyworld for the first time and began to think about the differences between the two. I was trying to figure out what Disney learned from Disneyland and implemented in Disneyworld. One of the big differences I noticed was line management.
Bare with me I know this isn’t video game related yet but it will be. So if you look at the rides like Matterhorn Bobsleds, Small World or any of the rides created pre 1970 the lines have nothing to do. People waiting… just wait. There isn’t much to see aside from the ride starting and stopping and starting again, if even that. As interesting as this is it gets particularly old fairly quickly.
The big difference in Disneyworld and newer rides at Disneyland are there are more things going on to keep people waiting engaged. For example Roger Rabbit’s Car Toon Spin at Disneyland.
In this ride people waiting are treated to all sorts of music and sounds in addition to interactive elements. The first door on the right upon entering waiting passengers can knock on. If they do, a slit opens up and a monkey yells at them. The next door has Jessica Rabbit talking. Past her we have the baby smoking a cigar yelling at the radio. And there are even more things to keep passengers busy. The way this is done is absolutely brilliant because not only are waiting passengers entertained and busy (thus not thinking about the 30 minute wait) but it helps to immerse riders in the world before getting on the ride.
This is also excellently done in Indiana Jones. There are the foreign texts to translate, the room where the spikes fall, the room with the rope which you can pull to get a yelled at from an old man working with antiques and many more.
Star Tours does it as well (while not as well done as Indy or Roger Rabbit). When you enter the line there is a list of planets for people to visit, R2D2 and C3PO yelling at each other while working on the ship, even some robots who will entertain the guests who are waiting.
And at Disneyworld they have iterated even further on this idea. For example while waiting in line for the haunted mansion if someone touches the instruments engraved in the walls they make noises amongst many other interactive elements. You can see some more of these in the linked video below.
What can we learn from this?
Simply keep your players engaged in loading screens. There are quite a few AAA titles which do something to keep players attention in loading screens (most popularly giving the player tips) but we could do so much more. We could let players play a mini game to keep them engaged (This would have been great in the long loading screens of Duke Nukem forever) We could let them look through and organize their inventory. (Destiny I’m looking at you!) We are an interactive media, we’ve been using quick time events to keep players engaged during cinemas. Why not do something more for loading screens?
Now if you’ll excuse me Lenny says he’s been dipped and needs my help steering.