New technologies that theme parks utilize or may consider using in the future can help manage crowds, improve child safety, and create thrilling attractions. Theme parks must decide which technologies it should adapt in order to attract the most consumers and increase consumer spending. Innovative technologies improve consumer safety and enhance customer satisfaction. Technologies used in theme parks today include smart phone applications, fast passes or flash passes, RFID tracking systems, 4D attractions, and LED powered wheels. If a theme park considers adapting any of these technologies, it must decide if the technology meets customer needs and if the benefits outweigh the costs. Crowd Control:
Theme parks implement measures to control crowds so that certain areas of the parks are not overcrowded while other areas of the park do not have large crowds. Crowd control measures include the use of surveillance cameras, monitoring ride occupancy rates, issuing fast passes for people to come back to rides later in the day and not have to wait in line, and smart phone applications. Theme park technologies that assist with foot traffic flow also enhance customer satisfaction and safety. Surveillance Cameras
Disney takes the lead in theme park crowd control. Disney’s Magic Kingdom has a security epicenter underneath Cinderella’s Castle which is equipped with surveillance cameras, video screens, digital park maps, and computer programs to pinpoint where there are traffic backups or problems with rides. Employees monitor to see where crowds are the largest and deploy parades to divert traffic and lead guests to areas of the park that are less crowded. (Brooks) Surveillance cameras also help employees monitor and track suspicious persons, which helps keep parks safe. If parks did not have surveillance cameras, there would need to be a lot more security personal stationed around the park and monitoring the park on foot. Ride Occupancy
Theme parks monitor crowd control by ensuring that all seats on rides are filled. If seats are left empty, it takes longer for visitors to get through the lines. Shorter wait times equal happier visitors, and shorter wait times provide visitors with the opportunity to spend more time at restaurants and gift shops which generate more revenue for the parks. FASTPASS® / Flash Pass
FASTPASS® is a ride scheduling system invented by Disney which allows guests to visit an attraction and receive a ticket to come back to the ride at a later time and not wait in a long line. Attractions that utilize the FASTPASS® system have the time displayed for when guests can come back without waiting in line. Guests insert their park ticket into the FASTPASS® machine, and they receive ticket with the time when they can come back to the attraction and not wait in a long line. Disney does not charge guests to use FASTPASS® machines, but other theme parks do charge for similar services. Many people are willing to spend the extra money in order to avoid long lines at popular attractions. (Disney FASTPASS Service) Theme parks also help manage crowds by displaying estimated wait times for rides. If the wait is too long for a ride, people will go to other rides throughout the park and come back later. Other parks, such as Six Flags Theme Parks , have versions of fast passes that allow visitors to wait in shorter lines, schedule when they will go on rides electronically, and to ride the same ride twice in a row without waiting in line a second time. Six Flags Theme Park visitors can purchase Flash Passes and schedule when they will go on the ride via an electronic scheduling system. Six Flags Flash Passes are more advanced than Disney’s Fast Pass since visitors can schedule when they will go on rides electronically from anywhere in the park instead of having to go to each attraction they want to ride and receiving a time to come back when they turn in a FASTPASS® ticket. (Flash Pass:...