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Goodbye single riders

Last week Disney pulled the plug on the single rider line at Toy Story Midway Mania after about three months of the opening of the attraction. The change is surprising that Disney went ahead with the move rather than tinker with the line some more. Generally speaking, single rider lines have been great additions to attractions to help move the line, be more efficient with how many people get to ride and allow those who are riding solo get an opportunity to bypass the main standby line. So why did the single rider line fail at Toy Story Midway Mania?
According to some Cast Members that I spoke with, the main reason the single rider line is gone is because the waits for the single rider were generall as long or longer than the standby line. In theory, the single rider line should never be a longer wait than the standby line but that wasn't the case here. The source of such a long line can be attributed to the general overwhealming popularity of the attraction. Since it opened to the public, wait times have regularly exceeded 60 minutes for most of the day for the standby line and guests figured the single rider line had to be a better option. Compounding the problem is there are many families who do not understand the concept of the single rider line, or simply choose to ignore the rules of the line and get to the load area and are "shocked" to realize they cannot ride together. Evidently the lure of a shorter wait blinded many into not paying attention to the facts of the single rider line.
What gets me is just how bad the waits would be for the single rider line at Toy Story Midway Mania. Things got so bad that in the past few weeks leading up to the removal of the single rider line, Cast Members would sporadically close the single rider line until the wait would die down to a realistic level before re-opening it. These closures and openings were unannounced and basically you had to try to enter the line to see if it was indeed open or not. This appeared to be a last ditch effort to regulate the single riders and maintain some semblance of order to it. In addition, each time I would enter the single rider line (the single rider line and FASTPASS line share the same entrance queue so you must indicate to the Cast Member you were a single rider), I would recieve verbal warnings that I was about to enter the single rider line and would not be able to ride with someone else in my party. All of these efforts to fix the problem clearly did not and were really just a big headache for Cast Members to deal with.
The effect of the removal of the single rider line shouldn't reduce wait times much, if at all. The idea of a single rider line is to augment the FASTPASS and standby lines and make the ride more efficient by plugging up holes made by odd numbered groups who do not take up all the seats. Cast Members may now revert to what other Cast Members do on attractions with no single rider line (like Tower of Terror) and ask for single riders from the main line who are near the load area. It's not perfect and often won't work, but clearly the Cast Members have become fed up with trying to manage the single rider line and make it work. As a guest, the single rider line was like playing a game of roulette; sometimes I'd get lucky and have a short wait and other times I'd realize I was better off in the standby queue but now there is no option. If I don't arrive early enough for a FASTPASS, I'll have to hope to catch the standby queue at a good time.
Now that the single rider line is gone, it will be interesting to see what becomes of the single rider queue. Currently the line is split in two near the laoding area, with the standby and FASTPASS guests on the left side and the single riders on the right side. With the right side of the queue now vacant, perhaps Disney will split the FASTPASS riders and stick them where the single riders went. If that's the case, it'll speed up the wait time for those with FASTPASS since they will go straight to the loading area and not have to integrate with the standby line.

I'm not in love with the idea of the single rider line being removed because in theory it's a great option and often I find myself a single rider so it's one less option. Despite my trepidations about it's removal, I realize that the change is based on the hard facts of the reality that many Cast Members have privately reported to me. The single rider line just didn't work at Toy Story Midway Mania and it will now become a trivia question and a topic of conversation down the line when someone reminisces about the attraction and says "I remember when there was a single rider line at Toy Story Midway Mania...".  

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A regular look into Disney's Hollywood Studios, both past and present, with commentary and analysis from Matt Hochberg.


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Posted: Wednesday, August 27, 2008 by