Bust Up Bottlenecks
By your host, J. Jeff Kober
Spent one day at Disney’s Animal Kingdom this week and another at Magic Kingdom. Both parks are spending lots of money to bust up bottlenecks that potentially can occur when you are dealing with so many guests at one time. Let’s take a look at examples of this. We’ll start at Disney’s Animal Kingdom.
Discovery Island at Disney’s Animal Kingdom is under siege with construction. Most of it is to prepare for the onslaught of additional guests when Avatar opens along with new nighttime offerings. This is one of the first efforts Disney has made to bust up bottlenecks which are already crowded at times, but will be even more crowded when the park’s new attractions open up.
But this isn’t the only place where Disney needs to bust up bottlenecks at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. With The Festival of the Lion King show being moved over to Africa, that intersection just after the bridge has become enormously crowded. Hopefully, when the new African Marketplace opens up, it will open up some space.
And Asia is no exception either. The intersection as you turn to head to Kali River Rapids can also get a little crazy. A new path is being created to allow guests the option moving in and out. Again, all of it serves to bust up bottlenecks. None of this addition really adds to the bottom line of the company. But it does do a lot to relieve the frustration guests feel when they are stuck in traffic.
Of course, Disney’s been doing this for a long time. Here’s one that was implemented when I was a Cast Member at Disney. The parade goes right through the heart of Frontierland. A number of years ago if you wanted to get to Splash Mountain or Big Thunder Mountain, it was a bear to get through–and not a country bear! With crowds lined up on both sides, and with a parade running right down the middle, you couldn’t get through. You were stuck either way.
Then Disney built a network of docks and bridges along its water front.
Now it’s no big deal to weave your way to and from the Frontierland mountains. But that effort required operations making a lot of changes to the landscape of the Rivers of America. And it cost a lot of money. For those who think Disney is always tight fisted with its money, I assure you that the changes we’ve mentioned in this article are in the millions. That’s a serious investment–largely just to make it easier for guests to get from one place to another in what is the most attended theme park on the planet–over 18 million guests a year!
Now Disney is working to bust up one of its biggest bottlenecks ever. Thousands of guests gather each day to see Disney’s parades and fireworks. It is an operations nightmare to handle the massive number of people who are witnessing these spectacles, while everyone else is trying to get around them, or trying to get out of the park. That’s why Central Plaza at Magic Kingdom has been under such a major re-construction effort. Its primary purpose is to bust up bottlenecks that occur.
You can see an aerial view of this on YouTube. When completed, two pathways will more quickly lead guests coming into the plaza area from Tomorrowland and Adventureland around the biggest part of the bottleneck in the heart of Central Plaza and out toward Main Street, or in the case of Tomorrowland–behind Main Street itself.
Our examples focus on ways to bust up bottlenecks in your physical environment. Imagine if your local government paid as much attention to trying to bust up bottlenecks on the roads and highways near your home. Maybe you wouldn’t spend so much time getting to work in the morning or coming home at night. But sometimes, trying to bust up bottlenecks might involve fixing processes that require waiting in line. Waiting for that answer from the IRS regarding your taxes? Maybe its time the IRS busts up some bottlenecks. You think your insurance company is taking to long to get back with you about your claim? Maybe that’s a bottleneck that needs attention.
Every organization needs to look inward and outward to find new ways to bust up bottlenecks. It’s an investment that pays dividends in the long run! How can you bust up bottlenecks?