The Challenge

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How might we design an accessible election experience for everyone? read the brief

Contribution

Disney Parks - Experts in Crowd Management

Disney wants guests to be happy and happy people don't spend hours waiting in line for a ride. Some Disney tips and tricks for keeping lines short and waits pleasant.
A trip to a Disney park can be a dream come true or a nightmare depending on how much time you spend stuck in a line (especially on a hot day).

The folks at Disney have become masters of crowd control, line management and (where lines aren't avoidable) making waiting in line as fun as can be possible.

Here's a link to an article in the New York Times that talks about the "Disney Command Center" whose entire goal is to keep waiting short and enjoyable:

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/12/28/business/media/28disney.html

They receive alerts when spots are 'hot' (meaning wait times have reached a certain threshold).

If something can be done (opening another register, adding another train, etc) they will alert the ride/restaurant operators of the changes to make.

If the wait can't be made shorter, they will send characters over to entertain the guests.

Disney has also made the queues for many of their rides interesting to look at with hidden surprises (such as a rope you can pull that will 'collapse' the ceiling) or video games that you can play while in line.  They also frequently have cooling 'misters' built in to outdoor waiting areas that can be activated to cool off the waiting guests.

Polling places might not have the budget to implement all of Disney's line-busting ideas; however, many of their techniques could be used to ensure that people spend less time in line.  Additionally, waits could be made more pleasant for those who do have to stand in line (which would be especially important for people that can't physically stand up outside for 45+ minutes).
Mission #4 Learn from Analogies

Comments

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Mark Roberton

February 19, 2012, 18:59PM
I like this analogy. Disney is great at managing crowds which is important for voters. I suspect there are other things we could learn from them as well - they are in the service business (which you could argue the voting system is in parts as well), so every interaction with the customer (e.g., buying a ticket, getting a drink, making a complaint) is designed to reinforce the experience they are trying to create. They also need to make sure this is consistently followed by the thousands of staff they employ, so learning about recruiting, training, managing staff etc. could also bring some insight.

Jessica Rudder

February 09, 2012, 17:48PM
@Andy - You're right! That would be a great time to provide people with additional information about their community that they might not be aware of.

@Erica - I like the idea of the community activities. It would be a great way to get groups of younger (not quite voting age) people involved. It reminds me of some of the big city marathons - they'll have local bands set up and play along the course as well as cheer squads from local high schools cheering people on. You could have local high school groups provide entertainment (for those waiting in line) which would have the added benefit of getting them used to going out to the polls on voting day (so they'll have that habit already when they are old enough to vote).

Erica Bjornsson

February 09, 2012, 06:58AM
I love the idea of pairing complementary community activities with waiting to vote. It's a perfect time to learn about what will happen if an earthquake seriously affects our neighborhood, etc. Many people feel a surge of patriotic emotion/oxytocin when they vote so maybe it would be a good time to have a fair of local volunteer organizations that people could join or at least follow.

Jessica Rudder

February 09, 2012, 17:49PM
I like the idea of the community activities. It would be a great way to get groups of younger (not quite voting age) people involved. It reminds me of some of the big city marathons - they'll have local bands set up and play along the course as well as cheer squads from local high schools cheering people on. You could have local high school groups provide entertainment (for those waiting in line) which would have the added benefit of getting them used to going out to the polls on voting day (so they'll have that habit already when they are old enough to vote).

Andy Janssen

February 07, 2012, 03:55AM
It's a great idea... what things might we be able to have in line, especially for polls where it is easy to predict long lines (e.g. early voting, or metro areas of 'battleground' states). Maybe a video about how to use that particular ballot? Or even stuff that's not related, but otherwise useful info... i.e. posters that say when are leaves collected in that neighborhood? When is the next fire-fighter fundraiser? How much snow is too much snow to park on the streets? etc. etc.

Jessica Rudder

February 09, 2012, 17:49PM
You're right! That would be a great time to provide people with additional information about their community that they might not be aware of.
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