The first haunt I ever worked at would send down groups of 20 or more..there is no way I ever do that again. It was scaring on a conveyer belt..you pop out repeatedly hit the group a few times and then get ready for the next one..no thought, no art, just get in there and scream at them. Now we do groups maybe 6 if pressed, but we normally try 2 , 3, and 4 . Families , friends all want to go in together..but a skilled " herder " can get them to divide most of the time. If you have people complaining about a long wait then think up something to entertain them while they wait. Roamers, a live band, gift shop, concessions, quick skits, videos..lots of things out there that can be done to help break up the monotony of standing in line. I recall an episode of Supernatural where the new lord of Hell was describing how he changed the place , made it more streamlined...Hell is now one long wait in line..you get to the end of it finally and your shot to the back to start over..now that scared me ! ;)
What do you do about all of the bitchin and moaning about long lines because you do a good job and now everyone is in your line waiting to get in all at once? Actors can only do so much for so long before people get pissed. We had a two hour wait at one point. Granted most of them forgot about the wait once they got thru it. But I would still like to figure out a way without compromising the show. Congo lines are out of the question.
The Shallow Grave
There are a couple things to do for long lines. Disney brings the attraction outside the rides and lets you interact with items and actors while you wait. I have seen displays set up like a dark museum filled with oddities. We have picture frames showing the back story. Also in the cues are actors walking around scaring people and there are magicians that do tricks. Some haunts set animations to go off in waiting areas once in a while so that part of the haunt is outside. This is the best place to ensure that what people will see inside the haunt is real...although it might not be. For instance your walls might be bricks and there might be cages with live animals or insects. People have these images in their heads before they go in the door. Inside your haunt the bricks can be carved foam and the cages are real but the animals are all animations. Plus, it never hurts when your door man says that yesterday one of the cages broke and most of the insects were caught... Bottom line, always remember that the waiting line is part of the haunt. It builds terror in your customer's mind while they wait. That's why the lines are so loud. Much like they are for roller coasters. Its way of letting out the fear. Every haunt needs to make the waiting area just as terrifying as the inside.
Originally Posted by Joe P
I hate the conga lines at Universal Florida. I looked forward to my trip to Horror Nights for so long, and spent so much money making it happen, then every haunt was a conga line. So disappointing! The general atmosphere and outdoor scare stations were the best I've ever seen, but every indoor haunted house was one long, less scary conga line.
Originally Posted by Farmer
We did the Universal thing one year too and it was a big waste of money and time. It took two hours to one haunt. It sucked really bad and it was just a line going through the haunt with actors yelling at you to keep moving. I would never go back even if it was free. I would never recommend it to anyone unless you like waiting in long lines for high school style haunted houses.
Nobody likes conga lines.
I have to say though, I can't think of a time that I've been to a mid sized or large haunt that I didn't get sandwiched between groups, catch up to the group before me or have the group behind catch up to my group. This happens even at small haunts, even at the haunts that open at the trade shows, even on slow nights. I know sometimes haunts are metered part way through which doesn't really work because they usually end up in a line in the middle of the haunt We tried that our first few years. In a 3/4 mile walk or anything approaching it, it seems that this is unavoidable. It is a different kind of show and yes, i think less scary, but at some point don't you just have to accept that this will happen and like FARMER said, design your scares around it or at least have a plan B?
I've seen people break up their haunt into different attractions, but then you're still waiting in line in between attractions. Or you start charging enough to drive some people away (not usually a good idea) or at least to other, slower nights. Then you get people thinking you're gouging them and that stays with them.
We do 8 people every 45 seconds, and they usually catch up to each other about 1/2 way through. Other than drastically reducing our capacity I don't know what else we can do besides accept it and plan our scares for it.
Imagineer, my management walked through your place about 3 weeks ago (great setting, good actors and killer job for 1st year!), you had 50ish people outside waiting to get in, were letting people through pretty slow and we still got sandwiched between groups. If anyone has any ideas I haven't thought of to fix this, I'd love to hear them!
I don't have any suggestions for keeping spacing between groups once they're in the haunt, but I went to one this year that had something I hadn't seen before. Each ticket was numbered. Once you bought your ticket, you were admitted into an an enclosed courtyard-like area that a food vendor, DJ, port-a-potties, and a heated tent with some benches. Above the entrance to the actual Queue there was a large digital display that told you what ticket was up. When you're ticket series was up, you got in the (short) queue and made your way into the attraction. Until then, you milled about, grabbed a hotdog, listened to music, got a picture of yourself being torn apart by a zombie horde, and waited in relative comfort. We were there on a slow night and went straight into the haunt so I didn't really get to check out the yard much, but I can definitely see how it would be nicer than standing in a long line on a busy, cold, rainy night. Seems like a good way to keep customers happy while they wait. (And keep them spending money too.)
I understand your dilemma. Make people wait (and sometimes people get tired of waiting and leave) or rush them through and experience a conga line. Lots of good suggestions from our fellow haunters. Here’s what we do.
We have two attractions and when guests exit the asylum, they get in line for the funhouse. The wait for the second haunt is usually only 3 – 10 minutes. We control this by the amount of time between when we start the groups at the first haunt. If you pick up the pace at the first haunt, be sure do the same at the second haunt or else that wait line will grow quickly.
We prefer group sizes of 4 – 6, but sometimes people refuse to divide and we leave it at that. We have three timing levels to start groups; 60 seconds, 75 seconds or 90 seconds apart. It all depends on how long the cue-line is and how close we are to closing. When we designed our new haunt this year we created smaller scenes with tighter turns. I think this helps keep the groups separated too. Also our actors will step in between groups when they start to bunch up and entertain them for a few extra seconds allowing for group separation.
We utilize dark holding cells to separate a group from the cue-line before entering the asylum. Now the starter already has them divided by group size and waiting to enter when he is ready for them to start. This way he doesn’t have to wait for a group and the dark holding cells are very intimidating.
Also we tell them before entering; if you catch up with the group ahead of you, slow down for a few seconds and let them get ahead. Even with all of these procedures, we still sometimes have groups catch up to one another. I think some people are so scared, they want to merge with another group so they feel safer.
Our timing does impact/limit our thru-put, but we prefer to put on a quality show and our reviews reflect it. Hope this helps!
The ScareAtorium Columbus
This is actually what we do. Timed ticketing for the corn, the wait shouldn't ever be more than 20 minutes. We have enough hayrides the wait for that is not more than 25. We have a pretty big area that people can go down a gigantic slide, 4 or 5 different food houses, fire dancers, magicians, games and a bunch of huge bonfires. We put on a pretty good Corn walk and the hayride is taking off but the fire scene is what a lot of people come back for. Our target audience is also 12-18. People usually spend at least 2 or 3 hours here all together.
Originally Posted by HobzGoblin
Its just the bunching up inside the Corn. Its the worst part of our Haunt and I would be stoked to fix it.