With virtual queues, why do theme parks still have lines?

Wait times may not be too bad, for the new rollercoaster at Universal once it opens, thanks to new technology

ORLANDO, Fla. — Wait times may not be that bad for the new roller coaster opening at Universal’s Islands of Adventure theme park when it opens.

In a blog post, Universal hinted that it may allow some people to stand in a virtual line for Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure, which debuts Thursday.

Many Harry Potter fans can’t wait to speed through the Forbidden Forest on the roller coaster.

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For the virtual line, ticket holders will put in how many people are in their group and what time they want to ride, and the app will let them know when to show up.

UCF associate professor Duncan Dickson said only some rides need a virtual line.

“Anytime you see much more than 45 minutes as an average wait time, you’ll probably want to put in a virtual queue,” he said.

Universal’s water park, Volcano Bay, uses the virtual queue technology.

Disney uses FastPass similarly.

Dickson said standby queues remain because the parks want to keep all the seats on the ride filled.

“We don’t want the ride going off without all the seats filled. You know some people don’t come back on time,” said Dickson.