A Sprint For The Princesses



It was a little after 8am and we were on a bus between one of the Disney World Florida hotels and the Magic Kingdom. The park doesn’t open until 9am but there is an entertaining little ceremony as the park opens every morning where Mickey and friends turn up on a steam train to open the main gates and welcome in visitors.

The ceremony is popular and the bus was already full. There was a mix of excitement and anxiety on board, the kind you experience whenever it’s first-come-first-served and you know it’s going to be really busy when you get there.

Of course the bus was full of families of all kinds. Some with young kids, some with older kids, some with no kids, large families, smaller families, couples. Two women were sitting next to each other and talking. Each had a young girl dressed in her favourite Disney princess outfit.

“There’s going to be a sprint for the princesses!” declared one of them.

I knew instantly what she meant. There’s an app you can get which draws live data from the park systems and it tells you how long the wait times are for each ride or experience. I’d been paying attention to it for several days (there’s a little bit of certainty right there!) and there was one experience that always had a 90-120-minute wait regardless of the time of day…

Meeting the princesses.

No-one likes hanging around in a long queue. It’s not only wasteful of customers’ time, but in a place like Disney where there is so much to do, it reduces the chance they have of enjoying all the experiences they want to have during their visit. Being the first in line to meet the princesses at the start of the day is a pretty good tactic to reducing your wait time on the longest line. It’s an exercise in both short-termism and certainty.

But the location of the princesses isn’t near the park entrance, instead several hundred metres into the park. And as the gates opened for the day, keen moms grabbed the hands of their young princesses and sprinted up the street as predicted.