Last week, I introduced the concept for this new blog: to examine “other” theme parks and things they do with an eye to brainstorming things that maybe someday Disney Parks might do.
This week’s “What Would Disney Parks Do” is inspired from a concept at Busch Gardens-Williamsburg. Outside of two of their water rides: “Escape from Pompeii” and “Le Scoot” they have family dryers—as in, places to recover from the buckets of water that can be heaped upon you after riding these attractions!
On our most recent trip to Virginia, we tried Escape from Pompeii (a Splash Mountain-esque drop and wetness factor.) I did this in spite of my common sense (it was 11 am and 60 degrees outside.) NOBODY was in line. (Everyone else was smart and stayed away.) Anyway, in my infinite stupidity, I took my daughters onto the ride. About 30 seconds after boarding, we were flying down the one and only hill. Moments after I uttered the fateful words “cool–I didn’t even get wet”—it happened. I was assaulted by water jets by people who paid 25 cents to knock intelligence into the silly people who boarded this ride. I was SOAKED…. like, drowning rat soaked.
As I exited the ride berating myself, I was intrigued to see that there may be hope for me… The prospect of a day in soaking wet blue jeans and sweatshirt loomed, so the sign advertising “family dryers” sang to me like angels from on high. I grabbed my daughters’ hands, held my head high, and strode past the all-knowing smirk of my husband, to the family dryer.
A tall, spacious structure, the family dryer could easily fit 6 adults. I swiped a credit card for $5, not knowing what to expect. My daughters and I stood inside, and for the first minute, there was just a radiant heat. Then, a fan started to blow the heat at us. The enclosure became VERY warm. I felt like a kitten lying with her belly by a heater. VErrrrry happy. My daughters darted out after another minute, but I stood inside for several more minutes—and the heat/fans were still running when my husband impatiently informed me I was dry and we should get going before the Memorial Day crowds flooded the queues.
WWDPD? As we dashed to some mega-roller coaster, my mind started to turn to Disney. I have, on many an occasion, limped my way out of Splash Mountain and Kali River rapids, questioning my sanity as water rolled down my back.
My inner Imagineer envisions a bank of family dryers outside both attractions. The outsides could easily be decorated to become part of the theme.
I see many potential advantages for Disney and its guests to incorporating family dryers.
1. Guest Satisfaction: People can ride the attraction and then dry off, avoiding a day of discomfort. In the cold months, this could also be a place people used just to warm up!
2. The Bottom Line: Aside from the initial investment and maintenance, this seems like a great money-maker for Disney. If they could keep a low enough price to keep people from rolling their eyes and deciding they would prefer to be miserable, I foresee many people happily spending $5 to dry off, especially given the number of people who can fit into the dryer.
3. The Bathrooms: On more than one occasion, I have dripped my way into the restrooms by Splash Mountain, to find a trail of dirty water and footprints from those who walked in drenched before me. If family dryers were incorporated, it is likely that the cleanliness of the rest rooms would improve.
1. Lines / Traffic: I am not certain, but there is the possibility that incorporating these dryers could complicate the traffic patterns around the exits to these attractions. Guests may become frustrated by having to wait in another line.
2. The Disney Image: People may see this as a blatant Disney “money grab.” First they soak you, then they try to charge you to dry off. I can imagine that the more cynical guests would complain.
3. The Environment: Honestly, I am not amazingly literate on the topic of how the use of electricity impacts the environment, but I know that these dryers must require a good deal of electricity to power them. No doubt there would be some who would question whether this is a sound enough reason to impact the environment.
What do you think? Should Disney Parks look into incorporating family dryers at the exits of their water rides? Please vote in our poll below, and feel free to leave your observations in the comments below. And stay tuned for our next edition, where we will examine the highly charged topic of strollers in the parks!