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Apr 16, 2023
Sorry if this has been discussed before.

In 2018 SEAS filed a patent for "Systems and methods for virtual queuing". The way that the virtual queuing system would work is that park guests would open a mobile app and be presented with a screen asking for their name and the number of guests in their party. After pressing the OK button guests would then be presented with a screen showing their return time to ride the attraction and a QR code for ride attendants to scan. If a guest where to decide that they wanted to experience a second attraction while they were in a virtual queue for a primary attraction; they could choose to have a later line position for the primary attraction while being notified about sufficient wait times to experience the secondary attraction. The patent also mentions an automated kiosk that guest could use to reserve a return time for attractions if they did not wish to use the mobile app. The kiosk would print out a paper ticket that would show the guests return time and a barcode for ride attendants to scan. If an attraction were to experience minimal downtime; guests would receive an updated return time and would keep their position in line. In the event of major downtime, the virtual queue may be dumped in which guest would be notified and invited to rejoin the queue if they are still interested in the attraction. Guests that accept the invitation “may be in the same order they originally were in the queue, or may be in any alternative order including all at once”. This would be done to prevent guests from being upset when they return to the attraction to find that it is unavailable and “that there is a large physical queue forming of an indeterminate length”. In the event of a delay guest that used the mobile app would receive a notification that their return time has changed and guest that used a kiosk would be notified via a PA announcement that they need to go to a park personal to revive a ticket with their updated return time. The system would be fully automated by a computer system called the central authority. It is not mentioned if guests would have to pay a fee to use this system. This patent would be abandoned on June 13th, 2022, with the patent citing "ABANDONED -- FAILURE TO RESPOND TO AN OFFICE ACTION" as the reasoning. I am curious as to why SEAS abounded this patent since it could increase guest satisfaction and spending. Since we have seen SEAS implement futures in their mobile apps such as reserved seating and mobile ordering, I hope that they introduce a virtual queuing system in the future.

Here is a link to the patent if you would like more information about it:
US20180365600A1 - Systems and methods for virtual queuing - Google Patents

Below are images from the patent.
  • “FIGS. 1A and 1B provide an embodiment of a mobile device app which allows for entry onto a virtual queue."
  • "FIG. 2 provides an embodiment of a paper ticket indicating entry into a virtual queue."
  • "FIG. 3 provides an example of a screenshot showing queue management at a central authority.”


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I'm not sure how this is significantly different from how Disney's virtual queues (Fastpass) works honestly. Filing a patent is basically the legal way of saying "hey, we have a neat idea that may be unique" - they may have abandoned it because their patent lawyers (or the PTO) found that it wasn't different enough from other virtual queue patents. It doesn't necessarily mean that they won't use it!
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