Universal Studios, Computerized Lockers, and Guest Relations

IMG_0690 The other day my family and I went to Universal Studios/Islands of Adventure. It was a blast. We had not been in several years, and the new attractions are really great. Once the new roller coaster is running it will really give Disney’s Hollywood Studios a run for their money. I did not like the “express pass” purchase options, where people can pay extra and bypass some of the lines. Unlike Disney where the “fast pass” is handed out to people based on a first-come, first-serve basis, people who can afford between $30-$50 get to skip longer wait. But, all in all, I would recommend it.

I would not recommend carrying a bag with you.

Many of the rides are very intense. No loose articles are allowed. So, Universal has supplied quite a few lockers for people to place their bags and purses while on the rides. Unlike most lockers of this type, you don’t need a quarter. Simply place your finger on the scanner and key a few buttons. The locker opens and is secured until you return to get your possessions. One scanner opens about 30 or so lockers.

On the surface, this seems like good thing. No one has to carry any quarters. Your stuff is secure. There are two problems. Only the first hour is free. The kiosks are not fast enough to handle 30 lockers when it’s busy. The picture in this post is of a line of people waiting to get their stuff. Here we waited about 10 minutes after we finished the ride to get our belongings.

It was very annoying to place your things in a locker, wait in line for 45 minutes, and then wait another 10 minutes to get your stuff before you could move on to the next ride. I would have left it in the locker, but then the rent for the lockers kicks in. So, the system which seemed great on the front end begins to break down. By the end of the day I was totally frustrated with the lockers.

I will bet that the people at Universal thought this was a great plan. Make the lockers free, but charge for them if people want to leave their stuff for longer than an hour. This way there are always open lockers by the attractions. But they have not looked at this process since. Or if they have, then they don’t care about the problems. They should either simplify and shorten the process to get your things, or stop charging for longer wait times, or increase the number of kiosks. Or, give us back the old “quarter” lockers.

How many times do we have what seems like a good idea on the surface, but which we never revisit again after it’s implemented? Are there things we are doing right now that are frustrating the very people we are trying to reach for no good reason?