UA-20143982-1
NCL Free At Sea

All Theme Parks Should Have Webcams

By on 12/30/2010

The Coaster Guy: After reading about the record breaking attendance at both Universal’s Islands of Adventure and Disneyland this week, both of which had to stop admitting guests a couple of times, I was curious as to what a crowd of that size looked like. I’ve been in Disneyland on some extremely busy days, what seemed like shoulder to shoulder across the entire park, but never where they had to lock the front door. I figured the best way to see what crowds of that size looked like myself was to take a peek at a couple of live webcams from within the parks. I figured that the larger parks would surely have at least a couple of cameras setup. Boy, was I wrong!

I wouldn’t say that I performed an exhaustive search, but I did spend a bit of time looking for some in-park webcams and yet I still came up empty. To be fair, I did find that CedarPoint has three webcams in operation. Their DragsterCam is mounted on top of Top Thrill Dragster and looks down on the park. As the name implies, the WindSeekerCam is supposed to highlight the construction of the upcoming WindSeeker ride, however I really couldn’t tell what I was seeing the couple of times I looked at it. Lastly, their PagodaCam gives you insight as to what’s happening on the midway. I have never been to CedarPoint, but I assume there is a pagoda that this camera is mounted on top of.

Other than CedarPoint, I couldn’t find any cameras located in any parks, even the other eleven parks owned by Cedar Fair Entertainment Company. What I did find was lots of independent cameras located outside the park, pointed towards the park. Most of these were miles away and you could barely see the park in the distance, assuming you squinted and used your imagination. I also came across one “camera” that would show you a picture of Disney World’s Main Street U.S.A., however it wasn’t live, or even a camera for that matter. It uses a collection of hundreds of stills and videos, taken over time, that shows a random picture when you visited the site. I think the site’s operator missed the live camera that Disney used to have there years ago and built this simulator to fill the void. Clever, but not the same.

Why are there no webcams in these parks? Is it an expense concern? Is it a support/maintenance concern? Do they only want paying guests to see what’s inside the walled garden? I just don’t understand it. This equipment is inexpensive and I can think of several reasons why they would be a benefit, at least to the guests.

  1. Park Promotion – What a great way to show off the park to someone who has never been there. Place cameras showing people having the time of their life. Use them to highlight some of the featured attractions.
  2. Park Attendance – This one could be a double-edged sword. Place cameras showing some of the main thoroughfares in the park. Guests could check to see how busy the park is before heading over. If it’s not too busy, they may just head on over for the afternoon. However, the downside is that people may not even attempt to go if it looks too busy. Either way, it’s a great way for people to gauge how crowded the park is, and that’s a plus in my book.
  3. Queue Times – Place cameras showing the queue lines for the popular attractions. Almost everyone walks around with a smartphone in their pocket. They could easily check the webcam feeds for the rides and go where ever the lines are shortest. Another possibility is to place a camera on a centralized wait time board that shows the current wait times for all rides. Again, may not be in the park’s best interest, but the park guests will appreciate it.
  4. Weather Conditions – Webcams would be great for seeing what the weather is doing in the park at any given moment. I only live about 60 miles from Disneyland, but the weather here is not always the same as it is there. With a quick check of the webcam, I would be able to see what the conditions are before heading out.
  5. Construction – People, especially theme park junkies like you and I, love to watch things be built. Having a camera on the construction of a future attraction is a surefire way to get people to keep coming back to the site. “Is it done yet, is it done yet?”

I can understand why some park operators may not want live webcams scattered throughout their park. They don’t want to air their dirty laundry (overcrowding, long wait times), show any behinds-the scenes/operational stuff (nightly cleaning), or give away any freebies (parade viewing from home). However, I feel that all of these are minor issues and can be easily overcome. All it takes is for that one park to be the trendsetter and make the first move. It will be so popular that other parks will be forced to follow suit. Then Disney will come along and show everyone how to do it right, setting the bar even higher. Before we know it, none of us will be able to remember when parks didn’t have webcams all over the place.

What are your thoughts? Would you take advantage of webcams in these parks if they were there?

5 Comments

  1. Anabella

    06/18/2013 at 1:52 pm

    there are some webcams that point to Disney
    http://www.disneywebcams.com/

    • The Coaster Guy

      06/18/2013 at 4:46 pm

      Hey, that’s pretty cool. Thanks for sharing! 🙂

      • Anabella

        06/19/2013 at 5:47 am

        you are welcome!

  2. Looper

    12/04/2013 at 11:23 am

    I cant imagine cameras at SFMM any time soon as they still seen stuck in about the 80’s. Perhaps a local building like Embassy Suites or Advanced Bionics could post a web cam pointed towards Flags. Or post one on top of HR trailer at flags and from that good view of perhaps 6-10 rides.

  3. Cayden

    12/09/2017 at 8:02 am

    Knotts Berry Farm now has webcams for the construction of hangtime!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *