Thursday, August 3, 2023

How to Use Disney's Virtual Queue

I remember the days of Fastpass like it was yesterday. Mom or Dad would hand us a physical ticket with a barcode, usually not until we literally were walking up to the ride because they didn’t trust us not to lose it. After a simple scan and go, boom, we were on and off the ride within 10-15 minutes. You could plan your entire day around your Fastpass windows. The time never bounced back and forth, it was set and easy to understand.

Now you have to wake up at 6:50am to have a chance at riding the fancy new attraction at Disney World (or pay to ride, aka buy a Lightning Lane). 

I’ll give the House of Mouse this: They are usually first to the table when it comes to implementing new technology and trying (key word) to streamline planning for guests. The Virtual Queue and Genie + are two essential tools you will want to know how to manage before your stay in Disney.

I hope you’re about to read this virtual queue guide on your laptop with your MyDisneyExperience app open on your phone to familiarize yourself.

Your 6:50am vacation self will thank you.

What is the Virtual Queue?

The virtual queue is a virtual line you wait in for the most coveted attractions in Walt Disney World. Currently, the queue is used for Epcot's Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind and the Magic Kingdom’s Tron Lightcycle/Run. If you want to experience them, you’ll need to use this system or buy a Lightning Lane (another post).

How do you use the Virtual Queue?

Let's clarify some things before we start giving you the blueprint. For starters, you can only access the virtual queue if you are going to that park for the day. If you are going to the Animal Kingdom, you cannot hop in the queue for Tron Lightcycle/Run. Even if you could, why would you? (Park hoppers, keep reading).

Second, the virtual queue has two primary windows: 7:00am and 1:00pm (both Eastern standard time for uber clarification). During extended evening hours a queue will re-open at 6:00pm for eligible guests. You cannot double dip at 7:00am and 1:00pm. This is how we will find out if you’re an early bird or really in vacation mode.

Park hoppers, your virtual queue experience depends solely on your plan. Let’s say you're trying to hit Tron Lightcycle/Run and Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind on the same day, starting in Magic Kingdom. The 7:00 am queue is open to you the same as it is to everyone else. Secure your spot on Tron and enjoy your morning. When you hop to Epcot, you have to physically be in Epcot to enter the 1:00 pm Virtual Queue. You cannot access an Epcot queue from Magic Kingdom or anywhere else, only in Epcot. If your boarding time for Tron Lightcycle/Run is 12:30 pm, you’re not going to be able to hop in the queue for Guardians at 1:00 pm.

Tying this back to everyone, if you choose to use your nighttime magic hours (currently only for deluxe resort guests), you can re-enter the 6:00pm queue. Case in point, we went to Magic Kingdom on a day they had extended evening hours, so park closure extended to midnight for deluxe resort guests. We rode Tron Lightcycle/Run at 2:30ishpm and midnight. The same applied for Epcot and Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind. We rode two of Disney’s hottest rides four times. 

Now let’s answer the question: How on earth do I use it?

Step One: Go into your MyDisneyExperience app. The fourth tab on the left will say “Virtual Queues."

Step Two: Click on either the giant tab right in front of you that says “Join Virtual Queue” or the top right corner on the “+” sign.

Step Three: Select your park and your attraction. You’ll need to confirm your party before anything else. If all of you plan to ride Tron Lightcycle/Run, you’ll need to select all. If not, deselect any members not riding. This is crucial because only the members selected get access to the ride. If you are not selected, your Magicband (or phone) will not work upon scan.

Step Four: Wait. You can only get in the queue at the aforementioned times. Not to stress you out, but once the window opens, it is open for maybe ten seconds.

That brings us to our tips and tricks. All of these tips have been tested by yours truly and family (Mom) and so far, we have never failed to lock in a spot when using the queue.

Tip One: Make it a two-person job. If you want the safest chance at securing a coveted queue spot, get two people on the job. One of you will hop in the app, choose a queue, confirm your party and wait until a window opens. Person number two? You’ll be going to and eyeing down the eastern time zone to the second. 

Yes, this feels like extra. Yes, it is worth it.

I suggest that person two counts down with fifteen seconds left (6:59:45 am or 01:59:45 pm or 5:59:45 pm). Count all the way down to zero. Person one, you’ll see a refresh tab on the screen, which does exactly what it implies. When your teammate says "one" hit that refresh tab. The tab will then say join queue.

After you hit the “join queue”, you have to once again confirm your party! It is a three-click process! Refresh -> Join Queue -> Confirm. It all happens in the span of literally three seconds, so you do not have time to waste. 

Tip Two: Use the newest IOS or Android device you have and check your Wi-Fi. A newer phone and faster Wi-Fi was the difference between Group 198 (near park close time) and Group 5 (early morning) the two times we joined the queue.

Tip Three: After you get in the queue, check on your time often. You may have a boarding time of 11:00am. The window is open for one hour, so from 11:00am -12:00 pm. There is a little wiggle room, usually ten minutes on both sides, so 10:50 am - 12:10 pm would be your true window.

That all said, the time you get initially is rarely the time you go back. It can go forward or backwards depending on a variety of things. That’s why the hour and twenty minute window is pretty nice. You don’t have to plan your entire day at the park around your boarding time, but keep a decent space in the day open for changes. 

Fourth, if you miss your return time, go straight to guest relations. They will accommodate you the best they can as far as getting you on the ride. It’ll mostly depend on which attraction is in higher demand whether or not you still get to board. Tron Lightcycle/Run opened in April of 2023, whereas Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind is a year old. You’ll have much better luck on getting on the older of the bunch. 

Once you finally get into the attraction you’ve been que’d up for, expect to wait around 15-45 minutes to get on and off. Absorbing all of this information is probably giving you anxiety. I promise you, once you do it once, it becomes much easier to understand.

Questions? Leave them in the comments!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Throw in your two cents!