Virtual Queue – Great Idea or Needs To Go?
In recent years, Disney has implemented a Virtual Queue for select attractions. Some guests like this feature, while others wish Disney would do away with it.
From its implementation to now, the Virtual Queue process has changed. Are more changes needed, or does Disney need to get rid of it completely?
What is a Virtual Queue?
The Virtual Queue feature is accessible through the My Disney Experience app. The Virtual Queue is not a FastPass or Lightning Lane; it is the opportunity to wait in the Stand-by Line.
Guests who are lucky enough to get a spot in a Virtual Queue will be assigned a Boarding Group. They can go about their day, and will be notified when their Boarding Group is called.
When their Boarding Group is called, guests will have a one hour window to return to the Stand-by Line. Cast Members at the attraction will verify that each guest entering the line has a Boarding Group that has been called.
Guests who do not have an assigned Boarding Group will not be able to ride the attraction.
New Rides Mean Long Lines.
Since it opened on May 28, 2014, Seven Dwarfs Mine Train consistently has a long wait time. Guests rush to the ride as soon as the park opens.
It’s rare to see a wait time less than one hour for Seven Dwarfs Mine Train. To many guests, even waiting an hour feels too long.
Flight of Passage, another popular attraction, opened on May 27, 2017. Arguably the most popular ride in Animal Kingdom, it is not uncommon to see wait times over 200 minutes for this attraction.
Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance
On December 5, 2019, the much-anticipated Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance opened at Hollywood Studios. In anticipation of the demand for this ride, Disney implemented the Virtual Queue.
At its inception, guests were required to be inside Hollywood Studios to be able to join the Virtual Queue. Guests were admitted to the park early in order to be granted the opportunity to join the queue.
Many were not successful; the Virtual Queue would be full within seconds each day. Also, technical issues with the finger scanners led to many guests not being able to even try to join the Virtual Queue.
It was found that guests didn’t need to just be in the park, but also had to successfully scan their park ticket or MagicBand and the finger scan at the park entrance.
After much frustration and countless complaints about this process, Disney made a big change: guests no longer had to be in the park to join the Virtual Queue.
Guests could attempt to join the Virtual Queue at 7am each day from the comfort of their home, the airport, or the resort.
Despite these changes, the Virtual Queue still filled almost immediately each day. Many guests were still disappointed that they did not even have the opportunity to wait in line.
Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind
Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind is another attraction that was expected to be very popular. In an effort to manage the potential for incredibly long lines, the Virtual Queue feature is used for this attraction.
Guests have again expressed frustration with not being able to obtain a Boarding Group through the Virtual Queue. Some are still waiting for their first chance to experience the attraction.
This attraction also gives guests the option to purchase an Individual Lightning Lane. However, Individual Lightning Lanes are also limited and do sell out.
Since the opening of this attraction, Rise of the Resistance no longer has a Virtual Queue; all guests are welcome to enter the Stand-by Line.
Even years after opening, Rise of the Resistance frequently posts long wait times now that the Virtual Queue is gone. It’s rare to see a wait time under one hour. 100+ minute wait times are not uncommon.
What are the Benefits of the Virtual Queue?
Without the Virtual Queue, Stand-by Lines for these new and popular attractions would be excessively long. While many say they don’t mind, the Virtual Queue actually saves guests time.
If you are able to secure a spot in a Boarding Group, you’re given an estimated return time so that you can go about your day.
Rather than waiting in line for three or more hours, you can spend that time eating, going to shows, riding rides, and exploring other parts of the park.
While it is frustrating to not get a Boarding Group when they are released, don’t give up hope! Disney is conservative with their groups and only releases what they know they can honor.
A second round of Boarding Groups is released at 1pm. Guests who have already gotten in that day will not be able to join again,
For tips on how to best plan your day and how to join a Virtual Queue, use a MickeyTravels Agent!