Disneyland Virtual Queues: Tips, Tricks, and How-Tos

by | May 9, 2024 | Disney California Adventure Park, Disneyland, Disneyland Parks

Learn how to master – and wait patiently! – for Disneyland’s virtual queue system that’s used for everything from attractions to new Magic Key sales.

When Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance first opened at Disneyland Park in January 2020, it introduced something new (and no, we’re not talking about the trackless ride system!). It was Disneyland’s first-ever virtual queue, a new approach to waiting in line for hugely popular attractions. 

Designed to save time and make the wait more efficient, virtual queues at Disneyland have since become more commonplace. While these virtual queues may be a pain point if you’re hoping to simply wait in line, ultimately, we love a virtual queue. They free you up to spend your day exploring other attractions and entertainment, saving you from having to wait an hour or more in a physical queue. 

No matter how you feel about virtual queues, we’re helping you master them with all the need-to-know information that’ll help you successfully nab a boarding group.

What is Disney’s Virtual Queue System?

Theme parks at both Walt Disney World Resort and Disneyland Resort utilize a virtual queue system to manage high demand for certain attractions or special limited-time offerings. Whether you’re trying to ride a brand-new attraction or get your hands on that ever-elusive Figment popcorn bucket, Disney’s virtual queue system can simplify the process and streamline your wait.

At Disneyland, the virtual queue system works pretty much just like the virtual queues at Disney World. Instead of entering a standby line and waiting in a physical queue for hours, you join a virtual queue right on your smartphone in the Disneyland app.

The virtual queue randomly places guests into boarding groups. Each boarding group is given a set time to return and join the physical queue, which is usually open and free for you to breeze right onto the ride.

How the Virtual Queue Works at Disneyland

Rogers: The Musical at the Hyperion Theater signage

Rogers: The Musical utilized a virtual queue during its run at Disney California Adventure Park. Photo by Jaysen White

Virtual queues at Disneyland Resort are simple and straightforward. Typically, they offer boarding groups at set distribution times throughout the day. As soon as it’s time, you – and any other guests in the theme parks – can attempt to join and be randomly assigned to a boarding group.

To join a virtual queue, you’ll:

  • Log into the Disneyland app at one of the virtual queue distribution times
  • Select “Virtual Queues” on the home screen, which will give you the current status and next steps
  • Enroll yourself and your group (only linked park tickets can enroll together)
  • Get your boarding group and return window

When your boarding group is ready to ride, you’ll get a notification from the Disneyland app.

Typically, Disneyland will employ a virtual queue for a newly-opened attraction. However, with the introduction of Genie+ and Individual Lightning Lanes in 2021, virtual queues at Disneyland have been few and far between. 

Which Disneyland Attractions Use a Virtual Queue?

Currently, no attractions at Disneyland Park or Disney California Adventure Park utilize a virtual queue. Virtual queues for attractions have been paused.

In the past, however, both attractions and entertainment have relied on virtual queues. When new attractions open and see sky-high demand (like Rise of the Resistance and Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway, both of which used a virtual queue when they first opened), virtual queues can help temper the crowds and in-queue wait time. Similarly, virtual queues have been used for new, limited-time entertainment like Rogers: The Musical (which utilized one in 2023).

If you are interested in seeing World of Color – ONE, this nighttime spectacular at California Adventure does use a virtual queue. The queue is for guests who want to watch from the preferred viewing area at Paradise Gardens Park and, unlike attraction virtual queues, this one opens to guests at 12:00 PM daily.

Other Disneyland Virtual Queues

Virtual Queues for Disneyland Popcorn Buckets

If you’ve ever spotted an hours-long line for the buzziest themed popcorn buckets at Disneyland and California Adventure, you aren’t alone. Disneyland does now use a virtual queue for those interested in purchasing the hottest new popcorn buckets – well, kind of. 

Instead of using a true virtual queue, Disneyland will typically offer Mobile Order for new popcorn bucket releases. Guests can use the Disneyland app to place an order and get a return window to pick up the item (and their popcorn). However, this means you may still wind up waiting in a long line come your return time.

Either way, the Mobile Order version of a virtual queue that’s used for popcorn buckets can still be helpful. It’s the best way to snag a bucket before it potentially sells out for the day.

Virtual Queues for Ticket and Magic Key Sales

How to Get the Most Out of Your Oogie Boogie Bash Experience

Photo by Adrienne White

If you’re trying to score tickets for special events, certain ticket types, or other happenings at Disneyland Resort, you may very well encounter a virtual queue. This is a slightly different kind of virtual queue than those used for theme park attractions or in-demand merch. 

Disneyland’s ticket and special event virtual queues take place online, but outside of the Disneyland app. You can access them from anywhere – not just when you’re physically inside the parks – and use them either on a desktop or mobile device. Any internet browser will do.

The virtual queue will open up at a set time (typically, it’s 9:00 AM Pacific time), and all guests will be able to join at that time. Don’t bother trying to “get in line” early; the system randomly places everyone who’s online and waiting to purchase into the virtual queue. So, those who get online at 8:30 have no better odds than those who hop on at exactly 9:00. 

From there, you’ll be sent to a page with a loading screen that counts down your wait time. You could see anything from “10 minutes or less” to “More than one hour” as a wait time. Usually, a progress bar marks how much longer you’ll have to wait.

When it’s finally your time to enter and make a purchase, you’ll have about 10 minutes to do so. This is where you’ll select your tickets or event date, enter guest information, and check out.

Disneyland most frequently uses a virtual queue for the annual Oogie Boogie Bash, a highly in-demand Halloween Time event that requires a special ticket. Oogie Boogie Bash tickets tend to sell out fast each year, so a virtual queue is needed to balance out demand. 

Magic Keys, which are Disneyland’s version of Annual Passes, are another high-demand product that typically uses a virtual queue. Magic Keys go on sale a few times throughout the year, and they usually introduce a queue for any guests who want to purchase a brand-new Magic Key (if you’re renewing an existing Key, you won’t need to join a queue). 

Virtual Queues for Disneyland Candy Canes

One of the hottest items at Disneyland year after year? It’s the handmade candy canes sold during the holiday season. These candy canes are incredibly limited, and in years past guests would line up for hours to secure one. Today, candy cane distribution is managed via a virtual queue, which allows you to get a randomly selected return window – just like all of the other virtual queues – to pick up your sweet, peppermint-y treat.

This virtual queue is only around on candy cane release dates in November and December of each year.

Disneyland Virtual Queue Tips and Tricks

Know the Distribution Times Before Visiting

Before you arrive at Disneyland Resort for your day at the theme parks, make sure you do your research. Look into the details of the virtual queues you’re hoping you join, and find out what time they’re distributed throughout the day. You’ll want to act fast – which means you’ll need to be prepared to join within seconds of the queue opening.

Most virtual queues (with the exception of World of Color) offer at least two distribution times per day. Sometimes there’s one right at park opening and another at midday; other times, the queue opens later in midmorning and again in the afternoon. It simply depends on the virtual queue in question.

Choose Your Theme Park Wisely

Depending on what type of ticket you’re visiting Disneyland with, you may be limited in the virtual queues you can join. For example, if you have a 1-Day, 1-Park ticket, you need to choose the park in which you’ll be looking to join the virtual queue in.

If you have a Park Hopper ticket or Magic Key, there’s no need to worry. You can join virtual queues at either theme park once you’ve scanned into the park for the day.

Get to the Parks Early (Seriously!)

Here’s a rule many guests overlook: You can only join a virtual queue at Disneyland’s theme parks if you’ve physically scanned into the park.

That means, even if you’ve purchased a ticket and made a park reservation, you cannot simply open the Disneyland app and try to join the virtual queue from home. You don’t have to physically be inside one of the theme parks to join, but you must scan into a park before you can do so.

This isn’t as critical of a tip if you’re hoping to join the World of Color – ONE virtual queue, as this queue doesn’t open until noon. However, for brand-new attractions, it’s a must.

Posts by Heather Adams

Heather is a lifelong Disney fan who grew up at Disneyland and loves spending as much time as possible in the parks. As WDW Magazine’s Content Operations Manager, Heather is a content creator and strategist with experience at a wide variety of different outlets. She’s written for publications including Clean Eating Magazine, Fatherly, The Drive, Task and Purpose, Healthversed, Nation.com, and Car Bibles. Heather also authored the book Fidget!: 101 Ways to Boost Your Creativity and Decrease Stress.

Authored by
Heather Adams

Heather is a lifelong Disney fan who grew up at Disneyland and loves spending as much time as possible in the parks. As WDW Magazine’s Content Operations Manager, Heather is a content creator and strategist with experience at a wide variety of different outlets. She’s written for publications including Clean Eating Magazine, Fatherly, The Drive, Task and Purpose, Healthversed, Nation.com, and Car Bibles. Heather also authored the book Fidget!: 101 Ways to Boost Your Creativity and Decrease Stress.
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