Using Virtual Queues at Disney World: Tips, Tricks, and How-Tos

by | May 10, 2024 | Animal Kingdom, Disney's Hollywood Studios, EPCOT, Magic Kingdom, WDW Blog

Learn how to master Disney World’s virtual queue, which are used for everything from popular attractions to in-demand popcorn buckets.

In recent years, Walt Disney World Resort has made hours-long wait times for new attractions and exciting entertainment a thing of the past. How? Well, it’s all thanks to the use of Disney’s virtual queues.

Whether you’re hoping to ride Disney World’s hottest thrill rides or an upcoming E-ticket attraction (like the soon-to-open Tiana’s Bayou Adventure), virtual queues throughout the theme parks may be necessary. Below, we’re sharing everything we know as Disney World experts to help you master those virtual queues and ride – or grab that hot new popcorn bucket – with ease.

What is Disney’s Virtual Queue System?

Disney World uses a virtual queue system to slash wait times for incredibly popular and in-demand attractions, entertainment, and limited-time offerings. The virtual queue system is most commonly enlisted for new attractions; to help control demand and prevent hours-long wait times, it can slot guests into boarding groups with set return times.

Here’s how it works: Instead of waiting in a physical queue, you join a virtual queue right on your smartphone in the My Disney Experience 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 Disney World

Here’s how the virtual queue appears in-app. Screenshot from My Disney Experience App

Joining any Disney World virtual queue is easy, though you may not always get assigned to a boarding group. It’s a random process, so there’s no guarantee that you’ll be able to ride – but with multiple opportunities throughout the day, the odds are good.

Here’s how the virtual queue works for Disney World’s theme parks:

  • Open the My Disney Experience app an look for the Virtual Queues section
  • When the distribution window opens, click “Join the Virtual Queue” for the attraction you’re hoping to ride
  • Enroll yourself and your party (any linked tickets or passes can be added)
  • Receive a boarding group number and return time.

When your boarding group is called, you can head over to the attraction entrance.

Typically, there are two distribution time slots per attraction throughout the day. It’s common for one to be early in the morning and the second to take place in early afternoon – specifically, 7:00 AM and 1:00 PM Eastern time. 

Which Disney World Attractions Use a Virtual Queue?

Currently, just two attractions use a virtual queue at Disney World:

While other attractions have utilized virtual queues – including Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure at EPCOT and Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance at Disney’s Hollywood Studios – these have wound down as other, newer attractions have opened. Typically, if a ride is still highly popular and discontinues its virtual queue, Lightning Lanes are an option to help you shorten the wait.

Other Virtual Queues at Disney World

Virtual Queues for Disney World Popcorn Buckets

Do you remember the six-hour wait times for the Figment popcorn bucket back in 2022 at the EPCOT Festival of the Arts? We do – and we hope we don’t ever encounter lines that crazy again!

Ever since that first Figment popcorn bucket, Disney World has utilized a virtual queue (technically, a Mobile Order process) for its most popular releases. New Disney popcorn buckets are much easier to purchase – by joining the virtual queue, you’ll get a chance to purchase, receive a return window, and cut the wait time down to just a few minutes.

Disney World Virtual Queue Tips and Tricks

Know When – and Where – You Need to Be to Access the Virtual Queue

While any Disney World guests can try to nab a boarding group for an attraction’s virtual queue, there are some special stipulations. You’ll want to know all of the quirks of the virtual queue before you attempt to join!

For some virtual queue distributions, you’ll need to be scanned into the theme park and onsite to join. For others, you can join from anywhere. Here’s how it works:

  • The 7:00 AM virtual queues do not require you to be in the theme park to join
  • The 1:00 PM virtual queues do require you to be in the theme park to join
  • The 6:00 PM virtual queues (more on those below!) do not require you to be in the theme park to join

Knowing these key details can help you plan out your day so you’re exactly where you need to be ahead of a virtual queue distribution time.

Virtual Queues Are Available During Extended Evening Hours

If you’ve been struggling to get a boarding group through the virtual queue system, you might want to consider attending Extended Evening Hours at EPCOT or Magic Kingdom. These “after hours” perks are open to guests staying at a Deluxe, Deluxe Villa, or other select resort on Disney World property.

When Extended Evening Hours are taking place, the virtual queue for Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind or TRON Lightcycle / Run will open at 6:00 PM for a third opportunity.

There’s an added perk for this 6:00 PM virtual queue distribution, too: You don’t have to scan in while physically inside the theme park to try for a boarding group. However, you’ll only be able to access this virtual queue if you’re a guest who qualifies for Extended Evening Hours.

Be Prepared Before the Queue Opens

clean-up-family-friends-list-for-rise-of-resistance-virtual-queu

Make sure everyone in your party is linked ahead of joining a virtual queue. Screenshot by Trisha Daab

Virtual queue boarding groups disappear fast, which means you need to be ready to act as soon as possible when it’s time. This means you’ll want to get prepped – and be on your phone, with the My Disney Experience app ready to go – a few minutes before the designated time.

We suggest finding a spot with good WiFi or cell signal (a tricky task in Disney World!), making sure you’re logged into My Disney Experience, and double-checking that everyone in your party has their tickets or passes linked so you can all be added to the boarding group with ease. Then, you’ll be prepared to hit “Join Virtual Queue” as soon as it pops up.

Oh, and if you’re an early riser, you can actually confirm who’s in your party well before the first virtual queue distribution pops up at 7:00 AM. Starting at 6:00 AM, you can log into the My Disney Experience app, click into “Virtual Queues” from the menu, select the theme park, and, once the attraction in question appears, click “Confirm Your Party.”

This allows you to automatically populate everyone in your group who’s able to join. If anyone is missing, now’s the chance to add them! If everyone is accounted for in the app, you can keep this screen open and simply hit “Refresh” when 7:00 rolls around.

Posts by Heather Adams

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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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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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