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How To Get a Virtual Queue Boarding Group at Walt Disney World

Chris Hassan's image
Chris Hassan
Chris Hassan's image

Chris Hassan

Social Media & Brand Manager

Countries Visited: 21U.S. States Visited: 24

Chris holds a B.S. in Hospitality and Tourism Management and managed social media for all Marriott properties in South America, making him a perfect fit for UP and its social media channels. He has a ...
Edited by: Stella Shon
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Stella Shon

News Managing Editor

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With a degree in media and journalism, Stella has been in the points and miles game for more than 6 years. She most recently worked as a Corporate Communications Analyst for JetBlue. Find her work in ...
& Keri Stooksbury
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Keri Stooksbury

Editor-in-Chief

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With years of experience in corporate marketing and as the Executive Director of the American Chamber of Commerce in Qatar, Keri is now Editor-in-Chief at UP, overseeing daily content operations and r...

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If you’ve been to Walt Disney World or Disneyland recently, you know how crazy the crowds can get. Even if you are just doing research for a future trip, the amount of new information out there can likely be overwhelming.

One of the latest additions to planning a trip to Disney is trying to score a Virtual Queue. If you don’t know what that is, you’re not alone.

Disney has been using Virtual Queues and Boarding Groups to help improve the “waiting in line” experience for its most popular rides. Instead of guests having to wait in line for hours to try to experience the latest attraction, they can instead attempt to secure a spot in a virtual line, so they can spend time enjoying the park, avoid a lengthy wait, and return when it’s their turn.

In theory, this concept seems like a great idea. However, in practice, it means waking up early and facing the reality that you might be out of luck if you aren’t the fastest app user. But don’t worry, we will show you exactly what you need to do to secure your party a hard-to-get spot in a Virtual Queue, and what to do if you aren’t successful on your first attempt.

What Is a Virtual Queue?

Lately, many rides have demands that exceed daily ride capacity throughout the Disney parks. In an attempt to give all guests a fair chance at riding, and avoid families wasting hours in lines, Disney introduced Virtual Queues.

Guests with same-day park reservations can use the My Disney Experience app (for Walt Disney World) and the Disneyland app (for Disneyland Resort) to get a Virtual Queue Boarding Group.

The first Virtual Queue was rolled out in 2019 at Disney’s Hollywood Studios for Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance, which was (and still is) an extremely popular ride.

Since then, the program has been used when needed at other new rides, including Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure and Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind at EPCOT.

Bottom Line: When a Virtual Queue is being used, that means that traditional lines are not available. Depending on when you are planning on visiting the parks, Virtual Queues may be in use for your favorite ride, so be sure to check at least 1 day in advance to prepare!

How To Get a Virtual Queue

You will have 2 opportunities to snag a Virtual Queue — the first is at 7 a.m. on the day of your park visit and the second is at 1 p.m. that same day. For the 7 a.m. attempt, you can be in the comfort of your hotel room, however, in order to be eligible for the 1 p.m. drop, you (and your party) must be inside the park.

iPhone Disney app boarding group Star Wars
Breakfast and Boarding Groups! Image Credit: Chris Hassan

Be Prepared

To give yourself and your party the best shot at scoring a Virtual Queue Boarding Group, be sure to do the following:

  • Update your My Disney Experience app (iOS, Android) and the Disneyland app (iOS, Android)
  • Configure your party starting 1 hour before the queue opens
  • Set an alarm for 6:55 a.m. and 12:55 p.m. so you don’t get distracted
  • Turn off your Wi-Fi and rely on your cell phone service (unless your signal is poor)
  • Open time.gov on a separate device to have an accurate clock
  • Close all other apps and restart the Disney app

This may seem a bit extreme, but if you have spent hundreds (or even thousands) of dollars on a Disney vacation, you will want to give yourself every advantage possible when it comes to getting a seat on the best rides.

Step-by-Step

Ok, you are minutes from the queue opening up … here are the steps to take to (with a little luck) secure a Virtual Queue Boarding Group:

  • Open your Disney app
  • Click on the hamburger menu (the 3 stacked lines ☰) on the bottom right of the screen
  • Select Virtual Queues
  • Select Join Virtual Queue
  • Tap Confirm Your Party as you should have configured this already
  • At exactly 7:00 a.m. tap Refresh until a new page appears
  • Tap Join Virtual Queue

Hopefully, you have now secured a Boarding Group!

Hot Tip: Instead of tapping the Refresh button, you also have the option to pull down to refresh. We prefer tapping because the Refresh button is in the same location as the Join Virtual Queue button on the following page. That means you can just keep tapping as quickly as possible until you get through. 

Boarding Group

Congratulations! Hopefully, your hard work has paid off and you have secured a Boarding Group for yourself and your party. If you weren’t so lucky, fear not — you still have options.

At 1 p.m. you can repeat the process above from inside the park. You (and your entire party) will not be able to join the Virtual Queue from anywhere else. And again, be sure to turn off the Wi-Fi, especially in the park.

Once you have your Boarding Group, keep an eye on your app and watch the Estimated Return time as it can change.

One thing to keep in mind, as awesome as it is to receive a Boarding Group, that doesn’t mean that a ride is guaranteed. If you have a high-numbered Boarding Group and the attraction experiences closures throughout the day or technical difficulties, it is entirely possible that your number will not be called.

Fortunately, Disney is working out most of the kinks, so that shouldn’t be a common issue in the future.

Individual Lightning Lane

Disney Genie Service app
Image Credit: Disney

If you were unsuccessful in both of your attempts at securing a free Virtual Queue Boarding Group, there is 1 more option … a paid Individual Lightning Lane.

As part of the Disney Genie+ service, guests can pay to skip the line at select rides. These rides are often the most popular attractions, so there is a good chance the Virtual Queue you were trying to get for “free” will be available for purchase as well.

Currently, you can find these pay-per-ride options at the following attractions:

Individual Lightning Lane at Walt Disney World

Magic Kingdom

  • Seven Dwarfs Mine Train
  • Space Mountain

EPCOT

  • Frozen Ever After
  • Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind
  • Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure

Hollywood Studios

  • Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway
  • Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance

Animal Kingdom

  • Avatar Flight of Passage
  • Expedition Everest – Legend of the Forbidden Mountain

Individual Lightning Lane at Disneyland

Disneyland Park

  • Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance

Disney California Adventure Park

  • Radiator Springs Racers
  • WEB SLINGERS: A Spider-Man Adventure

Prices vary between $7 and $29 for Individual Lightning Lane access depending on demand and are also subject to availability.

If there is a ride that you are dead set on experiencing and didn’t get a Boarding Group at the 7 a.m. drop, it may be a good idea to purchase an Individual Lightning Lane early in the morning.

Tips and Tricks

We went over some basic tips, but they are worth repeating if you really want to score a Virtual Queue Boarding Group … plus here are some extras:

  • Make sure your app is updated
  • Configure your party in advance
  • Set alarms for 6:55 a.m. and 12:55 p.m.
  • Use your cell phone service if possible, unless you are really confident in your Wi-Fi
  • Open a trusted clock like time.gov or timeanddate.com on a separate device
  • Close all other apps and restart the Disney app
  • Have other party members attempt to score Boarding Groups as well
  • Carry a portable phone battery charger with you to the park

Once you score a Virtual Queue, be sure to turn your app notifications on and keep an eye on your Boarding Group so you don’t miss your assigned time.

Bottom Line: You are competing for a very limited number of Boarding Groups. You will need to do everything perfectly, and still, you will need a little bit of luck on your side!

Final Thoughts

Guardians of the Galaxy Cosmic Rewind Galaxarium
Use Virtual Queue at Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind. Image Credit: Disney

Planning a trip to Disney nowadays is far from a relaxing experience, but it can still be worth it.

We used to think that using FastPass+ took a lot of effort, but in hindsight, that was nothing compared to trying to make the most of your park time with Disney Genie+ and Virtual Queues.

Your best bet at having a successful park day (riding your preferred rides and avoiding lines) is by preparing in advance. That means reading tips like these and studying up on how to make the most out of Genie+, Virtual Queues, and Individual Lightning Lanes.

All of these new terms and techniques may seem foreign at first, but getting a firm grasp of them before your vacation will save you a lot of frustration (and disappointment) compared to just showing up and hoping for the best.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Disney Virtual Queue?

A Virtual Queue replaces physical lines at very popular Disney attractions. You can attempt to score a Boarding Group via the Disney app at 7 a.m. and 1 p.m.

Do Virtual Queues cost extra?

No, there is no extra cost to use a Virtual Queue, but you must have a valid theme park ticket registered to your Disney account.

What time does the Virtual Queue open?

Virtual Queues open at 7 a.m. and 1 p.m. each day.

What are the best tips for scoring a Virtual Queue Boarding Group?

If you want to have the best chance at scoring a Virtual Queue Boarding Group, do the following:

  • Update your Disney app
  • Configure your party starting 1 hour before the queue opens
  • Set an alarm for 6:55 a.m. and 12:55 p.m.
  • Turn off your Wi-Fi and rely on your cell phone unless your signal is poor
  • Open time.gov on a separate device to have an accurate clock
  • Close all other apps and restart the Disney app
Chris Hassan's image

About Chris Hassan

Chris holds a B.S. in Hospitality and Tourism Management and managed social media for all Marriott properties in South America, making him a perfect fit for UP and its social media channels. He has a passion for making content catered toward family travelers.

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