Skip to content

Prepare to stand in line: Disney World pauses virtual queues — for now

Jan. 06, 2022
5 min read
This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

Editor's Note

This post is regularly updated with new information. 

When Disney World opened the ground-breaking Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance attraction in late 2019, it also introduced virtual queueing. This protected the park — and its guests — from situations like the snaking 11-hour line that Universal Orlando's Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure ride had experienced at its launch a few months earlier.

Using a virtual queuing system for intensely popular rides prevented that bottleneck and allowed guests to experience other rides, attend shows, shop and eat instead of wasting hours every day in one physical queue. However, there were also some downsides to the virtual system.

But love it or hate it, as shared on the official Disney Parks Blog, Disney World is pausing the use of virtual queues -- for now. Here's what you need to know before your next trip to the parks.

For more TPG news delivered each morning to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.

Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance (Photo by Summer Hull/The Points Guy.)

Disney pausing virtual queues

While there were occasional operational tweaks, Disney's Hollywood Studios utilized a virtual queue for Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance from the time the attraction opened in late 2019 until just before the fall 2021 opening of Remy's Ratatouille Adventure at Epcot.

When the Ratatouille attraction officially opened on Oct. 1, 2021, it did so using a virtual queue.

However, effective Jan. 10, 2022, the Ratatouille ride will cease utilizing a virtual queue and move to utilizing a standby queue (aka an old-fashioned line).

(Photo by Summer Hull/The Points Guy)

Related: TPG’s ultimate guide to Walt Disney World Resort

Sign up for our daily newsletter

This means that as of next week there will be no Disney World attraction using the virtual queuing system, and all rides will be experienced either via waiting it out in a physical line or by purchasing faster access via Genie+ and Lightning Lanes.

The upside of pausing virtual queues

The good news? You should be able to have a good day at a theme park by just buying a ticket and showing up.

If you want to spend a chunk of your day waiting for the ride that interests you the most, it makes sense to have that option. By pausing the virtual queue, Disney effectively simplifies the theme park experience in that respect.

It was easy for someone to not be aware they had to wake up and request a boarding pass exactly at 7:00 a.m. or miss out on experiencing a new ride. For most of the time since the virtual queues were in use, there was no option to simply get in line and wait even if you were willing and able. If you didn't get the boarding pass, you simply couldn't ride. This changed a little when the paid Lightning Lanes were introduced for these attractions in fall 2021 since you could also buy your way in until those options sold out.

But even those who did know how the virtual queue system worked didn't always get a boarding pass — luck (and connectivity) played a significant role, and you could easily be a fraction of a second too late.

(Photo by Julian Kheel/The Points Guy.)
(Photo by Julian Kheel/The Points Guy.)

Related: Use points to purchase Disney tickets

The downside of pausing virtual queues

The obvious downside of losing the virtual queue options is that to ride these attractions you may need to spend more of your day waiting in line.

And the reality is that may be a little worse than it sounds because the true wait of the standby queue is impacted by the ability for guests to buy their way into a shorter line with Lightning Lane.

Rise of the Resistance and Remy's Ratatouille Adventure, which were both using the virtual queue option, are now offered via individually purchased Lightning Lanes that range in price from about $9 to $15 per ride, per person. The guests paying those prices for the shorter line generally have priority over those who simply show up to wait in the standard queue, which increases the length of the standby wait.

While we don't yet know what the standby line demand will be for Remy when it comes off virtual queue on Jan. 10, the posted wait times for Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance are commonly two to three hours long.

Bottom line

While this is a change worth noting, it is almost certainly not the last of virtual queues for Disney World.

When the new Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind ride opens at Epcot this summer, it will very likely do so with a virtual queue.

But it's clear that, at least for the foreseeable future, Disney is using virtual queues to manage demand for brand-new rides, not as a true alternative to waiting it out in line. If you want a way to experience a ride without getting in the normal line, you're going to need to budget for the recently introduced Genie+ and/or Lightning Lanes.

Featured image by (Photo by Summer Hull/The Points Guy)
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Top offers from our partners

How we chose these cards

Our points-obsessed staff uses a plethora of credit cards on a daily basis. If anyone on our team wouldn’t recommend it to a friend or a family member, we wouldn’t recommend it on The Points Guy either. Our opinions are our own, and have not been reviewed, approved, or endorsed by our advertising partners.
See all best card offers

TPG featured card

Best card for premium perks while traveling
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards

2 - 10X points
10XEarn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel
5X5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel.
2X2 Miles per dollar on every purchase, every day

Intro offer

75,000 bonus miles
Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel

Annual Fee

$395

Recommended Credit

740-850
Excellent
Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

Why We Chose It

The Capital One Venture X card is one of the best all-round travel credit cards ever launched. Not only is it offering a tremendous welcome bonus, but cardholders can earn tons of miles on everyday spending and receive a 10,000-mile anniversary bonus to boot. Its annual fee is $395, but cardholders can count on up to $300 in statement credits toward travel booked through Capital One Travel each year and other valuable benefits like access to Priority Pass lounges and Capital One’s own growing family of airport lounges.

Pros

  • Excellent welcome offer worth 75,000 miles after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months.
  • Up to $300 in annual travel statement credits toward bookings make through Capital One Travel.
  • 10,000 bonus miles (worth $100 toward travel) each account anniversary.

Cons

  • The $395 annual fee might be expensive for some, but this card’s benefits provide much more value than that.
  • If you don’t travel frequently, this might not be the best card for you.
  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Receive up to $300 back annually as statement credits for bookings through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of options
  • Get 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 towards travel) every year, starting on your first anniversary
  • Earn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on all other purchases
  • Unlimited complimentary access for you and two guests to 1,400+ lounges, including Capital One Lounges and our Partner Lounge Network
  • Receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
  • Use your Venture X miles to easily cover travel expenses, including flights, hotels, rental cars and more—you can even transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs
  • Named editors' choice for "Best New Credit Card of 2021" by The Points Guy
  • Earn 10 miles per dollar when you book on Turo, the world's largest car sharing marketplace, through May 16, 2023
Best card for premium perks while traveling
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

10XEarn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel
5X5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel.
2X2 Miles per dollar on every purchase, every day
  • Intro Offer
    Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel

    75,000 bonus miles
  • Annual Fee

    $395
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    740-850
    Excellent

Why We Chose It

The Capital One Venture X card is one of the best all-round travel credit cards ever launched. Not only is it offering a tremendous welcome bonus, but cardholders can earn tons of miles on everyday spending and receive a 10,000-mile anniversary bonus to boot. Its annual fee is $395, but cardholders can count on up to $300 in statement credits toward travel booked through Capital One Travel each year and other valuable benefits like access to Priority Pass lounges and Capital One’s own growing family of airport lounges.

Pros

  • Excellent welcome offer worth 75,000 miles after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months.
  • Up to $300 in annual travel statement credits toward bookings make through Capital One Travel.
  • 10,000 bonus miles (worth $100 toward travel) each account anniversary.

Cons

  • The $395 annual fee might be expensive for some, but this card’s benefits provide much more value than that.
  • If you don’t travel frequently, this might not be the best card for you.
  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Receive up to $300 back annually as statement credits for bookings through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of options
  • Get 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 towards travel) every year, starting on your first anniversary
  • Earn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on all other purchases
  • Unlimited complimentary access for you and two guests to 1,400+ lounges, including Capital One Lounges and our Partner Lounge Network
  • Receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
  • Use your Venture X miles to easily cover travel expenses, including flights, hotels, rental cars and more—you can even transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs
  • Named editors' choice for "Best New Credit Card of 2021" by The Points Guy
  • Earn 10 miles per dollar when you book on Turo, the world's largest car sharing marketplace, through May 16, 2023