Goodbye lines: Disney World introduces virtual queueing at its newest attraction

Dec 5, 2019

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When the Harry Potter-themed Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure ride opened at Universal Orlando over the summer, lines topped 11 hours. The ride is (reportedly) fantastic, but nothing is likely that fantastic with those sorts of lines and waits out in the summer heat. After getting a preview of Disney World’s newest ride, Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance, there was real concern that the 30-minute immersive and technologically advanced ride may easily lead to extremely long lines that snaked around the park.

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However, overnight, Disney World surprised guests by releasing a new way to wait for its newest attraction: virtual queueing.

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

Unlike with Harry Potter’s Hagrid ride that opened at Universal, you won’t likely see pictures of extremely long lines for Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance, because those who want to ride are first assigned a “boarding group” before they can join the physical line. While you wait for your boarding group, you are free to get FastPasses for other attractions, ride other rides, go to lunch, etc. When your boarding group is called in the app, you’ll have two hours to join the actual line.

This boarding group concept was initially utilized at the opening of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge in order to enter the land itself, but this is the first time Disney has relied on a virtual wait system for an actual attraction. This differs from FastPass+ as you must physically be in the park to get a boarding position, you aren’t assigned a specific return time,  and unlike with FastPass+ attractions, there is not also a standard queue offered.

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

Early reports from those at Disney are that the new waiting system is fantastic since you can spend your time doing things instead of just standing in a slow-moving line. TPG’s Julian Kheel was at Hollywood Studios expecting to spend most of the day in line for Rise of the Resistance, but while waiting for his boarding group to be called, he was able to ride Slinky Dog Dash, Toy Story Mania and more.

Guide to Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge at Walt Disney World

To use the virtual queue, make sure you have the My Disney Experience app downloaded and set up on your phone before heading to the parks. Once inside Disney’s Hollywood Studios, open the app and enter the virtual queue for the attraction, if it is open.

The downside of the virtual line for Rise of the Resistance is that it will almost certainly fill for the day for the foreseeable future. Today, on the opening day for the ride, the virtual queue filled for the day by around 9 a.m. Because of this, getting to the park early is still an important part of your overall strategy. Also note that having a boarding position does not guarantee a turn. On opening day, up to around boarding position 124 got to ride by closing time. According to reports in some Disney Facebook fan groups, those with higher numbers who weren’t able to ride, were reportedly given a pass to come back another day.

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

Unfortunately, for those looking to maximize sleep for the little ones, it seems that your entire party needs to physically be in the park in order to enter the virtual queue. Sending one person into the park early to sign the whole family up for a boarding group likely won’t work as Disney’s system will know the other people haven’t yet scanned into the park with their tickets.

Related: Use points to purchase Disney tickets

If you don’t have a smartphone with the Disney app installed, you can also join the virtual line by going to guest services.

For now, Disney is only utilizing a virtual queue for Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance. Disney has not announced how long this process will be in place for this new attraction. However, with the technology now in place and working, fingers are crossed that this is the beginning of a new way to enjoy major theme park attractions, and the end of hours upon hours spent waiting in a physical line.

Featured image by Summer Hull/The Points Guy

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