Whenever Disney World opens a shiny and new ride that they’re sure will be overrun with guests, they launch the Virtual Queue and Boarding Group system. This means that there’s no traditional line to stand in, and you can’t book a Lightning Lane with Genie Plus, either. 

Only one ride per park will be on this system, and there’s not always a ride at each park with a Virtual Queue. For example, at the time of this writing, the only two VQ rides are Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind at Epcot and TRON Lightcycle / Run at the Magic Kingdom.

Two virtual queue rides at Disney World.
Source: disneyworld.disney.go.com

Instead, starting at 7 a.m. on the day of your park visit, guests can request to join the ride’s Virtual Queue via the My Disney Experience app. You can do that from wherever you are, like at your hotel room.

If you’re accepted, you’ll get a Boarding Group number with a time window for when you should show up at the ride to get on line. (Yes, there’s still a line to wait on, but it’ll be short compared to regular Disney World ride lines.)

The first page for requesting to join the Virtual Queue on the My Disney Experience app.

Now Boarding screen on the My Disney Experience app for Cosmic Rewind.

Virtual Queue slots fill up fast, especially for brand-new rides. It’s possible you won’t get a Boarding Group during the first Virtual Queue round and that you’ll have to try again when the next one opens at 1 p.m. For that one, you’ll have to physically be in the park.

Also, it pays to check back throughout the day. I’ve had luck getting on the Virtual Queue and being assigned a Boarding Group even outside of those two time slots. The less popular a ride is (like when it’s no longer completely new), the easier it is to get on.

You Can Also Get an Individual Lightning Lane for the Ride (Maybe)

Often, when a ride has a Virtual Queue, it also has an Individual Lightning Lane. This means you can pay one charge per person (like $20, for example) to get on a Lightning Lane line.

Since this is an Individual Lightning Lane, it’s not included in Genie Plus. Buying an ILL doesn’t depend on whether or not you have Genie+ — you can buy one if you also purchased Genie+ for that day or if you didn’t. Check out our Genie Plus articles if you want to learn more about how it works.

Individual Lightning Lanes for popular Virtual Queue rides get sold out, so if you don’t book one early in the day, you could miss your chance.

What If You Miss Your Disney World Boarding Group?


Source: Brian McGowan via Unsplash

When your Boarding Group is called, you’ll have one hour to make your way to the ride and get on line. But sometimes that hour can go by fast — if you even realized it was your BG time at all.

This happened to us when Cosmic Rewind was fairly new. We were assigned a Boarding Group, but we had restaurant reservations right in the middle of the Boarding Group time window. We ended up at the ride a long time after our Boarding Group time slot and were in line with another Boarding Group entirely.

I started to give the Cast Member an in-depth explanation of what happened, and while I was mid-sentence, he kindly said, “Cool! Go right in. No problem.”

He didn’t need to hear anything else, and he didn’t ask to see the app with my Boarding Group info.

We Learn This Lesson at Disney World a Lot

As long as it doesn’t seem like you’re cheating the system, if you clearly explain explain what’s happening and you ask nicely, the Cast Members tend to give you what you want. We’ve canceled restaurant reservations last-minute and weren’t charged, we’ve gotten off the Lightning Lane and were allowed to go right to the front when we returned, etc.

(This doesn’t always happen — when our Lightning Lane reservation glitched and we lost it, they didn’t offer any help at all.)

If a bunch of people start skipping their Boarding Groups and then show up whenever they want expecting to get on, sure, you may get a “no.” But usually, you’ll be allowed to do what you’re asking to do.

Want to know what to expect at Disney World security checks? We have an article about it.