Wednesday, February 28, 2024
HomeDisneyDisney WorldLife in the Fast Lane: WDW's Virtual Queue and Individual Lightning Lanes

Life in the Fast Lane: WDW’s Virtual Queue and Individual Lightning Lanes

Introduction

Embarking on a magical journey to Disney theme parks is an experience filled with anticipation and excitement. To enhance the overall guest experience and minimize wait times for popular attractions, Disney introduced the Virtual Queue and Lightning Lane systems within the last several years. Virtual queues and lightning lanes are used for select attractions only and are subject to change at any time.

In this guide, we will delve into the intricacies of these innovative systems, providing you with the knowledge to make the most of your visit and maximize the magic.

Understanding Disney’s Virtual Queue (VQ)

The Virtual Queue is a digital reservation system that allows visitors to secure a spot for certain high-demand attractions without waiting in lengthy lines. Typically if an attraction is using a virtual queue, there is no stand-by line option. The only way to ride the attraction is to get into a virtual queue on the days of your visit. There are two opportunities each day to do this. 

The current rides at Walt Disney World using the VQ system:

  • Magic Kingdom

    • TRON Lightcycle / Run at Magic Kingdom
  • EPCOT

    • Guardians of the Galaxy at EPCOT

Step-by-step breakdown of how and when to use the Virtual Queue:

  • My Disney Experience (MDE) App

    • Download the My Disney Experience app (if it’s not already) on your smartphone and sign in with your MDE account. MDE is your central hub for managing the virtual queue (among many other things during your visit).
  • Park Admission

    • Ensure that your tickets or annual pass are linked to your My Disney Experience (MDE) account. Note that a theme park reservation may be required depending on the type of admission and date of your visit. Learn more about theme park reservations.
  • Multiple Opportunities to Join the Virtual Queue

    • 7:00 AM – Guests do not need to be in the park to join the virtual queue – Guests are usually at home (if living locally) or at their hotel at this time when attempting the join the virtual queue
    • 1:00 PM – Guests must be in the required park to join the virtual queue
    • Extended Evening Theme Park Hours an opportunity to request to join the virtual queue will be available at 6:00 PM on select dates during extended evening theme park hours—a benefit for registered Guests staying at a Disney Deluxe Resort, Disney Deluxe Villa Resort or other select hotels. 
    • Guests with this benefit must have a valid theme park admission. However, Guests do not need to be in Magic Kingdom park when they request to join the virtual queue.
  • Joining the Queue

    • Select one member of your party to access the virtual queue to check for an available boarding group for everyone in your party. If multiple people in your party try to join the virtual queue simultaneously, that may inhibit your ability to join a group.
    • Select “Virtual Queues” on the home screen to view the current status and next steps for joining a virtual queue. The app will indicate when there is no availability for a specific distribution time, or if a backup group is available.
    • Boarding groups for a virtual queue are limited, subject to availability, and are not guaranteed. Not all boarding groups may be called to return, based on availability of the experience.
  • Notification and Boarding Group

    • If successful, you will receive a notification when it’s time to return to the attraction. Be sure to turn on notification in the MDE app so you know when it’s time to return to ride the attraction.
    • Your group will be assigned a Boarding Group number, indicating when you can enter the queue.
    • Late arrivals may not be accommodated, so be sure to keep an eye on your boarding time.
  • Attraction Entry

    • Head to the attraction during your designated time slot, and present your park admission and Virtual Queue information for entry.

Understanding Individual Lightning Lane (ILL) Attractions (Á La Carte)

Walt Disney World’s Lightning Lane system, part of the Genie+ service, offers guests the opportunity to skip regular lines and enjoy expedited access to a curated selection of attractions. In this step-by-step guide, we’ll walk you through the process of purchasing individual Lightning Lane access for specific attractions, allowing you to make the most of your time at the park.

Get quicker entry to some of our most popular attractions! You may purchase individual—or à la carte—Lightning Lane entry selections for specific attractions that aren’t offered through Disney Genie+ service. Purchase individual Lightning Lane entry for up to 2 attractions per day, one at a time. Guests may purchase this option with or without Disney Genie+ service.

The current rides at Walt Disney World using the ILL system:

Magic Kingdom

    • Seven Dwarfs Mine Train
    • Tron Lightcycle / Run

EPCOT

    • Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind

Hollywood Studios

    • Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance

Animal Kingdom

    • Avatar Flight of Passage

How to Purchase Individual Lightning Lane Entry

  • My Disney Experience (MDE) App

    • Just as with Disney’s virtual queues, you will need MDE to purchase individual Lightning Lanes. Be sure to download the My Disney Experience app (if it’s not already) on your smartphone and sign in with your MDE account. MDE is your central hub for managing the virtual queues, lightning lanes, and many other aspects of your magical Disney vacation. 
    • Check the My Disney Experience app on the day of your park visit for current prices and attraction availability. Pricing and availability varies by attraction and park.
    • From the main menu in the My Disney Experience mobile app, select “Tip Board”.
    • Select an individual Lightning Lane experience and follow the prompts to purchase.
  • How It Works

    • Guests of a Disney Resort hotel and other select hotels may make their first purchase at 7:00 AM on the day of their park visit. This includes Guests of Walt Disney World Swan Hotel, Walt Disney World Dolphin Hotel and Shades of Green Resort.
    • All other Guests may make their first purchase when the park opens.
    • Purchase this type of Lightning Lane entry for up to 2 different experiences a day, one at a time. Please note: each experience’s Lightning Lane entrance is available once per day, per Guest—but traditional standby queues are also available for most attractions.

Note: Attractions with Lightning Lane entrances may vary by date, are subject to change or closure, are limited in availability and are not guaranteed and may not be available at all on the date of your visit or at the time you make a selection. Price, terms and entitlements are subject to restrictions and change or cancellation without notice.

Tips for Maximizing Your Disney Experience

  • Plan Ahead

    • Review the list of attractions available through Virtual Queue and Indiviudal Lightning Lane before your visit. Prioritize the ones that are most important to you and your party.
  • Early Access

    • Both Virtual Queue and Lightning Lane reservations are subject to availability and are often claimed extremely quickly. For the Virtual Queue, to increase your chances, set your alarm/timer early in the morning and be ready to join immediately at 7:00 AM. If you don’t have luck, try again at 1:00 PM once in the park.  Lightning Lanes tend to go quickly, but in my experience not as fast at Virtual Queues. That said, you should still be promptly ready at 7:00 AM to purchase your desired Individual Lightning Lane, especially if you are looking for a specific timeframe during the day. The earlier you join, the more options you will have. 
    • Be Flexible. Attractions may experience technical issues, and availability can change throughout the day. Have backup choices and be prepared to adjust your plans accordingly.
    • Utilize Downtime. While waiting for your Virtual Queue or Lightning Lane time, take advantage of other attractions, shows, and dining options to make the most of your day. But be sure to keep your eye out for your return times – there is usually only a short grace period to enter the queue if you miss your exact time.

Conclusion

Disney’s Virtual Queue and Individual Lightning Lane systems have revolutionized the theme park experience, offering guests the opportunity to enjoy popular attractions with minimal wait times. By understanding the intricacies of these systems and planning strategically, you can navigate the magic of Disney with ease, creating lasting memories for you and your loved ones. Embrace the enchantment, and let the magic unfold seamlessly during your Disney adventure.

Marnie Raimondo
Marnie Raimondo
Hi there! I'm Marnie, Disney blogger and writer. My passion is helping people plan magical Walt Disney World vacations. I love sharing Disney tips and advice based on my personal experiences from many, many magical trips over the years. I hope through my writing I can help you navigate your way through Disney news, the parks, dining, resorts and so much more! Happy planning!
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