At long last, Walt Disney World finally has a Marvel-themed attraction — take that, Disneyland!
Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind opened at Epcot on May 27, 2022, blasting off into the galaxy on a fun rollercoaster that’s different every single time you ride, thanks to the ride’s rotating soundtrack.
Sure, this is a thrill ride, but you’ll also feel like you’re dancing like Star-Lord, and you’ll even run into some familiar faces from the popular franchise along the way.
First, you’ll find yourself in a tour of a Galaxarium, learning all about a planet that you’ll recognize from the movies… until things go wrong, of course, as they always do.
Ready to discover the wonders of Xandar? Read on for our guide to Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind.
Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind Quick Facts
Description: During a tour through the Galaxarium — or “the Other-World Showcase pavilion” — you’ll learn about Xandar and even have the chance to hyper-jump to visit it. But things go awry when The Searcher interrupts the tour, sending you all the way back to the Big Bang while the Guardians of the Galaxy race to save the day.
This ride is Disney’s first ever reverse-launch rollercoaster, giving guests the chance to zoom through the galaxy in a rotating ride vehicle while rocking out to one of six classic songs.
Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind is located in the new World Discovery neighborhood in the former Future World area.
It’s taken over the area where Ellen’s Energy Adventure used to be in what is now called the Wonders of Xandar pavilion.
You can see where the attraction is located here:
How to Ride Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind
Right now, the only ways to ride Cosmic Rewind are by joining the virtual queue or purchasing an Individual Lightning Lane.
There is no Standby Line or Single Rider line at this attraction, so without a boarding group or a return time, you won’t be able to ride.
Scoring your spot begins with the My Disney Experience app the morning of your park visit, and you’ll want to make sure that you’re logged in with your park tickets and reservation for Epcot linked.
Being ready to go ahead of time is key, because boarding groups can still be challenging to snag, especially during the busiest times of the year.
Here’s where you’ll find the virtual queue in the app:
There are two distribution times for park guests each day: One that opens at 7 a.m. that can be booked from anywhere (including your hotel room or even off Disney property). Another set of boarding groups will drop at 1 p.m., but you must be inside the park to be able to join. (While Disney officially states guests must be inside the park for the 1 p.m. drop, we’ve learned that as long as you’ve tapped into the park, you can try to join the virtual queue at 1 p.m. from anywhere.)
A third drop time has been added at 6 p.m. for resort guests eligible for Extended Evening Hours, which typically happen at Epcot on Monday nights.
The process might sound a bit intimidating, but once you’ve successfully grabbed a boarding group, it’s time to celebrate! When your boarding group is called, all you’ll have to do is go to the entrance of the ride and enjoy, with the benefit of a much shorter wait than you would have had via traditional Standby Line.
For more information and tips, here’s everything you need to know about how the virtual queue works at Cosmic Rewind.
Do I Need To Use Genie+ at Cosmic Rewind?
Cosmic Rewind isn’t included as a Genie+ selection — it’s only available as an Individual Lightning Lane, which is a separate purchase.
But if you don’t want to go through the virtual queue process and riding Cosmic Rewind is a priority during your trip, it might be smart to buy an Individual Lightning Lane, which would allow you to get a return time without participating in the boarding group drops.
This ride is still a very popular one, though, and the Individual Lightning Lane has been known to sell out here, so you’ll want to make sure you grab one as soon as selections open. For Disney World Resort hotel guests, that will be at 7 a.m. the morning of your visit. Everyone else can make their first selection at park open.
Don’t forget to check out our touring strategies for Epcot for more tips on using Genie+ and making the most of your day in the park.
Rider Switch/Child Swap
You can use Rider Switch for Cosmic Rewind. Rider Switch is Disney’s system that allows guests with small children to take turns riding bigger rides with height requirements while another person/people wait with the little one.
Keep in mind that you will need a boarding group or have purchased an Individual Lightning Lane in order to participate in Rider Switch at this attraction.
If you’re hanging back with the little one, there are plenty of ways to fill your time while you wait for the rest of your group to finish riding.
It can be fun to check out the Treasures of Xandar gift shop at the exit of the ride, especially if you’re a Marvel fan. At the nearby Connections Eatery, you can grab a snack. Epcot’s Starbucks location, called Connections Café, is located inside the same building as the Eatery.
What To Expect When You Ride
The Cosmic Rewind queue starts right outside of the ride building, and you will likely spend most of your time indoors, which can be a great break from the Florida heat. Though this isn’t an interactive queue, you won’t be bored here — there’s a lot to look at.
When guests first step inside, they’ll find themselves in the “Galaxarium” — a planetarium-like exhibition showcasing the connections between Xandar and Terra (Earth).
The Galaxarium’s full viewing experience is over 30 minutes long and shows Xandar, Earth, and the Andromeda and Milky Way Galaxies while Worldmind, the sentient supercomputer, narrates. It’s not likely you’ll stick around in this room long enough to see the full show, but while you’re there, it’s pretty cool to see.
As you continue through the queue, you’ll get to check out displays that are similar to what you’d see in a museum, like Nova Corps uniforms and a model of the Starblaster ship, along with some high tech projections.
Before you ride, you’ll also experience a pre-show featuring Guardians of the Galaxy characters, including Star-Lord, Gamora, Groot, Rocket, and Drax.
The ride vehicles, called “Starjumpers,” at Cosmic Rewind are pretty unique. The ride itself is actually an “Omnicoaster,” which is a new term crafted by Disney combining “Omnimover” and “roller coaster” together.
Omnimover attractions are continuously moving ride vehicles that have the ability to swivel 360 degrees so that you’re pointed towards most of the action while you ride. There are multiple rides like this at Disney World, including Haunted Mansion and Spaceship Earth.
To be clear, the ride vehicles spin in a controlled turn, not a free-spinning motion. This way, you’re being directed towards the action while the coaster track travels in another direction.
Each ride vehicle has 2 rows with 4 seats, so a total of 4 individuals will be in one ride vehicle. There’s also a pull-down lap bar for safety.
Guests using an ECV or a wheelchair will have to transfer into the ride vehicle when it’s time to ride. The last car of each vehicle has a larger door, which opens wider to help make that transfer process go more smoothly.
Handheld captioning devices, which include audio description and assistive listening features, are available for guests with visual and hearing disabilities. Service animals are not able to ride this attraction.
Those who are pregnant are advised not to ride, and those with conditions like high blood pressure or heart, back or neck problems are warned that this ride could exacerbate them. Those who are sensitive to flashing lights should know that they are part of the pre-show as well as the ride itself.
Your photo is taken on Cosmic Rewind. The camera goes off at the beginning of the ride, so be prepared!
Keep in mind that when you ride with a MagicBand or MagicBand+ (or if your phone is with you and bluetooth is enabled) your photo will automatically be uploaded to the My Disney Experience app.
You should be able to see it shortly after exiting the ride, and it will be available to download for 45 days. The photo is included with MemoryMaker and can also be purchased separately.
Guests purchasing Genie+ will receive digital downloads of their on-ride photos taken in the park on the day of their purchase, at no additional charge.
If you’re unable to find your photos after riding, you can visit the PhotoPass office in the park for help. In Epcot, this is found at the Camera Center near the front entrance to the park.
Though Cosmic Rewind is a pretty smooth ride, those who are prone to motion sickness may find that this ride exacerbates those symptoms.
There are no loops or inversions, but this is a fast roller coaster with rotating cars, which could make some people nauseous. Disney also includes a motion sickness warning on a board outside of the queue and online.
For more information and tips, check out our guide to motion sickness at Disney World.
On the Ride
If you want your trip through the galaxy to be a total surprise, proceed with caution — there are spoilers ahead!
Once you’ve checked out the Galaxarium, you’ll find yourself in a pre-show room, where Glenn Close reprises her role as Nova Prime Irani Rael to invite you to teleport to a Nova Ship for a demonstration of a “cosmic generator.”
With the help of Centurion Tal Marik (Terry Crews), you’ll be guided into the next room to prepare to teleport, and the room will go dark, leading up to the big “wow” moment that reveals a view of Earth out your window, proving that you made it safe and sound. Or did you?
It quickly turns into a Code Red situation when Nova Corps discovers that their cosmic generator has been stolen, and the Guardians of the Galaxy are called in to help.
Eson the Searcher is behind it all, and he wants to create a new jump point that will wipe out the universe as we know it. That’s where you, the guest come in: You’ll jump on the emergency transport, follow Eson through the jump point, and get the cosmic generator back.
Once you’ve boarded your Starjumper, you’re headed to the jump point… under the watchful eye of Star-Lord, Rocket, Groot, Gamora, and Drax, of course. At the top of the hill, you’ll find yourself in darkness, illuminated only by stars and colorful lights.
After you come face-to-face with Eson, that’s when the reverse launch comes in. You’re soaring (and even spinning) through the galaxy and chasing after the cosmic generator to the tune of one of six random classic songs, which include:
- “September” by Earth, Wind, & Fire
- “I Ran” by A Flock of Seagulls
- “One Way or Another” by Blondie
- “Disco Inferno” by The Trampps
- “Everybody Wants To Rule the World” by Tears For Fears
- “Conga” by Miami Sound Machine
In the end, good triumphs over evil, and the Guardians will
Is Cosmic Rewind Kid-Friendly?
Since this ride does have a 42-inch height requirement, this attraction is more for bigger kids, including tweens and teens.
That said, any child who meets that requirement and is a fan of roller coasters, Guardians of the Galaxy, and Marvel movies in general is going to have a blast on this attraction.
Some children who don’t like darkness or fast or spinning rides may want to skip this one, though. Check out our guide to attractions that might scare little ones at Disney World for more tips and information.
If you’re using a stroller, you won’t be able to bring it into the queue at Cosmic Rewind. Instead, you can park it outside in the designated area, right between this attraction and Mission: SPACE.
Before you leave your stroller behind, be sure to take all valuables with you, including phones, wallets, and keys, and you may want to cover your stroller in case a Florida rainstorm surprises you while you’re inside enjoying the attraction (they’re always popping up when you least expect them).
Cosmic Rewind was first announced at the 2017 D23 Expo. At the time of the announcement, Disney also said the attraction would open in time for Disney World’s 50th anniversary in 2021.
However, due to the pandemic, the opening date got pushed. Cosmic Rewind opened on May 27, 2022 over Memorial Day weekend.
The opening of Cosmic Rewind was a major milestone for Disney Parks. Not only is it Disney’s first reverse launch rollercoaster, but it’s also the first to use a programmable Omnicoaster ride system to keep guests aimed at the action throughout the attraction.
Other Fun Details
- There are also references to Ellen’s Energy Adventure, which once stood where Cosmic Rewind stands today. Drax calling the “big bang” “ding dang” is one of those references. And when the Guardians fly in at the beginning of the ride, they’re listening to a rock version of the Universe of Energy theme song.
- There are plenty of cool Easter Eggs to be found here. For example: The sign above the exit at the bottom of the stairs after you get off the ride reads “Epcot” in Xandarian.
- Hidden Mickey fans will be glad to know there are a few to be found here, including one in the queue’s Xandarian City model.
- If you want to avoid motion sickness but want to enjoy the attraction’s detailed queue and fun pre-show, there is a “chicken exit” available for anyone who doesn’t want to ride right before boarding.