The difference between the 2 is cost:
The Virtual Queue is FREE, but the Individual Lightning Lane will cost you between $14 and $17 per person (depending on the time of year).
Will we ever see the regular Standby Line open up at Cosmic Rewind? Probably.
As we’ve seen with both Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure and Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance, the virtual queues for those attractions were both eventually paused, and a regular Standby Line was opened up.
We expect to see the same happen sometime in the future for Cosmic Rewind.
But, until then, here’s what you need to know about the virtual queue and boarding groups for Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind.
We like to compare Disney’s virtual queue system to putting your name on a restaurant’s wait list. It’s essentially first-come, first-served.
But, instead of being put on a list, you are assigned a “boarding group” that gets called as space in the queue allows.
By implementing a virtual queue, this is Disney’s way of eliminating the hassle and chaos that usually comes with a Standby Line for a brand-new ride.
Important: You can’t choose your boarding group number; it is assigned when you join the virtual queue, and you don’t know an exact return time because all that depends on how fast the groups in front of you move and whether or not the attraction itself goes down.
Cosmic Rewind is not the only attraction that uses a virtual queue. TRON Lightcycle / Run also uses a virtual queue.
2 other attractions – Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure and Rise of the Resistance – have also used virtual queues in the past, and although Disney reserves the right to bring them back, we have yet to see that happen and don’t really anticipate that it will.
Can you get a spot in the virtual queue for both Cosmic Rewind AND TRON?
If you can get a spot in the virtual queue for TRON at 7 a.m. and a virtual queue is available after 2 p.m. (park hopping time) for Cosmic Rewind, you would be eligible to get a virtual queue for both.
Additionally, if you are attending either park on a night with Extended Evening Theme Park Hours, and you are staying at an eligible resort, you could also try for the 6pm drop, too.
Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind Virtual Queue Drop Times
Disney opens up the Virtual Queue at set times throughout the day. Those are commonly referred to as “drop times”.
There are 2 (and sometimes 3) drop times for the Virtual Queue at Cosmic Rewind:
- 7 a.m.: Can join from anywhere (onsite or offsite)
- 1 p.m.: Must be in Epcot 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)
- 6 p.m.: Only available to Deluxe Resort Guests, and only on nights when Epcot is hosting Extended Evening Theme Park Hours. More on how the 6 p.m. drop works.
Step-by-Step instructions for the Virtual Queue & Boarding Groups at Cosmic Rewind
Here are the steps for joining the Virtual Queue at Cosmic Rewind:
1. Make sure everyone in your party has both valid theme park admission and an Epcot park reservation.
If you don’t have both, you won’t even be able to attempt to join the virtual queue. This may sound basic, but trust us – people get their park passes mixed up a lot. And if you are a member of the Constantly Rearranging My Park Passes Club, it is even easier to lose track of which park you have scheduled when.
That’s why we recommend checking the My Disney Experience app the night before to confirm that you have everything ready to go.
2. Decide on which drop(s) you plan to attempt to join the Virtual Queue
As we mentioned above, there are 2 and sometimes 3 drop times (for select guests) each day. Here are some things to think about:
- If you are only planning to try for the free Virtual Queue and you are not planning to pay for an Individual Lightning Lane selection, you should definitely try at 7 a.m. so that you’ll still have the 1 p.m. drop as an option if you aren’t successful at the first one. Remember, you must tap into the park prior to 1 p.m. if you want to try to join the virtual queue at the 1 p.m. drop. (Disney officially states guests must be inside the park for the 1 p.m. drop, but 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.)
- If you are traveling with more than 1 person that can help you book, and your plan is to try to snag a spot in the Virtual Queue AND purchase an Individual Lightning Lane spot (so you can ride 2 times), as long as you both have your own My Disney Experience accounts, and you are connected as “Friends and Family“, you can divide up the tasks and have one person do each thing right at 7 a.m. That way if something goes wrong and you aren’t successful then, you’ll have another chance at the Virtual Queue at the 1 p.m. drop. You must tap into the park prior to 1 p.m. if you want to try to join the virtual queue at the 1 p.m. drop. (Disney officially states guests must be inside the park for the 1 p.m. drop, but 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.)
- If you are the only one who will be trying to snag the Virtual Queue and you also want to purchase an Individual Lightning Lane spot (so you can ride twice), purchase the Individual Lightning Lane first (because they are generally easier to snag at 7 a.m. than the Virtual Queue spots are) and then try for a spot in the Virtual Queue at the 1 p.m. drop. You must tap into the park prior to 1 p.m. if you want to try to join the virtual queue at the 1 p.m. drop. (Disney officially states guests must be inside the park for the 1 p.m. drop, but 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.)
- If you are eligible for the 6 p.m. drop, you do not have to be in the park, but you will need to either have a Park Pass reservation or have the Park Hopper option on your ticket (or be an Annual Passholder). Also keep in mind that this drop is basically the chance to ride for a 3rd time in one day: you can ride once with a Virtual Queue spot during regular park hours, you can pay to ride once with an Individual Lightning Lane Selection, and then once during Evening Theme Park Hours. If you are successful at snagging all 3, you’d get 3 rides.
3. Confirm your party
Up to 1 hour before you can join the queue, confirm your party.
You don’t have to do this right at 1 hour before you can join the queue, but give yourself a few minutes before the queue opens to confirm your party.
To do that, open up the My Disney Experience app, select Virtual Queues, select Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind, and then select “Confirm Your Party”.
Make sure the correct people are selected (it should default to people in your group that have Epcot Park Pass Reservations). A common snag is the app automatically selecting people without tickets (like kids under 3). Make sure that your party only consists of people with Epcot Park Pass Reservations and park tickets.
4. In the final minutes, get ready to go
We recommend having the My Disney Experience app open and ready to go a few minutes before the official time.
Boarding groups go fast (within seconds), so you don’t want to waste time clicking around and waiting for the app to open.
Use a second smart device to count down the seconds (like a smartwatch, a second phone, etc.). Don’t have a second smart device? Use the clock icon on your phone, which has a second hand.
5. Count it down…and GO!
Boarding groups will not be available until the official queue drop times.
Spots can be gone in a flash, so that means you’ll want to count down those last seconds so that you are refreshing right as the clock turns.
Immediately as the clock turns to either 7 a.m., 1 p.m., or 6 p.m (if available to you), hit the “Refresh” button and then push the “Join Virtual Queue” button.
The people you’re connected to in My Disney Experience with Park Passes to Epcot will automatically be selected when trying to get a boarding group (if you haven’t already confirmed your party as discussed in the previous step).
This is important:
If you find that some members don’t want a boarding group, don’t take time deselecting their names, as that will likely cost you the chance to get boarding groups.
If you find that some people are missing, don’t waste time trying to add them.
Just go ahead and snag them for the ones that are selected, and then you can visit the Guest Services team (the ones near the blue umbrellas) to change it later.
6. Keep an eye on the app
The app should provide you with a push notification to let you know when it is your turn to ride.
Your boarding group info should give you an estimate for how long it’ll take to be called (the time estimate is how many minutes from the current time they expect to call you).
The app should alert you, but it is a good idea to keep an eye on the app yourself, just in case your notification doesn’t go through.
When you’re called, you’ll have 1 hour to make your way to Cosmic Rewind. You can always check to see exactly what groups are boarding both in the app as well as on display boards found throughout the park.
Note: We have personally been able to ride after our official return times, as well as knowing many others that were able to do the same. While we expect that Disney will continue to be flexible with those return times (at least for the immediate future), you shouldn’t rely on them doing so. Instead, whenever possible, we recommend you attempt to ride during your assigned time.
6. When it is your turn, enter the line
When it is time to ride, head to World Discovery at Epcot and go directly to Cosmic Rewind.
Your tickets or MagicBands will be scanned before you enter the line.
Each guest can enter the virtual queue no more than once per day. Guests may not hold a boarding group for more than one experience at the same time. If more than one experience is using a virtual queue, guests will need to enter those virtual queues one at a time.
VIDEO: How to Ride Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind
Park Hopping & the Virtual Queue
Guests Park Hopping to Epcot from another park will not be allowed to join the 1 p.m. boarding group.
The only people allowed to try for the 1 p.m. boarding group are guests who have booked their original Park Pass reservation for Epcot who were unable to secure a boarding group at the 7 a.m. drop.
Select Disney Resort Guests can also join a 6 p.m. Virtual Queue
There is also a third virtual queue drop time — but only for select Disney Resort hotel guests.
Starting at 6 p.m., registered guests of Deluxe, Deluxe Villa, Swan and Dolphin, and Shades of Green resorts will be able to try to join the Cosmic Rewind virtual queue.
Keep in mind that the 6 p.m. virtual queue time is only available on select nights when Extended Evening Theme Park Hours are offered at Epcot.
To experience Extended Evening Theme Park Hours, guests will need valid admission and a theme park reservation for the same park on the same day — or, guests may experience extended evening hours if they have a ticket or annual pass with the Park Hopper option and first enter the park where they made their reservation.
Important: guests who are eligible for the 6 p.m. drop time do not need to be in Epcot to request to join the virtual queue.
Remember, guests can enter the virtual queue no more than once per day during regular park hours, meaning eligible resort guests with access to Extended Evening Theme Park Hours who obtained a virtual queue spot during regular hours can try again at 6 p.m., when available.
What happens if the boarding groups are gone?
Remember: there are a limited number of boarding groups available, and once they are gone, they are gone.
At that point, your only option to ride will be to purchase an Individual Lightning Lane Selection.
How Rider Switch and DAS work with the Virtual Queue
After you have a boarding group, you can see a Cast Member at the attraction for assistance.
Individual Lightning Lane Selection with Cosmic Rewind
If you are unable to score a boarding group via the virtual queue, you can always try to purchase an Individual Lightning Lane Selection.
However, we recommend that you have a game plan for the day before the virtual queue and Individual Lightning Lane Selections open up to guests.
If not, there’s a good chance you’ll walk away without either.
More than likely, both boarding groups and pay-per-ride options will disappear very quickly, so you need to decide what you want to do before 7 a.m. because 1 person won’t have time to do both.
Tip: If you are traveling with at least 2 people with their own My Disney Experience accounts and Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind is a “must do” for you, split up the duties and have 1 person try for the Virtual Queue right at 7 a.m. while the other one tries to purchase an Individual Lightning Lane selection.
Remember, the virtual queue opens up to ALL guests with an Epcot theme park reservation and valid theme park admission starting at 7 a.m., no matter if a guest is staying onsite or offsite.
But, Individual Lightning Lane Selection purchases begin for onsite guests starting at 7 a.m. Offsite guests can’t book these until park opening, which is usually one hour after onsite guests have already snagged all, if not most, pay-to-ride availability.
So, if you’re staying offsite, you should at least try for the virtual queue since Individual Lightning Lane Selections don’t open up until official park opening.
And if you don’t get a boarding group, once Epcot opens, you can try for a Cosmic Rewind Individual Lightning Lane, depending on availability.
Whether you’re staying onsite or offsite, you don’t have to be inside the park to purchase any Individual Lightning Lane attraction.
Keep in mind that the virtual queue system is completely separate from Individual Lightning Lanes, meaning if you can book both, you could end up riding Cosmic Rewind twice.
And — if you’re an eligible Deluxe Resort guest with access to Extended Evening Theme Park Hours, you can try to join the virtual queue at 6 p.m., meaning you could possibly ride Cosmic Rewind 3 times.
The cost to pay-to-ride Cosmic Rewind starts at $14 per ticket, and we’ve seen prices as high as $17. There is a strong likelihood that we could see that price increased even more during busy times of the year.
How fast do Boarding Groups for Cosmic Rewind disappear?
If you are trying to see just how fast boarding groups are filled, you can do that from anywhere (you don’t have to be in the parks). This is especially useful in the final days before you plan to go to Epcot.
Open the My Disney Experience app, scroll down on the main screen until you see the virtual queue section, and click “join” where it will show you which groups are currently boarding.
Here’s a screenshot from what it looked like for Rise of the Resistance, but the appearance should be similar for Cosmic Rewind.
When boarding groups are available, you’ll be able to click the “Join a boarding group” button (of course, if you aren’t eligible, it will tell you can’t join).
When boarding groups are unavailable, you won’t be able to click the button, which is the sign that the groups are full for the day.
Can I join the virtual queue for both Cosmic Rewind and TRON?
Yes, you can, but not both at 7 a.m.
We anticipate the boarding groups to last longer for Cosmic Rewind, so with that in mind, here’s the best plan to attempt to get boarding groups for both in 1 day:
- Make your Park Pass Reservation for Magic Kingdom
- At exactly 7 a.m., snag a spot in the virtual queue for TRON
- Hopefully, your boarding group will be called early enough so that you can leave Magic Kingdom by around 1 p.m.
- Get to Epcot by 1:47 p.m. The official Park Hopping time starts at 2:00 p.m., but they will often let guests in starting at 1:47 p.m.
- As soon as you tap into the park at the gate, try to join the virtual queue for Guardians of the Galaxy. Keep in mind that during busier times of the year, the spots may already be gone.
If you are staying at a Deluxe or Deluxe Villa Resort AND you plan to be visiting either Magic Kingdom or Epcot on a night with Extended Evening Theme Park Hours, you’ll also have a chance to try for a boarding group during the 6 p.m. drop.
Does everyone in my family have to show up to get a boarding group?
One of the most common questions we’ve received is, “does my entire family have to show up to get into a boarding group?”
And, for the first round of groups, that answer is “no.”
This is a change in how things have been done in the past (where previously everybody that wished to ride had to be in the park). Now, the first round of boarding groups open up at 7 a.m., and guests with a valid Disney Park Pass reservation will be able to request to join from anywhere.
The second boarding group opportunity (which is at 1 p.m.) is different, however.
In order to request to join a 1 p.m. boarding group, you must have scanned your ticket or MagicBand to enter the park.
If I have a boarding group, can I leave Epcot and then come back?
With the new Disney Park Pass System, guests can still leave a theme park and return.
But, keep in mind that the modified virtual queue for Cosmic Rewind only gives you a one-hour return window.
This means you have up to one hour from the time of the alert to go to the entrance of the attraction, so keep that in mind.
You can follow along with where Disney is on boarding groups inside the My Disney Experience app, and as long as you have turned on notifications, you’ll get a pop up when it is your turn.
Does Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind use backup boarding groups?
It is important to note that at this time, we have not seen backup boarding groups being used for Cosmic Rewind.
Backup boarding groups were common for Rise of the Resistance. So just in case they will be used in Epcot for Cosmic Rewind, we wanted to make sure we mentioned it.
Remember, these backup groups were never guaranteed and only became available after all regular boarding groups were filled. And of course, they were only called if the capacity for the day allowed for it.
Below is an example from when Rise of the Resistance had a virtual queue.
Do you use the app or a browser to get a boarding group?
Disney makes it confusing because some functionality is available only via a browser and some through the My Disney Experience app. Boarding groups are in the app.
Do you open the app right at 7 a.m./1 p.m. or just before?
As you watch the second hand click closer to the time, you’ll want to open the app just before the time so that you can click “join” right at 7 a.m. or 1 p.m.
What about having a child under 3 who doesn’t have a ticket or a park pass?
When getting a boarding group, the people with Park Passes will automatically be selected to join, but that shouldn’t include anybody under 3 since they don’t have tickets or a Park Pass. They will, however, be able to ride.
Tips for snagging a Boarding Group
- Test your cell signal. Disney Wi-Fi is notoriously bad, and we recommend you use your cell signal instead of relying on the Wi-Fi. But, that means you will definitely need to test your signal before the big day. Depending on your resort, you may need to leave your room and head to someplace more open to get a strong signal.
- Practice. Even though you won’t actually try for a Boarding Group until you have a Park Pass Reservation, you can still walk through many of the steps. We highly recommend you do this so that you can get familiar with the process.
- Set an alarm. If you’re determined to get one of the coveted groups, set your alarm and be ready to go a few minutes before the clock turns to 7 a.m.
- Don’t waste your time changing the party. After you select “Join Group” you’ll be shown a screen that should already have your party created. Even if it isn’t 100% accurate, don’t waste your time removing or adding members. Instead, finish snagging the Boarding Group and then go to Guest Services if you have somebody missing from your group. If you try to update the group, you’ll likely miss out snagging a spot.
- Countdown the seconds. Traveling with more than yourself? Have somebody else pull up a world clock with the seconds visible. Depending on your phone, you may need to download an app, but if you have an iPhone, the clock app’s analog clock should have a sweeping second hand. Watch it closely and hit the button to request a boarding group as soon as the clock ticks to 7 a.m. Even a few seconds delay can cause you to get a later group or even miss out on a boarding group altogether.
- Have only 1 person in your traveling party attempt it.Previously, we would recommend that multiple people in your group try. However, Disney has been notifying guests via email to “Please keep in mind, only one Guest per traveling party should attempt to enroll in the virtual queue. Multiple Guests and devices attempting to enroll the same party could complicate securing a boarding group.” Better safe than sorry and stick to 1 person.
We’ll be sure to keep you and this post up to date as we learn more information about Cosmic Rewind’s virtual queue.
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