With more and more rides adding virtual queues, it looks like virtual lines at Disneyland may be here to stay for a while to manage the newest high-demand rides. When Disneyland introduced a virtual queue through the Disneyland app for Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance in January 2020, I have to admit, I figured once initial demand died down it would eventually join the FASTPASS system and virtual queues would fade away. But then the pandemic changed everything. Not only is FASTPASS temporarily unavailable, but the demand is also still toadally there for Rise of the Resistance, especially since it was only open for a few months before the park closed. Now, with Avengers Campus open, WEB SLINGERS: A Spider-Man Adventure is the must-do ride in Disney California Adventure Park, and — you guessed it! — the rad ride is only accessible using a virtual queue.
During the time of physical distancing and limited indoor queueing, an older, but still very popular, ride at Disneyland temporarily operated with a virtual queue. It seems that Indiana Jones Adventure has since been removed from the virtual queue section of the Disneyland app, but it just goes to show that Disneyland can utilize these queues for any ride that has a long wait, even temporarily. Nobody wants to stand in long lines all day! Disneyland virtual lines, also called Boarding Groups, save the day for these attractions, allowing park guests to enjoy other areas of the parks rather than standing in a line all day. Now you can eat a churro and ride other rides instead of standing around for hours waiting for one ride!
Love them or hate them, virtual lines at Disneyland are here, and they are a tool the park can use to allow guests to enjoy the rest of the park’s attractions, restaurants, restrooms, etc., instead of standing in long lines. So how do we use them?
The Disneyland Virtual Queue System
Admittedly, the Disneyland virtual queue system creates a little bit of anxiety each day because these queues fill oh so quickly. If you do not get in, you do not get to ride that day. Technical errors aside, there is a certain amount of fairness in the virtual queues: For the most popular rides, guests can only join the Boarding Group once per day, per ride. That gives most park guests a chance to ride. It’s not like the most agile guests or the fastest walkers can beat everyone out, leaving slower walkers, small children and people with disabilities in the dust. Everyone must join the queue the same way. Granted, you must have a smartphone with a good connection through Wi-Fi or your data plan.
Unfortunately, if you are unable to acquire a Boarding Group, you will likely face some disappointment. Especially if that attraction was your main motivation for visiting. Croak! Try to move on and make the best of your day. After all, you are still at Disneyland or Disney California Adventure and there are so many great things to do!
As much as we feel like we’ve mastered joining a virtual queue, there’s a complication. Now there are two queues going live at the same time in different parks. That means if you have a park hopper and want to ride both rides, you'll need a strategy (and some faith and trust and pixie dust). Sometimes it comes down to plain old good luck! But speed is the name of the game and that's your speedy fingers along with the speed of your phone connecting to the Disneyland server.
How to Manage the Disneyland Virtual Queue System
Let’s go over which rides offer virtual lines at Disneyland and how and when to join each one.
Which Rides Offer a Virtual Queue?
These rides offer a virtual line (subject to change):
- Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance in Disneyland Park
- WEB SLINGERS: A Spider-Man Adventure in Disney California Adventure Park
The virtual queue for WEB SLINGERS also gives riders access to Avengers Campus when the land is at capacity. So if you cannot join a virtual queue, you will have to wait in a standby line to get in the land. When Star Wars Galaxy's Edge opened in June 2019, a virtual queue managed the flow of people into the land on opening day, so virtual queues can be used to limit capacity in an area of the park as well as rides. Sometimes we used a different type of virtual queue to access popular shops at Downtown Disney during the Disneyland closure.
What Are the Rules for Virtual Queues?
Besides receiving a window to return to the ride with a relatively short standby wait, there are a few rules and differences relating to Disneyland virtual lines.
Here is what you need to know about virtual queues for Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance and WEB SLINGERS: A Spider-Man Adventure:
- You can only join each ride’s Boarding Group once per day (to allow the greatest number of guests a chance to ride).
- Make sure you have all the tickets linked to your Disneyland account in the Disneyland app to be able to join.
- You cannot hold a Boarding Group for Rise of the Resistance and WEB SLINGERS at the same time. But if you ride one early in the morning, you are eligible to try for the other at noon.
- A valid ticket and park reservation for the appropriate park are necessary for joining a Boarding Group.
- For the 7 a.m. eligibility period, you do not need to be in a park or on property to join.
- You need to have entered a theme park for the 12 p.m. joining opportunity for Rise and WEB SLINGERS.
- If you are not successful at 7 a.m., you get another opportunity at 12 p.m. If you are successful at 7 a.m., you may try for the other ride at noon if you have a park hopper ticket and have already ridden.
- Joining a Boarding Group does not guarantee you will get to ride (ride breakdowns do occur).
- You may be issued a Backup Boarding Group in the afternoon.
- If you use the Disability Access Service, you will need to join a Boarding Group, then hop by guest relations before visiting the ride. You may be sent to a different queue to enter.
- The 7 a.m. Boarding Groups are generally meant to board between park opening and 1 p.m., given normal operation.
- The 12 p.m. Boarding Groups generally board from 1 p.m. until before park closing.
The Disneyland app says, "Virtual queues are limited and subject to availability, and joining a virtual queue does not guarantee entrance to any experience."
Keep in mind that other rides could join the Disneyland virtual queue lineup at any time. Indiana Jones Adventure was on virtual queue for just a few weeks. These other rides may not go live at 7 a.m. and 12 p.m or follow the same restrictions. When Indiana Jones had a virtual queue:
- You could be in a Boarding Group for Indy at the same time as another Boarding Group.
- You had to have entered Disneyland Park to join.
- You could access a standby line first thing in the morning and at the end of the day, with a virtual line granting access during the bulk of the day.
How to Prepare for Virtual Lines
No matter which ride you want to join a Boarding Group for, you have some prep work to do first:
- Acquire a valid theme park ticket for the park(s) and a theme park reservation.
- Download the latest version of the Disneyland app.
- Register or log in to a Disney account.
- Link the tickets for all party members to at least one account in the Disneyland app.
- Have a clock or watch with a secondhand. You can pull up a world clock, but we’ve had just as much success with our Apple watch (which seems to be one-half to one second ahead of the world clock).
- Be in a place with a good signal on your phone. We tend to turn off Wi-Fi in the park. Others leave it on.
- Some people check the speed of their connection.
- Make sure you have push notifications selected for the Disneyland app.
- Bring a portable charger to keep your phone fully powered (always a good idea at Disneyland).
- Prepare for disappointment. This is not to be negative in any way, but to set reasonable expectations. There is a possibility that you will not get to join a Boarding Group. There have been days in which a ride is unavailable and is not able to board anyone. Even if you do join a Boarding Group, there is a possibility that your group will not be called back. Have alternate plans in place so you do not let this ruin your day.
What Disneyland Virtual Queues Am I Eligible for Based on My Park Ticket?
Let's simplify this based on your park ticket and the park you are visiting:
- 1-Park Ticket for Disneyland — You are eligible to join a Boarding Group for Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance at 7 a.m. and/or 12 p.m. (but may only join once per day.)
- 1-Park Ticket for Disney California Adventure — You are eligible to join a Boarding Group for WEB SLINGERS: A Spider-Man Adventure at 7 a.m. and/or 12 p.m. (but may only join once per day.)
- Park Hopper Ticket Starting at Disneyland — You are eligible to join a Boarding Group for Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance at 7 a.m. If you are successful and ride before noon, you are eligible to join a Boarding Group for WEB SLINGERS: A Spider-Man Adventure at 12 p.m. If you are unsuccessful, you have a choice between trying to join Rise of the Resistance or WEB SLINGERS at noon.
- Park Hopper Ticket Starting at Disney California Adventure — You are eligible to join a Boarding Group for WEB SLINGERS: A Spider-Man Adventure at 7 a.m. If you are successful, you are eligible to join a Boarding Group for Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance at 12 p.m. as long as you have already ridden. If you are unsuccessful, you have a choice between trying to join Rise of the Resistance or WEB SLINGERS at noon.
How to Join a Boarding Group for Rise of the Resistance
We’ve already mapped this one out in Tad’s very detailed post on how to join a Boarding Group for Rise of the Resistance. Hop over for all the details.
How to Join a Boarding Group for WEB SLINGERS: A Spider-Man Adventure
Boarding Groups for WEB SLINGERS work in about the same way as Rise of the Resistance, with a few differences. This ride is located in the newest land, Avengers Campus, in Disney California Adventure Park. Here's how to do it:
- You'll locate the Virtual Queue box on the Disneyland app home screen.
- A few minutes before enrollment time, tap Join Boarding Queue.
- The Disneyland app defaults to Disneyland Park no matter what kind of ticket you have, so you'll want to make sure you select Disney California Adventure Park at the top before enrollment time arrives. Tap Disney California Adventure Park.
- In the five seconds before enrollment time, begin to refresh the app by putting your finger on the screen and repeatedly pulling down long enough to see the refresh bar appear. You can practice right now. When it's time to join at exactly 7 a.m. or 12 p.m. a blue "Join" button will appear.
- Tap Join.
- Select your party (it should automatically select any tickets linked to your account that are eligible, so just hit Join). You do not have time to worry about the party. Just keep tapping.
- You'll receive your Boarding Group number if you were successful.
There is another method if refreshing doesn't seem to work well for you. Stay on that screen with Disneyland and Disney California Adventure at the top. At enrollment time, tap Disney California Adventure and then tap Join. You can also pull down and hold when refreshing and release your finger at the time to join. We have joined using a variety of methods and we have also failed at joining. It comes down to speed and your phone's signal.
To check your status, you have two options:
- You can tap My Queues in the Virtual Queue box.
- You can tap the three lines in the bottom right corner of the app, then tap Virtual Queues.
Keep an eye on which groups are boarding and the estimated time before your group is called. Once it's time to ride, you will receive a notification that it's time to head to the attraction by a specified time. You may have just an hour to return. Click View Entry Code to display your code for scanning by a cast member to access the attraction. We always recommend taking a screenshot just in case you have problems pulling it up when you need to or in case lines take longer than planned. Have your entry code out for scanning at the attraction entrance.
If Avengers Campus is at capacity, your Boarding Group for WEB SLINGERS is your way to access the land without standing in a physical line. Keep in mind that Guardians of the Galaxy — Mission Breakout! is part of Avengers Campus so if the land is at capacity, the only way to ride is to be in Avengers Campus. Be sure to drop in before you exit the land!
Hopfully, we've answered your questions about the Disneyland virtual queue system. If you still need Disneyland tickets, you can save some green when you purchase discounted multi-day tickets through your favorite froggy friends.