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How to Use Universal Orlando's Virtual Line Experience System

by Mommy Frog on August 3, 2020 19 Orlando

Universal Orlando Virtual Line - PinterestOne of the biggest changes at the Universal Orlando theme parks is the revamped Virtual Line Experience system. In the past, Race Through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon and Fast & Furious - Supercharged already had existing virtual queues that would give you a return pass at a kiosk near the ride’s entrance or through Universal’s mobile app. But now the Virtual Line Experience system has expanded to include even more popular rides. So far, the system has been hit or miss for us. We’re here to tell you about our experiences with it, along with some tips and tricks!

What is the Universal Virtual Line Experience?

The Universal Orlando Virtual Line Experience allows you to reserve a ride time for your frog squad for the most hoppin’ attractions at Universal Studios Florida and Universal’s Islands of Adventure. (Universal’s Volcano Bay continues to use its unique TapuTapu virtual queue system.) If you have an Express Pass, you may go straight to the Express queue without having to make a virtual pass. The only exception is Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure, which does not have Express access.

Universal Orlando Virtual Line System - Hagrid's Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure

You can only make same-day reservations while you’re inside the theme parks or Universal CityWalk. (So, guess what we do first thing when we arrive at CityWalk … attempt to get passes for Hagrid’s!) It will allow you to set your group size, up to eight frogs, for a maximum of two different rides at a time. The timeframes for the two Virtual Line passes cannot overlap. Once you use a pass, you can make another one for a different ride (or the same one if you choose), as long as passes are available.

Rides With a Virtual Line

Universal Orlando Virtual Line System - Race Through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon

It’s important to note that Universal generally uses the Virtual Line system when there is high demand. That means the rides using a Virtual Line may vary from day to day. To find out which rides are using the Virtual Line system during your visit, you'll need to download the official Universal Orlando app. If you go to the app’s home page, the Virtual Line Experience is one of the featured landing pages at the top, and you can click on “Virtual Line Venues” to see which rides are currently using it. So far, we have seen the following rides use a Virtual Line since Universal’s reopening:

Universal Orlando Reopening - Kong Virtual Queue

Universal's Islands of Adventure:

  • Hagrid's Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure
  • Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey
  • Pteranodon Flyers
  • Skull Island: Reign of Kong

Universal Studios Florida:

  • Despicable Me Minion Mayhem
  • Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts
  • Race Through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon
  • Revenge of the Mummy

Hagrid’s has been the most consistent with using a Virtual Line (but there have been slower days with a regular standby line). More than likely, you will need to acquire a Virtual Line pass if you want to ride Universal’s newest and most popular attraction.

It’s also possible that a ride uses its Virtual Line for only part of the day. During one of our visits, Skull Island: Reign of Kong did not start out using a Virtual Line. However, later in the afternoon when we passed by it, team members were only allowing Virtual Line access. We’ve also noticed the exact opposite hoppen. On our first day back at Universal, Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts used a Virtual Line for the majority of the day, but it had stopped requiring Virtual Line passes about an hour before the park closed.

How to Reserve a Virtual Line Pass

Universal Orlando Virtual Line - Making a Reservation

When guests select a ride in the app, it will show half-hour timeframes to select, if available. You can add up to eight guests for your reservation. Once your time is confirmed, you'll get a QR code that a team member will scan when you return. As we mentioned before, you can only book the day of your visit, and you'll need to be on property to grab a pass. You are able to book up to two different Virtual Line passes that do not have overlapping times. We found that some rides said Virtual Line or standby in the app, but those actually only had standby lines.

Frog tip: If your group has frogs with different Universal accounts and separate smartphones, you can make more than two Virtual Line passes at a time because the accounts are not linked. Theoretically, Leap and I could snag two separate passes for Hagrid’s that allow four frogs each (and thus, able to ride twice!).

On the first day, we had a lot of issues with reserving Virtual Line passes. We were unable to get any during our initial visit. Whenever timeframes showed up, there would be an error message when we tried to select one. The park was busier that day, so many frogs were trying to get passes at once. If that hoppens, team members suggest quitting and rebooting the app, as well as connecting to Universal's Wi-Fi network.

Universal Orlando Virtual Line - Hagrid's PassDuring a different visit, crowds were lower, so Hagrid’s was the only ride using a Virtual Pass all day long. After a few tries, we were finally able to snag a pass. Virtual Passes can go fast, so you’ll need to hop on it quickly if you spot any available times! (And know that sometimes, you may still receive an error message when trying to confirm.)

If you’re able to successfully get a Virtual Pass, the QR code will show up at the same spot where you reserved it in the app. We suggest taking a screenshot in case you experience any technical glitches. You also have the option to edit your reservation’s time or party size, but we highly suggest not doing so, especially for a popular ride such as Hagrid’s. Otherwise, you risk losing the Virtual Pass that you originally made and not being able to find a new one.

Once you check in for your return time, you do still have to wait in line. The Virtual Line Experience mainly helps control capacity in the queues. But because there are fewer frogs in line than normal and everyone is spread out, the line moves quickly. We waited in the line for Hagrid’s for about 30 minutes. There was another time that the team members let us through Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey when it was Virtual Pass access only. The wait for that ride only took about 15 minutes.

During a recent weekend trip in August (when wait times were higher), a good chunk of rides at Universal Studios Florida were using a Virtual Line exclusively. We suggest arriving to the parks early enough to snag passes — no matter which park you're in. When we hopped over to Universal Studios Florida from Universal's Islands of Adventure after lunchtime, we tried booking passes, but return times were not available that late into the day.

Since the Virtual Line Experience system is relatively new for many attractions, things may change, especially when park capacity increases and crowd levels change. We'll keep testing it out for you (best research project ever!).

Do you have any questions about Universal Orlando's Virtual Line Experience system? Let us know in the comments below, and we'll help you out!

Related: Universal Orlando's Reopening Guidelines and What to Expect

Hoppy planning!

Keep hopping, Mommy Frog!
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Sep 6, 2020 at 8:40 p.m. Thisisnotworking Says...

So we have been here at Isle of adventure since 8am, an hour before the park opens. I began at that time trying to find a time in virtual lines to ride several rides. No such luck! In fact there are about 4/5 of the main rides my whole family can’t ride. I have checked back all day and still no luck! Ok Universal!!!! This is not cutting it! I read that people can make more than one reservation for the same ride. So, apparently people are getting on this system and booking multiple ride times which in turn is taking up the whole day and not allowing everyone opportunity! NOT FAIR!!! We have paid our tickets just as they have and cannot experience the park as we should! This system is not cutting it Universal!!! Please fix it so that everyone has an opportunity or go back to old fashioned stand in line like normal.......shouldn’t have to fight for a spot in the early AM or spend all day on your phone trying to find an open one!!!!

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Aug 30, 2020 at 11:13 p.m. Samantha Beer Says...

Do all parties making a line reservation need to have a ticket assigned to their account or just need to be on property? I have 3 annual passes linked in my wallet, but am having my two other family members sign up for accounts so we can each book line reservations. I'm wondering if their tickets being in my account and not theirs will cause issues with that plan?

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Sep 1, 2020 at 4:05 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Samantha!

For Universal Orlando Resort’s virtual line, accounts don’t need to be linked. The person making the reservation selects the party size, which includes up to 8 or 10 guests, depending on the ride. However, if you want to hold more than 2 reservations (because one account can only make 2 reservations at a time), then someone else who has the app can make two additional reservations (and that can be for the same ride, or different ones).

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Reply
Aug 23, 2020 at 4:25 a.m. Tbird781 Says...

My family of three just visited Universal studios today (8/22/2020) for the first time since they've reopened. Universals virtual pass does NOTHING to help with wait times. As soon as we got there we set up virtual passes for despicable me, 11:10-11:40, and Jimmy fallon, 1:10-1:40. When we went to each line at our reserved time, the wait was well over an hour for both. Since we're locals, we chose not to wait that long. I understand thats it's a saturday and thats always gonna be the busiest day of the week there but Universal has to do better with their virtual system. Its pointless. At Disney for example, when u set up your virtual/reserved time for an attraction, you're gonna wait about 20 mins. Since this systems is new at Universal, I hope this improves in the near future.

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Jul 19, 2020 at 1:21 a.m. Sabrina Says...

What can you use to secure a phone when riding those rides? Do crossbody phone pouches work?

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Jul 20, 2020 at 10:18 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Sabrina!

Crossbody pouches are up to the discretion of the team members at the individual attractions. We’ve seen small crossbody bags allowed on Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey before, but it likely isn't optimal on Hagrid’s or The Mummy (due to the chances of it flying around or swinging while you're riding - safety first!). Fanny packs with a 3-prong clip are toadally fine though!. We’ve personally worn one to the theme parks, and it was fine on the rides, the exceptions being the Incredible Hulk and Rip Ride Rockit, where everything must be in a locker.

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Reply
Jul 3, 2020 at 9:30 p.m. Annaliza Meleski Says...

Super helpful, thank you! We haven't been back to Universal in 20yrs (typically a yearly WDW visitor), but we're flying down next week to try it now that I have teenage boys who've never been. We're staying at the Royal Pacific hotel, do we still have to go to Citywalk to get Hagrid's virtual reservation?

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Jul 7, 2020 at 10:26 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Annaliza!

We are hoppy to help - thanks for taking the time to say hello! We've actually heard that some guests have been able to make reservations at the hotels. We recommend that you start checking around 8:40 a.m.!

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Reply
Jun 28, 2020 at 3:30 p.m. ZuZu Says...

Personally, I think it is a shame that the parks are making all of these reservation systems that are required for rides or that require phones and apps -- which are subject to technical problems and also discriminate against visitors who either don't have smart phones or have old ones. Using kiosks in the park is less stressful and limited to specific times while you are at the kiosk. Now, it seems like from the moment you enter the park, the reservation system encourages people to be on their phone making a reservation and then checking it constantly throughout the day to see if they get a reservation, an additional reservation, or get a better one. Whatever happened to enjoying the parks and your family/friends and being in the moment? That's one advantage of Disney's FastPass system -- making the plans ahead of time on the computer and then just enjoying the park. Maybe parks should institute old timey "reservation-free" days for the old school people! Otherwise, in the future, it seems like they'll be able to do away with the "themes" of the parks and just have rides where people walk around staring at their phones looking for the next available time slot ... and not even noticing the world around them! P.S. I do like the FastPass system and the additional rides that we get to enjoy with shorter lines, but this "Virtual Line Experience" seems too restrictive -- not even to mention the advantage it gives to adult groups over those with young children or older family members who don't have smart phones to make those multiple ride reservations. No wonder the reservation system fills up! And then others don't even have the option to stand in a line ...

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Jun 23, 2020 at 12:30 p.m. Molly Bennett Says...

Starting our 2nd day at Universal - still can’t get a reservation for Hagrid. I started trying at 7:30 eastern today. Any advice? Tomorrow is my last chance.

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Jun 23, 2020 at 6:29 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Molly,

We suggest checking for time slots frequently throughout the day (try every half hour; ex: 9:30 a.m., 10 a.m., etc.). It took us several tries before we managed to get one, so don't lose out hope! Make sure to download the latest version of the Universal Orlando app. The team members at Hagrid's told us that it may work better if you connect to Universal's Wi-Fi. We hope this helps, and best of luck!

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Reply
Jun 23, 2020 at 1:24 a.m. Megan Says...

What time does parking open to get into citywalk to be able to start reserving?

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Jun 23, 2020 at 6:22 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Megan,

The Universal parking garages open at 7:30 a.m. daily. The Virtual Line Experience system may not open up until the theme parks open (or just a little bit before!). We still recommend getting there with enough time to park and get through the temperature screening & security checkpoint, so you're ready for the moment it opens up.

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Reply
Jun 22, 2020 at 1:02 a.m. Brandy C Says...

What time can you try to get the virtual pass? 9am at park open? Very helpful article

thanks

Reply
Jun 22, 2020 at 8:21 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Thanks, Brandy! The Virtual Line system tends to open up right around park opening. We recommend getting there with enough time to park and pass through the temperature screening and security check in case the Virtual Line system opens a few minutes before park opening.

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Reply
Jun 19, 2020 at 11 p.m. Addison Says...

Very detailed thank you!

Do your passes need to be linked in the app in order to reserve a virtual queue? Or is it based on GPS since it works in City Walk?

Reply
Jun 23, 2020 at 8:32 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

You are so welcome, Addison! Thanks for taking the time to hop by! We'd suggest linking or signing into the Universal site beforehand and turning your location access on. But accounts don’t need to be linked (like Disney’s Family/Friends List) if you have a multi-person party. If a group of 3 all have the app downloaded, they can Hagrid’s up to 3 times if each gets a pass that’s good for a party of 3. Have fun!

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Reply
Jul 31, 2020 at 2:03 p.m. Jenny Says...

Do you have instructions on how to use the app with a family? Do all my teens sign up for their own accounts or do they sign into my account? Just wondering how that work? I can't find any information anywhere on this.

Reply
Jul 31, 2020 at 1:41 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Jenny!

Not all members of your party will need an account (if you're a party of 8 or under). When you sign up for a reservation, you can select the number of people in your party (up to 8 guests). If the party is larger, then you'd need to have a second person making a reservation because you cannot hold multiple reservations for the same ride at once. Hope this helps!

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Reply
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