The big new attraction opening at Walt Disney World in Summer 2022 is Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind in Epcot. This ride guide covers how to experience it since there will be no standby line when it debuts–strategy for successfully scoring spots in the virtual queue and buying an Individual Lightning Lane for the Marvel blockbuster.
After Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance ended its boarding groups last fall and Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure stopped its virtual queue this winter, there are currently no attractions at Walt Disney World utilizing this much-maligned system. Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind bucks that trend, potentially for a couple of reasons.
These mainly involve crowds, but reliability/downtime and physical queue space could be other issues. Both arriving to the park ever-earlier, as was the case with Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance in its first few months, and at rope drop. If you’ve navigated the construction walls around the Giant Epcot Dirt Pit™️, you’re likely aware that getting between Spaceship Earth and World Discovery isn’t easy. It’s a recipe for potential problems, and could get downright dangerous at rope drop as guests stampede to be among the first to ride Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind.
Before we get into the details of the virtual queue, we’ll start with the news that Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind will be an Individual Lightning Lane attraction. This should be zero surprise. Previously, we “predicted” that there was a greater than 99.999% chance that Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind will be an Individual Lightning Lane attraction. It was probably closer to 100% than that. 😉
It’s really a question of how much Individual Lightning Lanes will cost for Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind and how quickly they’ll sell out each day. Will Cosmic Rewind be the first Walt Disney World attraction to break $20? $25? $30?!? My money is on $25. I think Disney could easily get $40 per person, but might not want to risk the backlash. They still haven’t raised prices on Rise of the Resistance, despite daily sell outs early in the morning.
The other big question is whether Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure will move to Genie+ or if Epcot will be the only park with two Individual Lightning Lane attractions. We could see it going either way–the Rat Ride is less than one year old but Genie+ could definitely use more capacity at Epcot if more people will be visiting the park and, presumably, purchasing that service.
I’d put the odds on Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure remaining as an Individual Lightning Lane attraction at first, and then moving if Genie+ experiences inventory issues due to Epcot’s increased popularity. Sort of like what happened with Frozen Ever After (etc.) during last year’s holiday season plus this spring break and summer.
That Cosmic Rewind will use a virtual queue is the much more interesting news, so let’s turn to that…
Here’s the info directly from Walt Disney World’s page on virtual queues:
When Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind opens on May 27, 2022 a virtual queue will be in place. Guests will need to use the My Disney Experience app to enter the attraction. A standby queue will not be available. Each Guest can enter the virtual queue no more than once per day.
Check for Updates – Virtual queues continue to be helpful with the launch of popular attractions and the debut of new experiences and offerings, so we may use them again from time to time for select experiences in the future.
Check the My Disney Experience app just before your visit—and again before 7:00 AM on the day of your visit—to learn whether a virtual or standby queue will be required or available for any attractions or experiences when you’re here.
Get Ready to Join the Virtual Queue! – On the day of your visit, you may have the opportunity to join the virtual queue at daily distribution times, which are subject to change or cancellation as availability allows. Distribution schedules will be available in the My Disney Experience app.
Follow these steps to join the virtual queue:
- Step 1 – Check Availability: Log in to the My Disney Experience app at one of the distribution times. 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.
- Step 2 – Enroll Your Group: As long as your Disney account is linked to your group’s park tickets, and everyone has valid admission and park reservations for the park you will visit, you can enroll everyone in the virtual queue at the same time (subject to availability).
- Step 3 – Enjoy the Experience: If your boarding group is called to return, you’ll receive a notification via the My Disney Experience app. Then, head over to the entrance of the experience within your designated return window.
If you’ve ever used the virtual queue for Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance or Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure, you’re undoubtedly familiar with this process–and to a greater degree than what Disney describes. If you haven’t, that probably didn’t do enough to familiarize you with the virtual queue process.
This is partly because this language appears to be boilerplate, and has not been tailored to the unique wrinkles of the virtual queue for Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic. Our expectation is that it works more or less the same as the last iteration of its predecessors–with entry times at both 7 am and 1 pm. Even though the 1 pm time isn’t mentioned, that was a positive change with the prior attractions and we’d expect it to stick around.
Ultimately, we’re disappointed by this news. Not that Cosmic Rewind will be an Individual Lightning Lane attraction–that was a foregone conclusion. That it’ll use a virtual queue. While we’ve gotten good at gaming the boarding group process (and have “speed strategy” advice so you can achieve similar success), my personal hope was for a standby queue.
Having a standby line is the more guest-friendly approach that levels the playing field, is less stressful, and results in fewer complaints. Which is exactly why we were happy to see Rise of the Resistance and Rat Ride retire their VQs even as some fans cynically complained that it was to sell more Individual Lightning Lanes (even though those sell out quickly, regardless).
The potentially bigger blow is that with the virtual queue, it means Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind almost certainly will not be open for Early Entry or Extended Evening Hours. This has NOT been confirmed by Walt Disney World one way or the other, but rather, is my expectation based on past precedent.
Early Entry or Extended Evening Hours would’ve been the easiest way to experience the new Epcot E-Ticket, and that (probably) being off the table is a big blow. If you’re able to find the silver lining in everything, this does mean that Epcot likely won’t be bonkers for those extra hours. I was dreading those crowds!
Anyway, we’ll have strategy for scoring boarding groups in the Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind virtual queue and/or buying Individual Lightning Lane return times soon–closer to when the attraction opens. (Spoiler alert: it’ll pretty much be identical to past advice for Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance, so you might want to brush up on that if you’re visiting opening weekend of Cosmic Rewind.)
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Are you excited for the grand opening of Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind at Epcot? Disappointed that it’ll use a virtual queue instead of a standby line right at opening? What about Individual Lightning Lane v. Genie+ for Cosmic Rewind? Do you agree or disagree with our advice? Any questions we can help you answer? Hearing your feedback–even when you disagree with us–is both interesting to us and helpful to other readers, so please share your thoughts below in the comments!