Guardians of Galaxy Cosmic Rewind Virtual Queue & Extended Evening Hours Details
Walt Disney World has released more details about the virtual queue for Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind and how it’ll operate during Extended Evening Hours at EPCOT. This post covers how both will work and what to expect once this blockbuster roller coaster opens in Summer 2022.
As a quick reminder, Cosmic Rewind will essentially operate like Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance and Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure before both stopped their virtual queues. That means there will be no standby line when it debuts–you’ll either need to successfully score spots in the virtual queue and/or buy an Individual Lightning Lane for the Marvel blockbuster.
If Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance is any indication, that’s likely to be no easy task. (We’re going to ignore Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure, as it’s mediocre, whereas the Star Wars and Marvel attractions are both E-Tickets.) That Disney’s Hollywood Studios attraction filled its virtual queue almost instantly, and the same now happens with its Individual Lightning Lane.
Today’s news sheds more light on how the virtual queue will work, along with the reveal that Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind will be open for Extended Evening Hours at EPCOT. This is unprecedented for an attraction using a virtual queue, as neither Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance nor the Rat Ride did this.
Here are the full details on how access to Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind via the virtual queue during regular and Extended Evening Hours at EPCOT…
How to enter the virtual queue – Beginning at 7 a.m. on the day of their park reservation, guests with a valid ticket or Annual Pass and a Disney Park Pass Reservation for EPCOT will be able to check for an available boarding group via the My Disney Experience app and request access to the virtual queue. This can be done before you leave your resort hotel or on your way to the park.
At 1 p.m., there will be another opportunity to join the virtual queue for anyone who wasn’t able to join a boarding group earlier in the day. According to Walt Disney World, guests must be inside EPCOT to access this second virtual queue opportunity. (Note: this most likely is not true–virtual queues have never been geofenced, they simply require that you’ve entered that particular park earlier in the day to “unlock” eligibility.)
In order to give as many guests as possible the opportunity to save the galaxy, each guest can enter the virtual queue no more than once per day during regular park hours. Joining the virtual queue does not guarantee the ability to experience Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind.
Individual Lightning Lane – As previously announced, Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind will also have Individual Lightning Lane access that can be purchased in the My Disney Experience app via the Disney Genie service on the same day of visit, subject to availability. Like Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance, it’ll almost certainly sell out in minutes–long before off-site guests are eligible to purchase.
The Individual Lightning Lane price for Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind has not yet been announced, but our bet is that it surpasses Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance. My money is on $25. I think Disney could easily get $40 per person, but might not want to risk the backlash. To learn more about line-skipping access, see our Guide to Genie+ at Walt Disney World & Lightning Lane FAQ for all of the foundational need-to-know info.
Virtual queue during extended evening hours – Registered guests staying at a Disney Deluxe Resort, Disney Deluxe Villa Resort or other select hotels will have an additional opportunity to request to join the virtual queue at 6 p.m. on select dates during extended evening theme park hours. Guests with this benefit do not need to be in EPCOT to request to join at that time.
Guests will need valid admission and a theme park reservation for the same park on the same day to experience extended evening hours — 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. For more information about this benefit, see our Guide to Extended Evening Theme Park Hours at Walt Disney World.
We’ve done Extended Evening Hours at EPCOT several times, and our experiences are mostly positive. Our Evening Extended Hours at EPCOT Strategy & Report offers play-by-play from one night that we did a couple months ago. Disregard the “strategy” side of that, as Cosmic Rewind will change that.
It’ll be interesting to see whether Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind causes a seismic shift in Extended Evening Hours at EPCOT. There’s a limited pool of guests who are eligible for this perk, but we’re guessing that utilization has not been particularly high up until now. With only a handful of headliners at EPCOT, the park cannot soak up crowds during the extra hours like Magic Kingdom, so we’ll see if it becomes overly crowded once Cosmic Rewind opens.
As for virtual queue competitiveness for Extended Evening Hours at Epcot…I’m not even going to guess.
For one thing, it’s only a 2-hour window versus an entire operating day. For another, I truly have no concept of current utilization of Extended Evening Hours at Epcot. It could be 25% or 50%, I have literally no clue. I also have no idea how much that percentage will increase–at least when it comes to attempting the virtual queue for Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind. (The good news is that the virtual queue opens at 6 p.m., so those who try and fail may not even bother showing up to EPCOT for the extra hours…that should reduce the crowd at least a little.)
If a time traveler from June 6, 2022 were to come back and tell me that the Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind virtual queue for Extended Evening Hours didn’t fill up until 9 pm, I wouldn’t be surprised. If they said it filled up by 6:00:03 pm, I also wouldn’t be surprised.
About my only reaction would be side-eye that the time traveler wasted their technology on bringing me this relatively inconsequential info. Even in the EPCOT realm, they could’ve done something more important, like warning the designers of Harmonious that the cost of the Stargate and water tacos were not worth it.
Finally, here are general details about the Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind virtual queue for those who are unfamiliar with the whole process…
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. That second entry time at 1 pm was a positive change with the prior attractions and we’re glad to see it sticking around.
Ultimately, we’re still disappointed that Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind will 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.
Although the attraction has had some downtime during Annual Passholder previews, this hasn’t been worse than any other new attraction going through it’s initial test & adjust “growing pains.” It’s clearly far more reliable and less prone to downtime than Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance (that’s not necessarily saying much).
So that’s not really a good explanation, nor is the lack of physical space in the standby queue. While it’s true that Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind has a relatively short indoor queue, this is true of almost every new attraction in the post-FastPass era, with the only notable exception being Avatar Flight of Passage.
Attractions with FastPass+ or Lightning Lanes simply do not need as much standby space in the long-run. Fewer people in the physical standby queue can result in a higher posted wait time, which in turn causes more guests to hit their balking point, due to the ride reservation systems. (In other words, those photos of long extended queues during previews are meaningless devoid of the context that the Lightning Lane isn’t currently in use!)
We also don’t give credence to any theories that Cosmic Rewind has a virtual queue to push frustrated guests towards buying the Individual Lightning Lane access instead. This same ‘theorizing’ occurred back when Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance moved from a virtual queue to standby. It didn’t make sense then, it doesn’t make sense now.
The simple and unfortunate fact is that daily demand for paid Individual Lightning Lane access to Cosmic Rewind would exceed all daily capacity for the attraction. Walt Disney World could reserve literally 99% of capacity for ILL guests and have no problem selling out those slots every single day this summer.
As for Disney setting aside more capacity for the Individual Lightning Lane, the exact same thing could happen regardless of whether the other line is a virtual queue or standby. Either way, you’re not going to know what the allocation is between the two lines.
These theories are only plausible if demand needs to be juiced or artificially manipulated, and with Cosmic Rewind, that is most definitely not the case. Just like with Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance, no such incentivization or manipulation is necessary. This is potentially a conversation to have a few years from now when Cosmic Rewind’s popularity dies down, but not its opening summer. For now, debating the merits of virtual queues versus standby lines should occur in isolation, without regard for Individual Lightning Lane (obviously, that can also be debated in isolation–there just isn’t crossover between them).
In any case, 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).
Diehard Marvel fans will book trips to Walt Disney World this summer solely to experience Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind. Some of them would be willing to wait 4-5 hours in a standby line, but will get shut out of joining the virtual queue and/or buying an Individual Lightning Lane because that process will be so competitive and have more of a learning curve than just jumping in line.
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.) For now, check out our Spoiler-Free Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind Ride Review.
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Are you excited for the grand opening of Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind? Happy that it’ll be open during Extended Evening Hours at EPCOT, or are you still upset that the Extra Magic Hours replacement isn’t offered to every on-site guest? Have you had a chance to preview Cosmic Rewind? Disappointed that it’ll use a virtual queue instead of a standby line right at opening? 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!
I believe your information on no other Park Geo tagging in the past is incorrect. When Rise of the Resistance first opened it used to have a virtual queue that you could join again at 2:00 p.m. and then later change for a 1:00 p.m. time. In order to join that queue you had to be in the park. It is my opinion that the allotment for GOTG for virtual queue is going to be close to impossible to get since it is the first ride that we see opening with a virtual queue and lightning Lane in place. I believe the ratio of LL to Queue folks will be at about 1:10 (speculation only) making GOTG the hardest ride to ever get at Disney since the inception of virtual queue. I am in equal thinking that even though LL prices for this attraction were much lower than I thought it would be, that they could have easily filled their LL capacity even if each one was in the $25-$35 range, even though many would have balked about that as well. I don’t believe we will see availability for LL to non resort guests until after the summer as I truly think there LL will be bought out by resort guests before they open up availability to non resort guests. Only time will tell.
Can you please post a step by step guide that is better than Disney language on how to score virtual queue for Guardians? I have not been to Disney since any virtual queues were a thing
I have questions!
For context, we will be at the parks in August, and plan on hopping to EPCOT for the second part of our day.
1) If we aren’t STARTING at EPCOT, can we still attempt the Virtual Que at 7:00 AM?
2) If we plan to hop to EPCOT, but the second boarding pass group drops at 1:00, are we out of luck, because they say we have to be at EPCOT?
3) If we just decide to buy ILL, are we allowed to modify it so we can search a time AFTER 2:00?
4) Do we think there is ANY chance the 2:00 rule changes sometime soon? Or ever?
The answer to 1) and 2) are both ‘no.’ If you don’t have a park pass for Epcot, attempting to join either the 7am or 1pm virtual queue will result in an error. However, you can still buy an ILL at 7am (so long as you are staying on Disney Property.) The time should automatically adjust to be after 2pm, though I have not actually tried to do this myself so I don’t know what it looks like.
I also doubt there is any chance of the 2pm park hopper rule changing while virtual queues are still in use. That is just an opinion though, as my crystal ball is currently at the cleaner’s along with Tom’s.
Staying at deluxe resort dvc in June and July. Do I need a park pass for the day at Epcot or can I tap in at 2pm and get the 6pm VQ?
Hi Tom, the last day of our trip will be Friday 5/27 and we have park reservations for Epcot. We’d love to do Guardians before needing to leave for our flight late in the afternoon and would appreciate your thoughts on our best strategy to snag a spot. When the clock hits 7:00 would it be better for my wife and I to each try for an ILL or for one of us to try for an ILL and one to try for a Virtual Queue? Any other thoughts or suggestions? Thanks in advance.
I have a genuine question, so please don’t bite my head off… why does everyone seem to hate virtual queues?
I am very much anti Genie+ and I refuse to buy it, so I get that, but isn’t the VQ similar to Fast Passes (in a way)? We experienced RotR February 2021. I was very nervous, especially with all the hype around getting the boarding passes – and I didn’t get one right at 7:00, but got one at 1:00. It was kind of nice to have a time to come back rather than waiting in a long line. Or, am I missing something? Won’t GotG be similar to that process?
The Virtual Queue is great when it works (as it did for me in Feb 2020 for Rise). But it does create stress first thing in the morning if that ride is a must-do for you. I think the people who dislike the queue dislike that they don’t have control over whether they get to experience the attraction. It is possible to miss out on a spot for both drops; if you only have one day to be in that particular park, then it’s too bad, come back for another increasingly expensive vacation later, which is not feasible for everyone.
@Jared W – I do get it being stressful! It’s one of those things that feels easier once you do it, but I guess if you don’t get your boarding pass then it’s really disappointing. Even if there was a stand-by line, I would not stand in line for 4+ hours, and we all know that ride would have a line like that. It would be like RotR all over again. I wish I knew the perfect solution and that Disney would listen to me…
Virtual ques might be great for local pass holders but they are no fun for people who travel to WDW and cannot go often. My family has traveled twice from the west coast in the last 2 years to WDW and BOTH trips could not get a Rise virtual que. So my family has been to Disney world twice since Rise opened and we have never gotten to ride. It almost makes the whole trip a huge disappointment- especially after the second trip and still could not get a boarding group. I actually hate Hollywood studios now because of our experience with the virtual que system.
While standby would be more accessible and at least technically easier for early morning guests, not a shock that WDW chose virtual queue. Epcot is a bottleneck and the fear of guests being trampled, passing out in the Florida heat and fights erupting, was definitely an issue. WDW has had enough bad press to last a century. Mayhem in Epcot would not have been a good look. But senior management must know that the 7am ILL and virtual queue hunt is loaded with disappointment and even resentment for guests who feel promised they can ride if they only jump through the hoops. The system is really stacked against tired, less tech-savvy parents and grandparents already struggling with tired kids. If I was visiting this summer, I would not make any promises to the kids or Marvel-fan spouse about riding. If the stars align, great. But there won’t be stars for many guests. WDW knows this. That’s pretty discouraging. They either can’t fix it or won’t fix it. If I desperately wanted to ride more than once this summer, I’d postpone my trip to late August. But if I really wanted other older attractions like ROR, ToT and FOP, I’d make the most of the Epcot distraction and stick to the other parks. Let the new ride siphon off the crowds and enjoy the rest of WDW.
Can I buy an ILL for guardians without an epcot reservation and park hop?
Will EEH-eligible guestshave a second opportunity at a VQ group if they’ve already gotten one earlier in the day?
Since I have no experience with virtual queues, can someone explain this statement.
“ Joining the virtual queue does not guarantee the ability to participate in the experience.”
Translation: if ride breakdowns (or anything else) result in your virtual queue/boarding group number not being called, they don’t have to compensate you.
I think it may be a caution in case the ride goes down.
How busy do we think Epcot will be on opening day for Guardians? We happened to have our trip booked for next Thursday and Friday and originally we’re going to do MK on Thursday and Epcot on Friday but I switched them to avoid the opening as I didn’t want to wait in a 4-5 hr line or be in a crazy crowded park. But I’ve been able to get rise on virtual queue every time I’ve tried (thanks for your tips) so now tempted to give it a shot! We do have another trip planned in November so can try to ride then as well but opening day is tempting!!
It’ll end up being fully booked for park reservations, but a ton of those locals and others will be there for Cosmic Rewind and nothing else. I’d expect other wait times to be relatively average, perhaps slightly lower than the days around it.
Harmonious and food booths will probably have larger crowds/lines, though.
I’ll be at Epcot Aug 22 and will have Extended hours access. I’m hoping they won’t force three ILL on us, and at least let either Remy or Frozen stay as a Genie+ after Aug 7. I’m excited to have essentially 4 chances to ride Guardians. I will likely only pay for Guardians ILL and hope to get in a virtual que (assuming that is allowed). Hoping it is $15 like Rise! Who would have thought Epcot would be the only park where doing ILL on two rides would be tempting!!!!! And hopefully you do some follow up on what EEH are like after Cosmic opens!
I only see extended evening hours listed through July on WDW site. Have they said these will continue past the summer?
How does the virtual cue work if you’re planning to park hop to Epcot after 2pm?
If I start my day in MK and then park hop to Epcot- can I still enter the cue at 1 pm? Or is there no way for me to enter the cue?
You can’t attempt to join the 1 pm virtual queue until you tap into Epcot.
Darn.. so I guess my likelihood of getting a spot once I enter Epcot is probably very slim?
I’m confused, maybe I’m missing something? If there will be both a virtual queue and ILL at 7am, could my husband be trying for ILL while I’m trying for virtual queue at the same time if we’re in the same group or will we cancel each other out?
Btw I got a chuckle out of this: “Even in the EPCOT realm, they could’ve done something more important, like warning the designers of Harmonious that the cost of the Stargate and water tacos were not worth it.” True.
There are separate lines for the virtual queue and ILL, so you could do both. No cancelling one another out.
(It’ll be tough to book both, though. You’ll need two people…and luck!)
Thank you for asking this question. I was wondering the same thing. I am also wondering whether we have a better chance of scoring the ILL or the virtual queue??
I am a huge fan of the 6pm virtual queue. I was just looking at offsite in case we do a last minute trip in 2022 ( because I can literally pay for a plaid with the money we could save) but the opportunity to try for a spot at 6 and then figure out which park I will hop to that night based on VQ success makes it a little more enjoyable. Is it worth hundreds of dollars a night more? Nope. But it could be worth a 2-night stay on property to coincide with an after hours Party day.
I apologize if this has slready been asked but i didn’t see that it had. It sounds like it will be virtual queue only, with no ILL initially? Or will there be ILL availability as well? As always, appreciate your guidance.
Both Virtual Queue and Individual Lightning Lane will be available (for about 30 seconds each). The opening day is by coincidence the last day of our honeymoon, and our plan is to have one of us do the VQ and the other go for ILL – hopefully at least one works.
Any idea if extended evening hours will qualify for a second queue entry for the day? Or will it be if you score one in the morning you can’t enter the virtual queue during the evening hours?
I’ll be in Epcot on Monday, June 6 and have the same question.
This is the official language from Disney: “each guest can enter the virtual queue no more than once per day during regular park hours.”
While it doesn’t speak to that point directly, stating “during regular hours” rather than simply “once per day” leads me to believe you can double-dip. Disney is usually pretty deliberate with its verbiage.
Do we know which day of the week would likely offer the evening extra magic hours? I’ve already got The Dolphin (which qualifies, right?) booked for January. Just waiting for Disney to make their tickets available for then.
Epcot extended evening hours have typically been on Mondays!
@Becky, thank you! We are going to the parks Monday-Thursday. Previously I wanted to get reservations for Space 220 and I was unable to, so I was thinking I’d make Epcot our last day for better chances, but now I’m finding I don’t care as much about that. I think I’d rather increase my chances of riding GotG!
Are there any hunches when either the virtual queue will be removed on either the regular day or evening hours? From Rise and Remy, I’m wondering if it’ll clear up by late summer to early fall, since the ride seems to load quickly.
If I had to pick a specific date, I’d go with August 7, 2022.
No inside info, I just think that seems most feasible given the trajectory of crowds. It’s entirely possible that Walt Disney World will deem a virtual queue “necessary” for longer due to demand–Cosmic Rewind is a significantly better ride that Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure.
If it’s not removed by early fall, my guess would leap forward to mid-January 2023.
Cool thank you! Epcot is tough because it definitely still needs more rides. I guess we’ll see!
I seldom subscribe to conspiracies about why Disney does this kind of thing, but I am suspicious of a ride debut that pairs virtual queues with ILL. This opportunity just seems tailor made to maximize paid access and punish “regular” customers. Why wouldn’t Disney build an algorithm to favor ILL purchasers over non-paying guests? How would a guest know if the unavailability of virtual queue spots as of 7:00:12 am was to do with a superior segment of humanity, capable of executing faster clicks, or a structural design, diverting slots to paying customers?
@Kelly D – If you look back at the comments when RotR moved to standby, you’ll notice the exact same type of theories. The same thing could happen regardless of whether it’s a virtual queue or standby line. Either way, you’re not going to know what the allocation is between the two lines.
The simple and unfortunate fact is that daily demand for Cosmic Rewind even as a *paid* attraction will exceed daily capacity. Walt Disney World could reserve literally 99% of capacity for ILL guests and have no problem selling out those slots every single day this summer. These theories are only plausible if demand needs to be juiced or artificially manipulated, and with Cosmic Rewind, that is most definitely not the case.
IMO, the virtual queue v. standby queue debate needs to happen without regard for ILL, since that does not meaningfully change the equation one way or the other.