Good News! We Can Still Argue About Virtual Queues!!!
Debating the merits of the virtual queue and boarding pass system for Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance is a time-honored Disney Tourist Blog tradition. (Well, as of the last few months…but it feels like an eternity!) Coverage of the boarding group process for the Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge flagship attraction at Walt Disney World and Disneyland has been a figurative roller coaster ride.
Initially, we praised Disney’s Hollywood Studios for quietly opening early and operating every attraction with a pure first-come, first-served system. This didn’t go over well with some families who (for some odd reason?!) didn’t want to get up at 4 am on vacation. The park eventually moved to a hybrid lottery and first-come, first-served system, which we felt was a good balancing of interests.
Then came larger crowds and chaos, leading us to proclaim “this isn’t working.” Since that was met with a little too much fan ire (via 400+ comments/complaints), we back-peddled a bit (I guess?) with Hollywood Studios: Walt Disney World’s Best Rides & Most Frustrating Park. We weren’t alone in our incessant critique of the virtual queue, and when the parks closed, many joked that at least now there wouldn’t be a daily argument about the merits of the boarding group system. Au contraire!
The latest update for the Disneyland app hints at an expansion of the virtual queue system at Disney California Adventure and/or Disneyland.
If you click on the updated Disneyland app’s hamburger button, here’s what you’ll see:
As you can see, there’s now an icon for Virtual Queues. Plural.
Upon clicking that icon, you’ll see this screen:
That then takes you to the “My Queues” screen, which currently only shows Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance (see below).
However, there is space for additional attractions below it, making this more like the MaxPass selection process, minus selecting the return times.
This same screen can also be accessed from the Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance module on the home screen of the Disneyland app.
It’s the “My Queues” button on the right side of that.
With Avengers Campus slated to open on July 18, 2020 (as of right now, at least), it seems likely Disneyland might want or need to use the virtual queue feature for this Marvel Land’s only new attraction, Web Slingers: A Spider-Man Adventure, the family-friendly interactive game ride that’s similar to Toy Story Midway Mania.
This strikes us as odd from a popularity perspective, as Web Slingers is the “supporting attraction” for the new Marvel Land, with the major E-Ticket opening in several years (if ever). Think of it as akin to Navi River Journey in Pandora – World of Avatar or Millennium Falcon Smugglers Run in Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge.
There is the possibility that Imagineering is anticipating issues with Web Slingers: A Spider-Man Adventure, but that also seems highly unlikely. This is an iterative attraction rather than an innovative one, and there’s no reason to believe it’ll have operational woes or downtime.
Another possibility is that Disneyland simply wants to expand the virtual queue system. This could either be as a counterweight to balance out some demand for Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance, or for some other purpose entirely.
As we’ve stressed previously, the virtual queue system at Disneyland heavily favors tourists on weekdays. This is because many Southern California locals show up after work and are willing to spend as many hours as necessary waiting in standby lines.
By contrast, visitors have limited vacation time and a lower balking point in terms of posted wait times. Using only a virtual queue allocates all ride capacity to those who arrive earlier in the day–disproportionately tourists (again, on weekdays).
There’s also speculation (“a lot of people are saying“) that this is in preparation for Disneyland to bring back Country Bear Jamboree and the Peoplemover. Disney knows the demand will be sky-high for these national treasures, and overwhelm the FastPass and MaxPass system.
The physical queues cannot possibly hold the millions of guests that will storm to Critter Country and Tomorrowland. A virtual queue is the only way.
Now, I realize it might be disappointing for the Walt Disney World-centric fans who were eager to argue about what this means for the Florida parks. Just keep in mind that there’s nothing to say a similar update won’t be rolled out for My Disney Experience in the coming days.
It’s better to be safe than sorry and argue away! 😉
Joking aside, it seems most likely that Disneyland’s IT team has nothing better to do and is just tinkering with things, with no actual intention upon expanding the virtual queue feature. It’s the perfect time to make real time adjustments to the Disneyland app with zero stakes. Not like it’ll impact anyone in DCA or Disneyland.
Or perhaps it’s a strategic move by Disney to savvily generate some headlines on fan blogs without the word “coronavirus” in them. (Although in fairness, “virtual queue” has only a slightly higher approval rating.)
Personally, I welcome the change of pace with open arms. I don’t care if it’s nothing at all, it’s nice to be writing about something totally different, and speculating about things that, in the grand scheme of things, are pretty insignificant. I’m looking forward to the ensuing speculation, and why this should or shouldn’t happen. I long for the simpler days when bickering about Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance was how Disney fans filled their days online.
Even if this is nothing, I hope Disney learns from this and takes the opportunity to plant other rumors. A new theme park complex in Australia? What about Texas! Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge being converted to Aladdin Land? Sounds plausible! A fifth gate at Walt Disney World? How about a 6th and 7th while we’re at it! McDonald’s halting construction on the restaurant near the All-Star Resorts? Whoa there cowboy, some things you don’t joke about.
If you’re planning on visiting the new land, you’ll also want to read our Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge Guide. As for preparing for the rest of your Disneyland trip, check out our other planning posts, including how to save money on Disneyland tickets, our Disney packing tips, tips for booking a hotel (off-site or on-site), where to dine, and a number of other things, check out our comprehensive Disneyland Vacation Planning Guide!
Why do you think the Virtual Queues feature was added to the Disneyland app? Are you anticipating that it’ll be used for Web Slingers: A Spider-Man Adventure? Think it’s more likely that this means Country Bear Jamboree is returning? Or maybe it’s for a new attraction coming to the all-new Port Disney park in Long Beach, California?! Do you agree or disagree with our assessment? Any questions? 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!
So glad I can come to this blog for the laughs and content. REALLY appreciate that right now with the news being such a downer. I might have to make my morning new read into a Bricker feed instead for a couple of weeks for the camaraderie. Thank you 🙂
“The physical queues cannot possibly hold the millions of guests that will storm to Critter Country and Tomorrowland.” Thanks for this laugh today Tom. Needed it.
The more I read — Things are not getting back to normal soon. We will be in an extremely different world for the next 18 months.
I can’t imagine that everything will stay closed for 18 months — Meaning, when things re-open, to re-open, they will need to have very different procedures in place.
Some will be simple — Disney will stop using fingerprinting at the park, so turnstyles are touch-free.
But I wouldn’t be surprised to see things like — Temperature screening along with bag check. If you have a fever, no coming in to the park.
Masks at all times in parks, restaurant tables being spread further apart. No self-service buffets.
But along with all those — Not hard to imagine virtual queues actually being part of the response — Reduce the number of people allowed into the park at a time, and eliminated all lines by using a virtual queue system.
It’s far from ideal. It won’t utilize the full current capacity of the park very efficiently.
But it could be a way to re-open and maintain some coronavirus mitigation. Wear your mask at all times. Only come to a particular ride when it’s your turn to get directly on the ride, no standing in a congested line rubbernecking other people.
Of course, this can only work with reducing the number of people physically in the park, or else they will be rubbernecking on main street, waiting for rides.
If Christmas Magic Kingdom capacity is 100,000 — if a normal summer day is 50,000 — think instead of limiting Magic Kingdom attendance to 25,000 maximum.
DHS normally averages 30,000 people — Get that down to a maximum of 10,000….
Drastic reduction in numbers of people + virtual queues could be a decent mitigation strategy to get through the next 18 months.
(Of course, there is a question — Is it profitable to operate Disney parks at greatly reduced capacity, or more logical to just to keep them shut down entirely?)
I think that the Virtual Que is a good idea. Wait times in the Que would be lessened. No more packed in like sardines while waiting because you could not get a Fast Pass. I only see positive results from this. If the wait time is under 20 minutes then no virtual pass required.
I’m really surprised you left out the possibility that this is being implemented due to COVID-19. Seems to me the most likely reason. It allows Disney to open back up and still keep groups of people dispersed and encourage social distancing. Imagine you need a virtual queue to enter the Emporium, to enter a ride, to see a show. If this allows for the parks to open up again sooner, I’m all for it!
Thanks for this Tom, I needed this! We are scheduled to go to WDW this December and I’m really hoping things are a lot better by then (for more reasons than our trip!). This is the first trip that I’ve been glad to see a high number on my countdown!! Since my kids school is closed until possibly summer AND we are on lockdown, the days are crawling by, so posts like these are awesome! It’s worth noting this is day 3 of no school and day 2 of the shelter in place order/lockdown, so if the days are already crawling I’m in trouble
Stay safe and keep these posts coming!!
I would love if there was an option to plan out your rides and shows one by one for the day and be guaranteed entry as long as you are within the window of time assigned on your plan – kind of like a mash up of a well thought out touring plan and Fast Pass+. Likely there would need to be a cost for this, but as a planner who already takes the time to make plans like these, knowing that the wait times can be better anticipated and managed – which would allow me to stay on track with my plans – would be amazing!
I have become more and more disheartened over the years since my family started vacationing on a regular basis at Disneyworld.
Without discussing rising costs, over the last 10 to 15 years having to plan everything from making dinner and ride reservations to using outside tools to determine the best park or timeframe to visit has made our vacation seem more like project management than a vacation.
Now we are seeing the initial implementations of what the first shots across the bow of Disney could be deciding what rides you are going to ride on any given day. Thanks Disney it was fun back in the 90’s and early 2000’s, but I’ll be visiting other venues that don’t force me to follow such strict schedules to have “fun”
I think it would be cool if you could join a ‘lottery’ virtual queue a day in advance. What does this mean? Let me explain. You would have no idea what ride you are going to get but you are guaranteed to get onto something. So if there were like 3 rides that did a virtual queue, you would be guaranteed get one of them (none of this backup mumbo jumbo), but have no idea which one. This would add an *unprecedented* level of excitement to ride planning. This could be Bob Chapek’s one shining moment if he is able to bring us such a satisfying opportunity while on our Disney Vacation.
The boarding pass system has definitely changed the overall feel of Disneyland, everyone was so stressed out first thing in the morning and a lot of people looked disappointed when they were leaving at night, presumably because they didn’t get on ROR. I was there a month ago and I managed to get into group 40 on my second day, I think I was successful because I walked around a little while checking my phone speed and I told my phone to forget the WiFi ( but I still had WiFi on). We were called around two o’clock but the ride broke down while we were being sent to our cells, we went back three times before the ride was up and running, I’m not really sure if this was easier than standing in the standby line.
Folks staying on property should be guaranteed 3 fast passes in any park and ride of their choice 60 days out. At 30 days it opens up to everyone. As the guest experience decreases with shortened general park hours and costs continuing to escalate, perks for those shelling out premium dollars for on property stays should be increased.
I’m not sure I like the sound of more Virtual Queues. I think it’s a great idea for new rides & attractions but not more than 1 or 2 per park at a time. Sure there are die hard who love getting up at 4am….but I am not one of them! I am hoping Rise of the resistance goes FastPass in time for my next trip in August, since none of us was willing or interested in getting up at 4am this time (we were fortunate enough to get our 10 day trip in before the closure Feb 29-Mar10!). Virtual Queues won’t work for a large majority of park-goers.
I’m sure you don’t have total control of the ads on your blog but I definitely saw a trump ad on this one! Not sure if you can do anything about that but figured you might want to know.
Sadly, I’ve also seen that a couple of times. Believe me, I do not want to see political ads (of any kind) on here.
I have political, gambling, and other “adult” ad categories blocked. Unfortunately, sometimes ads are mis-categorized, and stuff like that gets through. Sorry. 🙁
Ads are also tied to the searches and views of the individual visiting your site.
No need to comment on ads on anyone’s blogs SMH
Who looks at the ads anyway? lol
While we are on pie in the sky ideas. The world has essentially hit a pause button. Could Disney (Specifically at WDW) go back to:
> Go back to Fast Passes – Get rid of Fast Pass + and the 60 day window
> Utilize the MDX app and Possibly touch points for Fast Pass distribution
> Drop the booking window for dining down to 30 or 60 days, from 180 days
Can we please just queue up a post about Refillable mugs?
We have not seen a civil war erupt in that topic in far too long, and I really do enjoy spectating it when we do.
That, stroller size, and smoking areas are all in the hopper for next week’s post calendar.
Forget all that “uplifting posts” mumbo jumbo–what people really need is some pointless outrage to distract from the real world news! 😉
I just wanted you to know that you made me giggle out loud. Thank you for that bright spot in my day!
If you could manage to drop in some random commentary about monetary policy within the overarching conversation about stroller size, that would be Emmy award-winning media.
What is with those mugs anyway? Why do we have to go to a machine to fill it up? shouldn’t the idea of a refillable mug be that it just fills it up right where you stand?
Virtual queues are smart from a guest satisfaction perspective but they don’t cure inadequate capacity – they exacerbate capacity issues.
In a perfect set-up: it’s all virtual queues, never waiting in physical lines. Return times are paced so you’re not waiting hours between attractions. And without having to wait in physical lines, people are spending more money in restaurants and gift shops.
The big issue is still inadequate capacity – so return times between attractions will be too long. And there won’t be enough stuff for people to do between VQ (virtual queue) attractions. You’ll get massive lines for those attractions without VQ.
What needs to happen, if you move a lot of attractions to VQ, is the addition of lots of people swallowing activities. More parades and shows, walk-through exhibits.
Largely – more of the very things that lately have been cut.
I read an interesting perspective of the guest experience at the parks and Disney eroding it through operation reductions in park times, and Parades / Shows cancellations. The parks have always been popular and well trafficked. But as Disney has reduced the operating times for general admission, it reduced the through put of guests on rides. Couple that with the parades ending, these non rides are not absorbing the crowds and dumping them on the rides which are at full capacity.
Disney needs to get back to putting on a comprehensive experience and not be a glorified six flags. Sorry, but I had always held Disney in high regard but it has been losing its edge and seems to cheapen the experience each year.
With Chopek now at the helm, and the given crisis, I do not see Disney pumping more money into the experience and just driving guest volume.
The only park where this approach is even remotely viable is Shanghai Disneyland. Not only does that park have the capacity, but it also has the physical space. Everywhere else, it would lead to a greater perception of crowding, and no one likes those.
Maybe once all is said and done, Epcot will have the right combo, too. However, I cannot imagine Walt Disney World going all-in on a virtual queue system in one park but not the other three. FastPass is the compromise approach.
Agreed…. but there are so many different ways that an extensive VQ experience can look. “All in” doesn’t need to mean every ride.
For example– Could be holding three VQ’s at a time…. Could be tiered, like FP. Doesn’t have to cover every attraction but a pretty long list of E-ticket attractions. (fewer attractions, fewer VQ’s at a time..)
How this *might* work at DHS, for example:
— Some refreshed shows to swallow people. Such as replacing Beauty and the Beast with Frozen? Replacing Indiana Jones…
— Expand the “Hollywood” street entertainment
–Add extra parades
— Use the fantasmic theater for a show DURING THE DAY
— VQ’s for Slinky + Rise of the Resistance + Millennium Falcon + Runaway Train. Hold only 1 VQ at a time, or 1 VQ every 3 hours.
That would likely give people 2 VQ experiences per day, and enough other activities to swallow people.
Magic Kingdom — If you go out beyond the railroad, there is room to build. I’d say build a Walt Disney Museum — lots of walk through exhibits that people can do at their own pace. (Don’t they have something like it in Paris?)
Sadly, a major refresh/replace Carousal of Progress with something that guests will want to do. Extra parades, including night time parade.
VQs — Tron, Mine Coast, Big Thunder, Splash, Peter Pan. Again, VQ’s like the old FP system — Hold 1 at a time, or 1 every 3 hours.
Oh this made me laugh and brightened my morning! Thank you!
I agree wholeheartedly â™¥ï¸
Good grief! More virtual queues? I’m hoping that doesn’t hit WDW! Ah, for the days of rushing to get those important fast passes 60 days out!! (Thst we whined about doing!!!) I was disappointed to hear you say Mickey and Minnie’s Railway wasn’t available during extra value hours, and was hoping this would change. Now I’m wondering if this will go into virtual queue land? (By the way, as a Great Movie Ride LOVER I was interested in seeing how the Railway stacked up. It was cute. But it wasn’t the GMR. It could have been built elsewhere, and GMR could have been left alone. Sigh.)
Thanks for continuing to post, Tom. When Easter rolls around we’ll need last year’s pics of you and Sarah in the parks!
My guess: the implementation of the virtual queue for Rise of the Resistance was rushed when Disney realised the ride could not have been ready for prime time yet. The current iteration is how it should have been since the beginning, with the option to add or remove VQ whenver park operations deem it necessary. How good would be to be able to join a virtual queue for either the 7 dwarfs or Jack and Sally during an Halloween Party instead of loosing 2 hours of party time?
i do like the idea that if you’ve purchased your party tickets before a certain date, you get to choose at least one virtual queue option for a popular meet and greet. that seems more than fair to me.
Actually elicited genuine out loud laughs with this one.
I award you 1,000 points that are good for absolutely nothing.
If you are going to make up rumors though, and you are talking Disneyland…no In & Out coming to DCA? We do expect a little more…
Tired: British Invasion Leaving Epcot
Wired: Burger Invasion Returning to DCA