The Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind Virtual Queue is pointless and unnecessary. The attraction is operating nearly flawlessly for a new ride and boarding groups are no longer the rare treasure that they used to be. That said, we might actually be turning into fans of the Virtual Queue.
When it debuted over Memorial Day Weekend, it was nearly impossible to get a Boarding Group to ride Disney World’s newest attraction. Guests were back to testing cell phone signals and attempting to sync up a button tap with atomic clock-type accuracy. It was Rise of the Resistance all over again and it was frustrating.
Now, two weeks after Cosmic Rewind opened and the Virtual Queue almost feels like a gift. Let’s be clear, the only change in tune here is due to the fact that it is easy to get a Boarding Group right now. Yes, the 7am drop can still be difficult, but if the 7am drop is a lottery, the 1pm drop is a certainty.
The experience with a Virtual Queue is certainly better than with a traditional standby. We have rarely seen the queue for Cosmic Rewind stretch outside of the building and the wait time estimated for someone who secures a Boarding Group is 30 minutes or less. That means that for someone who secures a Boarding Group, you’re going to experience a lower average wait than dozens of other Walt Disney World attractions.
To that end, a Boarding Group essentially is acting as a free Genie+ entry. No, a Boarding Group is NOT a Lightning Lane entitlement, but with extremely low relative wait times when your Boarding Group is called, we’re of the opinion that this is the ideal way that Boarding Groups should function. Again, the only reason we’re warming up to the Cosmic Rewind Virtual Queue is simply because of how easy it is to secure (at 1pm) and how short the wait time is once your Boarding Group is called.
Of course, the ease of securing a Boarding Group could change on a dime. Disney could allocate more capacity to the paid Individual Lightning Lane and reduce the number of Boarding Groups and we’d be back to square one of disliking the Virtual Queue again.
Another hiccup could be the operational efficiency of Cosmic Rewind. Right now, Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind is not only extremely efficient, but it’s also reliable. That combo means that a Virtual Queue is wholly unnecessary and pointless if we’re holding it up against Rise of the Resistance, which was (and still is) unreliable.
If Disney were to open the standby queue for Cosmic Rewind, the attraction would, in all likelihood, be able to handle the demand really well. That said, your 20-30 minute wait with a Virtual Queue would then become a 60-100 minute wait (or more) with standby. When comparing what standby could be with what Boarding Groups are right now, we’ve come full circle on the concept and are now fans of the system.
The only caveat to our opinion, and it definitely is a big caveat, is the inability to re-ride. Cosmic Rewind is a ton of fun and you’ll likely want to go on it again and again. With the Virtual Queue system in place, you’ll only be able to ride it once per day. If you want to ride it a second time, there is no getting back in line. Instead, you’ll have to pull out your wallet and pay for Individual Lightning Lane. As part of a balanced day at EPCOT, you will probably be ok with riding once or paying for a second ride. When standby opens up, we’ll have the option to re-ride all day long, but there will be a barrier to entry – the posted wait time. It remains to be seen just how long you’ll have to wait for re-rides when the attraction eventually opens up standby, but you’ll likely have to be comfortable with waiting at least an hour in the sun or rain before entering the Wonders of Xandar pavilion. Some would say that they want that choice, for now, I’m happy with a General Tso Chicken Salad and Liege Waffle at Connections Cafe while I wait for my Boarding Group.
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