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OpEd: Long Lines are Better Than Walt Disney World’s Virtual Queue

guests in front of guardians of the galaxy cosmic rewind, epcot
Credit: Disney

Since Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance opened at Disneyland and Walt Disney World, the virtual queue system has become the new normal for new rides coming on the scene.

Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure and Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind all opened to the public with a virtual queue that was only accessible to those guests who secured a theme park reservation for EPCOT or purchased an Individual Lightning Lane pass.

The intentions behind the virtual queue were simple and arguably practical. Why should Disney make its guests wait in line all day when they can reserve a pseudo-FastPass for a particular time and let them enjoy other rides and experiences in the meantime?

remy's ratatouille adventure, epcot

Credit: Brian McGowan, Unsplash

I will admit that I took full advantage of this. After acquiring my spot in the virtual queue for Cosmic Rewind, I left EPCOT to explore the resort before coming back at the appropriate time.

But the Walt Disney World virtual queue has a dark side that puts it in a position where it actually makes things worse, especially in matters of guest perspective and population control.

Let me explain why:

Guardians Cosmic Rewind best ride

Credit: Disney

Long Lines = Shorter Lines Elsewhere

Imagine if Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind had a regular standby line opened up for all guests to get in line and partake instead of the virtual queue system. It would most likely lead to a line rivaling the one for Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway, and sure some guests would complain about how long the line is for one of the best attractions currently open in Central Florida.

But the long lines for Cosmic Rewind will most likely mean there is an unusually shorter line for other EPCOT experiences such as Soarin’ Around the World in The Land Pavilion, Frozen Ever After in the Norway Pavilion, or La Cava Del Tequila in the Mexico Pavilion.

So while a large group of guests might complain about how long they would have to wait to go into action with Peter Quill and the rest of the Guardians, other guests’ experiences have the possibility of being lifted by giving them easier access to their pre-established favorites thanks to basic laws of crowd distribution.

avatar flight of passage

Credit: Disney

Everyone Gets the Chance to Ride

Sure, an unrestricted standby line could mean that guests will only be able to ride that one ride for the entire day. But at least they get the chance to ride it. And who are we to say that spending all day in line to experience an attraction they have been waiting years for would not be a fulfilling day for those guests?

The Walt Disney World virtual queue system is exclusive and takes away all hope for guests. First, the only guests who can join are those who choose to arguably waste a theme park reservation on EPCOT. Then, if they are not on their phones and refreshing the screen like mad at exactly 7 am or 1 pm, they know that they have absolutely zero chance to experience possibly the only ride they even made the trip to Disney World for.

star wars galaxy's edge millennium falcon

Credit: Brian McGowan, Unsplash

This was one of the biggest critiques about Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance when it debuted at Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge.

Park passes to Disney’s Hollywood Studios were nonexistent for several months, and the crowds outside the gate hours before the park even opened to get their boarding pass was insane. If you were not quick enough or tech-savvy enough, your day could effectively be ruined at the literal start. Meanwhile, Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway had insane wait times, but at least everyone who wanted to try to ride just needed to get in line.

Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure dropped its virtual queue in early 2022, and I could not have been happier to hop in that line on a whim and not have to stress about reserving it as a part of my ever-increasingly stringent Disney Day.

Star Wars Galaxy's Edge Disney World

Credit: Disney

Standby Waits Lead to a Greater Sense of Accomplishment, Disney World’s Virtual Queue Does Not

New attractions spark objective-based visits to Disney World theme parks. The goal is to ride the new ride, and everything else the group is able to do is a bonus. The lines are expected, and getting through the line is the challenge. And the standby line keeps the dream alive in case someone in the group sleeps in a little too late.

On the flip side, you have the more spontaneous guests who park hop and decide to spend their afternoon waiting for the ride regardless of how long the wait time is. They were never really planning on doing the ride, but the open standby line allows them the opportunity to keep the spontaneity alive.

Plus, still using Cosmic Rewind as an example, who says you can’t enjoy your frozen margaritas while in the part of the line outside the building?

guardians galaxy Cosmic Rewind

Credit: Disney

Whether or not the game plan is to ride the new Disney World ride initially, the standby line allows for a greater sense of accomplishment, giving all guests who really want to ride the chance not just to conquer the coaster but conquer the line and race against time.

We have become so impatient, and we have looked at insane wait times almost like a malfunction. It is the 2020s. People should not have to wait in long lines anymore. But the fact of the matter is that there will always be long lines at Disney Parks. We just have to pick which ones we think are worth the wait.

Disclaimer: The opinions in this article are the writer’s and may not reflect the sentiments of Disney Fanatic as a whole.

About T.K. Bosacki

Born and raised in Tampa, Florida, TK Bosacki is a professional writer, amateur adventurer, and lifelong Disney Fanatic. His Disney Park days include Space Mountain, Tower of Terror, Kilimanjaro Safaris, and Nomad Lounge. He believes in starting at the Canada pavilion (IYKYK), and the Monorail is superior to all Ferry Boats.

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