Are you ready to take off on an intergalactic chase through space and time? It’s finally here: Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind launched at EPCOT on May 27th, and believe me when I say the hype is REAL. From the thrilling ride pre-show to Disney’s first-ever reverse launch, this full-enclosed coaster is the newest innovation from Walt Disney Imagineering. We experienced the ride last week thanks to a well-timed family vacation, and there’s only one word for me to describe it: OBSESSED!
At the time of publication (June 13, 2022), you have two options available to experience the attraction: joining the virtual queue (no additional fee) or purchasing an individual Lightning Lane entry. That’s right: there is currently no standby line available, nor can you schedule a Lightning Lane entry using the Genie+ service. While both available options are pretty straightforward, there are are few strategies that can help you snag a spot in the virtual queue for this wildly popular ride. Read on!
Note: This post includes a tip sheet to help prioritize and plan your day to increase your chances of obtaining a place in the virtual queue. For instructions on how to use the virtual queue, check out the My Disney Experience app or find more information here. Once you are familiar with the process, you can move on to the strategies below.
1. Set your alarm for 6:55am. The first opportunity to request to join the virtual queue for Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind takes place at 7:00am for everyone with a valid park admission (ticket and reservation) for EPCOT. There is absolutely no exaggeration when I say the virtual queue will likely be full at 7:00:05am. That’s right – we’re talking seconds. I refreshed the app at exactly 7:00am and all the spots were already accounted for! But fear not; you’ll have one (or two!) more chances, so don’t be discouraged if you can’t get in on the first try.
If you do manage to secure a spot for your party in a Boarding Group, celebrate! This calls for an 80’s-style dance-off; grab your mix tape!
2. Visit EPCOT any time before 1:00pm. The next opportunity to join the virtual queue takes place at 1:00pm, but it’s only available to those who have already entered EPCOT. You don’t have to stay once you enter the park; however, in order to be eligible for the second queue, you must physically walk through the turnstiles before 1:00pm. (You can’t be near the park, or outside the park… you must use your park admission to enter.)
3. Set your alarm for 12:58pm. Chances are high that you’ll score a spot in the second virtual queue, especially if you’re ready to refresh at 1:00pm. I did, and was instantly placed in a group with an estimated Boarding Group time of 8:59pm. However, I consulted with friends and some were able to join a similarly-timed Boarding Group when accessing the app at 1:02pm and even as late as 1:05pm. Therefore, clearly the manic demand from the first opportunity generally wears off by the afternoon. But be forewarned:
It’s easy to get distracted at Disney. While most people are still in their resort room at 7:00am, unless you specifically set an alarm just before the afternoon drop, chances are you’ll be out and about in the parks or restaurants (or back at the pool), where you’re more likely to forget about the time. Give yourself a two-minute warning and then scoot to a place with a strong wifi signal. Or, even better –
4. Switch to data or roaming before accessing the app. Think about it: thousands of people, all sharing the same wifi, all trying to access the same screen on the same app at the same time. In such a situation, having a faster connection may give you a slight edge! If you’re able to, consider getting off the public network and switching to data.
5. Check the app frequently. Once you’ve secured a Boarding Group number and estimated time, be sure to check the app to see if you’ve moved up. See below; we were originally assigned an estimated boarding time of 8:59pm, so we left the park and enjoyed the pool at our resort. However, just as we were making dinner plans, I noticed that our estimating boarding time kept creeping closer and closer. In the end, we skipped dinner at the resort and made our way to EPCOT to grab a quick bite instead.
I’m glad we did; we received an in-app notification at 7:12pm to board, which is almost two hours earlier than our originally scheduled time! You have up to one hour after your Boarding Group is called to make your way to the attraction, so don’t stress too much, as some flexibility is offered.
6. Third time’s a charm! Didn’t make the first two virtual queues? If you’re staying at a resort that participates in Extended Evening Theme Park Hours (currently, Walt Disney World Deluxe Resorts, Deluxe Villas and WDW Swan & Dolphin, Swan Reserve and Shades of Green), you’ll have a third chance to enter the virtual queue for Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind at 6:00pm. (Tip: If you’ve already experienced the ride for the day, here’s your chance to enjoy the attraction twice – a benefit only offered to those eligible for the third virtual queue!)
Context: I know many people who have secured a spot in the virtual queue using absolutely no strategy other than accessing the app at 7:00am. The purpose of this post isn’t to make the process seem complicated, (it’s not), rather, for those bona fide Disney fanatics who love having a purpose and plan – like ME! – these tips can help generate excitement as part of your pre-vacation planning. I love a good list, especially one that will help make my day at Disney more enjoyable!
Ready to begin your quest across the cosmos? Use the strategies above and before you know it, you’ll be experiencing a world beyond belief!