Recently, Walt Disney Company Parks, Experiences and Products Chairman Josh D’Amaro all but confirmed that Disney Parks officials are at least considering a move to fully virtual queues — similar, presumably, to the boarding group system that Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance already uses at Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge on both coasts.
At the recent IAAPA Expo, D’Amaro said:
“These dares don’t just apply to big, new moonshot products and experiences. They apply to our products and experiences today,” D’Amaro said. “Do you really have to wait in line? Why can’t guests choose exactly what they want to do when they want to do it?”
- The virtual queue process would start, as most things do, in the My Disney Experience app at Walt Disney World Resort and in the Disneyland app at Disneyland Resort. There, Guests would create virtual avatars of themselves to navigate the digital park map throughout their Disney theme park vacations.
- Each attraction would have a listed wait time — similar to existing standby and FastPass wait times — based on the number of people currently in the digital line.
- If desired, Guests could put their avatars into groups or parties — just like when planning a Disney Resort vacation. They could move their travel party to a virtual queue in which they are all together. Alternatively, people could go their separate ways and join different lines at different times.
- By Guests placing their avatars in digital lines, rather than standing in physical lines themselves, they would know how long they had to wait to board, but wouldn’t be standing bored in line or clogging narrow pathways in large crowds. Guests would be able to watch their avatar move-up in line for them, which sounds incredibly fun, actually!
- Unlike the existing Rise of the Resistance boarding groups, which have to be booked in the morning — or at the second 2 PM boarding pass distribution in the latest iteration — and are issued like a lottery system, you could place your Disney app avatar into a new line whenever you wanted, no matter how long the line was. The catch? You have to be willing to wait until your allotted boarding time — and you can’t join another virtual line during that period.
- Once your boarding time arrives, a “ticket” code would appear in your My Disney Experience or Disneyland app. This would be shown to Cast Members at the ride entrance, just like at Rise of the Resistance. A time limit — perhaps 20 to 30 minutes — would be enforced. If a Guest fails to show up within that timeframe, his or her spot is given to another rider. At Disney World, the “ticket” would also likely be attached to Guests’ MagicBands.
- As soon as the code is scanned at the ride, your Disney avatar could join another virtual queue. Guests would be limited to a single ride or attraction at any given time and could not join any lines before being admitted to a Disney Park — in the case of U.S. parks, this includes Magic Kingdom, EPCOT, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Disney’s Animal Kingdom, Disneyland Park, and Disney California Adventure.
- FASTPASS/MaxPass and FastPass+ could still be used to bypass the virtual queue and ride right away. This would allow Guests to enjoy an attraction while their avatar waited in a digital line for another ride, basically serving as a two-for-one that would maintain the value of the FastPass program.