Virtual Queue or Pay-Per-Ride: What’s the Best Way to Get on EPCOT’s Guardians of the Galaxy Coaster

Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind has officially opened at Disney World.

Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind

The brand new attraction features all kinds of easter eggs, an epic soundtrack, and some of your favorite Guardians of the Galaxy characters, of course! We’ve shared a full look at the ride (with both spoiler-filled and spoiler-free reviews), but now that the ride has officially opened we’ve got to talk about HOW to get on it.

two ways

There are essentially two ways to ride Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind:

  • virtual queue; or
  • Lightning Lane.

First, we’ll talk virtual queue. There is NO standby line for this brand new ride. If you want to get on it using the regular line and NOT pay extra, you’ll need to sign up for a boarding group (just like the olden days with Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance and Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure).

Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind

Virtual queue spots release at 7AM and 1PM each day. You do NOT need to be in the park for the 7AM spot, but you do need a valid EPCOT ticket and EPCOT park pass for the day.

For the 1PM spot, you need to be inside EPCOT to sign up (which means you likely still need a valid EPCOT-specific park pass for that day since park hopping doesn’t begin until 2PM and all boarding group spots may be filled up well before then).

Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind

There is also a special BONUS virtual queue release time on select nights for qualifying guests. On nights when Extended Evening Hours is being offered in EPCOT, guests who qualify for this hotel perk get another chance to sign up for the virtual queue starting at 6PM.

Extended Evening Hours is a special perk that allows guests staying at Disney World Deluxe Resorts and Deluxe Villas (as well as select other hotels) to spend extra time in certain parks on designated nights. This perk has not yet been offered since Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind opened, so we haven’t experienced this bonus virtual queue release time yet. When we do, we’ll be sure to update this post to let you know what that was like.

The Galaxarium

The second way you can try to ride this new attraction is by purchasing a Lightning Lane through Individual Attraction Selection (or pay-per-ride). Basically, Individual Attraction Selection is a service that is integrated into the My Disney Experience app and it debuted with Genie+.

Through this service, you can pay to skip the standby line (in this case, virtual queue situation) at specific, highly popular rides. You pay a fee set by Disney (which can vary by ride, park, and day) and that lets you skip the line just once.

The Wonders of Xandar Pavilion

Individual Attraction Selection purchases are available at 7AM for Disney World hotel guests, and at park open for all other guests. On its opening day, a single Pay-Per-Ride option for Cosmic Rewind was priced at $17. That price, of course, can change.

Click here to see our step-by-step guide to book and pay for pay-per-ride attractions at Disney World

So Which is BETTER?

You’ve got 2 options to get on Cosmic Rewind, so which is better or which should you go for first? Here’s what we saw on Guardians of the Galaxy’s opening day.

A big caveat: Keep in mind that things could change as Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind as the months go by. Things that filled up quickly today may fill up a bit more slowly in the coming weeks/months as the ride becomes a little less new. The fact that Cosmic Rewind opened during Memorial Day weekend is something that could also be impacting the situation. But today is likely an indication of what the ride could be like during the next few days/weeks.

“Good morning Xandar!”

Over on the virtual queue side, things filled up in SECONDS at 7AM. One of our reporters saw that the virtual queue was already full (and the app was directing guests to the 1PM virtual queue time) just about 30 seconds after 7AM. So basically you had to have VERY speedy fingers to get a virtual queue spot at 7AM this morning.

How will 1PM be? We expect it could be similar, or maybe worse since more folks may be up at that time who had perhaps chosen to sleep in earlier. But people have to be in the park, so that could impact things as well.

Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind Availability on Opening Day

On the Lightning Lane (Individual Attraction Selection/pay-per-ride) side, things went fast, but not quite as almost. From what we saw, the Individual Lightning Lane sold out in just a few minutes after the 7AM opening spot for hotel guests. We kept refreshing and times would disappear and reappear.

From what we saw times came and went until around 7:20AM. So if you’re hoping to get an Individual Attraction Selection at that 7AM spot and don’t see return times right at the 7AM time, keep checking a few minutes after.

Refresh—You May Have Unexpected Options

We checked again at 8:30AM, right when EPCOT opened to the public — at which point all non-Disney World hotel guests would have been able to make an Individual Attraction Selection purchase.

When we checked, it didn’t show that there were any Lightning Lanes available for the ride. Booking a stay at a Disney World hotel might, in this case, give you an advantage (at least based on what we saw during the ride’s opening day).

No Times Listed

So based on what we experienced, if you’re a Disney World hotel guest, it seems you may want to try and grab that virtual queue spot FIRST, right at the 7AM time, since it filled up the fastest. If you can’t grab a virtual queue spot, then your next option is to QUICKLY check for Individual Attraction Selection options at 7AM if you’re a hotel guest, as those came and went until around 7:20AM.

If you want to really give yourself the best chance at getting on the ride, it may be a good idea to have 2 members of your party trying to get spots (1 trying for a Lightning Lane, another trying for the virtual queue) so you ‘ve got all of your bases covered.

There’s a lot of people trying to ride!

If you’re not a Disney World hotel guest, that 7AM virtual queue spot is likely your best bet, as we didn’t even see any Individual Attraction Selections available when we checked at park open. You’ll of course want to check at the 8:30AM spot for the pay-per-ride option though, just in case there is availability.

And, of course, if all of the above fails, you’ll want to try for that 1PM virtual queue spot other continuously check the My Disney Experience app to see if by any chance any availability pops up later in the day.

Opening Day Tea

Again, this is just a snapshot of what is going on with this ride’s virtual queue and Lightning Lane. Things could change in the future. We’ll keep an eye out for any changes and update this post as we go along.

Click here for our FULL review of the Cosmic Rewind ride

Can You Use BOTH?

With Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure, guests could sign up for a virtual queue spot AND buy a pay-per-ride selection, giving them the ability to ride the attraction twice in one day. We spoke with a Cast Member at Guest Relations today who said that in theory you could get on the ride twice if you do manage to get both a virtual queue spot AND pay-per-ride option.

So it seems like this may be possible, BUT we think it would be difficult to do without a reservation at a Disney World hotel or other qualifying hotel that allows you to sign up for an Individual Attraction Selection at that 7AM spot. So that’s something to keep in mind.

Perfect mug for a cup of java

And that’s a look at the Pay-Per-Ride and Virtual Queue situation for Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind. Some things that could help you get in include:

  • Checking if your phone works better/faster on or off of Disney wifi
  • Making sure you have all of your park passes, tickets, and family/friends accounts linked and ready to go within the My Disney Experience app
  • Designating people in your party who can try for the virtual queue and pay-per-ride option at the same time
  • Trying to book a Disney World hotel (or other qualifying hotel) so you qualify for the 7AM pay-per-ride sign-up time
  • Continuously checking the pay-per-ride option for several minutes after that 7AM to see if things pop up (as we saw)
  • Checking pay-per-ride again at park open
  • Checking virtual queue again at the 1PM virtual queue time
  • Potentially booking a stay at a Disney Deluxe Hotel or Deluxe Villa (or other qualifying hotel) to get access to that bonus 3rd virtual queue sign-up time

We’ll continue to update this post as we learn more! Click here to see our live coverage of the ride’s opening day.

Click here to get a look at the crowds for the opening day of Cosmic Rewind


What would you rather use to get on Cosmic Rewind: Lightning Lane or Virtual Queue? Tell us in the comments!

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