With the TRON Lightcycle Run roller coaster opening at Disney’s Magic Kingdom on April 4, you are going to need to know the best way to ride it. For the last few years, Disney has been using the Virtual Queue and boarding groups whenever a new E-Ticket attraction opens which means you need to know how those two things work to ride.
I don’t think there has been anything more frustrating about a Disney vacation over the last few years than figuring out how to use the Virtual Queue system. Since Disney introduced it in 2019, it has been public enemy number one to most park guests.
Just in the Walt Disney World theme parks alone, it’s been used in Rise of the Resistance, Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind, and Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure, and it has been the source of complaints by most guests trying to use it.
So what does this have to do with TRON Lightcycle Run? Disney has just made the announcement that TRON will also use the Virtual Queue system when it opens and there will not be a standby queue immediately available.
This is what we’ve expected right from the beginning so it comes as no surprise to hear the news now that Disney has confirmed it. We are still waiting on a few of the details which will be coming in the next few days.
In this post, we are going to explain everything you need to know about using the virtual queue with TRON Lightcycle Run in Disney’s Magic Kingdom. We’ll explain why Disney is using the virtual queue, how boarding groups work, and give you step-by-step instructions on how to get a boarding pass.
We’ll also answer all your questions like how many times you can ride TRON per day, how to tell when your boarding group is ready, and our best tips and strategy for using the virtual queue system. You do want to actually ride it when you go right?
Lastly, we’ll give our best guess as to how long TRON Lightcycle Run will use boarding passes. Consider this your TRON Lightcycle Run Virtual Queue 101 class, and it’s going to be a full-immersion course. If you are looking for more details on the actual ride, read our TRON Lightcycle Run Guide.
As Disney makes changes to the system and details pertaining to TRON, we’ll update you in this post so keep checking as your vacation date gets closer for any changes. Eventually, when TRON moves over to a standby queue, we’ll let you know how that will work.
Before we get started, don’t forget to sign up for our FREE Weekly E-Mail Newsletter. We will update you with any changes to the boarding procedure for Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind, and share the latest vacation planning tips. You can sign up here: Join our E-Mail Newsletter!
Why Is TRON Lightcycle Run Using the Virtual Queue?
It is an understatement to say that the Virtual Queue has not been the most popular addition to the Disney parks in the last few years. As soon as it was first introduced on Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance Disney started to get immediate pushback from guests.
They didn’t stop there, however, and it’s been used in a handful of other rides in both Disney World and Disneyland. So what’s not to like about it? Well, for one thing, it limits the number of guests that can ride a specific attraction on a given day, and when little kids (and some not-so-little kids) travel hundreds or even thousands of miles to miss their favorite attraction, tears are shed.
We’ve seen this happen dozens of times in the parks along with extra long lines at Guest Relations because of it.
Despite the bad publicity, Disney has continued using the Virtual Queue when it opens new rides, in fact, most of the new attractions since 2019 have all at least used it for a time. Since these rides are at their peak popularity, in theory, it keeps guests from having to wait all day long in line and guests don’t have to run there at rope drop every morning.
The new TRON Lightcycle Run fits that exact mold and it’s why Disney is using it here as well. This is no doubt going to be the most popular ride Disney’s Magic Kingdom has seen in almost a decade, and possibly ever.
I would expect it to be even more popular than Cosmic Rewind since it doesn’t have as much of a nausea factor as EPCOT’s newest ride does. It probably won’t be as popular as Rise of the Resistance, but it may not be far behind.
Since this is the case, using the Virtual Queue at TRON means Disney will have an easier time handling the high number of guests who want to ride each day, without having to worry about crowd control like they would if it used a standby queue. It will also make guests feel good not having to wait 4 to 5 hours in line to ride.
The riding options for TRON Lightcycle Run are:
A standby queue is not available for TRON Lightcycle Run, at least for the time being.
It’s not 100% clear what Disney’s strategy is going forward with the Virtual Queue. Most of the attractions that first started using it when they opened, later switched to a standby queue.
That was the case with Rise of the Resistance and Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure, though Disney has left the door open by saying they have “paused” and “suspended” the Virtual Queue on those attractions.
The only big attraction since 2019 to open at Disney World and not use the Virtual Queue was Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway, but there was no need there since it has a much higher hourly capacity.
At the time of this writing, Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind is the only other attraction at Disney World using the Virtual Queue, but we are waiting to see if it will continue that way once TRON opens, or if it will switch over to a standby queue. (READ: Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Run Virtual Queue Guide)
In any case, Disney wants to use the Virtual Queue on TRON Lightcycle Run, at least for a few months. They will monitor the situation and then make longer-term decisions once they see what kind of impact this new ride has on the Magic Kingdom.
What we can be sure of is that getting a boarding pass for TRON Lightcycle Run will be hard, especially in the first few months. Expect the Virtual Queue to sell out within seconds of it going online each day.
That’s why it’s very important that you read all our tips and tricks in this article, so you can have the right strategy when you go, giving you the best odds of actually riding.
How Does the Virtual Queue Work for TRON Lightcycle Run?
It may seem difficult to understand, but the concept around boarding groups is really quite simple. The Virtual Queue allows guests to reserve a spot in line for an attraction, without actually having to wait in line physically for that ride. This gives you more freedom to do other things during that time.
Each morning there is a distribution time (or multiple times) when guests log into the My Disney Experience app competing for a boarding pass, which allows them to be in the virtual queue. Throughout the day, the various boarding groups are called in a numbered order, and each guest is notified when it’s their turn to ride.
It’s important to remember that only guests with a valid theme park ticket and park pass reservations to the Magic Kingdom on the same day will be able to make boarding group reservations for TRON. Don’t forget to link your theme park tickets to your My Disney Experience account otherwise you will not be able to get a park pass reservation.
- REMEMBER: When the Virtual Queue is running, it’s the only free way you can ride TRON Lightcycle Run. If you don’t get into the Virtual Queue, the only other option is paying to ride using the Individual Lightning Lanes which is part of the new Disney Genie system.
What are Boarding Groups?
To use the virtual queue, guests are assigned boarding groups. This is how your place in the virtual queue is held. Boarding groups are typically numbered anywhere from 1-200, or sometimes more. Guests are assigned boarding groups in numerical order and are then called when it’s their turn to ride the attraction.
Through the My Disney Experience app or on digital display boards in the park, guests can see in real-time which boarding groups are currently being called, and the estimated time of return for their boarding group.
What Time Do Boarding Groups Open?
We don’t know the exact times until Disney announces those details, but right now we can assume it will use the same hours as Cosmic Rewind.
There are three daily boarding pass distribution times for TRON Lightcycle Run:
- 7:00 am
- 1:00 pm
- 6:00 pm (Extended Evening Theme Park Hours Only)
With two boarding group distribution times, it means guests have 2 opportunities to get into the virtual queue each day and ride the TRON coaster. Even if you aren’t able to get a boarding pass in the morning, you still have another chance later in the day.
As an additional bonus, when Extended Evening Theme Park Hours are running in the Magic Kingdom, guests staying at a Deluxe Walt Disney World Resort hotel or Deluxe Villa have a third chance to get into the virtual queue for TRON!
7:00 am Distribution Time – Reservations for boarding passes in the morning can be made from anywhere outside the theme park, including your Disney World Resort hotel or your home.
1:00 pm Distribution Time – Boarding pass reservations during the second distribution time must be made from INSIDE the Magic Kingdom.
6:00 pm Distribution Time – This third time is only available to guests staying in a Deluxe Disney World Resort hotel or Deluxe Villa and only on select days when the Magic Kingdom is running Extended Evening Hours. Reservations for boarding passes can be made from outside the park so you don’t have to be there at 6:00 pm.
Since Disney hasn’t made the official announcement yet, it’s possible that Disney changes the boarding pass distribution time slots for the TRON roller coaster, but for now, we are anticipating the above-listed times to be the ones in place when it opens.
Getting a Boarding Pass Step-by-Step
Now that you know what boarding passes are, we are going to explain to you step-by-step how to get into the Virtual Queue for Tron Lightcycle Run:
STEP 1: How to Prepare Ahead of Time
The very first thing you need to do before using the Virtual Queue is to download the My Disney Experience app on your mobile device. If you don’t have the MDE app, you won’t be able to get into a boarding group. Not too worry, it’s simple to do and it works on both iPhones and Android devices.
After you install the app, create a personal account and link your Disney theme park tickets to your account. Repeat this step for all members of your family or group and make sure everyone is connected together in the Family & Friends list. If you are not connected, you won’t be able to ride together.
Once that is done, you need to make park pass reservations for everyone in your group for the Magic Kingdom on the day you plan on visiting.
- TIP: BEFORE you buy your park tickets, check the Theme Park Reservation Availability for the Magic Kingdom on the date of your visit. Otherwise, if there are no park reservations available for the Magic Kingdom for those dates, you will be stuck with the park tickets and have to use them to go to a different theme park and you won’t get to ride the TRON coaster.
STEP 2: Pre-Selecting Your Party
The trick to getting into a boarding group is to be among the fastest guests that day when making reservations. Every second counts, so one thing that will greatly increase your odds is by pre-selecting your party before trying to get a boarding pass.
This is painless to do and it should happen automatically if everyone in your party is linked up correctly in the My Disney Experience app. The system knows who among your Family & Friends list also has a park pass reservation for that same day and should put you in the same party for the TRON coaster.
To be on the safe side, check right before the Virtual Queue opens. If for some reason you check and see that not everyone is pre-selected into the same party before the distribution window opens, you will have to do it manually. That’s why taking care of this before boarding pass distribution starts is key.
Trust us, the difference between riding TRON and sitting on the sidelines that day is only a matter of seconds during the distribution process, so don’t waste those valuable seconds!
Pre-selecting your party can be done as early as 6:00 am on the morning of your booking, though you don’t need to wake up that early. Just checking it 5-10 minutes before 7:00 am is enough time.
STEP 3: Making Reservations
- Before the distribution window opens, make sure you are in a location where you have a good Wi-Fi signal or cellular data signal on your phone. The fastest guests win, so you don’t want to have a weak signal. Test your connection first by loading some pages on your internet browser and making sure it works.
- At 6:50 am, open up My Disney Experience. This will give you at least 10 minutes before the distribution window opens to get ready (open it at 12:50 pm if going for the 1:00 pm window, or 5:50 pm for the 6:00 pm window).
- Make sure your account is properly logged into My Disney Experience as it sometimes logs you out automatically. This happens to me almost every time and it’s a real pain. You don’t want to lose those valuable seconds doing this at 7:00 am as it can mean all the difference.
- Go to the Virtual Queue page in the app and tap on the button “Join Virtual Queue.” At 5 seconds before 7:00 am, start tapping the “REFRESH” button on the page as quickly as you can. Keep doing this until you see the “JOIN” button and press it immediately!
- Your party should already be pre-selected so on the next page just click “JOIN” once again and you are in! If you are successful, you will then be given a boarding group number which lets you know your approximate return time.
- When your number is called, proceed to the entrance of TRON Lightcycle Run to ride.
If a Distribution Time Has Filled Try Again in the Afternoon
What happens if you try to get into the Virtual Queue during the morning distribution at 7:00 am but there are no more boarding passes available? Like it or not, this is a very real scenario as the reserved boarding passes for the morning slot usually sell out in seconds since everyone knows this is the only free way to ride.
However, even if you can’t get a boarding pass at 7:00 am, not all hope is lost. All guests have at least two chances each day to get a boarding group. If you fail at 7:00 am, just try again during the afternoon distribution window at 1:00 pm. Most of the time, it’s easier in the afternoon so your chances are usually pretty good.
The one big negative with waiting until the afternoon to get your boarding group is that there are fewer passes to give out by that time. At times, the attraction can go down for extended periods, which means all the guests with boarding groups from the morning get pushed back later in the day, therefore limiting how many Disney gives out in the afternoon.
Getting a boarding pass in the afternoon distribution also means you will be called in the evening, possibly close to the park closing. If you don’t plan on staying at the Magic Kingdom all day, that can be a problem, or it can also mean you may end up missing the fireworks show Happily Ever After, or worse, your dinner reservations.
That’s why we always get up early and try for the morning distribution at 7:00 am.
- REMEMBER: You need to be inside Magic Kingdom park to get a boarding group during the 1:00 pm distribution. You can’t be at your resort or in another theme park.
If the Virtual Queue is sold out for either distribution time, a message will show on the “Join Virtual Queue” screen saying that the distribution time is complete. This happens first at the 7:00 am window, then again at 1:00 pm, or 6:00 pm.
On a normal day without Extended Evening Hours, once distribution for the 1:00 pm window is complete, capacity for the attraction that day is finished and you will need to try another day.
How Do I Know When My Boarding Group is Ready?
Getting a boarding group for TRON is hard enough, you sure don’t want to miss it when it’s actually your turn to ride! How do you know when it’s your turn?
There are two ways to check if your boarding group is ready for TRON Lightcycle Run:
- First, you can check your My Disney Experience app under the section “Virtual Queues.” There it will show you any queues you are currently in and how much time is left until you are called.
- The status of the virtual queue is also available by looking at the information boards located throughout Magic Kingdom.
Checking the virtual queue allows you to see which groups are currently boarding and what your “Estimated Return” time is. Keep an eye on this because your estimated return time updates constantly and counts down the minutes until your group is called.
The nice thing about knowing the estimated time remaining is it gives you a chance to do some of the other Magic Kingdom attractions while you are waiting, or even grab something to eat at one of your favorite restaurants.
You can also enable “Push Notifications” in the My Disney Experience mobile app so you don’t have to be checking your phone every 5 minutes for an update. The push notifications will automatically send you a message on your phone’s screen when your boarding group has been called.
Even though push notifications are great, we still don’t trust them 100% of the time, and we recommend going into the app every 30 minutes or so just to check and see if there are any updates or if you’ve been called to ride.
You don’t want to take the chance that you accidentally dismiss the notification from your screen without seeing it, only to find out that it was your turn to ride a few hours ago and now you’ve missed your window. This would be extremely bad and it means not riding at all.
Once your boarding group is ready there will be a message in the “My Queues” section of the app: “It’s Time, Head to TRON Lightcycle Run by: (insert time).” Once you see this message it’s time to ride.
When you show up at the entrance of TRON, a Cast Member will scan your MagicBand or your mobile device and allow you to enter the ride.
How Many Times Can I Ride Per Day?
Guests are limited to one ride per day on TRON Lightcycle Run using the Virtual Queue during regular park hours. Unfortunately, that means you can’t ride it all day or even multiple times. This allows as many people as possible an opportunity to ride in a day.
However, despite what Disney would tell you, there are a couple of ways to ride it more than once on the same day. For example, it’s possible to get into the Virtual Queue and also buy an Individual Lightning Lane to ride TRON a second time.
Even fewer people know that it’s also possible to ride 3 times on the same day if you buy an Individual Lightning Lane and get into the Virtual Queue during regular park hours, and another time during Extended Evening Hours.
Once it eventually moves over to a standby queue, you will have the chance to get back in line and ride as many times as you like, just like all other attractions.
Joining the Virtual Queue is a long and complicated process, so no doubt you have many more questions you need answers to. Here are some of the most common FAQs and our answers and tips for them:
What Time Do I Need to Arrive at the Park?
The time you need to arrive at Disney’s Magic Kingdom to ride TRON Lightcycle Run depends on if you were able to get a boarding group during the morning distribution window or not, and what boarding group number you were assigned (if any).
If you get a boarding pass during the first distribution window at 7:00 am, you can arrive at the Magic Kingdom whenever you want during the day, as long as you are there before your boarding group is called.
If you weren’t able to get into the Virtual Queue at 7:00 am, and you will be trying again in the afternoon, then you need to be inside the Magic Kingdom before the second distribution time starts at 1:00 pm.
That means you need to actually be inside the park and tapped into the turnstiles at the entrance. If you are not inside before 1:00 pm and instead are in the parking lot, on the monorail, or on a bus outside the park entrance you may miss your opportunity for a boarding group.
Does Everyone Have to Be in the Park to Join a Boarding Group?
Whether or not your entire party must be in the park to join a boarding group depends on which distribution time you are trying to get a boarding group for.
If you are trying during the morning window at 7:00 am, you are not required to be in the Magic Kingdom (the park doesn’t open that early anyway) and you can make your reservation from anywhere. This includes your hotel room, your home, or anywhere else you are. (The same is true for the 6:00 pm window).
If you are trying to get into the virtual queue at 1:00 pm, however, all members of your group must be present inside the Magic Kingdom or it won’t work.
Do All Guests Need to Have the My Disney Experience Mobile App?
No, it’s not necessary for everyone in your party to have the My Disney Experience mobile app installed on their phone. It will be a lot easier if everyone has My Disney Experience with their own account, but it’s not 100% necessary to ride the TRON coaster.
If anyone in your party does not have My Disney Experience installed, make sure their tickets are linked to the account of the person making the boarding group reservations. If each person is not linked together in the Family & Friends list, you won’t be able to ride together.
Should I Use the Disney Wi-Fi or Cellular Data When Getting a Boarding Pass?
Believe it or not, this is one of the most important decisions to make since every second counts when getting into a boarding group. You need the fastest internet possible so which one should you connect to: the Wi-Fi located in the park/hotel, or your cellular network?
We’ve tested this dozens of times, and most of the time we prefer using our own cellular data network to get a boarding group rather than relying on Disney’s Wi-Fi network. Sometimes either in your hotel room or at the theme parks, Disney’s Wi-Fi is just not reliable. There are big blind spots at times depending on where you are.
Having a reliable internet connection is the very last thing you should be worried about when trying to get into the Virtual Queue. Try to find a place where your phone has good reception, and stick with that.
If you want to use the Wi-Fi at the Magic Kingdom, make sure to walk around the park and find a place where the connection is strong. Browse some pages on the internet and use some of your other apps just to make sure there are no issues.
Can I Be in the Virtual Queue for TRON Lightcycle Run and Another Attraction at the Same Time?
Right now, we don’t have an exact answer to this question. Until Disney gives us more information we are not sure if there will even be two attractions using the virtual queue at the same time, or just TRON.
As of this writing, Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind is the only attraction currently using the virtual queue. TRON Lightcycle Run has not opened to the public yet, so technically, it’s not using the virtual queue until April 4, 2023.
What we don’t know is if Disney will continue using the virtual queue for Cosmic Rewind at the same time as TRON, or if once TRON opens up they will move Cosmic Rewind back to a standby queue. Either scenario is possible at the moment.
What we can do is look at what Disney did in the past. There were some months when Walt Disney World had multiple virtual queue attractions running simultaneously, and during those times, guests were not allowed to be in multiple virtual queues at the same time.
After April 4, if both attractions are using the virtual queue and the rules stay the same as they were in the past, you are going to have to decide which one is more important to ride that day.
When Should I Return to the Queue to Ride?
Once your boarding group is called for TRON Lightcycle Run, you can head to the attraction entrance to get in the queue. From the moment your boarding group is called, you have 1 hour to return to the ride before your spot in the virtual queue expires.
For example, if your group is called at 11:40 am, you have until 12:40 pm to show up and get in the line entrance.
Even if you don’t show up exactly after one hour, don’t worry. Guests are given a grace period of about 15 minutes more so if you are running late for some reason you can still ride.
Just make sure you continue to check the boarding group status frequently during the day so you don’t miss when your boarding group is called. Keep watching the estimated time until your group is called and do some of the other attractions or entertainment while you wait.
Even though you have an hour to return once your boarding group is called, we recommend going there right away. At times there are delays with Disney World attractions and if TRON unexpectedly shuts down, you may lose your chance to ride that day.
Can I Leave Magic Kingdom and Go Back?
All guests with a boarding group to ride TRON Lightcycle Run are allowed to leave the Magic Kingdom and return at a later time in the day. Just keep in mind that you must be back in time when your boarding group is called if you want to ride. If you miss your window, you are out of luck.
To avoid missing your window, keep checking the progress of the boarding groups currently being called on the My Disney Experience app throughout the day. And depending on where you are, you may need a good amount of time to get to the park in time.
That’s one benefit of staying at the Disney Monorail Resorts, they are a 10-15 minute ride away, or even just a short walk. In fact, any of the Magic Kingdom Resorts will do if you will be coming and going to the park more than once during the day.
What if the Ride is Down When My Group is Called?
We hope this doesn’t happen to you on your vacation, but there is always the real possibility that an attraction like the TRON coaster has to temporarily shut down for the day, and even remain closed that whole day.
If that happens and TRON goes down after your boarding group has already been called, don’t worry, you won’t lose your chance to ride. Guests who were called but didn’t get to ride because of the closure are given a pass that lets them return at any time during the day to ride.
If you are given this pass, you can return to the ride at any time throughout the rest of the day once it reopens. You will know it’s open by checking My Disney Experience and you’ll see if new boarding groups are being called.
Just in case, we recommend taking a screenshot of your boarding group number immediately upon making your reservation. That way in case there is an issue, you have proof that you had a boarding pass at that time.
Also, Disney will not always notify you when the ride is back up and running so keep checking the status in My Disney Experience.
What Time Do Boarding Passes Run Out?
Of course, TRON Lightcycle Run hasn’t officially opened yet, so we can’t tell you the exact number of minutes or seconds until boarding passes run out each day. However, by looking at past attractions that have used the Virtual Queue, we can get a pretty good idea of how it will be here as well.
During the 7:00 am distribution time, for all attractions, the virtual queue typically fills up in 5-10 seconds max. Due to the results we’ve seen with Cosmic Rewind, we are expecting this to be the same once it opens.
Historically, during the 1:00 pm distribution time, boarding passes last a little longer and at times you can even get them 30 minutes or more after opening. I’m not sure that will be the case with TRON Lightcycle Run, but we’ll keep an eye on it.
We are expecting TRON to be just as popular as Cosmic Rewind, if not more. It probably won’t reach the popularity level of Rise of the Resistance, but either way, boarding passes for any time frame are going to sell out extremely fast. That’s why it’s so important to take the other tips so seriously. Even 1 second could mean riding it or not riding it that day.
The hourly ride capacity for TRON Lightcycle Run will also play a huge part. Cosmic Rewind didn’t have an issue here, and since the ride system for TRON is not too complicated as it’s essentially just a roller coaster, we don’t see this being a big problem here either. If it is efficient and can get guests in and out quickly, Disney will be able to open up more Virtual Queue inventory.
The reliability will also play a factor because if it breaks down like Rise of the Resistance, a lot fewer boarding passes will be given out each day, which ultimately means that fewer guests will be able to ride. We’ll have to wait and see once it opens.
TRON Lightcycle Run During Extended Evening Hours
Guests staying at a Disney Deluxe Resort, Disney Deluxe Villa Resort, or other select Walt Disney World Resort hotels will have an additional opportunity to ride TRON Lightcycle Run that other guests do not.
On days when Extended Evening Hours are running in Disney’s Magic Kingdom, there is an additional Virtual Queue distribution time at 6:00 pm. Guests do not need to be in the Magic Kingdom to make reservations but they do need valid theme park admission and a park pass reservation for the Magic Kingdom that day.
They may also have a park pass reservation for another park that they entered earlier in the same day if they park hop over to the Magic Kingdom.
Extended Evening Hours usually take place for 2 hours after the regular park hours which are from 9:00 pm to 11:00 pm or 10:00 pm to 12:00 am at the Magic Kingdom.
This is a great bonus if you are staying in one of the Deluxe Resorts, but we don’t recommend this being your primary way of riding the TRON coaster. Even though there is a 6:00 pm distribution window, the best strategy is always to try getting into a boarding group during the first distribution at 7:00 am, and then again in the afternoon.
If for some reason you can’t get either of them, you now have a 3rd option, again, as long as you are staying at one of the Deluxe Resorts or Deluxe Villas.
Is It Possible to Join the Virtual Queue During Regular Hours and Extended Evening Hours?
Yes, it is. If you are able to get a boarding pass during regular park hours, it is possible to get into the Virtual Queue again during Extended Evening Hours.
That means you can ride twice for free on the same day, and technically, you also could purchase an Individual Lightning Lane and ride TRON for a total of 3 times on the same day.
Boarding Groups Strategy & Tips
There is no doubt that planning a trip to Walt Disney World is already an extremely stressful experience, and the last thing you want to have to deal with is figuring out how to get into a Virtual Queue just to ride an attraction.
On many occasions, we’ve seen people cheering for joy in the parks when they are able to get a boarding group, or crying if they missed out on one (and not only little children).
But while just getting into any boarding group is a victory, the real goal is to get one with a low number. The thinking behind this is that the lower number that your boarding group is, the earlier in the day you will be able to ride.
For example, getting group 30 instead of 200 could be the difference between doing the ride at 11:00 am or having to wait until later in the evening when you might have dinner reservations.
Then there is also the issue of a maintenance issue shutting down the ride for the day. It may shut down at 4:00 pm and not come back up for the rest of the day which means you don’t get to ride if you had a late reservation.
To avoid that, here are our best tips to keep in mind:
Check Your Phone Settings
The first thing you need to do is make sure the settings are correct on your phone and that it is displaying the time correctly. Disney’s clocks are synchronized with the site time.gov so make sure your clock is set correctly.
Second, test the speed of your phone ahead of time. This is important and could make the difference between riding or not. A score of around 50-60 Mbps should be fast enough.
Before it’s time to make your reservations, close out any other apps on your phone and make sure the My Disney Experience Mobile App is the only one running. Other apps can slow down your phone significantly and you don’t need that when making boarding pass reservations.
Get Familiar with the Virtual Queue
Before going against the thousands of other guests dying to ride the TRON coaster, you need to get familiar with the Virtual Queue.
The best way to do that is to be familiar with the My Disney Experience app and the Virtual Queue page ahead of time. Open it up and look around from your home or in your resort in the days leading up to you getting boarding group reservations.
Sure, you won’t actually be able to join a boarding group unless you have a park pass reservation for that day, but that’s ok. Practicing ahead of time will get you familiar with the app and how the whole process works, which will be invaluable to your success in scoring the lowest boarding group possible.
Have Multiple People Getting Boarding Groups
Even though perhaps you did all the planning for your trip alone, and made all the other reservations, you will want some help to get into the Virtual Queue. That means having multiple people trying to book boarding groups at the same time.
This is one of the best tips I can give you. Don’t think that having just one person trying to get the boarding groups is enough. Instead, make sure everyone is connected in MDE ahead of time and have multiple people on their phones all trying at the same time.
Having multiple people all trying at once will greatly increase your odds of getting into the Virtual Queue.
When the distribution window for the Virtual Queue opens each day, you are simultaneously competing against thousands of other guests for a limited number of spots in the queue. Just as an example, if there are 10,000 spots each day and there are 20,000 people trying to get one, you basically have a 50/50 chance.
However, if you have 3 or 4 people in your group all trying at once, it’s going to make it much more likely you get a boarding group. Your phone can freeze up or there could just be a glitch in the system and if you are the only one trying, by the time you get it fixed it will be too late.
We recommend that everyone capable of using a cell phone is in there trying.
There is no downside to doing this. The first one to get in gets the boarding passes for everyone in the group, and by the time the others arrive at the page, it will just tell you that it was a success and that you are already in a boarding group. Everyone else will also get a message confirming they are in a boarding group.
I’ve actually seen other Disney “experts” telling guests to go against this strategy, but from our experience, it’s been a lifesaver.
Just make sure everyone has the My Disney Experience app downloaded and set up correctly the day before attempting to get a boarding group.
Your Timing is Crucial
If I haven’t drummed this into your head enough so far, I’ll do it again, every second is crucial when trying to get into the Virtual Queue. Just delaying or hesitating for a second could mean the difference between riding TRON or not that day.
And the most important parts are when you open the My Disney Experience app and when you refresh the page to make a reservation.
For best results, open the app at least 5 minutes before the distribution window opens. This will help you to get used to the page and know where to click before the big moment. Look at the page and get everything lined up and ready to go so you aren’t fumbling at the last second.
Also, having a newer phone is going to make a huge difference as the pages will load faster. Whoever has the latest model of whatever phone they use will have an advantage over people with slower phones.
Refresh Your Page Often
A big mistake many guests make is waiting too long to refresh the Virtual Queue page once the distribution window opens, or not refreshing it at all.
For best results, we recommend refreshing the Virtual Queue reservations page about 5 seconds from the start of the distribution time. So if the window opens at 7:00 am, start refreshing at 6:59 and 55 seconds. This gives you the best chance of getting in.
There are two ways to do this:
- Continuously tap the “Refresh” button at the bottom of the page until the “JOIN” button appears. Then continue making the reservation.
- Swipe down on the page to refresh. Do this every second until the “JOIN” button appears and then proceed to make your reservation.
Both of these ways work, but we find the first option of tapping the “Refresh” button is quicker and gives you the best chance. Again, start this a few seconds before the window opens up and click it repeatedly until it shows up.
Speed is the key here so don’t hesitate or you might not get a boarding group. It’s a lot harder to get a boarding pass during the 7:00 am distribution time, and you may have more luck during the afternoon spot where competition is much less.
Don’t Forget to Set Your Alarm
Even if you have all of the steps down that we’ve outlined for you in this guide, and you’ve practiced and practiced, it won’t mean anything if you oversleep and don’t wake up in time to actually make your reservations.
Remember, the morning distribution time starts at 7:00 am, and boarding groups sell out in seconds each day so being online BEFORE 7:00 am is essential.
We recommend setting your alarm to go off at least 10 minutes before that at 6:50 am. This will give you a few minutes to wake up, open your phone, and get ready to score a boarding pass.
If you are a deep sleeper like me, then you may want to set 2 alarms, one right after the other. That way if you accidentally hit the Snooze button, the second alarm will wake you up.
Even if you are not going for a morning reservation and just trying during the second distribution window at 1:00 pm, set your alarm on your phone for 5-10 minutes before that. With everything that goes on in the theme parks, it’s easy to get distracted by something and you don’t want to forget your booking window.
If You Make a Mistake
Some mistakes are worse than others, but unless you do something really, really bad, most of them can be fixed. The most common issue is leaving someone out of your boarding party by accident only to remember after the fact.
Whatever you do, Do NOT delete your boarding group and try to create a new one! If you do this you will lose your reservation and will likely not get it back, ruining your chance to ride.
If you have a mistake to fix, go to a Disney Cast Member, and either they will help you fix the issue, or they will direct you to someone who can.
Even if things are complicated and unresolvable, always treat the Cast Members with the utmost respect. They want to help you resolve the problem as much as you do, and you can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.
If You Can’t Get a Boarding Group Use Lightning Lane
Even though you may have done every single thing right, the reality is, there are only so many spots available in the Virtual Queue each day, and not all guests will get to ride on a given day. That’s the sad fact about using this type of queue.
But don’t worry, even if you are not able to get a boarding pass for TRON Lightcycle Run, there is still another way to ride it, it just won’t be a free one.
You may have already heard of Disney’s new FastPass system called Genie+ & Individual Lightning Lanes. These allow you to pay to ride a specific attraction without having to wait in line for it.
Of those, Individual Lightning Lane attractions can be purchased once per day. When TRON Lightcycle Run opens, it will become an Individual Lightning Lane attraction when it opens which gives you another option if you can’t get into the Virtual Queue.
Disney hasn’t announced the price to buy the Individual Lightning Lane for TRON Lightcycle Run yet, but we can look at other attractions to get an idea of what to expect. For example, Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind costs between $14 and $17 per person.
It would be reasonable to expect a similar price for TRON. Our best guess is that it will be $15 on the low end and $20 on the high end. Remember, the Individual Lightning Lane uses surge-based pricing so if you go on a busier day, the price will be higher.
That’s expensive, but not quite as much as Rise of the Resistance which can be as high as $25 per person.
Of course, when we can help it, we do not like paying extra to ride an attraction, and we don’t normally recommend it to readers such as yourself either. Disney is already expensive, why pay even more if you don’t have to.
However, if you are only going to be in Disney World for a few days, and maybe even only one day at the Magic Kingdom, it could be worth it if you aren’t able to get into the Virtual Queue. It’s either that or miss it entirely, and most people don’t have the luxury of living nearby or the means to go every year.
In that case, we think it’s worth the extra cost, at least to try it once.
However, even the Individual Lightning Lane is not a slam dunk 100% of the time. It also has a limited number of reservations each day and they tend to sell out quickly, so don’t hesitate in deciding whether to get it or not.
If riding the TRON roller coaster is a high priority to you and your family, my suggestion is to try getting into the Virtual Queue first, which is the free option.
If that doesn’t work, take one for the team and just pay for a Lightning Lane pass. But do this right away before they fill up too!
Read our post How to Purchase Individual Lightning Lane Rides for step-by-step instructions and tips.
Is It Possible to Get a Boarding Pass and Individual Lightning Lane on the Same Day?
Yes, technically it is possible to ride TRON with the Virtual Queue and Individual Lightning Lane on the same day, but it is difficult to do, at least it will be for the first few months of operation.
There is nothing that Disney does to stop guests from booking a reservation in the virtual queue and from purchasing an Individual Lightning Lane on the same day. Both of these open to guests at 7:00 am (Individual Lightning Lane is only for WDW Resort hotel guests at 7:00 am), and both sell out extremely quickly each day.
If you want to ride twice on the same day, you will need to book both of them which can be tricky given the time factor. You should have two people online ready to make reservations before 7:00 am on the day you are visiting. This will give you the best chance at both of them.
If you are the only person making reservations, you will have to choose which one you want more. The Virtual Queue is the free option, but most people will try that one first for that very reason. You may try here first only to be shut out.
Skipping the Virtual Queue and going directly for an Individual Lightning Lane selection will give you the best odds of riding TRON, but that means paying for it. It’s a tough choice to make, but we’ll see how quickly things sell out each day once it opens.
Park Hopping and the Virtual Queue
Park hopping at Disney World lets you visit multiple parks in one day and is one of the best ways to see as many things as possible in a short period of time. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work well with TRON Lightcycle Run, at least until it starts using a standby queue.
The problem is that if you don’t get a boarding group during the first distribution time at 7:00 am, you need to try a second time at 1:00 pm. If you are already in the Magic Kingdom this is no problem. However, if you start your day at another park, it makes things impossible.
The reason why that doesn’t work is because park hopping in Disney World doesn’t start until 2:00 pm each day. Remember, to make a reservation during the second Virtual Queue booking window, you need to already be in the Magic Kingdom before 1:00 pm, but you can’t do that if you spent the morning at another park such as Disney’s Hollywood Studios.
You won’t be able to get into the park until 2:00 pm, and you will miss the second booking window for TRON. That means you have to start your day in the Magic Kingdom if you want to get a boarding group.
Technically, there could still be availability left at 2:00 pm, but with TRON Lightcycle Run projected to be one of the best rides at Walt Disney World, or at the very least one of the best roller coasters, we don’t see that being very likely unless Disney changes the park hopping rules.
Virtual Queue with DAS
When TRON Lightcycle Run uses the Virtual Queue, how does that affect guests who use the Disability Access System (DAS)?
In reality, there is not that much difference when guests use the DAS system to ride attractions that use the Virtual Queue. However, there are still some things to keep in mind.
- Guests using DAS still must use the virtual queue to get a boarding pass for TRON Lightcycle Run. Guests cannot skip the virtual queue just because they have a DAS pass.
There is also no change in the way guests who use DAS book TRON through the Virtual Queue. The same rules apply to all guests. For example, you can join the virtual queue at 7:00 am or 1:00 pm, just like everyone else.
Make sure you and your entire party are connected in My Disney Experience otherwise you can’t ride together. When your boarding group is called, everyone in your party should proceed to the entrance of the attraction. Instead of getting into the normal queue, proceed to the Lightning Lane entrance, and explain to the Cast Member that you are using DAS and they will help you.
The person who qualifies for DAS needs to first scan their MagicBand, card, or phone, and then the rest of the members in the party will follow.
We are still waiting for the accessibility details for TRON Lightcycle Run, but the attraction should be fully accessible and available to guests driving an ECV, scooter, or in a wheelchair. You should be able to take these devices with you into the queue without having to walk the whole way. Once you get to the entrance, a cast member will explain everything.
The only negative part about using DAS and the Lightning Lane is that you will miss some of the regular queue, which often holds some of the coolest details. However, if you want to use DAS, this is the tradeoff for speed.
How Long Will Disney Use Virtual Queue for TRON Lightcycle Run?
So right now, it looks like TRON Lightcycle Run will use the Virtual Queue system when it opens on April 4, 2023. But what everyone wants to know is: “How long will it continue using it?”
Unfortunately, right now, there is no way of knowing for sure. However, if we look at other rides Disney has used the Virtual Queue with, we may have an idea.
The most recent example is Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind. It started using the Virtual Queue when it opened on May 27, 2022. As of this writing, it is still using it and it doesn’t have a standby queue.
That of course could change at any time, and we have a hunch Disney will in fact switch it to a standby queue around the same time TRON opens. If that is the case, it would mean that Cosmic Rewind used the Virtual Queue for at least 11 months.
If we look back a little further Disney used the Virtual Queue system on Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance, for even longer. In fact, it lasted almost 2 years. Eventually, it switched over to a standby queue but at times it felt like it would use boarding groups forever.
After that, they decided to use the virtual queue for Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure. This was the shortest of the three attractions, and it was only around for a couple of months.
That’s why it’s so hard to say what will happen with TRON Lightcycle Run. Since it will definitely be the most popular ride at the Magic Kingdom for at least a few years, Disney may decide to use it there for a year or more.
It will probably end up mimicking whatever Disney decides to do with Cosmic Rewind. The ride systems are similar, as well as the projected popularity. We don’t see it having to shut down multiple times a day like Rise of the Resistance, and it hasn’t had any big maintenance issues that we’ve heard of which is a good sign.
My guess is that when TRON Lightcycle Run opens, Disney will stop using the Virtual Queue on Cosmic Rewind so that only one of these new attractions uses it at the same time. TRON will then keep using the Virtual Queue for somewhere in the range of 6-12 months. But that’s only a guess.
Ultimately, we’ll have to wait and see what Disney decides to do. We’ll keep you updated with any changes to the system and let you know when TRON Lightcycle Run starts using the standby queue.
That ends our look at how to ride the TRON Lightcycle Run roller coaster with the virtual queue. We hope this guide will be helpful in getting a boarding pass on your next visit to the Magic Kingdom, and let us know of your experiences with the Virtual Queue.
Here are some other guides to the Virtual Queue that might be useful:
- Disney’s Virtual Queue System | The Ultimate Guide
- Virtual Queue for Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance
- Virtual Queue for Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure
For more information on planning your vacation to Walt Disney World here are some of our most useful posts:
- Disney World Crowd Calendar
- When Is the Best Time to Visit Disney World?
- New Attractions Coming to Walt Disney World in the Next 3 Years
I want to know what you think about using the virtual queue for TRON Lightcycle Run in the Magic Kingdom…
- Do you like using boarding groups?
- What changes would you make to the virtual queue for this ride?
Let us know in the comments section below!
If you enjoyed this article, as always I appreciate it if you’d share it with others via social media. I work hard at making this website into a useful resource for you and your family to plan your visit to the Disney Parks and I hope it can help you! Thanks 🙂