Virtual Queues and Everything Else You Need to Know About the Ride Process at Universal

This week, Universal Orlando reopens to the general public on June 5th.

Wizarding World of Harry Potter

Ahead of their official reopening, however, they have two days of a “soft reopening” available for Passholders and hotel guests! Today, we’re bringing you a closer look at the health and safety precautions in place for the ride process, and giving you a closer look at what exactly it looks like to ride an attraction at Universal Orlando right now.

Virtual Line Experience

For the reopening, Universal Orlando is implementing virtual queues (a.k.a. the Virtual Line) for select attractions.

Virtual Line App

These work through the Universal Orlando app, where guests can choose the  number of guests in their party (up to 10), the ride they’d like to go on, and select a window of time to come back to the attraction.

Virtual Queue

At this time, the following attractions are able to offer a virtual line (this is subject to change based on availably):

  • Race Through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon
  • Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts
  • Despicable Me Minion Mayhem
  • Revenge of the Mummy
  • Skull Island: Reign of Kong
  • Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure
  • Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey

Once you get your time, you’ll have a QR code available that a team member can scan when you go back to get in line.

Virtual Queue

Note that you can only book for the day-of, and you’ll need to be on property to grab your first pass. The Universal app states that once once your window of time is up for your first Virtual Line Pass, you can book another.

The app has been experiencing technical difficulties from time to time, but when it’s working properly, we were able to book two virtual line passes for two attractions as long as their return times did not overlap.

Virtual Queue

However, unlike how Disney World links everyone in your party together on the app, each member of our party had a separate app and ticket. So since we were traveling in a party of two, each of us was able to make two virtual line reservations for separate attractions.

Waiting in Line

When you go back for your allotted time, certain rides will require you to store your belongings in lockers before a team member scans your QR code.

Locker Rental Station

Team members were directing one member of each party to specific locker bays and guests can open and close the lockers with the swipe of a park ticket or room key barcode. But don’t forget to take your room key or park ticket with you on the ride so you can get your stuff after!

Locker Rental Station

The entrance to Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts started to back up a bit and there were no distancing markers taped to the ground between the locker area and entrance. However, guests seemed to naturally keep their distance from other parties.

Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts

Once we got to the entrance, a team member double-checked the time on our QR code, but did not scan it. (We were later told the tablet was having issues.)

After entering attractions, you’ll notice that the queues have taped markings for you to stand on. This is done to make sure that each guests maintains spatial distancing while waiting.

Queue Markers

Although we’ve seen a standard six foot distance enforced in several other areas, the distancing markers appeared to be spaced much further than six feet apart.

Queue Markers

This extra distance made sure we were also at least six feet away from the parties on the other side of the switchbacks — to our right and left.

Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts

Additional experiences like the “security processing photos” are still open as well.

Gringotts Security Processing
Gringotts Security Processing Photo Cards

However, pre-show experiences where it would be especially difficult to physically distance — like the vault elevator in Gringotts — are not available at this time.

3-D Glasses are still part of ride experiences, but team members hand the glasses out, as opposed to letting guests pick them up on their own.

Gringotts Cart Goggles
Gringotts Cart Goggles
Gringotts Cart Goggles

We waited about 30 minutes in line from the entrance of Escape from Gringotts to when we actually boarded the ride vehicle.


When it comes time to get on the ride vehicle, team members are currently seating you with your party, but keeping spaces in between each party to maintain physical distancing between others.

Escape from Gringotts

Before getting on the ride vehicle, you’re required to use hand sanitizer, provided to you by team members.

Hand-Sanitizing Before Attractions

It’s also important to note that you must wear your face mask on the ride.

And we were surprised that our masks didn’t give us any trouble as we were riding. They moved right along with us and didn’t take away from our ride experience!

Other Experiences

The Hogwarts Express

The Hogwarts Express between Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure is also up and running, but  it was not using a virtual queue system.

Hogwarts Express

Because the Hogwarts Express is transportation between the two parks (as well as a ride), you must present a multi-park ticket before boarding. A team member scanned our ticket and we did not have to use the finger scanner.

Hogwarts Express EntranceParties were being spaced out at least six feet apart in line.

Hogwarts Express

And to maintain physical distance, each group is being seated in their own cabin.

Hogwarts Express

Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure

Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure was using a virtual line and locker system similar to Escape from Gringotts.

Virtual Queue

We noticed team members sanitizing lockers between each guest.

Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure Lockers

You can even keep hydrated in line as the water fountains were functioning normally!

Water Fountain in Line for Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure

From checkin in during our scheduled Virtual Line time to the ride vehicles was about a 30 minute wait. This can fluctuate a little as the check in ended up forming a bit of a line itself. But overall, the time went by quickly and even included the time it took to store our belongings in lockers.

Ride vehicles of Hagrid’s Motorbike Adventure are already spaced a bit apart, so guests were seated with members of their party without full empty rows between groups.

Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure

After passengers exited, team members quickly wiped down the ride vehicles for the next group of guests.

Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure

We noticed that although guests are required to use hand sanitizer before boarding, we haven’t come across hand sanitizer stations immediately after exiting.

(Update: there was a hand sanitizer at the exit of Fast and the Furious: Supercharged.)

The Incredible Hulk Coaster

The Incredible Hulk Coaster is open and launching [masked] guests through the air on this high speed coaster.

The Hulk is one of the two attractions (along with Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit) where guests are not permitted to bring their phones through the line or on the ride — so we stored out belongings in the lockers and were on our way.

Islands of Adventure

Team members at the Hulk were sanitizing between boardings and seating guests one party per row (which meant no single rider line). So if you’re a party of one, you get the whole row to yourself!

We were seated in the front row (putting our masks to the test). Despite a little jostling around, our masks stayed in place and we didn’t have any frantic moments trying to keep it from flying off. And to maintain the FULL experience, the misting machines were still running like normal.

Jurassic River Adventure

Interestingly enough, water rides are also open at Universal Studios for guests.

Jurassic River Adventure

This posed an interesting question for us: soooo do you have to keep your mask on?

We were seated with an empty row in front of us, but there was a single rider in the seat behind us. The seats didn’t appear to be wiped down between parties. Once we were seated, the team members told us we were permitted to remove our masks if we wanted.

Jurassic River Adventure

“Great, no wet mask,” we thought! Well it turns out we have been so used to keeping our masks on our faces that we didn’t keep a tight enough grip once they were off.

Jurassic River Adventure

We emerged from Jurassic River Adventure maskless, but we tucked and hurried to the nearest shop to pick up a new one. Team members stopped us on our way (thanks for patrolling!), but we quickly purchased a new mask and we’re back in business!

You can read more about that time we lost our mask in a theme park here!

Men In Black: Alien Attack

The Men In Black: Alien Attack is an interactive ride (similar to Disney World’s Buzz Lightyear Space Ranger Spin, but a little more intense). Guests are required to put their belongings in lockers and the standby line was spaced with floor markings.

Men in Black: Alien Attack

Due to social distancing concerns, guests are directed to bypass the preshow. Once we were preparing to board, we were surprised to see that the laser guns and seats were not being wiped down between guests.

A team member clarified that high touch surfaces are required to be sanitized at least once an hour.

Men in Black: Alien Attack

However, we were given hand sanitizer right before boarding, which has been standard for each of the rides we’ve gone on today.

Fast & Furious Supercharged

Thankfully, Universal managed to host the preshow to Fast & Furious Supercharged from an appropriate distance using markers on the ground.

Fast & Furious Supercharged

The buses were loaded with guests in every other row and a team member shared they are able to fit about 48 guests to a bus. Crowds were pretty light while we were in line, so there were only seven guests on our bus.

Fast and Furious Supercharged

The team members gave us hand sanitizer before we boarded and then we were off to meet Vin Diesel!

Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit

Fast & Furious reminded us of our need for speed, so we headed over to Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit to blast off and jam out.

Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit

This is another one of Universal’s high speed coasters, so guests are required to store all belongings (even their phones) in the lockers.

Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit

When we visited, there was a posted wait time of 10 minutes and there was a distanced line formed at the entrance to the lockers.

Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit Locker Queue

There were distancing markers on the ground all the way up to the ride vehicles, where we were seated one party per row. This was the first ride where the wind really gave our masks a run for their money. At one point, we felt them slipping down our noses, but we still never felt like we were in danger of them flying away!

Skull Island: Reign of Kong

To finish out the day, we headed into spooky territory at Skull Island!

Skull Island: Reign of Kong

The line was spaced so that parties would be at least six feet apart in all directions.

Skull Island: Reign of Kong Queue

Team members loaded the ride vehicles with one party per row and left a row in between groups.

Skull Island: Reign of Kong Queue

We visited right before closing, so the line wasn’t crazy long, but ride vehicles took a while to arrive. The buses are usually able to accommodate 66 passengers at a time and shuttle guests through quickly.

Skull Island: Reign of Kong

However, the extra spacing meant that these large vehicles had very few guests aboard and made for a longer wait time.



What a DAY! It was our first time back in a theme park since March and there was a lot to take in. Since it was the first day of reopening, we noticed each ride handles things a little differently.

  • The list of attractions offering virtual lines was constantly changing.
  • Wait times were dependent on both crowd levels and how each ride’s vehicles need to be spaced.
  • Some rides were habitually wiped down while others weren’t. A team member told us later that all rides are supposed to be fully wiped down hourly, but some rides may be wiped down more frequently if they are more “high touch” (like Hagrid’s).

However, we did notice consistencies across all of the attractions we rode today!

  • Lines were marked with social distancing stickers on the ground (inside the attraction, at least) and your marker is located at least six feet from the party in front of you, behind you, and to your sides.
  • You are required to use hand sanitizer before boarding a ride vehicle. Afterwards, you’re (usually) on your own.
  • Masks are required on rides at all times with the exception of the in-ride portion of Jurassic River Adventure. We were told (but didn’t experience it yet!) that this would be the policy at the other water rides as well.

Please let us know if you have any questions about our experience at Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure today and we will be happy to help! We’ll be back on Friday for Universal Orlando’s grand reopening to the public!

Follow along LIVE as we take you through the Passholder Preview at Universal Studios!

Will you be visiting Universal Orlando? Let us know in the comments below!

Join the Newsletter to stay on top of ALL the breaking Disney News! You'll also get access to AllEars tips, reviews, trivia, and MORE! Click here to Subscribe!

Click below to subscribe


Trending Now

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

7 Replies to “Virtual Queues and Everything Else You Need to Know About the Ride Process at Universal”

  1. For Hagrid’s motorbike, do I need a Virtual line pass or can I just wait in the normal line? Is having a Virtual Line Pass required to ride Hagrids?

    1. Hi Letticia! The QR code is prior to the ride, and is only used to reserve your spot in the Virtual Queue. Once it’s your time to return, they will scan your code prior to having guests put their belongings into the lockers.

  2. Are they still allowing express pass on the rides with virtual lines? If we have an express pass, would it benefit at all to set up a virtual ride time?

    1. Hi Julie! Yes, they were still using Express Pass. If you have an Express Pass, it should work like normal, where you are able to get in the Express Pass line instead of using a virtual queue.