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Virtual Lines at Universal Orlando – complete insider’s guide

While the Virtual Line experience has not been in place at Islands of Adventure or Universal Studios Florida for some time, we have compiled all the details you need to know below should this program make its return to the dry parks.

Universal has offered Virtual Lines for a number of attractions since 2017, such as Race Through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon and Fast & Furious – Supercharged. In fact, at Volcano Bay, the TapuTapu system has worked to keep all lines virtual right from the water park’s very first day.

Let’s jump in!

Please know that Virtual Line is not currently available at Universal Studios Florida and Islands of Adventure.

Skip to: Virtual Line overview | Which attractions offered Virtual Lines? | Volcano Bay | FAQ

 What is Virtual Line?

Universal’s Virtual Line system allows guests to reserve a ride time for their traveling party. Reservations can’t be made in advance; rather, you must nab a return time and ride the same day. Each time an existing reservation window for an attraction passes, you can add a new ride time.

This system allows Universal to control the number of guests who are in the queues of the most popular attractions. The Virtual Line system benefits guests as it reduces the amount of time waiting in a physical queue and allows for more time to enjoy what the park has to offer. Similar to mobile ordering, the process is entirely done through the official Universal Orlando Resort mobile app.

Making a Virtual Line reservation

First things first: you’ll need to log in to your Universal Orlando account on the mobile app. Next, tap “Virtual Line” in the side navigation menu, followed by “Virtual Line Venues.” This will bring you to a list of attractions with Virtual Line reservations available. Select the attraction you’d like to ride and tap “Virtual Line Pass – Reserve.”

Next up, you’ll need to select how many people are in your travel party and choose your preferred return time. If there are multiple times available, the app will list a number of options so you can use the one that best works with your plan for the day. Once you’ve picked a time, simply tap “Reserve Virtual Line Pass.”

And it’s as easy as that! Once you’ve selected your time, your mobile app will show you a screen with your reservation details and a QR code. (We recommend you take a screenshot, although you’ll always be able to access this screen in the app later on if you need to!) Your next job is simple: have fun until your return time arrives.

Once it is time to ride, head to the attraction entrance with your QR code ready. A team member will scan it and grant you entry to the regular queue, which will generally be much shorter than usual.

OI pro tip: Are all of the Virtual Line slots gone for the day? Fear not! Keep trying to refresh the app all throughout your time in the parks; it’s been our experience that, on busy days, this is necessary in order to secure a spot.

Which attractions offer Virtual Line reservations?

Signs detailing the virtual line experience at Universal Orlando Resort
Signs detailing the Virtual Line experience at Universal Orlando Resort

In the height of the pandemic, up to nine rides in Universal Studios Florida and Islands of Adventure offered Virtual Lines, but this exact lineup has changed drastically – When most recently available, it was extremely unlikely for the Virtual Line system to be utilized for more than one or two attractions. Furthermore, some of these attractions exclusively used the Virtual Line system, while others combined it with regular lines.

It is worth noting that other Virtual Line systems have been used in the past. For a period of time, Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure’s Virtual Line access switched to an external website. The biggest change was that this required you to sign on through an external site, as opposed to using the Virtual Line options within the app. But after that, the process was still the same. Identify your party size and select a time slot (they call this a “reservation”). The app then provided a QR code for you to show a Team Member when it was time to ride.

Universal Studios Florida – attractions that previously offered Virtual Line Options

Islands of Adventure – attractions that previously offered Virtual Line Options

Virtual Lines at Volcano Bay

To maximize the time and allow guests to take advantage of all offerings at Volcano Bay, all attractions in Volcano Bay use a separate ride reservation system known as TapuTapu Ride. Upon entering this water theme park, each guest is handed a digital wristband called TapuTapu. In order to join the queue for attractions, place your TapuTapu against the totem outside of the attraction of your choosing. You will be able to view how much time is left in your virtual wait on the screen of your TapuTapu and it will vibrate when it is your turn to ride.

Virtual Line at Universal Studios Florida and Islands of Adventure – frequently asked questions

How much does a Virtual Line reservation cost?

There is no charge to make a reservation.

How many people can you include in a Virtual Line reservation?

Eight to 10 guests, depending on the attraction.

How many Virtual Line reservations can you make?

You can make two Virtual Line reservations for two attractions at the same time, as long as their return times do not overlap. You cannot have two reservations for the same attraction at the same time, but once your first return time passes, you can register a second.

In addition, if you’re traveling with a group, each of you can make Virtual Line reservations for your party at the same time. For example, if you and a friend are in the parks together, you can both make a reservation for the two of you – which is essentially like having two reservations at the same time.

What happens if Virtual Line reservations run out for the day?

For some rides, such as Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure, they’re so popular, they tend to run out of return times early on in the day. But, it’s been our experience – especially with this one sought-after attraction – that Universal tends to add on more slots throughout the day, based on how everything is progressing in the parks.

Can I make a Virtual Line reservation from outside the parks?

You must be on Universal property to use Virtual Line, but you don’t necessarily need to be in the parks. You can, for instance, make a virtual line reservation for Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey even if you’re in Universal Studios Florida or CityWalk.

Do I need a Virtual Line reservation if I have an Express Pass?

No, you don’t need to make a Virtual Line reservation if you have an Express Pass – but keep in mind that not all rides offer Express access. For example, Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure does not currently support Express, so Virtual Line can sometimes be the only way to ride. (Also, guests with Attraction Assistance Passes don’t need to make Virtual Line reservations.)

Will the Universal Orlando Resort app work with my phone?

That depends on the type of smartphone you have and how recently it was released. For Apple users, the app is compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch – so if you have one of those devices, you’re probably in good shape. However, it requires iOS 14.1 or later in order to run; this operating system is compatible with iPhone 6s and later, all iPad Air 2 and iPad Pro models, iPad 5th and later, iPad mini 4 and later, and iPod touch 7th generation models. For Android users, you’ll need a phone that can run Marshmallow (also known as Android 6.0) or any more recent operating system.

In general, if your phone was released in 2015 or later, you should be able to run the app – but this can vary depending on the type of Android you own.

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