Tron Lightcycle Run was a long anticipated addition to Tomorrowland in the Magic Kingdom. With the pandemic delaying construction this project was 5+ years in the making, but it finally opened to guests in April 2023 and I got my first chance to ride it on our recent vacation. Here's my full review!
Virtual Queue vs. Individual Lightning Lane
Whenever Disney opens a new attraction, they tend to offer a virtual queue system for the first several months (or even up to a year+). In those initial months no standby line is offered, so guests who want to ride can either try to get a spot in the virtual queue or they can purchase an Individual Lightning Lane pass. Here are the pros and cons of each option in my opinion:
Pros of Virtual Queue
It's Free! Anyone with valid admission and a park pass reservation for Magic Kingdom can try for the virtual queue without paying extra. No one can argue with the appeal of that!
You can do other attractions while you wait for your boarding group to be called. This is my favorite feature of virtual queue as I would much rather be able to experience more of the park than spend hours of my day standing in line for a single attraction.
Cons of Virtual Queue
It books up quickly. Guests who want to try for a spot should open their My Disney Experience app prior to 7am and click on the prompts leading to the virtual queue booking platform. Here you can pre-select your party and, as soon as 7am hits, refresh your screen and book as quickly as possible. Even if you follow those steps perfectly, you still may not get a virtual queue because thousands of people are competing with you and spots are limited. I have seen virtual queues book up by 7:01am so you really have to move quickly to have a chance. If you miss the 7am virtual queue you will get a chance to try again at 1pm, but you have to be physically in Magic Kingdom to try for the 1pm booking.
You will still be waiting a while. Virtual queue doesn't equal zipping right through the line in this case. Although it does help manage crowd levels somewhat, you will still be waiting upwards of 45 minutes to an hour (or more on busy days) to make your way through the queue. But, that's still far preferable to the old days of standing in line 3+ hours for a new attraction.
Pros of Individual Lightning Lane
You will get through the line much more quickly. Guests who purchase Individual Lightning Lane passes get to go through the Lightning Lane instead of the standard queue, so their wait time will be a fraction of that of those in the virtual queue.
You still get to see the coolest theming elements. Just because you're waiting in an express line, that doesn't mean you miss out on this ride's unique theming!
Con of Individual Lightning Lane
Really the only con to the Individual Lightning Lane pass is that you have to pay extra for it. Pricing varies by date and demand, but on the date of our visit the pass was about $20 per person plus tax. That can add up quickly and may be cost prohibitive for larger families.
Tron is themed after the Tron movies, and the queue reflects the futuristic, tech-focused vibe of those films. Riders are "digitized" and enter the world of Tron to compete as members of Team Blue against Team Orange. My favorite part of the queue is the moment the "digitization" occurs and the seemingly solid wall disappears to reveal the ride vehicles and loading area. It's really impressive!
Due to the nature of the ride vehicles, guests are required to store all items larger than a cell phone in a locker. The lockers are complimentary and they are roomy: much larger than the complimentary lockers at Universal Orlando. You are asked to keep it to one locker per party if possible so keep that in mind when bringing bags on the ride. I rode with my son and we were able to easily store both our hats, both our sunglasses, my phone, and my Kavu rope bag in the locker. We also found that the lockers are keyed to whoever scans their Magicband or ticket when you initially choose one. I scanned my Magicband at boarding and when we went to pick up our belongings after riding my son tried to open the locker with his Magicband and it wouldn't open for him. So be sure not to send just one person back to collect things from the locker unless they are the person the locker is keyed to.
The ride vehicles for Tron are cycle style, so you will straddle the vehicle, lean forward, and pull the handlebars towards you to engage the back and leg restraint which holds you in place. I will be 100% honest in saying that I was very nervous about how comfortable I would be on this ride. I am very claustrophobic and the idea of laying on my chest and having something pressed against my back and legs made me concerned that I would feel trapped. However, I'm happy to report that wasn't the case at all and I was perfectly comfortable when riding. I felt secure but I had a comfortable range of motion. If you're apprehensive about the comfort of the ride vehicles, there is a test seat you can try out prior to boarding as well. I saw many guests of all ages giving it a try before stepping up to redeem their virtual queue or Lightning Lane pass. It also makes a great photo op!
I'd put the thrill level of Tron under Rock'n'Roller Coaster because there are no inversions. I would put it above Big Thunder Mountain, Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, and Slinky Dog Dash due to speed. It's similar in thrill level to Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind, Space Mountain, and Expedition Everest because, like those rides, much of it takes places in the dark and it has large sweeps and turns. However it doesn't go backwards like Guardians and Everest and it is much smoother than Space Mountain. There are also no large drops. It reminded me of Hagrid's Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure at Universal Orlando minus the backwards portion, the free fall, and the theming elements. It is also a much shorter ride than Hagrid's and most of the other coasters at Disney World.
Does It Live Up to the Hype?
For me, yes and no. The theming was very cool and the ride was a lot of fun. It's very fast, particularly at the beginning, and I love the sweeps and turns. Also I really like the outdoor portion (which in my opinion would be coolest at night). However it is very short and it left me wanting more. I think whether you wait in the virtual queue or you purchase the Individual Lightning Lane, you could end up feeling a little shortchanged by Tron just because it's over so quickly. This is one area in which Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind continues to shine because that ride is long enough to feel worth the time you spend waiting or the money you pay for an Individual Lightning Lane pass. So, at the end of the day, is Tron my favorite coaster at Disney World? No: that prize still goes to Guardians. But is it a ride that I will probably ride at least once every trip? Absolutely!
Interested in planning a trip to experience Tron? I can help you plan it for free! Reach out here.