Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance is no doubt one of the most ambitious and popular attractions that Disney Imagineering has ever created. Now the way guests ride is different as it has changed to a standby queue only.
That’s right, Rise of the Resistance at Disney’s Hollywood Studios is no longer using the virtual queue system and has instead moved over to a traditional standby line like the majority of the rides in the Disney World theme parks.
This is a huge difference from what guests were used to in the attraction’s almost first two years of existence. In fact, getting a boarding group for Rise of the Resistance had become one of the most stressful experiences in a Disney World vacation, with many finishing their trip without being able to ride.
In this post, we will cover everything all the changes to Rise of the Resistance since switching over to a standby queue. We’ll talk about how long the wait times are in a standby line if it’s better than the virtual queue, and how long it will stick around.
We’ll also cover some strategy and tips now including if it’s better to rope drop Rise of the Resistance or go later in the evening and how to skip the standby line altogether. We have our complete walkthrough with photos of what it’s like to rope drop it now so you know what to expect.
One thing to keep in mind is these new changes are not necessarily permanent and Disney can go back to using the virtual queue at any time. In any event, we will keep you updated with the most recent way to ride the most popular attraction in Disney World.
It’s also important to note that Rise of the Resistance at Disneyland Park will continue using the virtual queue for the time being, and this change only affects the Hollywood Studios version.
Before we get started, here are some of our other useful posts on Rise of the Resistance which will help you as you are planning your trip:
- Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance – Complete Guide
- Using the Virtual Queue with Rise of the Resistance
Also, 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 Rise of the Resistance, and share the latest vacation planning tips. You can sign up here: Join our E-Mail Newsletter!
Why Did This Ride Stop Using the Virtual Queue?
There are multiple factors for the switch, though we feel some are stronger than the rest. The first reaction could be that this was the plan all along. After all, when Disney first opened the virtual queue in December 2019, guests were under the impression that the boarding groups would be a temporary solution for Rise of the Resistance.
Up until that point all attractions have always had a standby queue but it made sense for Rise of the Resistance to utilize the virtual queue due to the extreme popularity of the ride. This way we would avoid lines potentially 5+ hours long and make it much more pleasant for guests to experience.
If you recall, in the first weeks, people were showing up to Hollywood Studios before 5:00 am to get those passes, something even Disney didn’t anticipate happening.
The system while practical in some ways was also very complicated and difficult for guests to use. The fact that boarding groups sold out within one minute of park opening and no standby option also meant that thousands of guests who had traveled from all over the world to ride Rise of the Resistance would leave the park each day without even having the opportunity.
Fast forward to today and it makes sense to stop using the virtual queue for this reason. Having a standby queue means that people who are absolutely determined to ride will have the opportunity. All it takes now is showing up early and you will eventually get on. Even if you have to wait for 3 hours or more, you can ride.
We’d like to think making things easier for the average guest is Disney’s main motivation for switching over to a standby queue, but we are not that naive.
This latest change to Rise of the Resistance also happens to take place exactly as Disney launched its new Disney Genie+ service which also happens to have a pay-per-ride feature using the Lightning Lane.
More individual Lightning Lane purchases will be made to skip the lines at Rise of the Resistance if guests see ridiculously long wait times posted each day. This will especially be the case during the holidays and the other busy times of the year at Walt Disney World.
Only Disney knows exactly how much each of these factors weighs into the decision to make the switch, but Rise of the Resistance has been one of the most popular Lightning Lane attractions early on, and it will certainly be a strong earner for the foreseeable future.
How Long is the Wait Now with Standby Line?
While wait times for Rise of the Resistance have been high, they haven’t been quite as bad as we originally thought, at least so far.
Since using the standby queue, the average wait times for Rise of the Resistance have been approximately 83 minutes at any given time during the day.
Considering the average wait time for all attractions in Hollywood Studios is only 36 minutes over the same span of time, Rise is easily the park’s most popular ride and the number one priority for guests.
Of course, wait times for the ride are going to fluctuate greatly depending on many factors. What day you visit during the week, what time of day you get in line, and if you are there during peak season or a slower period of the year all can drastically change the wait times.
Average daily wait times during this time frame have been as low as 43 minutes on some days, and as high as 142 minutes on other days. Maximum wait times so far have reached as high as 366 minutes, but that is a rarity and not the norm.
This is all the more reason to consult our Disney World Crowd Calendar so you can find the least-busy times of the year to visit and not have to deal with waiting so long.
We’re anxious to see how these wait times increase over the next few months as more and more guests start coming back to the parks. For the latest, you can check out thrill-data.com with a ton of graphs and charts explaining wait times.
Listed vs. Actual Times
It’s also important to mention that the actual wait times are not always accurate on Disney attractions, and that is especially true on Rise of the Resistance.
On one visit we got in line when the approximate wait time was 110 minutes, but it only took 84 minutes to get through the queue. Another time it was listed at 150 minutes but it only took 123 minutes. Yet another time we entered when it was a 50-minute wait, and it only took 26 minutes total.
This has been pretty consistent from all our visits and from talking with friends who visit often. There are many theories about why there is such a big difference in the listed wait times vs. the actual wait times, the most popular is that Disney wants to scare guests into buying an individual Lightning Lane selection.
While this could be one reason, we have noticed big inaccuracies for years with the listed wait times on many of the big attractions, so it doesn’t seem to be something new. It certainly will get more sales however if guests see a 2+ hour line.
The one time we often see the actual wait time being longer than the listed time is first thing in the morning. During the first 30 minutes of park opening, the queue is filling up so you will see the listed wait time going up very quickly. After about 30 minutes or so it settles into a more stable time.
Rope Dropping Rise of the Resistance
So what is it like now to rope drop Rise of the Resistance using the standby queue? We’ve been able to experience this new change to Rise of the Resistance first-hand on multiple occasions and it’s taking some time to get used to it and to pick the right strategy.
We are big fans of rope drop and it has proven over the years to be the most effective method of touring the parks if your objective is to get the most rides done as possible. It also is usually a good way to get the most popular ride in each park done while spending a minimal amount of time waiting in line.
These two things are usually part of park touring 101 and a no-brainer for Disney park vets. Naturally, many people are going to rope drop Rise of the Resistance since logically it would seem that this is the best way to ride it now with a standby queue.
Come with us as we rope drop Rise of the Resistance…
The first thing you should use to your advantage is the Early Theme Park Entry system. This is similar to the old Extra Magic Hours and it lets Walt Disney World Resort Hotel guests into the parks 30 minutes before the rest of the general public.
This can be a big help in getting some of the more popular attractions done before the crowds come in later in the morning. It may not seem like much, but those 30 minutes go a long way and save you a bunch of time.
When we rope dropped Rise of the Resistance, Hollywood Studios opened at 9:00 am that day to the general public, and at 8:30 am for guests using Early Theme Park Entry. We showed up at 8:35 am to find hundreds of guests already in the park and walking down Hollywood Blvd.
Follow the crowds down Hollywood Blvd and head left at the Chinese Theater.
At this point, there will be cast members directing you to Galaxy’s Edge one of two ways. Either through Echo Lake and past Star Tours, or if the crowds are lighter the quickest way to go is the cut-through past the ABC Commissary.
The day that we went the crowds weren’t too bad and took the shortcut and sprinted past the ABC Commissary.
By the time we got to Grand Avenue, we found the start of the standby queue for Rise of the Resistance. Again, where exactly the start of the line depends on how busy the parks are when you go and what time you arrive.
Almost every time we show up the start of the line is in a different spot. As long as you are heading toward Galaxy’s Edge and follow the crowd, you will find the entrance to the line.
Once near, look for the cast member holding a sign that says: “Rise of the Resistance: End of the Line.”
When we stepped into the queue it was 8:41 am. The line formed a zig-zag pattern and carried across Grand Avenue.
As the line headed toward Galaxy’s Edge, cast members keep the guests in a long queue.
This attraction obviously is the most popular in Hollywood Studios and there are cast members stationed about every 30ft or so.
Up to this point, the line moved pretty quickly and it only took about 5 minutes to get here.
Now comes the part that we didn’t expect. Since the line is so long, cast members direct guests into a backstage area of Hollywood Studios instead of going into the tunnel immediately.
The switchback here is two ways and as we are going into the backstage area, other guests are coming out.
Checking the My Disney Experience app, we could see that the wait time for Rise of the Resistance is already 160 minutes long, and we are only at 8:50 am!
Instead, if you wanted to ride Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run now would be a great time with only a 5-minute wait!
The line seemingly goes on forever with a row of bushes keeping guests on a narrow pathway backstage.
Eventually, the queue ends up in Pixar Place, the old entrance to Toy Story Mania.
Since the parks reopened in 2020, this area has been closed but it comes in handy now for the Rise of the Resistance queue in the morning.
The line takes up the entire length of the area and has guests go down one side and loop back through the other.
A quick look at our watch and it is now 9:03 am, which means we have been in line for 28 minutes up to this point.
A quick glance at My Disney Experience shows the wait time for Rise of the Resistance is now up to 180 minutes!
We now leave Pixar Place and head back through the same part of the backstage area we originally came from.
While we understand the need for queue space with an attraction as popular as Rise of the Resistance, we have to question the choice to bring guests backstage. For a company that prides itself on keeping the lands of a given park “in-theme” and keeping guests in the story, we have to admit walking through the ugly backstage areas is not ideal.
After the long walk, the line ends up back on Grand Avenue.
The queue turns through the tunnel and finally heads into Galaxy’s Edge. By this time it’s 9:10 am.
The queue continues after the tunnel in a long double file with cast members again directing guests.
The line goes past the A-Wing parked on the right, and down just past the X-Wing.
At the point just up ahead is where it eventually turns back toward the entrance of the ride.
Even though it is a very long walk up to this point, the line is moving relatively quick, and there aren’t many spots when we are at a solid standstill.
A quick glance ahead and we can see the turret at the entrance of Rise of the Resistance!
That means we are almost there!
In front of the entrance of the attraction, there is an additional section that is roped off with taped lines to direct the crowds.
We aren’t sure why this isn’t being used today since the line is incredibly long in our opinion. It’s a simple switchback that goes back and forth a few times.
Ideally, it would be better to use all available space in Galaxy’s Edge to keep people out of backstage areas.
It’s now 9:11 am and we are now at the official entrance to the attraction.
As we get closer, we can see the new “Stand-By” sign, covering over what used to read: “Virtual.”
Right now it’s just a metal panel covering over the old sign that was actually built into the actual structure. That leaves going back to the virtual queue still possible in a future time.
We now enter the official attraction queue and make our way through the various switchbacks.
There was a small delay as the ride stopped working for a few minutes. We’ve come to expect this and you should account for it when trying to figure out how long it will take. By the time we started moving again, it was 9:36 am and almost an hour had passed since first getting in line.
This is much better than in the backstage areas. Here everything is in-theme with Star Wars and makes you feel like you are now starting to enter into the story of the attraction.
But just when it looked like we were going inside, the queue branches back out onto the main walkway and into the tunnel.
They then bring you back outside Galaxy’s Edge and onto the other side of Grand Avenue.
Guests are routed into the Muppets 3D area and into the queue for that attraction.
Once we finished in the Muppets 3D queue, it’s back through the tunnel once again.
We are now back in Galaxy’s Edge and into the main queue for Rise of the Resistance.
It was 9:54 am when we entered the inside part of the queue.
This has to be one of our absolute favorite attraction queues in any Disney park. The details here of the Resistance base are incredible!
Make sure to take some time to look through all of the uniforms and other equipment used in the fight against the First Order.
We made it to the last room before entering the pre-show area where you get your mission briefing.
By the time we reach the door to enter the pre-show, it was 10:08 am. That means from the time we first stepped in line to the pre-show it was a total of 1 hour and 27 minutes! And that’s doing it at rope drop before the majority of guests enter the park.
BB-8 and Rey were as entertaining as usual and they directed us to our shuttle transport for the mission.
You likely know the rest of the story, and if you don’t, I won’t ruin it for you as you need to experience it for yourself!
Luckily, we didn’t have any more slowdowns and everything was working on the ride, which is not always the case. And with that our experience in the standby queue was complete.
Standby vs. Virtual Queue
So now that we’ve experienced the latest way to ride Rise of the Resistance, which is better, the standby queue or the virtual queue.
Neither of them is perfect and both have their advantages and disadvantages. Let’s take a look at a comparison of both:
We have had more experience using the virtual queue since that is what Rise of the Resistance used for almost its first 2 years from opening.
Positives – It’s convenient not having to wait potentially hours in line for an attraction. This frees up more time to go on other rides, get something to eat, or go shopping. This is a big advantage as most guests hate standing around just waiting.
You can also show up at the park later when using the virtual queue because with a reservation it’s not necessary to show up for rope drop (even though we still recommend it).
Negatives – It definitely has more of a learning curve than a standby queue. You have to have at least someone in your party who is tech-savvy to figure out how to make the reservations on the app.
Even if you know how to make reservations though, it doesn’t mean you are going to get one. Sometimes others are just quicker than you and not getting a boarding pass can lead to big disappointment.
As we go over in our Guide to the Disney Virtual Queue, having to wake up early to get a boarding group is a negative, but with the standby queue you also have to get up early to get to Hollywood Studios in time for rope drop (unless you try the night strategy), so it’s kind of a wash.
Positives – It’s much easier to figure out rather than the virtual queue. If you can get in a line, you will have no issues here.
It also means that as long as you are willing to wait and go early enough in the day, you are guaranteed to ride (as long as there are no technical difficulties with the attraction).
Negatives – You might have to wait a long, long time. In the slowest times of the year, you should expect a 60-90 minute wait for most of the day. In the busier times expect 2-3 hours. All that means is a lot of time spent in line.
So which one do we prefer? Honestly, it’s really close, but at this point, we would rather have the standby queue. Even though no one likes waiting, guests won’t go home saying they couldn’t ride Rise of the Resistance because they weren’t fast enough in using their mobile device. This way, everyone has the same opportunity as the next person.
Going at the End of the Night
If you don’t like waking up early and rope-dropping Rise of the Resistance, not to worry, you can also go later in the day and wait potentially even less time in line. Going at the very end of the night can be the most advantageous.
In fact, if you look at the average wait times by hour, you will see a pattern of the highest times occurring from park opening until about 1-2 pm each day.
From then on, it slowly decreases until the park closing when wait times are at their lowest.
The difference can be huge, with wait times often halved by the end of the day from their midday high. For example, we recently visited Hollywood Studios and at 12:00 pm the wait time for Rise of the Resistance was 130 minutes and it hovered there for the next 3 hours.
We monitored wait times on the My Disney Experience app, and then waited all the way until the end of the day before getting in line. With 15 minutes to park closing, the wait time had been reduced to only 40 minutes!
That’s not the best part, however. From the time we got in line to the end, it only took 23 minutes and it was essentially a walk-on! We’ve tested this multiple times, and while we didn’t always have results that good, it was always a significantly lower wait time than earlier in the day.
The most dramatic difference is on a weekday, which already has lower wait times than normal. The effects are likely lessened on a holiday when crowds remain in the park until late.
So this leads us to our next question…
What is the Best Time of Day to Visit Rise of the Resistance?
While the most popular time to ride Rise of the Resistance is in the morning into early afternoon, we are actually going to advise you NOT to do that. We think rope dropping the Disney parks are absolutely crucial to getting the most done each day, but right now we don’t think it’s a good idea to rope drop Rise of the Resistance.
After testing it multiple times, the best time of the day to visit Rise of the Resistance is late in the evening, right before the park closes.
As we just explained, the lowest wait times each day are at the end of the evening, so if you are planning to be at Hollywood Studios all day, we suggest making it your last ride of the day. This will likely cut your overall wait time in half compared with doing it at rope drop.
Instead, we recommend concentrating on some of the other attractions at rope drop while everyone is concentrated on Rise of the Resistance. Slinky Dog Dash, Tower of Terror, and Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster are all good alternatives to do instead.
Now if you are only planning to stay in the park for half of the day, rope dropping Rise of the Resistance comes back into play. Just make sure you are staying at a Disney World Resort hotel and taking advantage of the Early Theme Park Entry, otherwise, you can add on at least another 30-45 minutes to your wait time.
How to Skip the Standby Line
If you don’t want to wait in the standby line for Rise of the Resistance, there is another option. You can make an Individual Lightning Lane purchase for the ride and skip the standby line altogether.
A Lightning Lane purchase for Rise of the Resistance costs between $15 and $25 per person (this price can change depending on the day or time of year).
While we don’t normally advocate paying additional money to ride attractions that are otherwise free and included in your park ticket, if there is any attraction where it’s worth it, it’s here.
This makes sense if you are on a time crunch and are trying to do most of the park in only half a day. Skipping the line of the most popular attraction in the park is going to save serious time and let you get 2-3 other rides done in that same timeframe.
Using the Lightning Lane is also going to be very helpful if you are visiting during a holiday when crowds are at their peak. At that point, it might be worth paying $15 or more a person if you save 3+ hours of your day not waiting in line.
Each family is going to have to ultimately decide if it’s worth it, but of all the attractions in Walt Disney World, it certainly makes the most sense here.
(Read our Guide to Individual Lightning Lanes for more details and tips on how it works.)
How Long Will Rise of the Resistance Use the Standby Queue?
At this point in time, anything is possible and there is really no way of knowing for sure how long Disney will use a standby queue for Rise of the Resistance.
Officially, here is Disney’s press release when they switched to the standby queue:
“We know our guests love choice and flexibility when planning their time in a theme park—which is why, starting Sept. 23, we will pause the use of virtual queue for Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance and guests at Disney’s Hollywood Studios may experience this incredible attraction using a traditional standby queue for the first time since it opened in 2019.
Virtual queues continue to be helpful with attraction access, merchandise launches, grand openings, and more, and guests should continue to check the My Disney Experience app for the latest on how we’re using virtual queues across Walt Disney World Resort including its potential use at Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance at a later date, or from time to time.”
If you noticed, they used the phrase: “we will pause the use of the virtual queue…” Using the word pause obviously leaves the door open to the virtual queue returning sometime in the future. However, we don’t think that is going to be anytime soon.
So far the standby queue is working well, and though there are long wait times, it’s probably not quite as bad as originally thought. The real test will be the holiday season when crowds are at their peak. How the lines run could be an indication to whether it was a good idea to switch or not.
Another reason we don’t see Rise of the Resistance going back to the virtual queue in the near future is it’s good for selling individual Lightning Lane purchases for the attraction. If people see a 3-hour long line like they might during the holidays, they are more likely to want to pay to skip the line.
They probably have calculated it will be more people than would otherwise purchase the Lightning Lane and by keeping the virtual queue around. The Disney Genie has changed the way we ride the attractions, but in this case, it could be an advantage to making Rise of the Resistance a bigger earner.
If Disney does decide to go back to the virtual queue, we will let you know as soon as it happens!
That brings to a conclusion our look at riding Rise of the Resistance in a standby queue. We hope this guide will help you to ride this amazing attraction, it’s worth it no matter what you need to do!
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 standby queue for Rise of the Resistance…
- Which do you like better, the standby line or virtual queue?
- What has been your experience now with these changes?
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 🙂