That virtual queue for Galaxy’s Edge is finally being put to good use as Disney has been using boarding groups for the new attraction Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance since opening day. In fact, if you don’t get a boarding group, you won’t even be allowed to ride!
(UPDATED 2/10/20): The Boarding Groups system for Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance has been one of the most frustrating and confusing experiences for many visitors to Galaxy’s Edge, and only the thought of having to wake up early in the morning to battle with thousands of other people for a ride, is too much for Disney World veterans, let alone first-time visitors.
In this post, we are going to explain how to use the boarding groups for Rise of the Resistance, answer all your questions, and give you the best strategy to get into the Virtual Queue to make sure you experience this amazing new ride!
Consider this your Rise of the Resistance Boarding Groups 101 class, and by the time you finish reading it, you will know everything you need to so that you can have as seamless of a visit to this amazing new ride as possible. We’ll also continue to update this post as much as possible so you have the most up-to-date information on boarding groups for Rise of the Resistance.
Trust us, Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance lives up to the hype, and it will be totally worth the extra hassle it takes right now to get to experience it!
Make sure you also check out our 1-Day Hollywood Studios Itineraries and Touring Plans (we have 2-Day ones too) which will give you all the information you need to plan your entire day.
Latest News: Boarding Group Return Time Windows Changed
It looks like the return time window for Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance has changed and guests now have less time to get into the queue once their group has been called in Disney’s Hollywood Studios.
In the past guests had 2 hours to return and get in the queue for Rise of the Resistance once they were informed that it was time for their boarding group to start loading. That time has now been reduced in some cases and guests are either getting boarding passes with a 1-hour return time or 2-hour return time. It seems like this is being chosen for guests at random as Disney is probably testing a few things.
Disney hasn’t yet made an official statement on it and we aren’t sure if it is going to stay at 1 hour for all guests or if they will go back to 2 hours. Either way this is a big change and you now have less time to get back to Rise of the Resistance in time.
Our advice is to make sure to keep checking the My Disney Experience app to see when it’s your group’s turn to start getting into line. You definitely don’t want to rely on the push notifications as your only way of finding out, so keep checking manually.
We think this might end up being a problem with more guests running into conflicts between their boarding group return time and other previously made dining reservations of FastPasses. It will be interesting to see how Disney handles those.
It’s unknown at this time if this return window time change is only for Rise of the Resistance in Hollywood Studios or if it’s also changing in the Disneyland version of the ride. We’ll keep you updated with the latest.
What are the Virtual Queue and Boarding Groups?
Disney created the Virtual Queue to give guests the opportunity to enter boarding groups without having to wait hours in line for their desired attraction. This means you can save a spot in line, go do something else, then come back when your turn is ready.
Disney started implementing the virtual queue in Disneyland and then later in Hollywood Studios for the openings of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge. It was used a little bit, but there was never the tremendous demand for Star Wars Land as originally thought and so it was phased out after a few days of operation.
That, however, has changed since the recent opening of Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance. Crowds for this new ride have been so large, that Disney immediately started using the boarding groups starting on opening day in Hollywood Studios, and it’s been necessary ever since.
You can’t ride Rise of the Resistance at this time without a boarding pass, so it’s crucial you understand how the system works before going.
The Disneyland version of Rise of the Resistance is also using boarding passes, and while the strategy is slightly different there, the basic rules still apply in both parks. Read our guide to Disneyland’s version of Rise of the Resistance for more specific info on the crowds and boarding groups there.
Make sure to stay updated here for the latest strategies and what differences there are for Boarding Groups between the two parks.
How Do Boarding Groups Work for Rise of the Resistance?
In order to join a boarding group and the virtual queue, you first need to be inside the Disney park. You can’t join from home, or even outside the park entrance.
All guests in your group have to have already passed through the park front entrance before they can get into the Virtual Queue.
Here are the steps you need to enter a boarding group for Rise of the Resistance:
- As soon as you enter Disney’s Hollywood Studios, open My Disney Experience and go to: “Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance – Access by Boarding Group.” (This is available after the official park opening time, so if you try it before it won’t work).
- Click on “Find Out More.” You will then see the boarding status of Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance and if boarding groups are still available.
- If boarding groups are available, tap the “Join Boarding Group” button.
- You will then be given a boarding group number. When your number is called, proceed to the entrance of Rise of the Resistance.
- Make sure to download the My Disney Experience app BEFORE going to Hollywood Studios. Technical issues can happen with electronic devices, so make sure your account works and you are already logged in before heading to the park. This will save you valuable time once you are there.
How Do I Know When My Boarding Group is Ready?
You can check if it is your boarding group’s turn by looking at the same “Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance – Access by Boarding Group” screen in My Disney Experience. When you see your number, head to the queue to board the ride.
- You have 1 hour or 2 hours (depending on what you are assigned) to return from when your boarding group gets called.
Unfortunately, the boarding passes don’t tell you the exact time you have to come back. They only give you your number is listed like 62. We suggest you to continue monitoring your status throughout the day to get a feel for how fast the boarding groups are moving. That way you’ll be ready when your turn is called.
This return time window used to always be 2 hours, but Disney has recently changed it to 1 hour in some cases so it means you’ll have to pay extra close attention now to when you need to return.
If you enable “Push Notifications” for My Disney Experience, you will get a message across your mobile phone screen which will tell you right when your boarding group is ready.
We recommend still checking it manually from time to time just in case your push notifications aren’t working for some reason. You definitely don’t want to miss your turn!
Does Everyone Have to Be in the Park to Join a Boarding Group?
Yes. All members of your party must be inside Hollywood Studios in order for you to add them to the virtual queue for Rise of the Resistance. That means they must go through the turnstiles scanning their MagicBand and fingerprints.
Unfortunately, this means you won’t be able to send one member of your party early to get a boarding pass for everyone else, you all need to be there.
Do All Guests Have to Have the My Disney Experience App?
Not only do all the members of your party have to be present in the park, each one has to be registered in the My Disney Experience system, and linked to the account of whoever is making the reservations, BEFORE reserving a boarding pass.
Even if your friends and family are in the park with you, you won’t be able to make a reservation for them until their accounts are linked to yours.
All adults with a smartphone should have their own My Disney Experience account which will then be easy to link to your own. Others who don’t have their own account, such as children, should be added to your account as guests. Again, do all this BEFORE even going to Hollywood Studios so you aren’t panicking once you are there.
Once you are in the system and making your reservations in the Virtual Queue, just link whoever you want to include from the list of your family and friends, and you are good to go.
My App Isn’t Working. What Do I Do Now?
The worst-case scenario happens and My Disney Experience (or Disneyland app) isn’t working right when you are trying to reserve your boarding pass for Rise of the Resistance. What should you do?
Luckily, there are plenty of Disney Cast Members who are part of the Guest Experience Team that can be found throughout Hollywood Blvd, who can help you to fix your issue and get a boarding pass. The Guests Experience Team can be spotted by their blue shirts and are more than willing to help you solve your problem.
Backup Boarding Groups
Disney has also recently introduced a “Backup Boarding Groups” system. Regular boarding groups will start filling up as normal every morning, immediately upon park opening. However, there are now additional “Backup Boarding Groups” that additional guests can be put into, giving them the opportunity to ride.
If Rise of the Resistance is running efficiently during that day and all the guests in the regular groups ride before the end of park hours in Hollywood Studios, Disney is then queuing up guests from the backup groups. This means that those guests then have the possibility to get to ride Rise of the Resistance.
Again, those riders only get called if the original boarding groups move through the attraction and there is still time left that day.
It seems that Disney is counting boarding groups from 1-110 (approximately) as “Regular Boarding Groups” and if you get one of those numbers you are guaranteed to ride. The “Backup Boarding Groups” include groups 111 and up, and those are not guaranteed to ride that day.
(We’ve recently noticed the number of assigned “Regular Boarding Groups” to be much lower than before. Now it seems those are more in the 70-80 range, and anything above that is considered “Backup Boarding Groups.” We’ll keep an eye on this.)
Or course if you do get called from the backup group to go on Rise of the Resistance, that time would be in the evening. However, distribution of these Backup Groups however still happens early in the morning, so it doesn’t change much, as it’s not guaranteed these backup groups will be available every day.
Our strategy you will read below still stands. If you want to be sure to ride Rise of the Resistance, you need to get there earlier than the listed park opening that day.
However, you won’t need to arrive many hours before opening like in the beginning.
How to Get a Low Boarding Group Number
Mere seconds are what separate you from getting a low boarding group number or a high number, or worst of all, not getting a boarding group at all. Here is what we’ve found to be the best way to secure a boarding group to begin with, and to get a low number if everything goes right.
This might mean the difference between riding Rise of the Resistance in the morning and having the rest of your day free to do whatever you want or having to stay in the park until the afternoon just because you are waiting for your turn to be called.
Have Multiple People Getting Boarding Groups
This is the first part, and the most important. If you are with a group of people, even as small as two, you DO NOT want to only have one person attempting to get a boarding pass with My Disney Experience while the others are standing there, hoping for a miracle.
Get everyone in your group who is capable of using a smartphone on the My Disney Experience app, trying to get a boarding pass for Rise of the Resistance.
The reason for this is it’s far too easy for someone to make a mistake or have the My Disney Experience app freeze upon you. If that happens, you can forget about a low number boarding group, and possibly forget about ANY boarding group at all.
Don’t leave it all up to one person, especially if this is your only day on your vacation you have to visit Hollywood Studios.
The first person to secure boarding passes for the group will get the confirmation. At that point, anyone else who attempts after the passes are secured will just get a message saying they are already in a group. No harm done and no downside for you.
If you do just this, you will greatly increase your odds of getting passes and a low number at that.
Your Timing is Crucial
Once you have everyone on board to get a boarding group, the timing in which you open the My Disney Experience app will be critical to whether or not you can get a low number boarding group.
We recommend opening the My Disney Experience app 5-10 seconds before the official park opening time. This is approximately how long it takes to load the app up to the home screen, depending of course how fast your phone is.
- Once the page loads hit the “Find Out More” button, bringing you to the next page.
- There if the “Join Boarding Group” button is RED, then click it and join a boarding group.
- If it’s not red, then quickly hit the “My Status” button, which from there you should be able to click “Join Boarding Group.”
- If it’s still not red, then refresh the page by swiping the screen downward and try again.
- Repeat until it works.
Run some tests at home first to see how many seconds it takes. Even though you won’t actually be able to join a boarding group from home, it will get you familiar with the app and how the whole process works, which will be invaluable to your success in scoring a low boarding group.
You don’t want to leave this to chance.
How Many Times Can I Ride Rise of the Resistance?
Disney also changed the rules after the first couple of days and now guests are limited to one ride per day on Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance. Before this change guests who arrived early were able to ride multiple times, and many other guests were locked out, finding all boarding groups filled for the day.
Now if you try to get a second boarding pass, a notification will show up on My Disney Experience telling you you’ve already been on the ride that day and you will have to try another day if you want to ride again.
This might change in the future, but for now, you can only ride once.
What Time Do Boarding Groups Open?
In the beginning, guests were able to join a Rise of the Resistance boarding group as soon as they entered the park. The virtual queue doesn’t work from outside, but only when you pass through the tap points of the park entrance can you join a boarding group.
However, this has since changed this, and Disney is now opening the virtual queue at the park’s listed opening time, even if they open the gates to let guests in earlier than that.
Disney is currently allowing guests to enter the park about 30 minutes before the official park opening time.
Right now through February Disney is opening Hollywood Studios at 8:00 am. However, they have been really letting guests into the park as soon as 7:30 am.
Guests are NOT given access to the Rise of the Resistance boarding groups immediately upon park entry. Instead, boarding groups are now made available to ALL GUESTS at the same time, at the exact listed park opening time for that day.
For example, if it’s an 8:00 am opening, then the boarding groups open at 8:00 am, not earlier.
They will be able to enter the park earlier than the listed time, probably around 7:30 am, but will have to wait to enter the virtual queue and get a boarding group until exactly 8:00 am.
If it’s a 7:00 am opening, boarding groups open at 7:00 am, and following the same rules as above.
One thing to keep in mind is that it takes roughly 2 minutes from the time a guest walks through the tap point into the park to when they are activated into Disney’s system for the Virtual Queue. So if you walk through at 7:05 am, you technically won’t be able to book a boarding pass until 7:07.
That means you should give yourself enough time to arrive more than a couple of minutes before the listed park opening as it could slow you down if you cut it too close.
The important takeaways are:
- All members of your group have to be inside the park to enter the virtual queue
- You can enter the park 30 minutes before the park’s listed opening.
- Boarding Groups open up at the same time as the listed park opening.
- You have a better chance of riding Rise of the Resistance if you are in the park at opening, rather than showing up later.
What Time Do Boarding Passes Run Out?
First off, it’s important to note that there are two kinds of boarding passes for Rise of the Resistance:
- Regular boarding passes which guarantee a ride on Rise of the Resistance that day
- “Backup” boarding passes which give you the possibility to ride, but are not guaranteed
So far since opening, the guaranteed regular boarding passes for Rise of the Resistance have run out every day shortly within minutes of the official park opening time. That means if the opening time is 7:00 am, expect passes to run out by 7:02 am, or earlier.
If the park opening time is 8:00 am, expect passes to run out by 8:02 or earlier. Yes, we know this is insane!
Right now Hollywood Studios is opening at 8:00 am during this period, the pattern of seeling out of boarding passes in 1 minute has continued. When it had a 7:00 am opening it was the same thing and they sometimes sold out in less than 1 minute at 7:00 am!!
Here are some of the recent closing times for the Regular Boarding Groups:
- 2/4/20: 8:01 am
- 2/3/20: 7:00 am
- 2/2/20: 7:01 am
- 2/1/20: 7:01 am
- 1/31/20: 7:01 am
- 1/30/20: 7:01 am
- 1/29/20: 7:01 am
- 1/28/20: 7:01 am
- 1/27/20: 7:01 am
- 1/26/20: 7:01 am
- 1/25/20: 7:01 am
- 1/24/20: 7:00 am
- 1/23/20: 7:01 am
- 1/22/20: 7:08 am
- 1/21/20: 7:01 am
- 1/20/20: 7:02 am
- 1/19/20: 7:02 am
- 1/18/20: 7:05 am
Again those are the regular boarding passes for Rise of the Resistance, the ones that guarantee you a spot that day.
Keep checking the Hollywood Studios hours to make sure you know what time the park opens on the day you go. Keep checking it up to the day before, because Disney continues to modify the schedule.
There is also the possibility to get a “Backup Boarding Pass” which only are distributed AFTER all the original boarding groups have been given out. These are typically groups 126 and higher.
While Disney has been good at getting a lot of people through the backup groups every day, it’s important to remember that you aren’t guaranteed to ride if you are in one of those groups. If Rise of the Resistance experiences more downtime than usual, it affects how many people can ride per day.
Here are some of the recent closing times for the Backup Boarding Groups:
- 2/4/20: 8:21 am
- 2/3/20: 7:26 am
- 2/2/20: 8:28 am
- 2/1/20: 9:54 am
- 1/31/20: 7:22 am
- 1/30/20: 9:43 am
- 1/29/20: 9:33 am
- 1/28/20: 8:52 am
- 1/27/20: 7:43 am
- 1/26/20: 8:06 am
- 1/25/20: 8:27 am
- 1/24/20: 8:04 am
- 1/23/20: 8:14 am
- 1/22/20: 8:48 am
- 1/21/20: 7:25 am
- 1/20/20: 8:43 am
- 1/19/20: 7:19 am
- 1/18/20: 7:43 am
Right away you’ll notice these sell out later than the regular ones, but still, they are gone every day before 9:00 am (for the most part). Even if you are ok with getting a backup pass, you still can’t guarantee there will be any left 30 minutes after opening because some days they sell out only 20 minutes after the regular ones.
It’s possible you will get to ride Rise of the Resistance if you are in a backup boarding group, but we still feel it’s safer to be in one of the regular boarding groups, which means arriving early.
Honestly, if you’re coming all the way to Disney World and really want to ride this, is it going to make that much difference getting up 30-40 minutes earlier to ensure you are in the park before it opens and get one of the regular passes? If you are going to do it, do it right!
Boarding Groups Strategy
We think incorporating the virtual queue for Rise of the Resistance has been an overall positive experience and has helped minimize wait times. It isn’t a perfect system, but it’s better than waiting 7 hours in line no doubt.
Here are some more answers to general strategy for using the virtual queue for Rise of the Resistance:
What Day of the Week is Best for Visiting Hollywood Studios for Rise of the Resistance?
The weekdays (Monday – Friday) are by far the best days of the week to visit Hollywood Studios for Rise of the Resistance.
If at all possible, avoid trying to go on the weekends (Saturday and Sunday). This is when the locals who normally have to work also want to go on Rise of the Resistance, and therefore you’ll be fighting both tourists and locals.
What Time Do I have to Arrive at the Park?
The short answer is: Early, but not as early as the first couple weeks of operation.
To ride Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance you have two options:
- Go early, before park opening
- Go slightly later, aiming for one of the backup groups (we’ll talk more about this later).
Each of these options has different positives and negatives, but before we go into more detail, we want to make it clear we still think #1 is the better overall option, and if riding Rise of the Resistance is high on your priority list, that will be the one that ensures you get to ride it.
Recently regular boarding passes have sold out every day within the first few minutes of the park opening time. That means if you wait to show up until the official opening time or shortly after, there is a good chance you won’t get one and might end up not riding Rise of the Resistance that day.
Things are still in motion a bit as Disney continues to change the opening patterns almost daily, and there are many factors to take into consideration.
Right now we are suggesting to arrive a solid 1 Hours BEFORE the listed park opening time. That means if it’s opening at 7:00 am, plan on being there are 6:00 am. If it opens at 8:00 am, get there at 7:00 am.
1 hour is good to aim for because it gives you leeway in case you run into traffic or there are transportation delays (this is likely). Then when you arrive you need to go through security and the tap points, so it’s better to be safe than sorry.
Now that Disney is opening the virtual queue at the same time as the listed park opening (8:00 am), and after watching ride patterns over the past few weeks, it isn’t necessary to arrive 2 or more hours early. If you do that you are just throwing away sleep as it doesn’t give you an advantage over anyone else.
We will keep monitoring it, right now we feel 1 hour early is plenty of time to get a boarding pass.
While that may still sound extreme, it will accomplish two things.
- It will ensure you actually get to ride Rise of the Resistance that day.
- It will save you a tremendous amount of time while experiencing the other Hollywood Studios attractions. Showing up this early allows you to do the majority of the Hollywood Studios attractions before the long lines start.
Some will tell you this is not the case and you can still show up a lot closer to the listed opening time and still get a boarding pass for that day.
While this might be true, you have to remember you need to pass through the security bag check and the tap points, so we recommend giving yourself enough time.
Before this latest change, it was more important because the earlier you arrived, the sooner you could get into a group and that meant being in one of the first groups in the morning. That meant not having to wait until the afternoon or evening to ride.
Now the benefits of arriving at 4 am have been basically eliminated because everyone already inside the park when it officially opens has the same chance to get a group, and the numbers are randomized. You could end up with group 5 or 50, it’s just the luck of the draw.
As long as you are in the park at that time, that’s all that counts. It doesn’t matter if you enter 1 hour before or 5 minutes, it’s the same.
Read our Hollywood Studios Rope Drop Guide which will help you plan how to arrive at the park and what other attractions you should be planning around.
Does Hollywood Studios Open at the Same Time for All Guests?
Yes. No matter if you are staying at a WDW resort or staying off-site, Hollywood Studios opens at the same time for all guests. This isn’t a perk guests get for staying on-site.
Recent Ride Capacity and Downtime
One big problem with the ride was its unreliability, with lots of downtime during the morning hours especially. Before the holiday period, there were some great days for Rise of the Resistance capacity, with few problems occurring.
Lately, however, there have been some major delays and Rise of the Resistance has even opened extremely late on a couple of occasions, making guests wait hours before the first groups entered.
On 1/17/20, there was a 7-hour delay before the first guests rode the attraction! On 1/31/20 only 62 boarding groups were processed!
So far the record for the most boarding groups to ride Rise of the Resistance in one day is 211, and that was on 12/31/19. Things have gotten much slower lately though.
Here are some of the recent daily totals for the Number of Boarding Groups that were able to ride Rise of the Resistance:
- 2/3/20: 109
- 2/2/20: 115
- 2/1/20: 138
- 1/31/20: 62
- 1/30/20: 87
- 1/29/20: 102
- 1/28/20: 139
- 1/27/20: 137
- 1/26/20: 104
- 1/25/20: 139
- 1/24/20: 133
- 1/23/20: 104
- 1/22/20: 68
Disney hasn’t made it public what is causing the increased downtime, but it’s clear Rise of the Resistance has been running more problematically of late, and loading groups slower than before.
If you go to thrill-data.com you can see the updated wait times and boarding group info for Rise of the Resistance. Looking at the data there is eye-opening and shows this positive trend upward.
When it first opened up it was rumored that Disney was only getting 800 or so people through the attraction per hour. Now that number is probably more in the 1,000+ range or more, with the target being around 1,500 when things are running optimally.
These difficulties and improvements are normal as Cast Members need time to get a handle on running a ride this complex, and as the weeks go by, we should start to see more and more improvement.
Alternatives to Waking Up Early
Let’s face it, not everyone wants to get up before the sunrise when they are on vacation to ride a theme park attraction. While we still stand by our best strategy, which is waking up early and getting a big part of Hollywood Studios done before the crowds, there is another possibility.
You can aim for one of the backup boarding passes which will allow you to get to the park a bit later, but it also means you risk not getting to ride Rise of the Resistance or will have to ride later in the day. This will depend on how late after opening time you arrive at Hollywood Studios.
Right now when Hollywood Studios opens at 8:00 am, the last backup boarding groups are usually selling out shortly after. If you arrive at the park at or around 8:30 am or 9:00 am, there is a very good chance you won’t get a boarding group and therefore will miss out on riding Rise of the Resistance.
Now if you do show up after opening and get a backup group, this will be positive because you will miss the initial wave of guests arriving for park opening, which means slightly lower wait times through security and entering the park.
Keep in mind though, if you arrive late you will definitely get a backup boarding pass and be put in a group with an evening return time (if you get called).
Also if you wait, you run the risk that there might not be any backup boarding passes left, which means you definitely won’t be riding.
On the plus side, since a backup boarding pass will be at the end of the day, you don’t have to stay in Hollywood Studios all day to wait. This is a perfect idea if you aren’t really interested in seeing many other Hollywood Studios attractions that day, or if you want to experience the park at night.
A great option would be to get to Hollywood Studios in time for one of these backup boarding groups, and then head off to do a half-day in another WDW park. Epcot is the perfect place to spend the morning and early afternoon since it’s only a quick jump on the Disney Skyliner and you’re there in 20 minutes.
You could easily head to Epcot after securing your boarding pass, have lunch there, do a bunch of attractions, and wait for your boarding group to be called. Having a backup group means you will be in the 120s or above, which means you won’t get called before 4-5 pm at the earliest.
The only thing that makes this tricky is some guests now have a shorter return time window once your group has been called. Previously you always had 2 hours to return, but now Disney has changed that to just 1 hour to get back and ride Rise of the Resistance in some cases.
If you do try this strategy, we suggest you keep a VERY CLOSE eye on My Disney Experience and monitor how close they are to calling your boarding group. If they get within 20 or so, it’s now time to start heading back.
This strategy works even better if you want to tour many attractions in Hollywood Studios. Since it can be a half-day park, you can organize experiencing the other attractions in the afternoon and evening when you come back to ride Rise of the Resistance.
Again, this is a touring strategy for someone with a higher risk level tolerance for experience the ride. If you only have 1 day to visit Hollywood Studios, then I wouldn’t risk it. Go early for the regular park opening.
Our top recommendation is still arriving 1 hour earlier than the park opening because that will ensure you get to ride. We are pretty confident though if you show up after the initial wave of people, you will still have a good chance of riding, as long as you don’t show up too late.
Once We Have a Boarding Group, Can We Leave Hollywood Studios and Come Back?
Once you get your boarding pass, you absolutely can leave Hollywood Studios and come back later. For example, if your boarding group is in the 100+ range, you most likely won’t get called until the mid-afternoon or evening.
If you want to leave Hollywood Studios and go back to your resort or another park, feel free to do so. Just make sure you keep an eye on what groups are currently boarding so you can get back in time.
Remember you have 1 or 2 hours to enter the ride queue once your boarding group is called (depending which window you are assigned), which isn’t a lot of time considering there could be transportation delays, etc. We recommend to start coming back even before your group gets called to give yourself extra time.
When Should I Return to Ride?
Once your boarding group gets called to return, you have either 1 or 2 hours to do so before your boarding pass expires. However, that doesn’t mean you should return immediately right when your group is called?
In our experience, if you have an early boarding time (first 40 groups) you will be called before 11:00 am. You could return to ride Rise of the Resistance right away, which is fine if that’s the only attraction you are interested in doing in Hollywood Studios.
A better strategy, however, would be to wait till your hour is almost up and do the other Hollywood Studios attractions before the lines get too crowded there.
We’ve been able to ride all the major Hollywood Studios attractions (Tower of Terror, Slinky Dog Dash, Toy Story Mania, Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster) some days before 10:00 am while waiting for our Rise of the Resistance boarding group to be called.
If your group is called and you return to Rise of the Resistance right away however, you will most likely experience much longer wait times for these other rides.
This is a perfect strategy and will allow you to save a whole lot of time in the long run.
How Long Does it Take to Get to the Ride Once Entering the Queue?
Once you actually enter the queue for Rise of the Resistance, it will normally take you about 30-40 minutes to get to the attraction pre-show where the ride begins.
If there are technical problems this could take a bit longer.
FastPass+ or Advance Dining Reservation Conflict with our Boarding Pass Return Time
Unfortunately, Disney won’t switch the ADRs or your Virtual Queue tie for you. You have either a 1 or 2-hour window, however, which might be enough time depending on when your ADR is and the time difference between the two.
Now that Disney has shortened the return time window, they will be having more guest complaints about this issue, so we’ll see if anything changes.
Extra Magic Hours and the Virtual Queue
Originally Disney said that Rise of the Resistance would not be participating in Extra Magic Hours at Hollywood Studios, at least at the beginning. However, during some Extra Magic Hours that have taken place at Hollywood Studios since opening, guests were allowed onto Rise of the Resistance.
Right now Hollywood Studios isn’t running the Morning Extra Magic Hours, and only doing the Evening version. Disney has maintained that Rise of the Resistance won’t be running during this event, and we think they will use that extra window as a buffer in case the ride goes down during the day and they need to fill it with guests later.
Either way, if you don’t get a boarding pass, you aren’t riding Rise of the Resistance anyway.
It’s possible Disney will start offering this attraction with Extra Magic Hours in the future and that they will start running the Morning Extra Magic Hours again, but right now that’s not an option.
As Disney does more Extra Magic Hours mornings at Hollywood Studios we will continue to update you.
Best Hollywood Studios Transportation for Rise of the Resistance
You have a few choices here: Disney Buses, Car, Uber/Ride Sharing, Walking, Boats or Disney Skyliner.
Since the objective is to get to Hollywood Studios early before opening, I would rule out any Disney World public transportation. That means no buses, boats, or Skyliner. They are just too unreliable when trying to get there early, and even though the Disney Skyliner just modified its hours for Rise of the Resistance, it still doesn’t get you there in time for the opening.
Taking a car or Uber is fine, and will get you there in plenty of time to get a boarding pass. If you show up super early (before 6 am), you might have to wait for the parking lot to open.
The best solution is to stay at a nearby Epcot-area resort and walk over. That way you don’t have to rely on any form of transportation and you will arrive in plenty of time.
How Long Will Disney Use Virtual Queue for Rise of the Resistance?
While we really love the virtual queue and boarding groups for Rise of the Resistance, the only question left is how long Disney plans on using it.
The official language from Disney says they expect to continue using boarding groups and the virtual queue as long as they need to. Disney was originally hoping this would only last through the holiday season and that after that they would have the technical issues under control and be putting out fast loading times.
That hasn’t happened, and honestly, we have no idea at this point how long the Virtual Queue will continue to get used.
January is supposed to be the “slow” part of the year, and crowds have never been bigger in Hollywood Studios. There is no way Disney can stop using boarding groups at this stage because Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance is just too unstable of a ride at the moment.
Boarding Groups make the most sense right now because it allows Disney to control when guests get in line for the ride and how many at a time. This is helpful when the ride breaks down because they only have to give return passes to a small number of people.
If the standby queue was running with a FastPass queue, the line would be 6 hours long, and imagine how angry those guests would be every time the ride broke down. They would waste all the time in line. Disney would also have to give return tickets to all the FastPass guests, which would be more and more the more hours pass by.
The Virtual Queue really does have many advantages and it’s the best system for the current state of the attraction. If you aren’t a fan of the Virtual Queue, you’re going to have to bear it some time longer.
We expect crowds to continue to be high all throughout February with Presidents’ Day and the Half-Marathon coming up. Then March and April crowds will be just as bad with more holidays, races and Spring Break. By then the 4th of July and Summer will be just around the corner.
At this rate crowds probably won’t start to slow down until after Summer 2020, once the Summer is over and September rolls around, a traditionally slow month.
Though we expect significant improvement heading into 2020 as it becomes more and more reliable as time goes on, it’s possible the virtual queue could continue to be in use deep into 2020 or even after that if crowd levels continue to be high. It’s really an unknown at this point, and I don’t think Disney even knows yet.
Even if things go right and Disney stops using the Virtual Queue for Rise of the Resistance, that doesn’t necessarily mean they would start using the regular FastPass+ system right away. Smuggler’s Run was open for months now without using the virtual queue, and the Hollywood Studios version just got a FastPass+ option added. The Disneyland version also will be getting FastPass soon.
Read our Hollywood Studios FastPass+ Guide for more information about all the attractions including which ones are best to use your selections on.
Should I Just Wait Until 2021 or Later to Visit?
We don’t think this is a very good idea for many reasons. The first is that everything is working perfect right now and if you wait to go, when you come back you run the risk of some of the special effects not working right.
The second reason is if you are doing it for the crowds, the crowds aren’t going to get smaller anytime soon, and 2021 is Disney World’s 50th anniversary, so don’t expect that to be any slower.
Currently, guests are limited to one ride per day for Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance. This will eventually change in the future, but for now, enjoy that one ride and come back the next day if you want to go on again.
No, not at this time. Disney has used the virtual queue for Galaxy’s Edge in the past, but currently, guests can come and go freely from the actual land itself, and the virtual queue is only for the Rise of the Resistance ride.
This is the million-dollar question. Disney has listed official opening times for Hollywood Studios, but they have been opening the park MUCH earlier every day since Rise of the Resistance has opened.
Right now Hollywood Studios is opening at 8:00 am through February and that changes to 9:00 am in March.
If the listed opening time for Hollywood Studios is 8:00 am, the gates will open as early as 7:00 or 7:30 am. However, the Virtual Queue for Rise of the Resistance will not open until the official park opening time. So if it’s listed at 8:00 am, that’s when you can get a boarding pass.
You are able to get a boarding pass for Rise of the Resistance as soon at the time of the listed opening time for Hollywood Studios that day. So if it is 8:00 am, the queue should be ready at that time.
You have to be inside Disney’s Hollywood Studios, but Disney won’t open the Virtual Queue before the listed opening time.
On rare occasions when there are technical problems, Disney can choose to not make the virtual queue available immediately, making guests wait, but usually, it’s right at park opening.
This depends on what number boarding group you have. If you have number 1-40 you should get called in the morning at some point. Higher numbers could push you into the afternoon and evening.
They absolutely can ride it, but they are subject to the boarding groups system just like every other guest. Once your boarding group is called, head to the FastPass queue entrance where a Cast Member will then direct you where to go.
Yes you can use Rider Switch for Rise of the Resistance. However, just like guests with a DAS card, both guests wanting to ride Rise of the Resistance need to first join a boarding group. Once their turn is called, proceed to the ride entrance and a Cast Member will accommodate you.
Is This Worth All the Hassle?
While getting to ride Rise of the Resistance can seem like a daunting task, the reality is that it’s worth all the hassle to ride because it’s THAT good of an attraction!
Ultimately you and your family will have to decide whether you want to wake up early and go through the necessary steps it takes to ride, but we can assure you that this is like nothing you’ve ever experienced before and it’s the best ride in Walt Disney World.
Overall we are happy Disney decided to use the virtual queue for Rise of the Resistance. We think when used properly it is a huge time saver and a much more convenient way to ride one of the most popular attractions in theme park history, plus all the others in Hollywood Studios.
We hope Disney continues to use this system for other big attractions in the future!
That wraps up our coverage of the Virtual Queue and Boarding Groups for Rise of the Resistance. We’ll update you in the coming days to let you know if any other changes are made, which in our opinion is highly likely.
For more information on how the Virtual Queue works for Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, read our guide here.
Check out our Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance post for a complete guide to the attraction including a walkthrough And all your questions answered.
I want to know what you think about the virtual queue in use for Rise of the Resistance…
- Do you think this is a good solution?
- What has been your experience with boarding groups?
Let us know in the comments section below!
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