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!
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 since its opening. Just 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!
(UPDATED 9/15/20): Rise of the Resistance continues to have maintenance issues which has meant shutting down the attraction for hours some days and fewer boarding passes for guests than usual.
Even though Disney had recently announced the Virtual Queue system would not be in use when the Disney Parks reopened, they have changed their minds and Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance has been using it since reopening on July 15, though with some modifications.
Keep reading in the NEWS section of this post for the latest info…
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.
We expect that the Virtual Queue system for Rise of the Resistance is only the beginning, and soon even more attractions will be using it. So, it’s best to get familiar with it right away.
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.
Before we get started, make sure to sign up for our FREE Weekly E-Mail Newsletter. There we bring you the latest updates on the Rise of the Resistance Boarding Groups. You can sign up here: Join our E-Mail Newsletter
NEWS 9/15/20: Rise of the Resistance Technical Issues and App Glitch Lead to Few Riders
Since Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance opened on December 5, 2019, the extremely popular ride has unfortunately been plagued by technical issues. Those problems have continued recently and have left many guests not able to ride in recent days.
When Rise of the Resistance started running again in July it was processing roughly 70 boarding groups per day. That number rises to about 80 per day in August, and it was about 90 per day in September, until technical issues greatly reduced the capacity to less than 40 per day.
We also saw a glitch on the My Disney Experience app where though guests were inside Hollywood Studios and properly logged in, the app was not recognizing those guests as being in the park, therefore keeping them from getting a boarding pass.
Though throughout the Summer, the total number of boarding groups has slowly increased, the ride is still plagued with a lot of downtimes due to these maintenance issues causing the attraction to open and close multiple times per day. It seems like Disney still has not been able to figure out a sustainable solution even though the attraction was closed for 4 months.
Even with the change to 2 windows from 3, boarding groups have been running out in the first 30 seconds daily. That’s why we say to get there before the park opens to have the best chance.
We’ll keep an eye on it for you, but if you are going to Hollywood Studios soon, know that it’s likely there could be downtime for Rise of the Resistance and try to be patient.
Backup groups are made the same way as before. Guests log in to My Disney Experience and click on the “Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance – Request Access with Virtual Queue” to see if there are any boarding passes available.
If there are, you can make your reservation in the virtual queue and you will be assigned a boarding group as before. If there aren’t any available, guests can join a backup boarding group, with a chance of riding Rise of the Resistance.
One rule that is still being enforced is that guests may ride Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance once per day, there are no re-rides.
These changes have been in effect since Disney’s Hollywood Studios reopened on July 15, 2020. We haven’t heard if Rise of the Resistance will use boarding groups in Disneyland yet, but it’s likely. Also, this is the only ride that will use the Virtual Queue for the time being, just like it was before the parks closed.
For more information on how to ride Rise of the Resistance with boarding groups, continue reading this post where we have a lot of good tips and strategies.
Please stay tuned for more news and we’re now updating the rest of this post with this latest information.
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 – Request Access with Virtual Queue”. (This is available at the official park opening time, so if you try it before it won’t work).
- Click on “Join.” 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.
- On the next page, select any names from your party that you want to be in your boarding group and then press “Join.”
- You will then be given a boarding group number and an estimated return time. 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.
- Make sure you have your Park Pass booked for Hollywood Studios on the day you are planning on going. We also recommend booking multiple days for Hollywood Studios since you might not get a boarding pass on the first day. This assures the best chance of riding.
- As an alternative way to access the Rise of the Resistance virtual queue, tap the “Menu” button inside My Disney Experience and then tap on the “Virtual Queues” icon. Once there, tap “Join Virtual Queue.”
If a Distribution Time Has Filled?
If there is no more room in the Virtual Queue for a particular distribution time, a message will show on the “Join Virtual Queue” screen saying that distribution time is complete. This happens first at the 10:00 am window, then again at 2:00 pm.
Once distribution for the 2:00 pm window is complete, capacity for the attraction that day is finished.
How Do I Know When My Boarding Group is Ready?
Checking whether your turn is ready in the Rise of the Resistance virtual queue or not can be done either by checking your status in My Disney Experience or looking at the information boards throughout the park.
You can check if it is your boarding group’s turn by looking at the same “Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance – Request Access with Virtual Queue” screen in My Disney Experience and looking at “My Queues.”
The green indicator bar will give you an idea of how close you are for your group to be called.
- You have 1 hour to return from when your boarding group gets called.
One change Disney has recently made to the Virtual Queue system is it no longer tells you which boarding groups are currently boarding. It does, however, tell you your “Estimated Return” time. This number counts down the approximate remaining minutes until your group is called.
We find this to be a much better way of letting guests know how much longer they have to wait than just listing a boarding group number.
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.
With the recent changes, we have found automatic notifications don’t always work. We recommend still checking how much time you have left 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!
When your group is boarding you’ll see the message displayed in the Virtual Queues section of the app: “It’s Time, Head to the experience by: (insert time).” When you see your group numbers ready, head to the queue to board the ride.
When you arrive at the attraction queue, Cast Members from Batuu are stationed outside checking guests’ Virtual Queue status with iPads. Once you are confirmed, you can go in.
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 park pass reservations.
Unfortunately, this means you can’t 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.
Disney recently made a helpful change to how Friends and Family are connected to your boarding group. Before you would have to select each member of your party, now all friends and family members who hap tapped into the park will automatically be checked off when booking your boarding group. That is a nice timesaver and helps simplify the process so you don’t have to look for them yourself.
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.
Should I Use Wi-Fi or My Cell Network When Getting a Rise of the Resistance Boarding Pass?
This is one of the most asked questions we get. Even though we’ve done both and very rarely had a problem, we think using your own cell network gives you a better chance of getting a boarding pass.
By default, if you have your Wi-Fi turned on, your phone will probably connect to Disney’s network. Most of the time it’s worked for us, but it can be risky since Disney’s Wi-Fi is sketchy and at times doesn’t work.
That’s why we say to use the cell network on your phone. It’s usually a more reliable connection and is better equipped to handle thousands of other data requests simultaneously, something we can’t say is always true about Disney’s network. Those extra seconds could mean the difference in riding or not.
Backup Boarding Groups
Disney has also introduced a “Backup Boarding Groups” system. Regular boarding groups 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.
Right now it seems that Disney is counting boarding groups from 1-60 (approximately) as “Regular Boarding Groups” and if you get one of those numbers you are almost guaranteed to ride. The “Backup Boarding Groups” include groups higher than that, and those are not guaranteed to ride that day.
(The number of assigned “Regular Boarding Groups” is much lower than before when as many as 200 or more groups could ride in one day. We’ll keep an eye on this and update you when we have more info.)
Or course if you do get called from the backup group to go on Rise of the Resistance, that time will be in the evening. Distribution of these Backup Groups happens when the normal distribution groups give out all remaining regular boarding passes. It’s not guaranteed these backup groups will be available every day.
Our strategy is a little bit different now than before the park closure. There are multiple windows to book a boarding group and it’s not necessary to get to the park so early, though it still gives you an advantage.
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 “Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance – Request Access with Virtual Queue” 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 swipe down on the screen which should refresh the page. Do this until given the option to join the Virtual Queue. From there you should be able to click “Join Boarding Group.”
- Repeat until it works.
TIP: 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.
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How Many Times Can I Ride Rise of the Resistance?
Even after the Disney parks reopen, guests are limited to one ride per day on Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance.
In the beginning, 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?
There have been quite a few rules for Rise of the Resistance and the Virtual Queue since it opened in December 2019.
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 the park, but only when you pass through the tap points of the park entrance can you join a boarding group.
Now, Disney is only opening the virtual queue at the park’s listed opening time, even if they open the gates to let guests in earlier than that to let people in line.
Disney has modified the rules and now Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance has 2 times per day to book boarding passes in the Virtual Queue:
- 10:00 am
- 2:00 pm
This is a HUGE change and means getting into a boarding group is now completely different.
This change started July 24, after using 3 distribution times per day for 9 days (10:00 am, 1:00 pm and 4:00 pm).
At least this means you won’t have to be at the park entrance at 5:00 am like in the early days. That used to be the only way you could get to ride Rise of the Resistance. Getting up that early is no longer necessary.
Though it’s still optimal to get a boarding pass during the first booking window, with boarding passes split across two booking windows, if you don’t get a pass for the first group at 10:00 am you can try again at 2:00 pm.
Our recommendation is that since boarding passes still run out extremely fast (within seconds), you still want to be there for that first booking window at 10:00 am if it’s really important to you to get on this ride.
What Time Do They Open the Park?
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.
Right now through the Fall, Disney is opening Hollywood Studios at 10:00 am. That means, if it’s a 10:00 am opening, then the first boarding groups open at 10:00 am, not earlier.
Disney is allowing guests to enter the park about 30 minutes before the official park opening time. We are unsure if this will continue and if guests will keep getting let into the park before 10:00 am or not, but it’s a good idea to allow guests to practice distancing.
If the park has a 9:00 am opening, boarding groups open at 9:00 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 10:05 am, you technically won’t be able to book a boarding pass until 10:07.
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.
- There are 2 Boarding Group Distribution windows: 10:00 am and 2:00 pm.
- The first Boarding Groups open up at the same time as the listed park opening.
- You have a much 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 reopening, the guaranteed regular boarding passes for Rise of the Resistance have run out every day within minutes of the official park opening time. Recently it’s even been less than 1 minute after opening the Virtual Queue.
That means if the opening time is at 10:00 am, expect passes to run out by 10:01 am, or earlier.
If the park opening time is 8:00 am, expect passes to run out by 8:01 or earlier. Yes, we know this is insane!
Right now Hollywood Studios is opening at 10:00 am during this period, the pattern of selling 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:
- 9/15/20: 10:01 am
- 9/14/20: 10:00 am
- 9/12/20: 10:00 am
- 9/11/20: 10:01 am
*We will continue to update this as we get more info.
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.
Now of course those are the numbers for just the first distribution time slot at 10:00 am. What about the 2:00 pm time slot?
Afternoon virtual queue distribution has been selling out equally as fast as the morning and groups are usually filled within 30 seconds to 1 minute of the Virtual Queue opening.
Again, we are talking about the regular boarding passes for Rise of the Resistance, the ones that guarantee you a spot that day.
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. *(Before the closure)
While Disney had been good at getting a lot of people through the backup groups every day prior to the closure, backup groups haven’t been as much of a factor recently.
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. Backup groups are distributed in the second booking window, and sometimes are not distributed at all depending on how the ride is running that day.
While it’s possible you will get to ride Rise of the Resistance if you are in a backup boarding group, 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!
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.
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?
Before the closure, weekdays (Monday – Friday) were by far the best days of the week to visit Hollywood Studios for Rise of the Resistance.
Usually, we would say to avoid going 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.
However, since there are a limited number of guests who can visit the park each day, it doesn’t matter which day of the week you go at this time. You might even have better luck on the weekend since more people are visiting the other parks.
What Time Do I have to Arrive at the Park?
The short answer is: Early is better, but not as necessary as it was during the first couple weeks of operation.
To ride Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance you have two options:
- Go early, before park opening in time for the first distribution group.
- Go later, in time for the 2:00 pm distribution.
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 arriving early is the best overall option, and if riding Rise of the Resistance is high on your priority list, that will be the one puts the odds in your favor that you get to ride it.
Historically, regular boarding passes have sold out every day within the first few minutes of the park opening time. That means if you waited 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 modify the experience, but here are some new factors to take into consideration.
Right now we are suggesting to arrive 1 Hour BEFORE the listed park opening time. That means if it’s opening at 10:00 am, plan on being there are 9:00 am. If it opens at 9:00 am, get there at 8:00 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 (10:00 am), and with 2 boarding pass distribution times, it isn’t necessary to arrive 2 or more hours early anymore. 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 super early have been 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. Plus, if you don’t get into the Virtual Queue during the first distribution time at 10:00 am, you can try again at 2:00 pm.
Is there a Limit on the Number of Times I Can Try for the Virtual Queue?
No there isn’t. Guests are limited to one RIDE per day on Rise of the Resistance, but if you can’t get into the Virtual Queue on the first try, you can try again at 2:00 pm.
Can’t I Just Come for the Afternoon Distribution Times?
While it is true you can skip the 10:00 am boarding pass distribution time and still try at 2:00 pm, I wouldn’t really recommend it. While technically you can come for the later groups, it’s going to make it harder to get into the Virtual Queue.
For one, considering each distribution time sells out in a minute or less, the more chances you have at trying for a boarding pass, the better your odds are at getting in. The more times you play, the better your chances are of winning, and getting rid of the first time slot is knocking off 50% of your chances.
The bigger issue is that not all distribution times have the same amount of boarding groups available. If Rise of the Resistance is having issues and delays throughout the day (which is likely), by the time the afternoon slots come, the ride could be backlogged, which means inventory is less and they aren’t going to have as many passes left to give to guests.
Plus due to the unreliability of the ride, even if you are in the last boarding group at 2:00 pm, it doesn’t mean your group will be called, so better to be in the first group.
That’s why we say if riding Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance is important to you, make sure you are there before 10:00 am to be a part of the first group to enter the Virtual Queue.
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.
Recent Ride Capacity and Downtime
One big problem with the ride is 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.
There were also 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 numerous days recently, there have been periods of 2-3 hours or more before the first guests rode the attraction! Not to mention other shutdowns throughout the day.
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 since reopening, and you shouldn’t expect to see nearly the number of boarding groups as before at this time.
Here are some of the daily totals for the Number of Boarding Groups that were able to ride Rise of the Resistance before the park closure:
- 9/14/20: 35
- 9/13/20: 35
- 9/12/20: 39
- 9/11/20: 79
- 9/10/20: 96
- 9/9/20: 97
- 9/8/20: 88
- 9/7/20: 122
- 9/6/20: 93
- 9/5/20: 127
- 9/4/20: 106
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 got up in the 1,000+ range or more, with the target being around 1,500 when things are running optimally.
Right now we have no idea how many people are going through the ride, but it is significantly slower since the reopening.
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.
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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 option.
Besides opening boarding pass distribution up at park opening, getting a boarding pass is also possible at 2:00 pm. That means you can show up late and still have a chance of riding Rise of the Resistance.
Besides that, you also can get one of the backup boarding passes which also give you a chance getting into the Virtual Queue, albeit a smaller one. At this time we are assuming that Rise of the Resistance will have one big pot of backup groups after the 2:00 pm time slot.
Keep in mind though, planning on getting a backup group is not a good strategy and should only be done in emergencies.
First, 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. Second, just because you have a backup pass, doesn’t mean you will get to ride. It’s a chance, but it’s 50/50 at best.
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 just want to experience the park at night.
This strategy works even better if you don’t 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, backup groups are for someone with a higher risk level tolerance to 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 instead.
Our top recommendation is still arriving 1 hour earlier than the park opening because this gives you the best chance to ride. You’ll have two different chances to get into the Virtual Queue, which should be enough.
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, feel free to do so. One of the big benefits was being able to go to another park if you had a long wait for Rise of the Resistance. However, right now you can’t go to another park on the same day since park-hopping has been suspended for the time being.
If you do leave, just make sure you keep an eye on what your estimated boarding time is so you can get back in time to ride.
Remember you have 1 hour to enter the ride queue once your boarding group is called,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 the Queue to Ride?
Once your boarding group gets called to return, you have 1 hour 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 20 groups) you will be called before 12:00 pm. 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 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 later on.
This is a perfect strategy and will allow you to save a whole lot of time in the long run.
At least now Disney tells you your estimated return time, so you have a good idea of when your group will be called. Then it’s just a matter of showing up within one hour from that time.
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 20-30 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 time for you. You have either a 1-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
Right now Hollywood Studios isn’t running either Morning Extra Magic Hours, or Evening Extra Magic Hours. Even when it was running, Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance wasn’t running during this event, and the maintainence crew uses 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 the 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 didn’t happen though, and honestly, we have no idea at this point how long the Virtual Queue will continue to get used.
January was supposed to be the “slow” part of the year, and crowds were never bigger in Hollywood Studios. Disney continued using the Virtual Queue through February, March and now they are reopening Hollywood Studios in July with it.
There is no way Disney can stop using boarding groups at this stage because Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance is still 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. First, 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 normal queue, the line would be 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.
Secondly, due to the current health problem, Disney needs all the help they can get controlling crowds in the parks, and seeing how Hollywood Studios has been selling out on the new Park Pass Reservation system, it looks like everyone still wants to ride Rise of the Resistance more than any other attraction.
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 low all throughout the Fall for Hollywood Studios, and for the foreseeable future after that. Even so, the people that do come to Disney World will come to see Rise of the Resistance.
There is even a rumor that Disney will be introducing more rides to the Virtual Queue system, so that would seem like an even larger plan for boarding passes.
It’s possible the virtual queue could continue to be in use for the rest of 2020 or even into 2021 if demand for the ride continue to be high. It’s really an unknown at this point, and I don’t think Disney even knows yet.
You can sign up for our FREE Weekly E-Mail Newsletter where we will let you know as soon as Disney decides to stop using the Boarding Group system. You can sign up here: Join our E-Mail Newsletter
Even if things go right and Disney stops using the Virtual Queue for Rise of the Resistance, that doesn’t mean they would start using the regular FastPass+ system, especially since Disney has suspended the entire system right now.
We’ll have to see what happens at this point and figure that Disney has a larger plan in play.
Read our Hollywood Studios Guide After Reopening for more information about all the attractions and how to tour the park right now.
Should I Just Wait Until 2021 or Later to Visit?
This is a complicated question, and before the park closure I would have said not to wait and to go see the Rise of the Resistance ride right away. The first reason we felt that way is because everything is working perfectly 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 are possibly at an all-time low right now, and 2021 is Disney World’s 50th anniversary, so we expect crowds to improve, at least a little by then.
On the negative side however, the fact is that right now, guests will not experience the “real Walt Disney World experience” if they visit at this time. There are safety restrictions throughout the parks, limited attractions and entertainment offerings, and we just don’t feel like it’s worth it for the amount of money it takes to visit Disney World right now.
If you are planning to go however, make sure you ride Rise of the Resistance. This is truly the best ride in Hollywood Studios and it deserves to be visited when in Disney World, I just wouldn’t make a special trip down at this time.
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.
Right now Hollywood Studios is opening at 10:00 am through the rest of 2020.
If the listed opening time for Hollywood Studios is 10:00 am, the gates may open as early as 9:30 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 10:00 am, that’s when you can get a boarding pass.
You are able to get a boarding pass for Rise of the Resistance during 2 separate distribution times throughout the day. 10:00 am and 2:00 pm. The queue should be ready at exactly those times.
For the first time slot, 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.
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 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 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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