Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance is the hottest ride at Walt Disney World right now, and you can’t get a FastPass for it, and you can’t just get in a standby line and wait. You have a get in a virtual queue at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and secure a boarding group to ride. How do you get a Rise of the Resistance Boarding Group? Through a virtual queue and you have to have entered Hollywood Studios for a chance to ride. Here’s my experience and best tips with getting a Rise of the Resistance Boarding Pass and why I love the virtual queue.
My Experience With Rise of the Resistance Boarding Groups and Early Morning Opening
I read the blogs, I did some research, and I needed a game plan to get on Rise of the Resistance during Marathon Weekend at Walt Disney World! When I heard of people arriving at 4 a.m. and 5 a.m. for Rise of the Resistance Boarding Groups, I thought ‘this is insanity.’
It used to be first come, first served. As soon as you got through the gates, you could try to join a boarding group. Thankfully, that changed. Now everyone gets a shot whenever the park opens. Is it stressful? Sure. Could things go wrong with technology? Yup. But I’d much rather take this than the stampedes as soon as the ropes drop.
My friend Patty and I decided to leave from Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort at 6:00 a.m. This would give us some buffer to park, get in the gates, and secure our spot to wait until the 7 a.m. opening.
Well by the time we got to the car and were at the exit, it was about 6:10. Then we hit a snafu. It was the Walt Disney World Half Marathon that morning and runners ran by the resort. So we were stuck at the exit for at least 15 minutes.
Now we were starting to panic. We didn’t know what to expect crowd wise. It was a Saturday morning, Christmas crowds should have thinned out, but there were still Marathon Weekend crowds. So Patty may have Tokyo Drifted a la Fast & Furious style with her driving.
Here was our timeline for arriving:
6:43 a.m. Arrived at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.
6:45 a.m. Parked the car and immediately caught a tram.
6:48 a.m. Walked up to bag check/security screeners (We didn’t bring bags just in case, but it was pretty empty).
6:49 a.m. Walked in through the entrance as once again, it wasn’t too crowded.
We walked in and were assessing crowds. Based on previous pictures, this day did not seem bad at all. They let people in all the way to the big screens.
We had heard that you should try to stay away from big crowds, so that maybe your wifi or data would load faster, so we turned around.
On the corner of Hollywood Boulevard and Sunset Boulevard, we saw the lovely Justine. She was a Cast Member wearing a plaid vest ready to assist guests. There was also another Cast Member like her across the street, as well as blue umbrellas that had other Cast Members that could help guests.
6:52 a.m. We planted ourselves next to Justine, just in case anything went wrong.
We opened the My Disney Experience App just to make sure it was working. Down below is what you’ll see when you open the app inside Disney’s Hollywood Studios.
Justine told us to make sure the app was NOT open early. You need to open it right at 7:00 a.m. when the park opens (or at park opening when you visit.)
7:00 a.m. We touched ‘Find Out More’ and were immediately taken to Join Boarding Group. But as soon as I was about to hit it, Justine had already pulled it on her screen and told me to touch my Magic Band to her screen. We got Boarding Group 27!
You could hear celebrations everywhere! We left and decided to join the group heading to Toy Story Land. By 7:07 a.m., the line for Slinky Dog Dash was past Woody. Honestly, I don’t think it was that bad. Maybe a 40 minute wait. I just don’t know, because I couldn’t see all the way to the front and how full the actual queue was.
7:45 a.m. We never received a push notification, but we did notice in the app that it said our group number was boarding, so we finished eating and headed over. The reason why is because I never enabled my notifications as you can see below where it says turn on notifications.
8:09 a.m. We entered the queue for Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance!!
8:47 a.m. We exited the ride and declared it the best day ever.
Best Tips to Get a Boarding Group
With this virtual queue system, your mileage may vary. And Disney can change this process at any time. I don’t think it’s going to stick around for the long haul.
It’s hard to give a one fits all answer, because so many things can happen, but if you follow these tips, then you’ll most likely get a Boarding Group for Rise of the Resistance.
Arrive Before Hollywood Studios Opens
Listen, I’m not an early riser, and thankfully you don’t have to arrive at 5:00 a.m. for a shot, but be there before park opening. It’ll help ensure that you can get assistance in a timely manner. Boarding Groups go quickly and sure, you can still get one a tad later or get a Backup Group. But chances are slimmer the later you arrive.
What does Backup Group mean? It means all the regular Boarding Groups have been distributed, and they put you in a Backup Group. After everyone in the regular Boarding Groups have been called, then they’ll notify you if you’ve been added to a Boarding Group through the app.
However you won’t find out until much later in the day, and it’s not guaranteed, especially if there are technical difficulties and the ride shuts down. I’ve heard it usually takes an hour to reset the ride.
Most likely Backup Boarding Groups will be gone during the first hour of park opening, but it also depends on crowd size.
If you’re taking Disney Transportation, then be on that first bus or boat, so you don’t stress out about time. They’ve been letting guests in Disney’s Hollywood Studios about 30 minutes – 45 minutes before the park opens. This doesn’t mean you can get a Boarding Group that early, it just means you’re already inside the park, thus giving you the chance to access a Boarding Group at park opening.
If you can Uber or have a car, that’s probably a better option if you want to arrive earlier for peace of mind.
Have all of Your Tickets and Friends and Family Sorted Out
Make sure your Disney’s Hollywood Studios tickets are activated and ready to go or else you’ll have to stop by a ticket booth or Guest Relations. If you have to activate your ticket, just make sure to arrive early enough for a buffer in case there are long lines.
If you’re a frequent Walt Disney World traveler like me, then you probably have tons of people listed as Friends & Family. Try to clean that list out if you’re traveling with a group. My friends and family are listed alphabetically by last name. So if I have 30 people on my list, scrolling to find someone at the bottom will use precious time to select as my party when trying to secure the Boarding Group.
If multiple people in your party have a My Disney Experience account, then you can all try at the same time to see who gets the best boarding group first. Don’t forget to select everyone you want to ride with before you join a Boarding Group or else you’ll have different Boarding Groups that might not overlap, so you may not get to ride together.
Find a Cast Member
Everyone’s Rise of the Resistance Virtual Queue experience will be different. Two days after my experience there weren’t Cast Members like Justine hanging out. The blue umbrellas (right past the corner of Hollywood and Sunset on the left) were still there, so I recommend hanging out there and joining that line just in case.
At least if something goes wrong or if your app isn’t loading or you made a mistake or whatever, the Cast Members know you made the effort to arrive early and give yourself a chance. Will it all work out perfectly? Maybe not, but it gives you the best chance to ride!
I also know Cast Members vary, too. Some are more magical than others, but I have to believe that they will try to help you as best as they can.
Continue to Check Park Hours
Sometimes park hours change, and Disney will adjust them based on attendance. A friend recommended adding this tip, and it’s a great suggestion! Keep checking park hours even up to the day before, so that you don’t arrive too early or too late.
Buy a New Phone
Ha! Just kidding. Our friends with better and newer phones seemed to get higher boarding groups. Obviously there is no scientific evidence of this. Just like the suggestions of don’t use wi-fi, stay away from groups of people, your service provider matters, and all of that. You can’t control any of it, so don’t stress. Instead find a Cast Member.
Do not open the app early.
My friend, Tessa, tested the theory a few days later. She said some Cast Members told her to open the My Disney Experience app a few minutes before park opening. She said it wouldn’t load for at least 3 minutes.
However the other device had the app closed until park opening, and she was able to secure Boarding Group 33!
Does DAS Work with Rise of the Resistance?
Guests with Disability Access Service (DAS) must still get a Virtual Boarding Pass for Rise of the Resistance, using the same method as all other guests. Once you have your boarding group number, go to the attraction entrance and a Cast Member will sign you up for a DAS return time via your park ticket or MagicBand.
You’ll still have to wait until your boarding group is called, but when you return to the ride you’ll be able to use the FastPass entrance. Some people had concerns over whether children would be able to handle the massive crowds in pictures during the first month of the opening of Rise of the Resistance.
If you can visit during a non-peak time and Disney is still using the same system, I did not experience the same crowded feeling that other pictures have shown. That’s because the crowds had already been dispersed by the time we arrived, thus eliminating it before entering the park.
Then once upon entering, there was plenty of space to hang out where there wasn’t a lot of people.
Another friend was able to go to Hollywood Studios a day early and explain the situation that her son could not handle the crowds in the morning. She was able to get a note allowing her to come back and try to secure her own boarding pass, then her son and husband could be added to her boarding group later in the day.
It never hurts to ask.
Why I love the Rise of the Resistance Virtual Queue
My experience was as pretty seamless as you can get. And I know it’s not always going to be like that. But I’m willing to take my chances with this process rather than have people arriving at 4 a.m., filling all the streets up or holding guests outside the touch points with wall to wall people, and then having a mob of people running, pushing, and shoving all trying to be first on the ride.
I still have nightmares from the opening of Toy Story Mania and even Slinky Dog Dash got a little dicey.
Plus it gives everyone inside the park somewhat of an equal opportunity. Sure it may punish the late risers, but the slow walkers, the strollers, the electric scooters, all get their fair shot now.
And yes, I understand that things can go wrong. You may set yourself up for perfection and still get Boarding Group 89 while the person next to you gets Boarding Group 30.
I’ve also heard people complain that you have to spend all day at Hollywood Studios. Well obviously that depends on your Boarding Group. But you can still make FastPass+ selections for a different park and leave if your Boarding Group is later in the day. You have 2 hours to ride Rise of the Resistance once your Boarding Group has been called.
Is it worth the wait? Yes. I didn’t think I would say that, but Rise of the Resistance is incredible. I didn’t go in knowing too much, because I wanted to be surprised. And I’m so glad I waited. I felt this huge rush of emotion during every jaw-dropping surprise. The story-telling is what Disney does best.
If you do like spoilers, check out my friend Tessa’s Rise of the Resistance pictures from inside the ride. They’re so cool!! It’s hard to believe that it’s a ride. My friend, Amiyrah, gives her opinion on if Rise of the Resistance is for kids.
Also, if you need to kill some time waiting for your Boarding Group, check out the best and worst food in Galaxy’s Edge.
Between Oga’s Cantina, Smugglers Run, special photo ops, building a droid, restaurants and shops, you could spend hours alone in Galaxy’s Edge.
Things to Remember
You have to have entered Disney’s Hollywood Studios to access the Boarding Groups.
Once the park opens, open My Disney Experience and go to Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance – Access by Boarding Group.
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.
Select Members of your Party and Tap on Join Boarding Group if available.
You will then be given a Boarding Group number. When your number is called, proceed to the entrance of Rise of the Resistance.
Good luck and May the Force Be With You.