Rise of the Resistance is one of the biggest new rides Disney has seen in a long time. It’s revolutionary, an amazing experience, and of course it’s Star Wars! So it’s no surprise that it’s been extremely popular since opening in Disney World on December 5th. I was lucky enough to be there opening day, so I figured I would share some information/advice if you’re planning to try and ride it within the next month or two.
I’m not going to include any spoilers of the plot or effects of the ride – this is more about the logistics of getting on the ride, joining the virtual queue, and answering questions about how the ride works (i.e., will it cause motion sickness?).
Suffice it to say the ride was amazing. It’s very impressive and was so much fun. It’s a great addition to Galaxy’s Edge and I hope Disney can get the technology down so that it doesn’t experience too many delays and downtime.
As for my personal experience on opening day, here’s what I can tell you: we arrived at Hollywood Studios at 5am (the park was scheduled for an 8am opening). They let us in the gates by 5:30 and we were able to join a boarding group right away. The ride started operating at 6:15 and our boarding group was called at 7am. The ride went down and we were given a fastpass to return anytime. Got an alert around 8:30am that the ride was back up and we were able to get on at that time.
I will be updating this post as things change or we get more information!
How early do I have to be at Hollywood Studios?
Right now you want to be in the gates by 7am. Disney is opening virtual boarding groups at 7 but letting people in the turnstiles earlier. So that means whether you arrive at 5am or 6am, there’s no difference to your chance of getting a boarding group. This is different than when the ride first opened, where you could get a boarding group as soon as you got through the gates.
Previous (now outdated) information:
Right now Disney is letting people in the park much earlier than the stated opening times. On opening day it was 5am, and since then it’s usually been around 6am even though the park doesn’t open til 8. They are doing “virtual boarding groups” so you can sign up on the app as soon as you enter the park. The groups have been filling up within an hour or two (usually between about 7:45-8:45am) so I would recommend being there as early as you feel comfortable but definitely by 6am.
Will other rides be open early?
Right now Disney is saying that no other rides will be open before the posted opening time. They will let people in and onto Hollywood Boulevard but no further. Some shops may be open and Trolley Car Cafe (Starbucks) will be open so you can get your coffee fix.
What is this virtual boarding group?
You join a group from your phone on the My Disney Experience app and they will alert you when it’s time to ride. Once you do, you get a boarding group number (we were 19). You then have 2 hours to get on the ride once you’ve gotten the alert. They don’t give you a specific time to come back or ride, but you can follow along on the app to see what group numbers they are up to which may give you an idea of how much longer it will be until your group. Everyone in your party must be checked in to the park to join a group and even if you get a boarding group number it is not a guarantee of getting on the ride.
Can’t I just line up?
No, as of right now there is no standby line. The virtual queue is the only way to get on the ride.
How long will they be doing a virtual queue?
Disney has not made any announcements on how long this will last, but so far it has been happening since opening day. There is no word on when it will end, but it seems likely they will keep it through the end of the year due to the crowded nature of the Christmas holidays.
Can I get on the virtual queue from home/my hotel?
No. You have to have scanned your magic band to enter Hollywood Studios before you can join a virtual boarding group. Everyone in your party must be scanned into the park to be able to join a group.
Once the boarding groups are gone am I out of luck?
Disney is currently offering “backup boarding passes” – this is only if all of the boarding groups get on throughout the day before the park closes. They will open sometime in the evening so I would plan to be checking your app and enabling notifications so you can be alerted if one does open.
I’ve heard the ride has been going down a lot – how will this affect my chances of riding?
Yes, the ride has had a lot of downtime. It may mean that not all boarding groups get to ride, your ride may be delayed, or you’ll spend more time in the queue. Disney has been doing everything they can to make it up to people when the ride goes down. They’ve had characters walk the line to do photos, given out free water/snacks, giving fastpasses to come back if it’s going to be down for awhile, and even giving free park tickets and fastpasses for another day. That being said, the ride is very technologically advanced and it does seem to have a lot of issues, and has been down for at least a few hours total since it opened.
Will it be better if I go during extra magic hours?
Disney has stated that Rise of the Resistance will not be open during extra magic hours. However, that doesn’t mean they may not open the virtual boarding groups early. We only have one example of EMH right now – this past Sunday had extra magic hours starting at 6am with a regular park opening of 8am. Boarding passes became available around 7:15am and regular guests were let in at 7:30. My recommendation would be to NOT do it on an EMH day because it’s somewhat unpredictable right now. However, if you don’t have the option I would get there for the very beginning of extra magic hours and be checking the app constantly (and ride other stuff in the meantime!).
What type of ride is Rise of the Resistance?
It’s hard to explain what this ride is just in one sentence because it’s really an “experience” that is a combination of a couple of different ride techniques. There are “show” elements as well as a trackless dark ride that uses a combination of screens and audio-animatronics. It’s not a straightforward track (there are times where you’ll go backwards, drop, etc.).
Is this ride bad for motion sickness?
Everyone’s reaction to motion and motion sickness is different so this is hard to answer. While it does use screens at times, they are integrated really well into the ride and I didn’t even notice when it was a screen or when it was “real.” There are no 3D glasses or anything involved, and it’s more of a car on a track than a motion simulator, so nothing like Star Tours. I would guess that most people would be totally fine on this, unless you are super super sensitive to anything with movement.
I’ve heard there’s a “drop” and I hate rides that drop. Can I handle this?
There is a drop on Rise of the Resistance but it’s pretty minimal. It is a “straight down” drop in the style of Tower of Terror but nowhere near the length or height. It’s over so quickly you don’t even realize it’s happened until it’s over. The way I described it was that I just had a moment to say “oh!” and then it was done. It’s nothing like what you normally think of when you hear a “drop” – nothing like Tower of Terror, Splash Mountain, or even Pirates. If you don’t like drops I wouldn’t let that deter you.
Is it scary?
Again, this is very subjective. I’m a pretty big chicken (it took me several rides to even keep my eyes open during the Haunted Mansion!), but I didn’t feel scared at all. You are trying to be captured by Kylo Ren and the Stormtroopers, so there might be a little element of fear, especially for young kids.
How long is the ride?
They are saying it is 18 minutes long, but due to the nature of the ride it can vary. You experience one part of the ride, then get moved to another part – sometimes there is a wait in between sections. From the moment our boarding group was called to when we got off the ride it took about 45 minutes, but I think that will vary based on how well the ride is running.
If you have any other questions please let me know – I’m happy to answer as much as I can! Rise of the Resistance was a unique, impressive, and exhilarating experience and I hope everyone gets the chance to try it eventually!
Will you be riding Rise of the Resistance?