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Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance Survival Guide – What You Need to Know Before You Arrive During the Phased Reopening

You can now visit a galaxy far, far away at Disney’s Hollywood Studio. Inside Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, you’ll find the most technically advanced attraction Disney has ever built. People are going crazy over this amazing immersive experience and it is the most in-demand attraction at Walt Disney World. Turns out fighting the First Order isn’t as simple as it seems. You can’t just show up anytime and get in line – you need to join a boarding group. Want to experience Rise of the Resistance? Catch everything you need to know about how you can enjoy Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance below.





 

1 – The Basics the Virtual Queue and the Boarding Group

Walt Disney World is utilizing a virtual queue for entry into Star War: Rise of the Resistance, even during the phased reopening where attendance levels are being kept low. At this time, a boarding group is required to access the Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance attraction. A boarding group is not required to access Galaxy’s Edge or Millennium Falcon: Smuggler’s Run. This means that rather than allowing people to line up like most other attractions, you get in line virtually through the My Disney Experience App or with the help of the Guest Relations team. You use your My Disney Experience App to join a “Boarding Group.” When your group is called to return to the attraction, you’ll receive a push notification from the app. You’ll have up to one hour from the time of the alert to go to the entrance of Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance, so there’s no need to rush right over. Once there, you’ll be able to enter the attraction. Sounds easy. Right? Well, mostly yes. We’ve learned a few things by visiting Disney’s Hollywood Studios many times to gain access to Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance. The following is our guide to give you the best chance to ride Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance during your Walt Disney World vacation.

2 – Download the My Disney Experience App Before You Arrive

The first thing you want to do before your arrival is to make sure you have Walt Disney World apps installed on your phone or “datapad.” If you haven’t already, you’ll want to download the My Disney Experience App. Not only is this app a must for any Walt Disney World vacation, but the app will also give you updates on the current attraction statuses and allow you to join a boarding party for Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance. You’ll want to enable notifications in your settings to receive important updates during your vacation.

Note that if you do not have a smartphone, you can visit a Guest Experience Team kiosk to access the virtual queue and join a boarding party. You can check the app or in-park signs to see which boarding group is currently being admitted. You can also visit any Guest Experience Team kiosk at Disney’s Hollywood Studios for questions and assistance. 





 

3 – Finalize Your “Family & Friends” list on the My Disney Experience App

Before your trip, in your My Disney Experience App, make sure that each member of your party has a profile. If guests are over 13 years old, they can set up their own free account and complete a friend request to connect with you so that you can add each other to reservations and plans.  If guests don’t have an interest in an account or aren’t old enough to manage their own, you are able to add them as a friend and manage their profile yourself. Having everyone in your party connected in the app is essential for the virtual queue. You will need to quickly choose your boarding party and you will need everyone to be set up in the app before you arrive. Click here for help on adding Family & Friends in My Disney Experience.  

4 – You’ll Need a Disney Park Pass Reservation

If you’re like most Walt Disney World guests, you’ll want to visit Disney’s Hollywood Studios once or twice during your vacation. During the phased reopening, you need a Disney Park Pass to enter a Disney Park. How many times you can visit will likely depend on park availability. Just be sure to get your park reservation as soon as you book your vacation. Disney Resort guests have the best availability options when it comes to park reservations, but Disney’s Hollywood Studios is the park that will fill up to capacity first. You don’t want to miss making your reservations and visiting this park. 

5 – You Have Two Chances to Join a Boarding Party

Boarding groups are limited and will run out. During the phased reopening, is Disney offering two different times to join the virtual queue. The two windows are at 7:00 am and 1:00 pm. A boarding pass does not guarantee that you will ride the attraction. Not all groups may be called so understand that you may not experience the attraction.

6 – You No Longer Need to Be in the Park for the 7:00 am Opening of the Virtual Queue

Disney recently updated the process for joining the Virtual Queue. This process began on December 20, 2020. Here is how it works:

  • Guests with a valid ticket or pass and a Disney Park Pass Reservation for Disney’s Hollywood Studios will be able to access the virtual queue system starting 7 a.m. on the day of their park reservation to check for an available boarding group. This can be done before you leave your Resort hotel or wherever else you happen to be nearby at that time.
  • A second round of virtual queue inventory will still be released at 1 p.m., to anyone who wasn’t already able to join a boarding group earlier in the day. Do note that for the 1:00 pm opening, guests still must be in Disney’s Hollywood Studios to access the virtual queue in the My Disney Experience app. That means as long as you have had your ticket scanned and you are physically in the park, you can join a boarding group. Also, everyone in your party needs to be with you, so everyone needs to get up early and arrive together!
  • For people who receive a later boarding time or are waiting for the second round of virtual queue inventory, we encourage them to take their time in getting to the park. Go back to sleep, have breakfast, check out the pool and relax a bit before journeying over to Disney’s Hollywood Studios.
  • When Park Hoping, guests visiting from another theme park will not be able to request to join the virtual queue.

7 – Using the My Disney Experience App When the Window Opens

At the different times the window opens, the virtual queue for Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance will open. The Virtual Queue fills up within seconds–even under 10 seconds. You need to be ready and fast. 

Here is a summary of our recommendations for joining at 7:00 am.

  1. Disconnect from park or resort WiFi if you are worried about connection issues.
  2. Have the app open and waiting for the virtual queue to open at 7:00 am and 1:00 pm.
  3. On the homepage of the app, scroll down to the “Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance-Request to Access with Virtual Queue” and click “join.”
  4. On the next page, then click the “Join Boarding Group” button. 
  5. Once you can “Join Boarding Group,” you’ll confirm the people in your party. Disney now has everyone with park admission and a park reservation for that day already checked off. It doesn’t hurt to quickly look over and make sure everyone in your party has the checkmark. But be quick–how long you stay on this page will likely determine if you get a boarding pass or not. 
  6. You’ll need to click “join” one more time. This is what secures your boarding passes.
  7. Finally, you’ll receive the boarding group number. Click on “My Status” to see your group number. (See photo below). 
  8. Wait to be called to enjoy the attraction.

A reminder that joining a boarding group does not guarantee the ability to experience Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance. The ride may go down for some time, and not all groups may be called. That’s another reason to get there early to get an early boarding group. 

Joining the Virtual Queue in the My Disney Experience App

9 – Why Do the Boarding Groups Still Fill Up So Quickly?

With the reduced capacity in the park during the phased reopening, you would think that you would have a better chance of getting to ride Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance, but that is not the case. Disney Cast Member Laurel Slater explains:

As you’ve also heard, new health-and-safety measures include limiting theme park attendance and implementing new measures to promote physical distancing. This includes requiring extra space between groups in queues and on attraction vehicles. With all of this in mind, we are not able to accommodate as many people on Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance as we could before we implemented physical distancing.

Even though Disney added plastic screens to the attraction this fall and increased capacity slightly, it is still extremely difficult to get boarding passes.

10 – Backup Boarding Groups

Due to the incredible popularity of Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance, Disney will continue to distribute backup boarding groups after the initial planned groups have been filled. Backup boarding groups will only be called if all of the initial planned boarding groups have been called back, and there is capacity for more riders that evening. If Disney is able to accommodate boarding groups that evening, guests will be notified through the My Disney Experience app by a push notification (if enabled).

Note that backup boarding groups differ from day to day. It simply varies from day to day based on the groups. Disney does not release on how many people are in each boarding group. 

11 – Waiting for Your Boarding Group to be Called

While you’re waiting for your boarding group to be called, you can enjoy the rest of Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Grab some breakfast, ride an attraction, or explore Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge. At Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, you’ll explore Black Spire Outpost on the planet of Batuu. Batuu is a far-flung destination along the galaxy’s Outer Rim, on the frontier of Wild Space – the uncharted region beyond all known star systems. The planet is home to Black Spire Outpost, an infamous port for smugglers, traders, and adventurers wishing to avoid any unnecessary … entanglements with the First Order. When you arrive at Black Spire Outpost, you will come across aliens, droids, and other inhabitants of this planet as you search for rare and unique goods, discover unusual food and drink, or join a crew seeking adventures. Along the way, you may encounter some familiar faces, including Rey, Chewbacca, or even Supreme Leader Kylo Ren and his Stormtroopers.

While waiting for your group to be called, you can check your My Disney Experience App for the current boarding groups being called. There are also signs posted throughout the park that show the current groups. If you have enabled push notifications on your phone, you’ll receive an alert when your group is called. 

The time when a group is called will vary from day to day. The app now includes an estimated return time, which is really helpful when trying to decide what to do next. 

You have a one-hour window to go to Star War: Rise of the Resistance once your group is called. On most days, this should give you enough time to finish what you are doing and then head over to the attraction. Also, be aware that you can leave the park if you wish. You don’t have to stay in the park. Just keep in mind the one-hour window to return. You don’t want to miss your boarding group!

On the left: confirmed boarding group with the estimated return time. On the right: notification that you are ready to board.

12 – Enjoy Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance

When your boarding group is called and you are ready to ride, head to the attraction. When arriving at Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge from the Grand Avenue entrance, Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance is the first thing you’ll come upon on your left-hand side. You’ll see plenty of cast members there to guide you. You’ll need your ticket or Magic Band out to be scanned to enter the queue. Once inside the queue, wait times will vary. Our wait for the first pre-show was about 25 minutes. Because of the length of the attraction, our whole experience, from the moment we stepped into the queue to the time we exited, was about 49 minutes!

Click here for our full review of Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance.

13 – Final Thoughts & Recommendations

Overall, we’re really happy with the virtual queue. We’ve used it many times and have found it helpful. The process gives you time to enjoy the rest of the park without having to wait in a long line. I would much rather have that time to enjoy the park than wait in a line. Once our group was called, we waited about 25 minutes inside the attraction. Other than the stress getting into the boarding party, overall it’s a good process. 

There is no word on how long Disney will utilize the virtual queue or when they might open a standby line for Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance. So for now, may the Force be with you as you enjoy Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance.



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About Cindy E. Nykamp

After friends and family made them their go-to people for Walt Disney World advice, Cindy and Chad launched DisneyLists.com in August 2015 to share their knowledge and love of Disney. Cindy wears many hats for DisneyLists.com. As a content creator, she has written over six hundred articles providing news, tips, planning, and more, for trips to Walt Disney World, Disneyland, and Disney Cruise Line to our followers. She directs a team of authors to bring our fans up-to-date information so that they can have the best Disney vacation experience. Cindy manages DisneyLists.com's Instagram account, sharing photos and videos to bring some Disney magic into our followers' feeds. She is also our chief photographer and has her photos featured on the official Walt Disney World Instagram account. Finally, Cindy regularly represents DisneyLists.com at Disney media events. While attending these events, she gets an insider's view of all the new things that have come to Disney Parks and Disney Cruise Line and passes this information and tips to our followers.