WW GOES TO WDW at Yesterland.com

Yes, I Rode Star Wars:
Rise of the Resistance


at Disney’s Hollywood Studios
Yes, I Rode Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

Photo by Werner Weiss, 2020

I only saw the “We Apologize” sign while leaving Disney’s Hollywood Studios at lunchtime. I had already successfully used the virtual queue process to ride Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance. The process worked. And the attraction impressed me.

This article is about my experience on Tuesday, January 14, 2020. It’s not about the attraction itself. The only slight spoiler here is a photo showing a ride vehicle at the end of the ride.

What is this article doing at Yesterland? There’s nothing “yester” about it—except that it’s about an experience a few days ago. It remains to be seen how long the virtual queue process continues.

And to my West Coast friends, enjoy Rise of the Resistance at Disneyland. I have no idea how the process works there.

Werner Weiss, Curator of Yesterland, January 17, 2020


Tuesday, January 14, 2020, was a foggy morning in Orlando. I would be joined by theme park consultant Bill Zanetti, who also teaches theme park design and management at the University of Central Florida.

The only way to experience Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance is to join what Disney calls a “boarding group,” so that was our primary goal. Getting a lower boarding group number rather than a higher one was our secondary goal. Lower numbers mean not having to to wait all day. High numbers can mean not getting on at all.

There are no FastPass+ reservations. There is no standby line.

Boarding groups are only for scheduling. You are not in some sort of actual group of people traveling together. The number of guests per boarding group has not been published. Boarding groups do not correspond to a specific time. The attraction has had frequent breakdowns and does not yet operate at full capacity. This is often the case for new attractions, especially ones as complex as this one. On different days, the same boarding group number could be called at very different times.

The Disney World app for IOS or Android makes it easy to join a boarding group—if you have configured everything properly ahead of time. Not every member of a family or group needs a smartphone with the app, but all members of the family/group must have their profiles and tickets (single-day, multi-day, or annual pass) linked.

My friend Bill and I had linked our accounts a few days earlier. We had played with the Disney World app to understand what we would need to do. We were ready!

5:50 a.m. — Bill picked me up at my hotel near SeaWorld. It was still dark.

6:10 a.m. — We arrived at the Disney’s Hollywood Studios parking lot.

6:15 a.m. — We went through security.

Yes, I Rode Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

Photo by Werner Weiss, 2020

The crowd after security

6:18 a.m. — We waited in a big crowd for the gates to open.

6:30 a.m. — The park gates opened and we made our way to the tap points (gate-less gates), with many people in front of us and behind us. Most guests headed either toward Grand Avenue or Toy Story Land. Bill and I headed away from the crowd.

Yes, I Rode Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

Photo by Werner Weiss, 2020

Heading to the tap points

6:45 a.m. — We wanted to avoid the possibility of an overburdened WiFi router. We entered Reel Vogue on Sunset Boulevard, which had very few people. Bill connected to Disney’s guest WiFi. I turned off WiFi so that I would connect with cellular data, just in case.

6:56 a.m. — We repeatedly went through the steps on the app, but it was still too early.

6:57 a.m. — There were announcements over the PA system that Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance was open and guests could now request a boarding group, but the announcements were premature.

7:00 a.m. — The app began accepting boarding group requests. Bill got in first, selected me as a linked guest, and completed the process. We were assigned boarding group 25.

Yes, I Rode Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

Photo by Werner Weiss, 2020

At Echo Lake, heading toward Grand Avenue

7:01 a.m. — We wandered around the park, walked onto Star Tours without a wait, wandered through Galaxy’s Edge, discovered that Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance was not yet operating, bought Ronto Morning Wraps at Ronto Roasters, walked to Toy Story Land, rode Slinky Dog Coaster (posted time 75 minutes, actual time 45 minutes), and wandered around some more.

Yes, I Rode Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

Photo by Werner Weiss, 2020

Walking onto Star Tours, with new destinations inspired by Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

Yes, I Rode Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

Photo by Werner Weiss, 2020

The line for Ronto Morning Wraps—easily skipped with mobile ordering

Yes, I Rode Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

Photo by Werner Weiss, 2020

Waiting for the ever-popular Slinky Dog Dash

Yes, I Rode Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

Photo by Werner Weiss, 2020

Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge from Slinky Dog Dash

Yes, I Rode Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

Photo by Werner Weiss, 2020

Soon, but not yet

9:30 a.m. — We received push notifications on our phones that boarding group 25 could now board. You have about two hours to board. We stopped by the Chinese Theater, where Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway will open March 4, 2020.

Yes, I Rode Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

Photo by Werner Weiss, 2020

The Grand Avenue entrance tunnel to Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge

Yes, I Rode Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

Photo by Werner Weiss, 2020

Helpful cast members—far less intimidating than First Order Stormtroopers

Yes, I Rode Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

Photo by Werner Weiss, 2020

Outside queue for Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance

9:40 a.m. — We walked through the ride queue without ever stopping for more than a minute. In a few minutes, we were on the Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance.

Yes, I Rode Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

Photo by Werner Weiss, 2020

Ride over

Success! We did it!

Was it worth getting up at 5:00 a.m. and playing the virtual queue game for Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance? Yes, I think so.

Yes, I Rode Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

Photo by Werner Weiss, 2020

No more fog

The fog burned off and it turned out to be a beautiful day.

Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance was not my only new attraction that day. The other was Lightning McQueen’s Racing Academy. It’s been around since March 31, 2019, but it was new to me.

Yes, I Rode Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

Photo by Werner Weiss, 2020

Hidden beyond Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster

Yes, I Rode Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

Photo by Werner Weiss, 2020

Animatronic Lightning McQueen and seamless wraparound video

Okay, Lightning McQueen’s Racing Academy isn’t quite as spectacular as Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance, but it’s kind of fun.

A few more comments about using the virtual queue process…

The virtual queue process has already changed a couple of times, and it’s likely to change again—probably becoming more conventional—when the initial surge of popularity has subsided and the attraction becomes more reliable. The great thing now is that you can essentially guarantee getting on the ride—without waiting in a long line, without having to be an on-site guest, and even without being a compulsive planner. However, you need to be an early riser on the day you decide to go to Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

Everyone must have a valid Walt Disney World entrance ticket to tap in, whether it’s a plastic ticket or a MagicBand. If you wait until the morning you go to pick up your tickets, you will probably run out of time.

There are cast members to assist guests without smartphones, so officially it’s still possible to join a bording group. But it’s easy to imagine running out of time while the cast members are helping other guests.

Check the opening time for Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Although this article is about a day when the park opened at 7:00 a.m., that could change.

There is no advantage to being inside the park earlier than other guests. Everyone has an equal chance at 7:00 a.m. But don’t cut it too close. Allow for crowds and unforeseen delays. I don’t know when all boarding groups were gone on January 14, but I would not be surprised if it happened within a few minutes of 7:00 a.m.

You can only get a boarding group after your ticket or MagicBand has tapped into the park. The system is not based on location awareness, so you cannot get a boarding group in the parking lot or even just outside the entrance, nor can you send just one person in for multiple people.

There was verbiage on the app that boarding groups 114 and higher would only be called if all other boarding groups have been called back.

You can now ride Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance only once per day.

May the Force be with you!


Click here to post comments at MiceChat about this article.


Swan & Dolphin Monorail?
Epcot Wish List, Part 3
Home


© 2020 Werner Weiss — Disclaimers, Copyright, and Trademarks

Updated December 17, 2020.