In a curious development, several readers contacted us indicating that they were able to secure Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance boarding groups from outside Walt Disney World this morning. In this post, we’ll cover the details and offer some commentary.
Normally, the My Disney Experience app validates that you’ve entered Disney’s Hollywood Studios for the day before allowing you to join the virtual queue. If you haven’t tapped in, you can go through the initial motions of joining a boarding group, but receive an error message instead of the confirmation screen.
Because milliseconds matter, we’ve been advising readers in our FAQ & Ride Guide for Star Wars Rise of the Resistance to practice at home. We are far from alone in offering this tip–it’s good advice! As a result, we’d estimate that tons of people outside of Disney’s Hollywood Studios are attempting to score a boarding pass on a daily basis…
Well, today there was no validation that guests had entered Disney’s Hollywood Studios when attempting the boarding pass dash in the My Disney Experience app. People were able to obtain boarding groups from anywhere. Not just in another theme park at Walt Disney World, but literally anywhere in the world.
Here are a some of the anecdotes we’ve received from readers:
“HELP! I just got boarding group 13! Only problem: I’m sitting in my bedroom in Minnesota!! I tried the timing out at 7am CST just to see if it would work (I’ve got time date screen shots to prove this). I have tickets linked to my account, but we don’t leave for Disney for another 3 weeks. What should I do? I feel like I need to tell someone. How could this happen?” –Gabe
Gabe was also gracious enough to share a screenshot reflecting the 7 am CST boarding group he obtained while sitting at home in Minnesota:
An hour or so later (presumably while he was still in Minnesota), Gabe was called back to ride. Here are a couple more comments we’ve received thus far…
“We’re headed to WDW next week and have been practicing the process to score a ride on ROTR while we’re there. I’m writing to share my experience from this morning.. Today, moments before the crack of 8 AM, from my home here in the Maine woods, I launched the WDW app, hit ROTR Find Out More, hit Join a Boarding Group, checked in our party of two and, lo and behold… the next screen declared I had scored (back up) group 89!! What?? How could that possibly have happened?!? They’re calling for heavy wet snow today in my neck of the woods, so I doubt we’ll get to Orlando in time to ride .. but we’ll be there next week!! Have you heard of this surprising result happening before? Has someone, from hundreds of miles away, managed to scale the WDW ROTR wall and score a boarding group? Would love to hear your thoughts on this. (Note: I do have a screen shot of this apparition). Lastly, I thank you and Sarah for your valuable, insightful (well written) blog, as I’ve learned so much from you both.” –Cynde
“Tom….Big problem with ROTR today….People not in park were assigned BG’s., including myself……….several people on one of the forums i was reading had same thing happen” –Mike
If you have similar reports, we’d encourage you to share in the comments below. (Just for fun, include where you are in the world.) We’d also really like to hear from guests inside Disney’s Hollywood Studios today (February 26, 2020), as we can only imagine the disappointment and lines at the Guest Experience Team tents.
We’re also curious if/when/how Walt Disney World might release more boarding groups later today. A good percentage of guests won’t possibly be able to use redeem their spot in the virtual queue, since it’s sorta hard to catch a last-minute flight from Minnesota! Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance thus should get through all primary and backup groups, barring major downtime later today.
Some of you might speculate that this is a permanent change, and is occurring so that guests don’t potentially waste their time entering Disney’s Hollywood Studios. After all, this would mean on-site guests can try to score an elusive boarding group while lying in bed at Caribbean Beach or Art of Animation, and only take the Skyliner over to Disney’s Hollywood Studios if they’re successful.
With the recent crowds and chaos (read our Disney’s Hollywood Studios Hours: This Isn’t Workingfor more insight into that), this would theoretically be an improvement in the guest experience in the mornings at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Fewer guests would arrive, and the limited attraction lineup around the park would see lower wait times–among other things.
That’s one theory. We doubt it, though. Although Walt Disney World hasn’t released any official statement about this–and almost certainly won’t–we strongly believe that this was a glitch or error. It’s possible Disney IT is in the midst of tweaking the process and unintentionally pushed this change. Either way, we would not expect a repeat of this scenario tomorrow.
The problem caused by not validating theme park admission is that it’d significantly open the pool of guests potentially competing for boarding groups. As we stated in the above This Isn’t Working post, Walt Disney World needs to shrink that pool to avoid this becoming a lottery.
Expanding the day-of pool would lead to a precipitous increase in disgruntled guests within the park, and lower satisfaction among attendees. There’s definitely an argument to be made for expanding this pool, but that would necessarily entail shifting the timing of the virtual queue entry process. It’d need to be at least a day in advance.
At several points in the hundreds of comments to the This Isn’t Working post, we advocated for shifting the virtual queue to the FastPass+ infrastructure. From our perspective, that’s ideal. Use the same 60/30-day priority booking windows, potentially release inventory over time, but retain the boarding groups (rather than switching to return windows).
In other words, we think a change is due for how Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance distributes capacity. It wouldn’t surprise us if one is on the horizon after Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway opens and Walt Disney World has a couple of weeks to observe crowd flow and attendance trends. However, this is almost certainly not that change. If this is anything other than a glitch, it would be shocking. We’ll continue to monitor the situation and update this story later today (or tomorrow morning) as we learn anything new.
If you’re planning on visiting the new land, you’ll also want to read our Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge Guide. This covers a range of topics from basics about the land and its location, to strategically choosing a hotel for your stay, recommended strategy for the land, and how to beat the crowds. It’s a good primer for this huge addition. As for planning the rest of your trip, we have a thorough Walt Disney World Planning Guide.
Were you in Disney’s Hollywood Studios this morning? Have any observations about guest reactions today? Did you accidentally score a boarding group from home? Do you agree with our assessment that this was probably an error? Or, do you disagree with our assessment and think this was probably deliberate? Have any theories about the future of the virtual queue for Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance? Any questions? Hearing your feedback—even when you disagree with us—is both interesting to us and helpful to other readers, so please share your thoughts below in the comments!