No Extra Magic Hours or FastPass+ for Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance
When Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance opens in Hollywood Studios, it won’t offer FastPass+ or be included in Extra Magic Hours, which are two of the biggest perks Walt Disney World offers to guests staying in on-site hotels. In this post, we cover the details, why this is likely happening, and how to prepare.
That Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance will not offer FastPass+ ride reservations should come as little surprise. Disney has been pretty transparent on this point, so it’s really non-news at this point. We’re only mentioning it here because we keep receiving questions about FastPass+ availability (later in the post, we’ll cover when we anticipate it becoming available).
In fact, Disney has clearly indicated for months that Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge attractions do not and will not offer FastPass for the foreseeable future. However, both the Disneyland and Walt Disney World FAQs note that they “continually evaluate our operations and services in order to help provide a great Guest experience,” and the attractions were designed with FastPass in mind…
The latest development is a bigger blow, as Walt Disney World has stated that Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance will not be included in Extra Magic Hours at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. This will apply to both morning and evening Extra Magic Hours, and will Disney’s policy for the foreseeable/indefinite future.
Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance being excluded from Extra Magic Hours will undoubtedly come as a huge disappointment to many guests. Justifiably so, as many people have booked on-site hotel rooms this holiday season specifically with the expectation that it will afford them a competitive advantage with this blockbuster new attraction. (We’re in that boat, and aren’t exactly thrilled by this last minute announcement.)
Cynics might point to this as Walt Disney World setting the stage for an upcharge offering for priority access to Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge. However, Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run will continue to operate during Extra Magic Hours, as has been the case since its opening.
Walt Disney World has developed a penchant for upcharge offerings in the last few years, but we highly doubt this is the case here. (If that were the plan, the events would already be on the calendar.) Rather, we believe this is owing entirely to the reliability and uptime of Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance.
This new attraction is one of the most ambitious, advanced, and immersive attractions ever created by Walt Disney Imagineering. It will feature multiple ride systems (including Walt Disney World’s first trackless dark ride), with an overall time clocking in at around 15 minutes from start to finish.
Disney hasn’t been coy about sharing info about Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance or hyping it up; if you’re looking for detailed ride descriptions, they are readily available online. You won’t find any here as we prefer going into new experiences with fresh eyes, and have tried to the greatest extent possible to avoid spoilers with Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance. It’s been somewhat of a losing battle for this particular attraction.
While Disney is often overzealous with marketing hype around new additions, everything we’ve heard about Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance from more tempered sources suggests that here, the hype is real. Supposedly, this truly is as ambitious and spectacular as the marketing suggests.
Unfortunately, with that ambition also comes operational hiccups. Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance has a lot of ‘moving parts’ (so to speak), and getting the attraction firing on all cylinders (again, so to speak) is going to take some time. The same sources expressing excitement over the attraction have also express trepidation over its reliability. In other words, don’t be surprised for Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance to be up and down for its first several months.
A similar scenario played out with Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Orlando’s Islands of Adventure over the summer. Many Disney fans mocked Universal over this, contrasting it with the smooth opening operations of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge. Those same fans will likely find themselves eating crow once Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance debuts.
In fairness to both Universal and Disney, that mocking was silly and hypocritical even at the time. While Smugglers Run has a solid track record thus far, shaky starts are not uncommon with new theme park attractions. This includes new offerings at Walt Disney World, which has had issues with Avatar Flight of Passage and Frozen Ever After in the recent past, and a whole host of other rides prior to that.
We’re just hopeful the woes with Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance are along the lines of Frozen Ever After, which took only a few months to get running smoothly. That’s a lot better than Test Track, which had significant issues for years…even after its initial opening was delayed by years.
Although we have no credible basis for this concern, we’re also worried that Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance could end up like Indiana Jones Adventure. That’s another ambitious attraction that is fantastic today, but had several of its effects cut in the first few years after it opened. (The same has happened with Expedition Everest and several other attractions, as well.)
For this reason, we’d encourage fans to experience Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance as close to opening as possible. Obviously, long lines and downtime stink, but we’ll endure those if there’s the possibility of the ride experience being diluted to meet uptime goals. Again, our fear here could be entirely baseless–we haven’t heard anything that gives rise to this. We’re merely going off of past precedent.
While the Disneyland opening of Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance–which is scheduled to open in Batuu West on January 17, 2020–was delayed due to construction issues (and work needing to be redone), we haven’t heard of such problems with the Disney’s Hollywood Studios version.
To our knowledge, the attraction is on schedule with the land’s original “Late Fall 2019” opening date–everything else is Florida opened ahead of schedule rather than Rise of the Resistance being behind schedule. The problems here are entirely operational, and (frankly) to be expected of something this ambitious.
As for how to plan around this, we don’t have any great advice. If Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance lives up to the hype and generates strong word of mouth reviews, it’s going to have long lines–significantly longer than Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run. That’s when things are running smoothly.
Wait times will be exacerbated by downtime, and the unpredictability of that is going to cause a lot of headaches. Our preliminary advice is to “pack your patience” and don’t be surprised if the ride goes down and the queue is dumped at various points throughout the day. That will definitely cause frustration among guests, especially those who potentially wait several hours during the busy holiday weeks for, essentially, nothing.
Our expectation is that Extra Magic Hours will, essentially, amount to an extra hour wait for Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance. We anticipate that on-site guests will simply line up early for the attraction, spending an hour in line before park opening. Hopefully, Disney opens the queue at the start of Extra Magic Hours instead of guests just forming their own, unofficial line.
It’s difficult to offer any sort of conclusive strategy before Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance even debuts, but our initial recommendation would be to visit DHS on an Extra Magic Hours morning and line up towards the end of EMH. Sure, you’ll be behind a ton of other guests at that point, but you’ll still be in front of the general public entering the park at official opening time, and you’ll be able to accomplish other attractions with minimal waits.
This is the most efficient approach in terms of overall time saved, as well as balancing risk. There’s always the possibility that Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance will have a delayed opening (something that still happens with Test Track to this day), which means that getting in line at the start of Extra Magic Hours is an approach that puts all of your eggs in one basket.
As for when we expect the new Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge attractions to offer FastPass, it’s hard to say. In large part, that depends upon how crowds materialize once Rise of the Resistance opens. If it proves to be a huge draw, don’t expect FastPass+ to be available for either ride before Summer 2020. As we’ve noted in the past, standby-only effectively increases the capacity of the land, as the physical line helps absorb crowds.
Overall, it’s disappointing that on-site guests won’t have any leg-up with Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance. Regardless of the excuse, this is yet another sign that the On-Site Advantage is Disappearing at Walt Disney World. A little more advance notice would’ve been nice here, or Disney finding some way to assist on-site guests, especially during peak season when rooms are at their most expensive.
Nevertheless, we’re incredibly excited for Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance, and this latest development that it won’t be available during Extra Magic Hours doesn’t dull our enthusiasm in the least. It definitely adds another headache to the mix, but we’d rather see Imagineering swing for the fences and have to endure some growing pains in the process. If this attraction lives up to the hype, we think it’ll vindicate the land as a whole, hopefully winning over many critics in the process. We can’t wait!
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What are your expectations for the opening day, week, and month of Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance? Disappointed that it won’t be included in Extra Magic Hours? Do you agree or disagree with our thoughts here? Any questions we can help you answer? 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!
So it opened yesterday and for the past two days they have been letting people in the park at 6am to get in a boarding group and start riding. How is this going to work with EMH that are scheduled on Sunday if the ride isn’t open during EMHs. We are local and are going to try to get on it tomorrow before the sun rises LOL. Fingers crossed they are still letting people in early or my kids are going to be mad that I made them get up at 4am.
We are headed down first week of February hoping for low crowds!
Considering all the doom and gloom swirling about RotR’s reliability, I have to agree (with you Tom) that this is a booty-covering move. If RotR is ready to open at 8am, they’ll open it during EMH. If RotR is still working at 9pm, it will keep running during EMH. However, if it’s not able to run, Disney can point out that it wasn’t scheduled to be open during EMH anyway, so don’t go demanding refunds.
Since EMH seem to be limited at DHS, I’m not too upset. Do you think this will effect the possibility of early rope drops in the first few weeks?
With cellphones and the disney app, I just don’t get the need for a physical waiting line. Do you think Disney will ever get to the point where everyone will have a virtual line instead? How great would it be to see more lounging areas, have more time to browse stores or take in parades or shows and skip waiting in lines for hours. I realize that there will always be a need for a bit of a loading line and area just by the sheer volume and ride volume, but I can’t help but think that an expert in operations, crowd flow and data information could figure this out. I mean, we can already skip check in at the resort….
As you’ve touched upon, virtual queues displace guests to other areas of the park, so everyone is effectively in two places at once (virtually in line, and wherever they actually are within the park).
In order for this to be workable, theme parks need considerably more physical space. Every single Walt Disney World theme park already has issues with crowding, and were built at a time when attendance was significantly lower than it is today.
The only Disney theme park where I could see this working (right now) is Shanghai Disneyland. That park is absolutely massive, with a ton of space for crowds that have not yet materialized. (With that said, it was built that way for a reason, and with the expectation of significantly larger crowds in the future.)
Also of note Rise of resistance will not be included with the disney vip tour. I received a call today regarding this. Not pleased.
I’m going solo. Will a single rider line be available? Help
Do you think Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway will offer FastPass+ when that opens?
I saw a December 5, 2019 open date for ROTR in a commercial for Galaxy’s Edge at Frozen II today!
Wait NM of course that’s not news to you, Tom.
Can’t wait for the trip report 🙂 As always, tho, appreciate the warning for spoilers as I’m going to experience in Oct 2020
I’m disappointed with the fast pass system anyhow. I did book at the on site resort simply to be able to book fast passes for the rides I could not get on with the 30 day window. Apparently at exactly 0700 hrs on the first day I could book a fast pass (60 day mark of the first day of my stay) the popular rides like Avatar and Dwarfs mine train were still all booked up. I was hoping the extra hours would give me the value of paying double what a room would cost in Kississimmee.
you have to book those rides at the very end of your trip. remember people can book up to 10 days of a trip, so the days at the end of your trip are going to have more fp available.
This is exactly what I did for Flights of Passage. I booked it for the last day of my Thanksgiving trip and it worked out.
As always, thanks for the heads up and great advice! I hate this news, but genuinely appreciate all you do to keep us informed and help us plan. 🙂
Does anyone know what Disney’s policy is for one person in line reserving a spot for other members of their group? I am going to WDW in February with a group of five. I am wondering if it’s possible for one of us to stand in line for Rise of the Resistance, while the rest of the group enjoys the park during magic hours.
I don’t think there’s official “policy” on this that you’ll find written anywhere, but it’s definitely poor form that’ll catch the ire of those waiting behind you.
Having a kid need to use the restroom while in line is one thing; a single person saving spots for several others is another. (Of course, this is just my opinion–I’m not the “line police.”)
The queues are so long and intricate, good luck in trying to find your party.
Official policy at every other park for every other attraction is everyone waits together unless you have the handicap pass. It would be extremely rude for the rest of your group to just show up after everyone else has been waiting in line. If they want to ride, they need to wait in line.
I’m not sure that there is any official policy, but it is generally frowned upon by all. If everyone did this there would be no way to accurately estimate how long the wait is and all it does is make everyone else wait longer and get angry with you. There is also nothing more frustrating than a group of people weaving their way through the line as they meet up with their family at the front of it.
While waiting in line for Avatar a few months ago, I saw a woman and her child stopped by a cast member while weeving through the line to catch up to others who “saved their spot”. They were not allowed to advance any further and had to remain in their current place in line. They were told that their advanced party would have to wait for them if they all wanted to board the rides together. I have also seen this happen to others while at Magic Kingdom attractions at the various check points of the que.
This would be a big nope. If you have small children who can’t wait in line or ride the ride, you can hopefully use the rider swap system, which would be an officially sanctioned way of achieving what you are asking (for up to 3 people on the second ride). Having one person hold the place for 4 other people would be considered line cutting and could lead to consequences from the cast members or fights with the people in line who feel cheated.
I appreciate the honest assessment. I’m of the opinion it’s incredibly lame to not offer anything to ease the wait for RoTR for on site guests,
Galaxy’s edge needs this to be a home run. We finally got to experience it for ourselves this November. While I found the engineering wild, it fell short for my family. My kids still preferred Star Tours over Smugglers Run. The cantina was neat, but the kids found the blue milk gross. It kind of felt like the most elaborate mall I’d ever been to with not a whole lot to do unless your bankroll is limitless…
I loved your term of the most elaborate mall. I felt about the same. I was totally bored. Too many shops. Too much brown concrete making it hotter than AK and no place to sit down. I think GE is a one and done for me.
I agree Drew and DebC about elaborate mall. Maybe if I was a SW fan, I’d feel differently.
I am happy to hear RotR will have a dark ride element and ride time is 15 min rather than another short motion simulator ride. But I am in no rush to visit this ride until initial hiccups are worked out, wait times are reasonable or FP is offered. I hate long lines plus being stuck in a queue or on the ride itself because the ride still has kinks. I seem to experience breakdowns on new rides from Test Track in 1990s up until recently on Frozen Ever After.
“I’m of the opinion it’s incredibly lame to not offer anything to ease the wait for RoTR for on site guests”
I’m also of that opinion–and that this needs to be a home run.
I personally don’t agree with your assessment of SWGE, but enough people do that it suggests Disney has missed the mark thus far. I don’t see that being remedied by this ride alone–the land needs more entertainment to offset all of the space devoted to shopping.
I still think they could offer more “entertainment” within the shopping. The market would be the perfect place for some streetmosphere-type characters – some Batuu residents who aren’t simply the Cast Members working the stores who are in character and could be just milling about, “shopping,” and haggling with the shop-workers. I felt it needed a bit more of a lived-in feel, and some simple entertainment in the form of essentially anonymous characters would help a lot (I thought the Stormtroopers were the best entertainment, even though I did like the other characters, and we had a great few minute, very personal, interaction Vi Moradi).
There’s an app with all kinds of interactive games and activities. There’s also an ongoing story being played out and it’s easy to get involved with that. Each cast member has their own back story as well. Galaxy’s Edge is not just passive entertainment. Ones needs to get involved to get the most out of it.
“one needs to get involved to get the most out of it.”
^that’s fine for people who want to, but for the average guest, it’s not an unfair assessment to say the mark was very missed here. we visited in september. visually, it was stunning, and we liked smuggler’s run a lot, but even for our family that likes star wars on an intermediate level, it was overall a huge reach. not enough for kids (that’s where some entertainment can come in). the planet language was too much to try and understand. i happened upon a book thanks to someone’s fb comment, a book based on black spire outpost and the entire backstory of SWGE… i read it recently after visiting and it helped the entire thing make a whole lot more sense, but why should i have had to do that? if not for this fb comment, i wouldn’t even know about this book and that to me is a big mistake. not making the land based after an already existing place in SW canon was a swing and miss. this book i read should be a movie so people can see it and know what in the heck they are looking at and knowing about the places they are seeing. we saw no characters except a couple stormtroopers. there was no ongoing story anywhere to follow in person, none. i can see why people feel it’s a glorified mall.
Reading this made the 10 test old kid inside me feel better.
The old man that refuses to wait in longgggg lines. I’m a big Star Wars fan and the whole reason I’m going is because of the new SW Stuff, but I’d rather go do anything else than waste my time in a looooong line.
Apps are really nice to schedule FastPasses and ADR, however, seeing a family sit on their phones each absorbed in their apps is really sad as they are missing out on making memories together.
I just love how people are SO ready to believe the worst of Disney and especially Galaxy’s Edge without bothering to learn the details.
No, “Nama” … the app is not like Facebook or Instagram, where it takes up 99.9% of the users attention. It’s a role playing app, in which the player seeks out codes and transmissions, and finds information to complete “jobs.” Families and friends can play as a team, and collaborate with each other, choosing to support either the Resistance or the First Order, or to be Scoundrels. It’s a LARP on a grand scale.
Don’t be so cynical, and just check out the app before dunking on it.
Actually, never mind. Go ahead and hate SW: GE. Tell all your friends that it is awful, and to STAY AWAY. Then it won’t be so crowded for those of us who are willing to put forth the small effort to get the most out of it, and we don’t have to listen to the griping from those who just want mindless in-your-face entertainment.
I think not having Fastpass will be.a good thing as you speak of if the ride goes down 2-3 times a day or is totally shut down for the rest of the day. It would be a lot of rebooking of slots.
I would rather not have fastpass on all the rides. But that will never happen. As for the up charge idea. I can see it as a next step of Disney greed if demand continues and does not drop to the level of other popular lands.
I have zero issue with no FastPass+ being offered here (or anywhere else, for that matter). It speeds up the standby line, and on attractions with themed queues (which I assume will be the case here) the wait goes by pretty quickly so long as the line is regularly moving.
While I agree with your fastpass assessment, the fact still remains that for onsite guests not being given an early magic hour to gain the reward of early entry is nothing short of a Smack in the Face to on site Guests……..Plani and Simple Fowl on WDW, Maybe on site guests need there own Rise of Resistance!
The worst of it, is that there will only be one extra magic hour, one day (Sunday) each week for HS. So we won’t even be able to do MF:SR, explore the land or do any other HS attractions we had hoped to do during an EMH. No FP was as expected. Not including it for EMH is a disappointment, but we do understand the issue there. Disney not offering EMH for HS multiple times, if not every day, at least through the holidays is really a terrible decision and leaving a very bad taste with those who are already booked and otherwise committed to an onsite stay. It’s also a testament to how little their so called “guests” (otherwise known as $$$$) mean to them that they would wait until one week before the ride opens to announce this.
WTH! This is bogus. They are artificially creating more demand.
Honestly, I can picture morning EMH at DHS with every guest on property showing up and going to RotR. It makes me shudder. Even trying to navigate regular rope drop for headliners is the opposite of fun. With no FP+, I think we’ll plan to show up a 10AM or 3PM and wait 3 hours.
Disneyland began offering FP for Smugglers Smugglers Run last weekend. It really shortened the lines! Hopefully one is coming to WDW soon.
Huh? I am looking at the Disneyland app right now, and fastpass is NOT enabled for MFSR.