Wondering what it’s like to join the virtual queue for Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance, walk-through the modified line, and do the attraction with the ‘temporary abnormal’ health safety measures at Walt Disney World? In this post, we’ll show you with photos and details about our latest experience doing the Disney’s Hollywood Studios headliner.
After a 4-month hiatus, we’re absolutely elated to be back with a Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance ride report, which is a time-honored Disney Tourist Blog tradition. Or rather, was from last December through this March. For those four months, these weekly reports were a DTB institution, generating a lot of reader interest and impassioned comments.
Returning to write one is almost like being transported back in time. Personally, I yearn for a return to that simpler time when this was the most controversial thing happening at Walt Disney World. All of that seems trivial now–to the point that it’s hardly worth arguing about whether the system is fair. (My brief view: it’s an improvement, but still imperfect.)
Our first day back, we weren’t in the park for the 10 am drawing our first day, and left before the 1 pm one.
Upon returning, we tried the 4 pm release, but received an error message.
From what we understand, this is pretty common for the afternoon releases, as far less capacity has been allocated to those drops. Your odds are better at 10 am, or in the afternoon if the attraction has had minimal downtime before lunchtime.
The following day, we only tried the 4 pm release.
However, my name was not listed during the process, which is a (new) known glitch. I added only Sarah and then we went to the Guest Experience Team and they were able to add me within about ~15 seconds.
This won’t be possible for solo visitors, but if you’re a multi-guest party, just quickly select members of your party that you see and go to the Guest Experience Team to have them fix it. Don’t hesitate. Milliseconds matter. Since each party receives their own ride vehicle, doing this has no impact on attraction capacity. For boarding group purposes, a party of one is the same as a party of 8.
Even after being called back to the virtual queue, we were apprehensive about actually doing Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance. However, we wanted to be able to share the full experience…and if we’re being honest, we also just really wanted to do it again. This attraction never ceases to amaze.
Our apprehensions revolved around the frequent ride breakdowns. We’ve literally sat in line for Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance for hours at a time on multiple occasions when the attraction has broken down in the past. That’s never ideal, but especially not now.
Things started out well. None of the outdoor queue was being used (although that’s not our primary concern, anyway) and we didn’t meet up with the actual line until halfway through the indoor queue.
Once there, physical distancing was being observed by every guest we saw, the markers were thoughtfully placed, and plexiglass barriers had been installed in spots where distancing would otherwise be impracticable.
At this point, we had yet to hear how Walt Disney World was handling breakdowns with modified operations. Our hope is that they’d dump the queue pretty quickly, but we hadn’t yet heard whether that was the case.
Prior to entering the queue, we agreed that we’d bail if there was an indoor stoppage of more than 10 minutes. This might end up being difficult and require breaking physical distancing to pass other guests to exit, but those fleeting encounters would still be far preferable to standing in the same spot for prolonged periods of time.
This might seem extreme, and maybe it is a bit overly cautious. However, it’s important to remember that physical distancing, face masks, and in-queue barriers are measures for reducing risk of spread. None of those things alone or collectively are wholly effective in eliminating transmission.
Face masks provide a critical barrier, reducing the number of infectious viruses in exhaled breath, especially of asymptomatic people and those with mild symptoms. While they substantially impede and reduce airborne viral concentrations, they don’t eliminate these entirely.
Aerosols still remain airborne in confined indoor spaces for hours and accumulate over time. Time exposed and concentration are factors in transmission, which is why such a prolonged stoppage is concerning even with prophylactic measures.
As an example, think of being around a smoker in an unventilated room versus passing a smoker outdoors. (For more info, see generally this Science Magazine article.)
Thankfully, we ran into no issues with the Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance queue backing up or stopping. To the contrary, the entire indoor queue moved smoothly up until the first pre-show room.
The parties both in front of and behind us were very mindful of physical distancing, which also helped. It ended up being one of the best runs we’ve had on the attraction.
However, it’s worth noting here that our experience is not necessarily indicative of what you’ll encounter. Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance is still breaking down. A lot. Our friends over at BlogMickey experienced such a breakdown yesterday while in line, and the queue was not dumped as quickly as it should’ve been.
We sincerely hope that Walt Disney World corrects this. In terms of risk, this is far worse than guests eating and walking outdoors (not that either are ideal), and the latter is guest behavior that Disney has addressed. To Disney’s credit, they’ve been quick to make adjustments, so hopefully that happens here.
When getting to the first pre-show, each party is assigned a number that will be relevant in the briefing room and subsequent scenes.
WARNING: Minor spoilers of Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance prior to the actual ride-through portion of the attraction follow…
Guests then stand on this same number in the briefing room as well as the outdoor scene that follows, as well as aboard the Intersystem Transport Ship.
On the day we did Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance, Cast Members were not filling all slots. This was presumably being done to prevent backups.
Aboard the Intersystem Transport Ship, each party again has their own space with more than adequate physical distancing.
This proceeds as normal, with the First Order directing each party to exit one by one.
Not only is this done with physical distancing in mind, but also with thematic integrity. As always, the First Order Cast Members really help make this attraction.
During Cast Member preview days, there were photos of the hangar bay backing up with nowhere for people to go.
This was quickly remedied and, to our knowledge, has not been an issue since. There was no one else in this room when we exited the ITS, and even the next hallway was totally devoid of guests.
Upon being assigned our slots for interrogation, First Order Cast Members made some hilarious and in-character quips about hand sanitizer.
Kudos here–this is something that couldbreak theme or the illusion of the experience, but they integrated it seamlessly. (It truly cannot be overstated how much of an asset these Cast Members are to Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance.)
In the interrogation room, there’s once again hand sanitizer (far left corner).
You’ll be in here with only one other party. In our case, that meant only one other person. No markers on the floor, but plenty of space for physical distancing.
Each party receives their own First Order Fleet Transport ride vehicle.
And that’s it. The rest of the attraction is as normal. Only one minor effect was not working on our ride-through (and I think that might actually be turned off), but you wouldn’t notice that if you’ve never done it.
Ultimately, this was an incredibly satisfying experience on Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance and we are really glad that we opted to do it. The coolest parts, from our perspective, were seeing how the Cast Members adapted to the new health safety measures. Not only did they seamlessly integrate them into the attraction, but they made things that should’ve been impediments and turned them into assets.
If it’s your first time experiencing Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance, the coolest part is obviously not going to be that, but the overarching experience itself. And what an experience that is! As before, we’d highly recommend making every effort and jumping through every hoop in order to have a chance at riding Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance. While the potential for downtime and being stuck in one spot of the queue is concerning, you can always remove yourself from any uncomfortable situation if it comes to that. All things considered, we highly recommend doing Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance if you can. To increase your chances, consider making Park Pass reservations at Disney’s Hollywood Studios for two days–you can always switch one to Epcot at the last minute, but going the opposite direction might be more difficult.
Have you been done the new multi-drop Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance boarding pass dash? At which time (10 am, 1 pm, or 4 pm) did you have success? What were your thoughts on the modified experience? Any breakdowns or queue stoppages? Will you be attempting to join the new/modified virtual queue at Disney’s Hollywood Studios? Do you plan on arriving at rope drop, or will you utilize a late arrival strategy? Do you agree or disagree with our assessment? 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!