Star Wars Rise of Resistance Disneyland Strategy Guide

Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance is Disneyland’s most popular attraction, with both Southern California locals and tourists competing for coveted boarding passes to its virtual queue. This ride guide will answer frequently asked questions, and step-by-step app strategy for the Galaxy’s Edge E-Ticket. (Updated April 26, 2021.)

This mega guide might seem like overkill, but the virtual queue for Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance has been filling up in less than one minute some mornings at Disneyland, and that’s the only way to ride. That’s right–there’s no standby line, nor is there FastPass or MaxPass for Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance. 

Meaning that if you aren’t up early, don’t follow the right steps, and have a good strategy, you probably will not be riding the park’s most popular rides. As we cover in our spoiler-free Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance Review, this is one of Imagineering’s all-time greatest feats. It’s absolutely worth the effort. We’ve witnessed countless guests leaving Disneyland with dejected faces each morning upon the realization that they won’t be able to ride. Read this, and avoid becoming one of them…

Note that this has been updated for the post-reopening changes to Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance at Disneyland. The new procedure is the virtual queue will have two openings: at 7 am and at 12 pm. For the 7 am distribution time, guests must have a theme park reservation for Disneyland. This is before the park opens, so obviously you won’t be required to be inside Disneyland–you could be literally anywhere on earth, the only requirement is that you have a valid theme park reservation for Disneyland. Guests with Disney California Adventure reservations are not be eligible for the 7 am distribution time, regardless of whether they have Park Hopper tickets.

At noon, the Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance virtual queue will open again. In order to be eligible for the 12 pm virtual queue distribution, guests must have already entered Disneyland or Disney California Adventure and have a Park Hopper ticket (if in DCA). Even though Park Hopping guests are eligible to join the Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance virtual queue at noon, they won’t be able to Park Hop into Disneyland until 1pm. As with Walt Disney World, entering one of the parks is what “unlocks” the second virtual queue, so if you leave for a midday hotel break or lunch in Downtown Disney, you’ll still be eligible so long as you already entered one of the parks.

With that out of the way, here’s strategy we recommend to join Disneyland’s virtual queue for Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance, followed by answers to frequently asked questions about the attraction. The first section assumes some prior knowledge about Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, so if any of it is over your head, start with the FAQ.

As with all of our posts about Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance, this FAQ & Strategy Guide is entirely spoiler-free, save for photos from one pre-ride scene that featured so heavily in Disneyland’s marketing that you couldn’t possibly have avoided it. Otherwise, the photos here are Disneyland app screenshots or photos from the queue and elsewhere in Disneyland and Disney California Adventure…

Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance Boarding Pass Dash

This section will offer a couple of the best approaches for scoring a boarding pass to Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance at Disneyland. To start with, make sure every competent adult or child who has a smart phone downloads the latest version of the Disneyland app.

Following this, everyone needs to add in all tickets among your party members to their account. To do this, go to the “Tickets & Passes” button on your profile page, click the plus button, and scan. Be sure to delete any tickets for friends or family who have not scanned into Disneyland the day you’re trying for a boarding pass. Deleting is critical–you can always add them back again later.

Next, it’s time to optimize to ensure your timing is accurate and your phone and internet connection are as fast as possible. This might sound like overkill, but milliseconds matter. We’d recommend doing a quick speed test a few minutes before it’s time to join the virtual queue. Anything at or above 50 Mbps should be sufficient, but the higher the better. If necessary, move around to get away from other people or increase your speed to that threshold.

Make sure your phone is fully updated and force close all apps, including the Disneyland app shortly before it’s time to join the virtual queue. Double-check the time on your phone or watch against time.gov, which is what Disneyland uses for opening the virtual queue. These three simple steps can often be the difference between success and failure!

Everyone in your party should now attempt the following strategy. A good course of action is having half your party try Option A and half try Option B. (Note that these two approaches were tested extensively pre-closure. There likely will be minor changes to the process post-reopening. We’ll update again soon to reflect those once they’re known.)

Option A: Close the Disneyland app completely, and do not launch it until 4-7 seconds until park opening time (depending upon your phone’s load speed–the goal is for the app to finish loading the second Disneyland officially opens).

On the Disneyland app home page, click the “Find Out More” button under Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance – Access by Boarding Group.

Hopefully, the “Join Boarding Group” button on the next screen will already be red. If it’s still grey, immediately click the “My Status” button.

From this screen, the “Join a Boarding Group” button should be clickable. If it’s not, pull down to refresh. If that doesn’t work, hit the back button and try again. Repeat as necessary.

Option BKeep the Disneyland app open, and right at official park opening click the “Find Out More” button, followed by the “Join Boarding Group” button if it’s red. If it’s not, hit back, the “Find Out More” and so on until the button is red. This is essentially a force refresh as opposed to a passive one.

Once you’ve successfully clicked one of the activated boarding group buttons, the next screen will display all members of your party, who will already be checked. If someone is checked who has not entered the park that day, you need to uncheck them to prevent an error message on the next screen. (Hence the suggestion to delete tickets above.)

Then hit the blue “Join a Boarding Group” button.

The member of your party who is successful will receive a confirmation. Everyone else will receive an “Not So Fast! Already in Boarding Group” error message with the option to remove everyone.

There is absolutely zero downside to everyone in your party trying to join a boarding group so long as the steps are properly followed here and they add everyone in your party. It’s all upside–whoever has the fastest fingers and app will secure your party the lowest boarding group!

We prefer these strategies as opposed to simply waiting for the “Join Boarding Group” button to turn red (which is Disneyland’s official recommendation) because there’s often a delay in waiting for the app to passively refresh. Based upon our experience, it’s slightly staggered with some guests seeing it 30-60 seconds before others. You could get lucky via this route, but you are more likely to be unlucky–and seconds make a huge difference here.

For what it’s worth, we have had the most success with Option A. With that approach, we’ve scored Boarding Groups 7, 13, 25, and 43. With Option B, we’ve snagged Boarding Groups 21 and 63. We have never been shut out entirely, nor were any of the above back-up boarding groups.

Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance FAQ

Some of your advice conflicts with what Cast Members at Disneyland told us. 

Not really a question, but we’ll roll with it. We are aware of this, and nonetheless stand by our advice.

You are welcome to disregard anything here and defer to Cast Members. All we will say is that our methods have had a 100% success rate for us, whereas we’ve heard from many disappointed guests who were shut out or ended up in a backup boarding group by following the official party line.

What is the virtual queue for Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance?

The virtual queue is the sole system for accessing Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance.

This is a same-day reservation system like FastPass or MaxPass (both of which are temporarily suspended), but it is the exclusive method for experiencing the new attraction, and can only be booked via the Disneyland app. The ride does not have a standby line.

What are boarding groups for Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance?

Boarding groups are how Disneyland organizes guests into groups when it’s their turn to ride. Think of these as akin to FastPass/MaxPass return times, but minus the fixed window.

For example, rather than having a set 1-2 pm return time, you might be in boarding group 30. Your return time is not specified in advance, but rather, based upon how quickly the attraction cycles the guests through who are in front of you in the virtual queue. (Plus how many or few times it breaks down.)

What time do we need to arrive to Disneyland? 

Due to the new 7 am virtual queue distribution time, this question is no longer relevant for the purposes of Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance. You can score a boarding pass from home or your hotel room.

For reasons unrelated to Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance, we still recommend getting to Disneyland at least 30 minutes before park opening. It’s always good to beat the crowds by rope dropping Fantasyland!

Do we need to be inside Disneyland to join the noon virtual queue?

Also no.

You only have to enter the park–you don’t need to stay. Proximity is irrelevant. After you’ve entered, you can go over to Disney California Adventure, Downtown Disney, back to your hotel, or wherever. If you want Starbucks, you’re better off leaving and walking to one of the other locations because the line will be far shorter.

Should we use Disneyland’s WiFi to book boarding passes at noon? 

Definitely not.

Disneyland’s WiFi is about as reliable as AOL dial-up from the 90s, and whatever cell data provider you have will work better. That’s right, even AT&T.

Is there anywhere in Disneyland that’s typically better or worse for cell service? 

There are a few dead zones in Disneyland; most notably deep in Tomorrowland, Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, and parts of Adventureland. Also, several queues (Indiana Jones Adventure, Soarin, and Space Mountain are the biggest offenders).

We’d also avoid being around too many people when attempting to join the virtual queue. Service can become spotty in front of Sleeping Beauty Castle when that area is congested.

Which day(s) of the week are the best and worst for doing Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance? 

Due to the elimination of Annual Passes at Disneyland, the difference is no longer going to be as significant as previously.

Nevertheless, Mondays through Thursdays are the best days to visit, followed by Fridays. On all of these days, you’re more likely to encounter a smaller crowd and one that skews more towards tourists. The second part of this is important because many tourists won’t do their research and will be clueless about how to do this. Disneyland locals are generally much more savvy, and as such, are more formidable “competition” in the boarding pass dash.

Can we get more than one boarding pass per day?

No.

Is there a separate virtual queue to enter Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge? 

No.

Do reservations for Savi’s Workshop, Oga’s Cantina, or Droid Depot get us spots in the virtual queue for Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance? 

No.

Can we leave Disneyland once joining the virtual queue?

Yes.

You could walk over to Disney California Adventure, or even drive to Los Angeles or Laguna Beach while waiting for your boarding group. (We’ve done all three!)

How do we know when we can return?

If your phone has push notifications for the Disneyland app enabled, you’ll receive an alert that your boarding group has been called.

Failing that, the “My Status” screen on the Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance screen displays the same information.

Should we buy Park Hopper tickets? 

If you’ve read our Money-Saving Disneyland Park Ticket Guide, you know that we always recommend Park Hopper tickets. Due to Disney California Adventure and Disneyland being a stone’s throw (literally) from one another, walking between the two parks is incredibly easy.

This is doubly true with the virtual queue for Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance. Park Hoppers enable you to try the Rise of Resistance boarding pass dash every single day of your trip, rather than just the Disneyland days. It’s an attraction you’ll want to do more than once!

Can we just skip all this and wait in a regular standby line for half the day?

No.

Given that the attraction is currently breaking down multiple times per day, a standby line would be 5-6 hours long and would include multiple (yes, really) breakdowns where you’d be stuck in the same spot for 70 minutes.

This virtual queue doesn’t seem very guest-friendly, what if I can’t get to Disneyland until after work?

No system is going to be perfect, but we view this as the most equitable system considering demand, operational realities, and the current unreliability of Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance. This system favors tourists, which is clearly by design. (Hard to fault Disneyland for that.)

If you’re a local who is used to going after work, you’ll have to revise your approach here. As with tourists, you have the option to take a day off work or go on a weekend. The simply reality is that demand far exceeds supply for this new attraction, and there are going to be winners and losers regardless.

Does Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance accommodate Disability Access Service (DAS) card?

Yes, but you still need a place in the virtual queue–there’s no loophole here.

To take advantage of DAS, go to the FastPass return line once your boarding group is called.

What about Rider Switch? 

Yep, same process as above.

When will Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance switch from a virtual queue to FastPass/MaxPass and standby?

Nothing is official.

We anticipate that the virtual queue will last until the ride reliability and uptime issues are resolved. That could take until 2022.

Should we just wait to experience Rise of the Resistance until it offers FastPass/MaxPass?

No. It’ll have the same supply/demand issues, just in a different format.

Additionally, this is a very complex attraction with a lot of practical effects, some of which may not exist forever. Just ask anyone who rode Indiana Jones Adventure the first year it was open how the original ride compares to today.

When will this all die down?

Maybe 5-10 years from now.

Seriously. Look at how popular Radiator Springs Racers was for the first several years it was open (and still is, to some extent). Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance is significantly better than Radiator Springs Racers. It’s going to be the “hot ticket” at Disneyland for the next decade, at least.

Is California better than Florida?

In general? Yes.

Specifically for experiencing Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance? Also yes. If more elaboration is desired on either of these two responses, we’d be happy to provide that in a follow-up post. Just let us know.

Ultimately, riding Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance requires added effort beyond the additional Disneyland attraction. However, by arriving early and following the steps here, you should be able to experience it without issue, and will not have to sacrifice hours standing in line. For a blockbuster new ride, it’s pretty easy to do, so long as you’ve done your homework.

It’s also worth it. Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance is one of the top 10 Disney attractions in the world, on an epic scale that’s only rivaled by Pirates of the Caribbean: Battle for the Sunken Treasure at Shanghai Disneyland. Whether it has the same longevity as all-time greats like Haunted Mansion and Pirates of the Caribbean remains to be seen.

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 Disneyland Vacation Planning Guide.

YOUR THOUGHTS

Are you planning on visiting Disneyland’s Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge now that Rise of the Resistance is open? Do you agree or disagree with our assessment of opening day at Disneyland? Which boarding group were you in? Were you able to experience the attraction? Did you have any downtime? Are you a fan of this system, or would you just prefer a really long standby line? 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.

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