The hot new attraction at Walt Disney World is Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance in Hollywood Studios. It’s also the most difficult due to no FastPass+ or standby line. In this ride guide, we’ll answer questions about the virtual queue, boarding groups, and FAQ about the Galaxy’s Edge blockbuster. (Updated July 29, 2020.)
Note that we’ve updated this guide following the reopening of Disney’s Hollywood Studios with the new policies and procedures for experiencing Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance. Adding further complication to the process, you’ll now have to reserve a Disney Park Pass reservation before visiting, and Disney’s Hollywood Studios is the ‘hottest option’ in terms of those.
The good news for those of you who obtain Park Pass reservations is that Walt Disney World is significantly limiting theme park capacity–around 20-30% of normal attendance. In theory, that means your chances of scoring a spot in the virtual queue for Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance are higher. The bad news is that the attraction remains unreliable, and its capacity has also been reduced to accommodate physical distancing and temporary health safety protocol…
A comprehensive ‘how to ride’ guide might seem excessive, after all, isn’t it just a matter of “sitting down and buckling up”?! However, protocol and procedure for Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance is fairly unprecedented in a number of ways. This is confusing even longtime Walt Disney World fans, so our goal here is to help you avoid similar frustrations.
If you simply show up at park opening for Disney’s Hollywood Studios and think you’re going to be able to rope drop Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance, you’re in for colossal disappointment. To the contrary, you’re almost guaranteed you won’t be riding if you “only” show up at the official opening time. Hence this ride guide and FAQ, so you can plan accordingly, beat the crowds, and have an incredibly efficient day in Disney’s Hollywood Studios.
With that said, here’s everything you need to know about the virtual queue, followed by what to know about the attraction itself. While the second section is largely spoiler-free, it does remove some ‘elements of surprise.’ If you’re worried about the attraction being too thrilling, don’t be. This is fine for guests of all ages, and while it has tension and suspense, it’s not physically intense. If you can handle Pirates of the Caribbean, you can handle Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance.
Before we dig in, one final note: Walt Disney World tinkers with this virtual queue process regularly. Policies change about every other week. We’re diligent in keeping this updated, so be sure to check back for the latest info–or subscribe to our free Walt Disney World email newsletter for instant updates about all of the latest news, when discounts are released, etc.
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.
Rather than FastPass or a standby line, you join this virtual line via the My Disney Experience app and are notified when it’s your turn to ride. The process requires a few clicks in-app, but it’s pretty intuitive.
What are boarding groups for Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance?
Boarding groups are the means of organizing guests into groups when it’s their turn to ride.
For example, rather than having a set 2-4 pm return time, you might be in boarding group 55. 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.)
When can we enter the virtual queue?
One new positive change Disney has made since reopening is multiple ‘drop times’ for Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance virtual queue boarding passes.
At present, you can join the virtual queue at 10 am or 2 pm.
What is the process like for joining the virtual queue?
The steps are pretty similar to the FastPass+ selection process (if you experienced that before Walt Disney World suspended the service).
With that said, there’s no substitute for seeing for yourself. While it won’t let you complete the process, you can go through the first several steps of joining the virtual queue from home. Be on the My Disney Experience app some morning right when Disney’s Hollywood Studios opens and go through the motions. It’s good practice for the real thing!
Strategically speaking, what’s the best approach for joining a boarding group? Should one person try for everyone, should we each try individually, or what?
Do not try individually–you won’t be in the same boarding groups, meaning you won’t ride together.
Rather, we recommend everyone try for everyone in your party. We recommend launching the MDX app about 10 seconds before official park opening time, hitting the “Join Boarding Group” button and if that doesn’t work, force-refreshing (pull down “hard”). Whoever in your group is fastest will score the boarding group, while everyone else will receive a “Not So Fast/Already in Boarding Group” message. Just be sure that anyone in your party who tries for boarding passes attempts to add everyone.
Again, it’s good to do a practice run or two at home so you’re comfortable with the process in the My Disney Experience app so you don’t get flustered and mess up. We’ve heard horror stories of readers clicking through too quickly and forgetting to add one of their family members. Don’t freak out if that happens–go to the Guest Experience Team Cast Members stationed at the blue umbrellas.
Can we get more than one boarding pass per day?
Is there a separate virtual queue to enter Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge?
You can enter the land freely at any time of day.
What happens if we have an Advance Dining Reservation that conflicts with our virtual queue return time?
Ideally, you should see a Cast Member at the Guest Experience Team stands (look for the blue umbrella) located throughout the park. They can assist with scheduling conflicts.
Failing that, see a Cast Member at the attraction entrance–they are typically pretty flexible.
Do reservations for Oga’s Cantina or Droid Depot get us spots in the virtual queue for Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance?
Which days of the week are best for visiting Disney’s Hollywood Studios?
Monday through Friday by a slight margin.
Saturdays and Sundays are the days when locals disproportionately visit, since most work 9-5 jobs and can’t simply show up to do this after work. If you’re a tourist visiting Walt Disney World on vacation, do DHS on a weekday.
What time does Disney’s Hollywood Studios allow guests to enter the park?
Disney’s Hollywood Studios opens the turnstiles shortly before official park opening time.
There has been no set time and this early opening of the turnstiles is not published anywhere officially.
What time can off-site guests enter Disney’s Hollywood Studios?
Everyone can enter at the same time.
What time do other attractions at Disney’s Hollywood Studios open?
All attractions at Disney’s Hollywood Studios open at the scheduled park opening time.
When should we arrive at Disney’s Hollywood Studios?
You should arrive at Disney’s Hollywood Studios roughly 30 minutes before official park opening time, with the expectation that it’ll take around 15 minutes to get through bag check and the turnstiles, giving you a bit of breathing room to head towards your first stop and ready to roll with the My Disney Experience.
When you should leave your hotel room in order to arrive by then is a different matter entirely and depends upon where you’re staying and the mode of transportation you use. Don’t cut things too close–Walt Disney World transportation usually takes longer than anticipated.
The upside of arriving late is shorter wait times at every other attraction. The downside is lower chances of success in scoring Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance boarding passes. Determine which matters more to you.
When will crowds subside?
During Walt Disney World’s phased reopening, there aren’t really “crowds” to speak of–but demand still exceeds supply for Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance.
Beyond that, there will be some degree of “morning mayhem” for Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance for the entirety of 2020 and 2021. It would not surprise us if the virtual queue system remains in place come 2022.
Is it safe to rely on Walt Disney World transportation for getting to DHS in time for park opening?
It depends. If you’re staying at one of the Crescent Lake resorts, it’s absolutely ‘safe’ to walk to DHS. If you’re staying at a Skyliner resort, you’ll want to get in line for those gondolas at least 15 minutes before they begin operating.
Buses at other resorts can be dicey due to the current capacity and physical distancing limitations. Because of this, we highly recommend renting a car if you’re visiting Walt Disney World between Summer 2020 and Spring 2021.
What about Extra Magic Hours at Disney’s Hollywood Studios?
During its phased reopening, Walt Disney World has temporarily suspended Extra Magic Hours, meaning that’s not currently a relevant consideration.
However, Park Hopper tickets are another thing that Walt Disney World has temporarily suspended during the phased reopening.
What time is Rise of the Resistance running out of boarding passes?
There is no set time, but it has been occurring in under 1 minute of boarding group distribution times.
Going forward, we expect this trend will continue.
What are backup boarding groups?
Higher numbered boarding groups that are not guaranteed access to Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance. Think of these as overflow or a waitlist.
Sometimes the back-up boarding groups are making it onto Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance, sometimes they aren’t. Usually both primary and backup boarding groups are gone within seconds or minutes of the virtual queue opening up.
Does everyone have to be present to join the virtual queue, or can we send one ‘runner’ to the park?
Everyone in your party must tap into Disney’s Hollywood Studios for the day before they’re eligible to join the virtual queue.
One person simply cannot take all of the MagicBands to Disney’s Hollywood Studios and then join the virtual queue for everyone.
What if we’re all near the park?
It’s not based upon proximity–this functionality only unlocks in the My Disney Experience app once you physically tap into the park’s tap/turnstiles.
What else is there to do at Disney’s Hollywood Studios at park opening?
Every ride in the park opens at scheduled park opening time. Most of the crowd races towards Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge (which is pointless since the queue is virtual), so if you head towards Toy Story Land or Sunset Boulevard, you can experience other headliners with shorter waits.
We recommend attempting to do Slinky Dog Dash or Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway.
Can we leave the park once joining the virtual queue?
Yes. You could go back to your resort and take a nap, eat lunch, etc.
How do we know when we can return?
If your phone has push notifications for My Disney Experience 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.
The virtual queue sounds like a hassle, can we just wait in a regular standby line?
Does Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance accommodate Disability Access Service (DAS) card?
Yes, but this is still truly first come, first served.
That means everyone must join the virtual queue first, which means arriving and going through that just like everyone else. 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.
How long is the average wait once in the physical line?
Assuming nothing breaks down and the attraction didn’t just return from being down, around 20-40 minutes.
Boarding groups are fairly small in size, so if you get lucky and return at the “right” time, most of the queue will be empty and you’ll practically walk on the attraction. Time it poorly and things can back up quite a bit, and you might be in a line that’s closer to an hour long. We’ve been in line when the ride breaks down and ended up having to wait over 2 hours.
When will the virtual queue system end?
This is the system that Walt Disney World will use indefinitely, until either demand dies down or the attraction becomes reliable.
We do not anticipate either of those things occurring in the next year-plus. Expect this same system to still be in use come Summer 2021.
Should we just wait to experience Rise of the Resistance until our late 2021 Walt Disney World trip?
We wouldn’t recommend it for both the reasons identified immediately above and below.
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 Expedition Everest or Indiana Jones Adventure the first year those attractions were open how the original ride experiences compare to today.
This is pretty complicated…is Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance worth jumping through all of these hoops?
It’s complicated to understand because it’s new and different, but once you experience it in person, it’s really not that difficult.
Flight of Passage is just as popular today as it was over three years ago, and is still a hassle to experience. And that’s for a ride based on Avatar–this is Star Wars. On top of that, crowds are only likely to get worse, with other new additions and Walt Disney World’s 50th Anniversary around the corner. Don’t wait.
Ride Info for Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance
Will I like this if I’m not a huge Star Wars fan?
Much like you can enjoy Splash Mountain without ever seeing Song of the South or Flight of Passage without ever seeing Avatar, you can enjoy Rise of the Resistance without ever seeing a single Star Wars film.
Fans of the franchise will likely get more out of it, but the ride works on multiple levels and the storyline requires no prior knowledge to understand. In fact, our favorite character in Rise of the Resistance is new for this attraction!
If I have a YouTube channel dedicated to complaining about how Disney destroyed Star Wars with the last movie, will I enjoy this?
I hope not.
What’s the heigh requirement?
You must be at least 40″ tall to ride Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance.
What rides does Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance compare to?
Not much at Walt Disney World.
It’s a bit like a dark ride, except trackless and mildly exhilarating. Think somewhere between Spaceship Earth and Dinosaur, with some qualities of Tower of Terror. The trackless dark ride element is comparable to the upcoming Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure at Epcot. (Ride vehicle pictured below.)
Is it family friendly?
Absolutely. There’s the aforementioned height requirement due to a drop and a variety of boilerplate health warnings, but otherwise this is okay for all ages.
Is the drop intense?
No. The drop in Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance is more like the one in Pirates of the Caribbean than the ones in Tower of Terror. It might catch you by surprise, but it’s more of a “haha” thrill than an “aaaahhhh” thrill.
That still sounds too intense–is there a ‘chicken exit’?
Yes, and we’d highly encourage you to utilize it, as over half of the attraction occurs before boarding a ride vehicle.
If you don’t want to ride, simply notify a Cast Member at the point where they’re assigning colors. They will direct you to the exit at that point.
Any issues for guests with motion sickness?
If you’re fine doing Toy Story Mania, you’ll be fine here. The ride portion utilizes a trackless ride system, and the vehicles have nimble and dynamic ‘dancing’ movements.
Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance is not like motion simulator like Star Tours or even Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run.
Wait a second…Toy Story Mania…is this 3D?!
Nope. There are some screens, but no 3D.
The Toy Story Mania comparison is most apt because of the way that can spin you around at times.
Is Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance better than Smugglers Run, Slinky Dog Dash, Frozen Ever After, or Flight of Passage?
Yes, yes, yes, and yes.
The only one of those that even belongs in the same conversation as Rise of the Resistance is Flight of Passage, and although they’re very different attractions, we’ll state this without equivocation: Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance is better than Avatar Flight of Passage.
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 (regular) 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 Walt Disney World Planning Guide.
Do you have any questions this FAQ failed to answer? If you’ve experience Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance, do you think there’s anything else first-timers should know? Do you agree or disagree with any of our advice or answers? 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!