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 January 23, 2020.)
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…
While there’s a lot to know and this all might seem like a lot of work, there’s a huge silver lining to all of this. You don’t have to use a FastPass+ allotment for Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance, nor do you have to waste precious vacation time standing in a 4+ hour standby line.
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.
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.
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 35. 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 happens if we have a FastPass+ or Advance Dining Reservation that conflicts with our virtual queue return time?
You have two hours to return to the Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance virtual queue once you’re notified, which is less time than it takes to eat a table service meal or do a FastPass+ attraction, so you should be fine.
Failing that, see a Cast Member and they should be able to assist.
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?
Can we get more than one boarding pass per day?
Not anymore. Walt Disney World closed that loophole a few days after Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance opened.
Is there a separate virtual queue to enter Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge?
For the most part, no.
A virtual queue system exists for the land itself, but it was only in use for a few hours on opening day of the land. This isn’t something to worry about anymore.
Disney’s Hollywood Studios is currently scheduled to open at 9 am on [insert date], what are the chances park hours will be extended for that date?
Originally, all of January and February 2020 had scheduled openings of 8 am or 9 am. Week by week, park hours have slowly been extended to 7 am openings. We anticipate that trend continuing.
Which days of the week are best for visiting Disney’s Hollywood Studios?
Monday through Friday.
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 around 30 minutes prior to 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.
The time the turnstiles open is when they open to all guests, regardless of where they’re staying. This early opening is not a perk of on-site resort guests.
What time does the virtual queue for Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance open?
The virtual queue now opens at scheduled park opening time. In other words, if the official park opening time is 7 am, the virtual queue opens at 7 am, regardless of what time guests are allowed in through the turnstiles.
That also covers our new “Sleep-In Strategy.” However, if you only have one day at DHS and Rise of the Resistance is an absolute must-do, hedge your bets and arrive early.
When will crowds subside?
Crowds are unlikely to noticeably decrease at any point this year. We are currently in the off-season at Walt Disney World, and turnout is still large each morning at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. This will only intensify during the coming Easter and Spring Break seasons.
Beyond that, there will be some degree of “morning mayhem” for Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance for the entirety of 2020 and into 2021.
Is it safe to rely on Walt Disney World transportation for getting to DHS early?
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, whether it’s workable varies from day to day depending upon the Skyliner’s operating hours. Ideally, you need it to start running ~30 minutes before park opening. (See our Skyliner Rise (of the Resistance) & Shine post for more on our experience doing that.)
If you’re staying at a resort that requires bus transportation to DHS, we wouldn’t rely on that. While Walt Disney World buses always start earlier than the published time, they are notoriously unreliable and intermittent this early in the morning. Given that this is a scenario where time is of the essence, save yourself the headache and take an Uber.
How much does Uber cost? Is it safe? Do we need to pre-schedule one?
We use Uber all the time at Walt Disney World and never have issues.
The service is readily available and no pre-scheduling is necessary for early pickups (drivers are used to dealing with airport runs at all hours, so they’re pretty much always out). For everything you need to know on this topic if you’re a rideshare newbie, see our Guide to Uber & Lyft at Walt Disney World. We’d recommend these options over Minnie Vans, which are about triple to quadruple the cost.
Should we avoid days with evening Extra Magic Hours at Disney’s Hollywood Studios as off-site guests?
Yes, without a doubt.
We heard Rise of the Resistance isn’t open during Extra Magic Hours, what’s up with that?
Now that Extra Magic Hours dates have been moved from mornings to evenings, Rise of the Resistance closes at the start of EMH.
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 Disney’s Hollywood Studios days. It’s an attraction you’ll want to do more than once! Plus, it’s unlikely that you’ll want to spend multiple full days at DHS.
What time is Rise of the Resistance running out of boarding passes?
There is no set time, but every day thus far, primary boarding passes have been totally gone in under an hour after the official park opening time. Backup boarding groups are typically gone within around 2 hours or less.
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. We recommend arriving early enough to score a regular boarding group.
Does everyone have to be present to join the virtual queue, or can we send one ‘runner’ to the park early?
Everyone in your party must tap into Disney’s Hollywood Studios for the day (which requires their fingerprint, not just the MagicBand) 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 that early–is anything else open?
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. If you’re attempting to do Slinky Dog Dash, try to be as close to the front of the pack as possible.
Stores and dining are also open. The Starbucks on Hollywood Boulevard is probably the second-longest line in the park after Slinky Dog Dash in the early morning hours.
Can we leave the park once joining the virtual queue?
Yes. You could walk over to Epcot or even go back to your resort and take a nap.
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.
When should we return for Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance?
It depends. If you arrive super early and get a low number boarding group (typically under 30), you’ll probably be notified that you’re eligible for return before 10 am. Don’t. You have 2 hours to return from the time you’re notified–use that time to follow our 1-Day Disney’s Hollywood Studios Itineraryand do other attractions before their lines get long.
If your return time is sometime after 10 am, just return whenever you feel like it. Strategically, it doesn’t make a huge difference by that point in the day.
This virtual queue doesn’t seem very family friendly, what if my kids can’t get up that early?
Not many people like to get up early on vacation, so we’d say this is equally ‘unfriendly’ to pretty much everyone. However, we’d also say it’s the most equitable system, with no advantage/disadvantage for on or off-site guests. It’s a ‘first come, first served’ system. Disney fans just aren’t used to it because it differs from the (equally complicated) FastPass+ system.
The simply reality is that demand far exceeds supply for this new attraction, and there are going to be winners and losers regardless. No one is forcing you to get up at 6 am to experience this, but if you put in the effort, you’ll be rewarded handsomely.
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 30-45 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?
Originally, Walt Disney World’s official line on this was that Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance “is expected to only allow reservations via virtual queue through the next few weeks.”
That was 8 weeks ago, and there’s no end of the virtual queue in sight. Our expectation is that this system will continue until Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance’s reliability and uptime improve. That could take weeks or months. We think there’s about a 50/50 chance of this virtual queue ending before Thanksgiving 2020.
Would it be easier to just wait for FastPass+ to do Rise of the Resistance?
Easier? Yes. Smarter? No.
Right now with the virtual queue system, you’re essentially able to get a ‘bonus’ FastPass (since the boarding pass for Rise of the Resistance doesn’t count against your FastPass+ allotments) and you’re able to enter Disney’s Hollywood Studios roughly 2 hours before most people realize the park is open. You can finish every ride in the park without FastPass+ before 10 am, which is something that absolutely will not be possible once DHS returns to a normal schedule and eliminates the virtual queue.
Should we just wait to experience Rise of the Resistance until our late 2020 or 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.
We are visiting in March/April/May 2020 (and so on), what will happen then?
The virtual queue system has already changed several times since it debuted last week, and will probably change a dozen more times between now and when Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway debuts on March 4, 2020.
Suffice to say, it’s way too early to think about any dates beyond the end of February 2020. If you’re planning a trip for later in the year, stop reading this and any practical planning advice about Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance now. You’re wasting your time.
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!