The most popular new attraction at Walt Disney World is Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance in Hollywood Studios. It’s hard to ride due to no standby line. This guide covers how to join the virtual queue, strategy for successfully scoring boarding groups, and answers frequently asked questions about the Galaxy’s Edge blockbuster. (Updated August 26, 2021.)
We update this guide monthly based on the latest changes at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, meaning it’s current as of the fall off-season at Walt Disney World. If you want a walk-through of what things are like right now, check out our Star Wars Rise of the Resistance: Off-Season Slowdown. As the subtitle suggests, crowds are dropping at Walt Disney World and it’s becoming easier to score a spot in the virtual queue for this attraction–at least in the afternoon, and for now.
As with every other theme park at Walt Disney World, you’ll need to start by booking a Park Pass reservation before visiting Disney’s Hollywood Studios, usually at least several weeks in advance. The good news is that park capacity has increased significantly throughout summer, so obtaining Park Pass reservations is easier. The bad news is that it’s also easier for everyone else, which means higher attendance and more competition for a Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance boarding pass. That’s why we’re here to help you improve your odds of success in beating the crowds and scoring spots in the virtual queue!
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 for Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance is unprecedented in several ways. The procedure for getting a chance to ride Rise of the Resistance 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 disappointment. To the contrary, your odds are significantly worse if you only do that. It cannot be overstated how different and difficult Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance is to experience.
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. Here’s everything you need to know about the virtual queue, plus the attraction itself. While the second section is largely spoiler-free, it does remove some ‘elements of surprise.’
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 (MDX) 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 3-4 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.
You can join the Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance virtual queue at 7 am or 1 pm via the My Disney Experience app. These changes occurred late last year, and are accurate as of late August 2021. We do not foresee any significant changes between now and September 2021, so this guide should remain accurate until then.
How can I enter the virtual queue at 7 am given that Disney’s Hollywood Studios isn’t open then?
This is the latest change to the virtual queue for Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance virtual queue, and allows guests to attempt joining from their hotel room or wherever they may be.
For those successful at the 7 am entry time, this effectively removes the need to be at Disney’s Hollywood Studios by rope drop. There are still some strategic advantages to that, but it allows for a more leisurely start to the day.
Is one of the entry times easier for the virtual queue?
Right now, yes.
The 1 pm virtual queue is currently staying open for hours almost every single day. By contrast, the 7 am entry time fills up in seconds. This difference is due to the incredibly low crowds Walt Disney World is currently experiencing–in normal times, both fill up in seconds. Our expectation is that both entry times will fill up in seconds once again around September 26, 2021 through the remainder of 2021.
What is the process like for joining the virtual queue?
The steps are pretty similar to the FastPass+ selection process (if you used 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 MDX app some morning right when Disney’s Hollywood Studios opens and go through the motions. It’s good practice for the real thing!
Disney WiFi v. Cellular Data?
It really depends on your carrier and where you’re located in the park/resort/etc.
We’d recommend doing a quick speed test with both 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.
How should we prepare for joining the virtual queue?
This might sound like overkill, but milliseconds matter.
Make sure your phone is fully updated and force close all apps, including My Disney Experience 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 Disney uses for opening the virtual queue.
What’s the best strategic 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.
We recommend everyone try for everyone in your party. Launch the MDX app about 10 seconds before the official virtual queue entry time and hit the “Join Boarding Group” button. If that doesn’t work, force-refreshing by pulling down “hard.”
Everyone in your party who has a valid Disney Park Pass reservation for Disney’s Hollywood Studios should already be pre-selected. The person in your party with the fastest fingers 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.
What if not everyone in my party is pre-selected?
During the process of joining the Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance virtual queue, everyone in your party who has a Park Pass reservation for Disney’s Hollywood Studios and/or has tapped into the park (as applicable) should already be pre-selected. However, you have the option to hit “Change Party” before tapping the “Join Virtual Queue” button.
Our strong advice is not mess with this–don’t even check whether they are or are not in your party–simply to click “Join Virtual Queue” as fast as possible. Pausing for even a second to review this screen can doom your chances of success. If, for some reason, someone in your party was not selected, see a Cast Member at the Guest Experience Team stands (look for the blue umbrella) in the park. Adding one person to an existing boarding group is a problem they can fix. No one in your party getting boarding groups because you hesitated or didn’t join due to an error is not a problem they can fix.
Do we need to be in the park for the 1 pm virtual queue opening?
No. However, everyone in your party does need to enter Disney’s Hollywood Studios at some point before 1 pm in order to “unlock” access to the virtual queue at 1 pm. Meaning you could arrive for park opening, take the Skyliner back to your hotel for lunch and a pool break, and try again at 1 pm.
The virtual queue is not geofenced or based upon proximity–this functionality unlocks in the My Disney Experience app for each guest after they have physically tapped into the park’s tap/turnstiles. You can leave after tapping in and still join during the afternoon entry time from your hotel room or wherever.
You could literally be inside Disney’s Hollywood Studios or in Duluth, Minnesota. The virtual queue system only validates whether you’ve tapped into Disney’s Hollywood Studios, not your current location. It can actually be advantageous to leave Disney’s Hollywood Studios midday, as that’s when crowds and wait times are worst.
Anything else we can do pre-vacation to improve chances of success?
If you don’t mind monitoring the Disney Park Pass reservations calendar, consider booking multiple days at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Even if you’re only going to do DHS one day, it’s savvy strategy to book reservations for DHS on your Epcot and possibly Animal Kingdom days in addition to your dedicated DHS day.
With the 7 am virtual queue time, it’s possible to attempt to score Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance boarding passes from outside the park before you start your day. If you’re unsuccessful, you can change your Disney Park Pass reservations day-of to Epcot or Animal Kingdom subject to availability. (However, keep in mind that the 1 pm virtual queue is currently much easier to join–that’ll almost certainly change in October 2021, though.)
This is our recommendation because it’s always easier to change from Disney’s Hollywood Studios to another park than vice-versa. By the time your travel dates arrive, it’s entirely conceivable that DHS will be fully booked for every day of your trip. Same goes for Magic Kingdom on some dates, whereas Animal Kingdom and EPCOT usually have same-day availability.
Walt Disney World significantly increased attendance caps in mid-July, and it is now much easier to score same-day Disney Park Pass reservations. However, we must emphasize that there is some risk in getting “stuck” with multiple DHS reservations, so keep an eye on the Disney Park Pass availability calendar and switch in advance if this looks like it’s becoming an issue around your travel dates. During off-season, switching will likely remain easy before becoming more difficult in October 2021 and beyond.
Should we buy Park Hopper tickets?
If you’ve read our Money-Saving Walt Disney World Ticket Guide, you know that we typically recommend Park Hopper tickets. They allow you to bounce around, which is strategically advantageous.
For guests who really want to ride Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance, we recommend booking Park Pass reservations for at least two days at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. However, we also do not believe DHS is a full-day park right now. As with the above day-of switcheroo above, we’d actually recommend reserving 2 days at DHS and 0 days at Epcot–and plan on sticking with those reservations.
Morning at Disney’s Hollywood Studios and evening at Epcot is our preferred way to experience both parks. This isn’t just personal preference–it’s strategically superior given normal operating hours. For Fall 2021, Disney’s Hollywood Studios operates from 9 am until 9 pm, whereas Epcot is open from 11 am to 9 pm (10 pm on weekends).
Accordingly, starting your morning at DHS and ending at Epcot can extend your day by a couple of hours. (Additionally, rope dropping Epcot doesn’t offer any advantage–it’s more crowded due to the late opening time.) For this reason, we highly recommend purchasing Park Hopper tickets right now. Read about what to expect and why in our 2021 Guide to Park Hopping at Walt Disney World.
Which days of the week are best for visiting Disney’s Hollywood Studios?
When Walt Disney World was regularly running out of Park Pass reservations, we recommended doing Disney’s Hollywood Studios on Saturday or Sunday. However, that’s no longer the case and this is no longer our advice. As of Fall 2021, we now recommend any weekday. It doesn’t really matter which one, but Friday is objectively the best by a small margin.
As a whole, wait times in DHS are still lower on weekends. This is because locals are more likely to visit on weekends and less likely to stand in long lines since they’ve done everything before. They are also more likely to be skilled and experienced at the Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance virtual queue, making them tougher competition. It’s like playing against the Los Angeles Dodgers instead of a little league team. (Not that your family should go around trouncing kids at baseball, but you get the idea!)
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.
Do reservations for Oga’s Cantina or Droid Depot get us spots in the virtual queue for Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance?
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.
What time does Disney’s Hollywood Studios allow guests to enter the park?
Currently, Disney’s Hollywood Studios has been opening the turnstiles about 45 minutes before official park opening time. Note that this does not happen at a set time and this early opening of the turnstiles is not published anywhere officially.
However, Walt Disney World is launching a new early entry program in October 2021, and rope drop/entry procedures have already changed.
What time can off-site guests enter Disney’s Hollywood Studios?
Everyone can enter at the same time.
When should we get to Disney’s Hollywood Studios for rope drop?
If you’re wanting to do park opening, arrive at Disney’s Hollywood Studios at least 30 minutes before the official park opening time. It’ll take around 15 minutes to get through bag check and the turnstiles, that should give you at least 15 minutes to join the masses and be ready to go at official park opening time. See our updated 1-Day Disney’s Hollywood Studios Itinerary for morning ride recommendations and step-by-step advice for your entire day.
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.
How do we time our arrival if we score Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance virtual queue spots but want to arrive late?
A good rule of thumb is that Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance averages about 12 boarding groups per hour. However, due to its reliability woes, sometimes that can be as low as 0 per hour or as high as 18 per hour. Over the course of most days, it averages out to about 10-14 per hour, though.
Accordingly, if you’re boarding group 48, you could plan to arrive at Disney’s Hollywood Studios around 4 hours after park opening. Boarding group 60 could do 5 hours after park opening (and so on).
When will crowds subside?
Currently, Walt Disney World attendance, crowds, and congestion have all increased dramatically as compared to even a few months ago. Demand still far exceeds supply for Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance. For every boarding pass that’s distributed, there are several guests who want to experience the attraction.
Walt Disney World crowds are expected to skyrocket from October through December 2021. Accordingly, we anticipate Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance continuing to be difficult to do for the entirety of 2021. It would not surprise us if the virtual queue system remains in place in 2022 and maybe even 2023. There’s no reason to believe anything is changing anytime soon.
Is it safe to rely on Walt Disney World transportation for getting to DHS in time for park opening?
If you’re staying at one of the Crescent Lake resorts, it’s easiest just to walk to DHS. For other resorts, the buses and Skyliner, are also once again reliable for arriving at park opening. Still, guests who stay at BoardWalk, Yacht & Beach Club, and Swan & Dolphin should walk rather than using boats or the Skyliner. Walking is far and away the fastest and best way to arrive in the morning.
What time is Rise of the Resistance running out of boarding passes?
There is no set time, but it has been occurring in under 10 seconds of boarding group distribution times.
Going forward, we expect this trend will continue.
Does everyone have to be present to join the virtual queue, or can we send one ‘runner’ to the park?
For the 7 am entry, the only requirement is a valid Disney Park Pass reservation. Since DHS isn’t open at that hour, entering the park isn’t even possible for that.
For the 1 pm entry, everyone in your party must tap into Disney’s Hollywood Studios before they’re eligible to join the virtual queue.
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. It’s worth noting that you can leave after tapping in and still join during the afternoon entry time from your hotel room or wherever. The system only validates whether you’ve tapped in, not your current location.
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. Unless there’s a major breakthrough with the attraction’s programming or system software, expect this same system to still be in use come Summer 2022.
Should we just wait to do Rise of the Resistance until our 2022 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 rides 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.
Moreover, as we write in our spoiler-free Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance Ride Review, this is one of Walt Disney World’s best attractions ever. It’s absolutely worth the effort.
When will this all die down?
Never? Maybe when your kids have kids?
Flight of Passage is just as popular today as it was over three years ago, and still can be a hassle. 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 done 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!