Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance is using the virtual queue system, unlike other Walt Disney World attractions that use FastPass and/or standby lines. Here, we’ll offer info, tips, screenshots, strategy, and everything you need to know about the My Disney Experience app boarding group system that Hollywood Studios is using.
If you have any questions, please consult our regularly-updated Ride Guide & FAQ for Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance. That includes answers to 40+ questions that were frequently being asked by readers in the comments to this post and others about Walt Disney World’s new flagship attraction.
You might recall that Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge used this same virtual queue on the day that it opened to the general public at Walt Disney World…but never again. It could be a similar scenario with Rise of the Resistance only using this for opening weekend, in which case everything that follows is moot and irrelevant. However, that seems unlikely for a number of reasons…
First, Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance is the flagship attraction of Galaxy’s Edge, and it’s opening to rave reviews (including ours) in the middle of the holiday season, which is one of the busiest times of the year at Walt Disney World. All of this is the recipe for a very popular attraction with high demand.
Second, the physical standby line at Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance is not that long. It’s certainly not as long as the queue at Avatar Flight of Passage, and I don’t even think it’s as long as Smugglers Run’s line. Even if temporary switchbacks were added outside the entrance (a potential logistical nightmare given the attraction’s location near the land’s entrance), there may not be enough of a physical line to contain everyone who wants to be in line.
This wouldn’t be a problem with FastPass+, as Walt Disney World can manipulate the ratio of FastPass (the other form of virtual queue) to standby guests to bump up the posted wait time. Higher posted wait times then act as a means of discouraging more guests from entering the standby queue, thus meaning fewer guests in that line. However, there’s no FastPass+ for Rise of the Resistance, and it’s likely to stay that way for the foreseeable future.
Third, Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance is currently not particularly reliable and there have already been issues with uptime. It reportedly broke down multiple times per day during media previews. It has also broken down opening day and the second day, both within the first hour of operations.
Unlike Millennium Falcon Smugglers Run, which has had a great uptime record, things will be a bit more touch and go with Rise of the Resistance. As such, using a virtual queue to act as a ‘faucet’ on the stream of guests–with Disney controlling the flow and having the ability to turn off completely–into the physical line makes a lot of sense.
When Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance breaks down, this prevents Disney from having to dump an entire queue full of people and having disgruntled guests who waited two hours or longer for nothing. Instead, it means flushing a significantly smaller number of guests who can be given paper readmission vouchers.
It also minimizes the impact and “reach” of downtime issues. By confining the impact of a ride breakdown to the smaller number of people in a few boarding groups, it’s less likely to make waves on social media. Other guests and boarding groups in the virtual queue who didn’t already scan in to the attraction will likely never even know the ride went down.
Finally, per the Tampa Bay Times, Walt Disney World representatives have indicated that Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance is expected to allow reservations via Virtual Queue through the next few weeks; it will then accept FastPasses and have a standby line.
Of course, “expected to” is the operative language here. We have enough experience covering Disney to know those wiggle words when we see them. Expectations change, and it thus shouldn’t be surprising to see the Virtual Queue used for more or less time than the next few weeks.
That’s the ‘case’ for my belief that Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance will use the virtual queue at least until 2020 Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend. In the interest of full disclosure, prior to the opening of Galaxy’s Edge at Disneyland opening, I also predicted the park would “deplete its daily supply of boarding passes by 10 am” every day for the entire summer. In actuality, the land used the virtual queue once for like two hours…
To use the virtual boarding pass for Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance, download the My Disney Experience app before arriving at Walt Disney World and be sure you’re updated to the most current version. Functionality for the Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance virtual queue and boarding pass system was actually added to the app code this summer, so if you’ve updated in the last few months, you’re good. (If you don’t have a smart phone, see the Guest Experience Team at the front of DHS, and they can assign you to a boarding group.)
Joining a virtual queue boarding group is as simple as launching the My Disney Experience app and clicking the “Find Out More” button under “Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance – Access by Boarding Group” window on the home screen.
From there, this will show you the status of the land (it’s always open now) and provides options to check “My Status” or “Join Boarding Group.”
If you haven’t already joined one, “Join Boarding Group” is the button you want. From here, you select party members and click confirm. This process works like selecting people for making a FastPass+, and you can only add people if they’re in the park.
After that, when you click on “My Status,” you’ll see this screen. Those green bars do progress, but it’s still pretty much meaningless until you’re actually called.
(Note that this screenshot was taken immediately after we entered the virtual queue–we were inside the park at 6:06 am on a morning that Disney’s Hollywood Studios officially opened at 8 am.)
We highly recommend enabling push notifications on your mobile device for the My Disney Experience app so you will be notified when it is time to enter the queue for Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance.
When it was our time to enter today, we received notifications on our Apple Watches and phones.
If you don’t enable notifications, you’ll need to incessantly refresh or check the “My Status” screen in the My Disney Experience app or digital signage in the park to see when you’re up.
Once your virtual queue boarding group is called, you’ll have up to two hours to enter the physical line for Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance.
To enter, you simply walk up to the Rise of the Resistance entrance, which is just inside the land itself.
There, you’ll find a sea of Cast Members with iPads will scan your MagicBand or linked park ticket. Neither of our MagicBands worked, as we had to scan our physical APs. (YMMV.)
I’m not exactly happy that Disney plowed forward opening an attraction that seems like it could use more test & adjust time, but that was the risk taken when the opening date was set way back over the summer.
I’m also not a fan of Walt Disney World not offering Extra Magic Hours at Rise of the Resistance. One way or another, big-spending resort guests should have an advantage with Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance, and that’s not currently the case.
However, I’m a huge fan of the virtual queue for Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance. It’s really a case of Walt Disney World Operations ‘making lemonade out of lemons.’ Setting aside all of the above issues, this eliminates further potential guest frustrations and minimizes guest headaches. For the most part, tourists can go about their day as normal at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, rather than this new attraction eating up their entire day.
Additionally, as someone who is both an early-riser and a huge fan of same-day FastPass (rather than booking 1-2 months in advance), this system is ideal for me–I hope it continues indefinitely. Basically, it’s like a digital return to legacy FastPass, except with a 2-hour return window instead of a 1-hour window.
It’s also great in that I now don’t have to totally overhaul our 1-Day Disney’s Hollywood Studios Itinerary. The only new step is “join a boarding group immediately upon entering DHS.” Then, instead of waiting two, three, or seven hours for a ride that may go down several times while you’re there, you can simply go about your touring plan as normal and return to Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance mid-morning or so.
Some added strategy and answers to FAQ:
Get to Disney’s Hollywood Studios well before posted park opening. It’s likely the park will open at least 2 hours early through December 8, 2019 and at least 1 hour early through December 31, 2019.
Until further notice, the optimal time to arrive at Disney’s Hollywood Studios is between 6:30 and 7 am.
DO NOT DO RISE OF THE RESISTANCE FIRST. If you’re in an early boarding group and are called back while wait times around the park are low, take your time returning (you have a 2 hour window). Do Slinky Dog Dash and other headliners before the crowds arrive.
On Extra Magic Hours mornings, it’s likely that the Virtual Queue will begin when resort guests are eligible to enter, and possible Rise of the Resistance will have an unannounced opening at the start of EMH. It’s also possible Extra Magic Hours will begin earlier than advertised.
If you arrive late (in other words, any time after 8 am), consider park hopping to Epcot while awaiting your evening return time. This virtual queue will inflate wait times around DHS, as now the line for every other attraction is effectively a “waiting room” for Rise of the Resistance.
Boarding groups seem to be called two at a time, with groups through 10 called the moment the attraction opens. Staggering after that is slower and more sporadic, so don’t simply linger around the attraction entrance for hours, thinking you’re almost there. (I say this speaking from experience!)
Once you’re in line for Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance, the wait time should be minimal. Even if the physical line is totally full and backed up to the ride entrance, the wait time shouldn’t exceed 30 minutes (unless something breaks down).
That should answer every question about the virtual queue for Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance at Walt Disney World. It’s a painless process, and intuitive once you’re inside Disney’s Hollywood Studios, so don’t fret or stress out if you’re still confused. Unlike a lot of Walt Disney World IT, this actually works really well.
Just be advised that the Virtual Queue is distributing all slots very early. On opening day, all boarding groups were gone by 8:45 am. On the second day, they only lasted until 8:10 am. This is why we currently recommend disregarding the published opening time for Disney’s Hollywood Studios and arriving by 6:30 or 7 am. Walt Disney World transportation should be running by then, but you might just be better off taking a Lyft or Uber if you’re visiting during the next few weeks.
We’d also advise you not to worry about the virtual queue too much if you’re visiting at some point in 2020. As noted, there’s a lot of speculation and guesses here, and you should expect this to evolve and change in the weeks to come. It’s possible that Walt Disney World will continue using the Rise of the Resistance virtual queue for the next several months (or beyond), but it’s also likely that they’ll switch to FastPass+ at some point or make some other arbitrary change that renders everything I’ve typed here irrelevant. Either way, we’ll keep you posted!
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.
Are you planning on visiting Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge now that Rise of the Resistance is open? Do you agree or disagree with our preliminary strategy for using the virtual queue? Are you a fan of this system, or would you just prefer FastPass+ or 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!