Note: This post contains details about Rise of the Resistance at Walt Disney World as of December 20, 2019. Ride operations and procedures may have changed after this date. After reading this post please do further research for more detailed information closer to the time that you will be visiting the theme park.
Galaxy’s Edge at Walt Disney World is now complete after the opening of Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance. A fully immersive experience (no, not just a “ride”) that will surpass your expectations of theme park rides going forward. I thought Flight of Passage in Pandora – The World of Avatar at Disney’s Animal Kingdom was the best ride experience but not anymore. While Flight of Passage is still very much at the top and I will ride it every single time I visit Animal Kingdom, it now holds a strong second place to Rise of the Resistance.
Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance
Rise of the Resistance is not like any other ride at Walt Disney World. You cannot make a FastPass+ and you cannot ride in a StandBy queue as of yet. To ensure you get to ride Rise of the Resistance on your next Walt Disney World vacation keep reading for the most up-to-date tips.
Keep reading for all you need to know about Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.
MY DISNEY EXPERIENCE APP
First thing first, download the My Disney Experience app on your mobile device. Having access to the app is the only way you will be able to ride Rise of the Resistance. This is also the time to make sure everyone in your party also has an account and everyone’s account is linked today. If your daughter’s ticket is not linked to you then you cannot add her to the same Boarding Group as you! Not only that but utilizing the My Disney Experience app on your vacation will make everything smoother for you. You can book your FastPass+ ride selections, Mobile Order food, check ride times, and so much more. So download the app and familiarize yourself with it inside and out.
ARRIVE AT Hollywood Studios
As of TODAY, December 20, 2019, Hollywood Studios has stopped the “soft” opening hours. Prior to today, the park was opening earlier than the posted operating hours to accommodate the crowds. This meant even if the app or website said Hollywood Studios would open at 8 am, the park was opening at 6 am. This meant arriving to the park around 4 or 5 am to secure a spot in line to get into the park!
Always check the app first but throughout January Hollywood Studios will open at 7 am. Plan on arriving by 6 am so you can assure you can grab a Boarding Group number.
Boarding Groups fill extremely fast and usually completely filled with an hour of the park opening. As you’ll see below, I was placed in Boarding Group 61… I grabbed my spot 7:08 am! Eight minutes after the park opened, my friends.
HOW TO JOIN A BOARDING GROUP
Have the My Disney Experience app COMPLETELY CLOSED OUT. Once everyone in your party is scanned into the park then immediately open the app. The quicker this process is, the better. It can be very stressful when you have a large party so go in with a plan.
1. From the home page, click Find Out More:
2. Next click on Join Boarding Group
Once you click Join Boarding Group you will be able to select everyone in your party.
3. You did it! You will be assigned a Boarding Group number and given an estimated ride time. Make sure the My Disney Experience notifications are turned ON (from your phone settings) at this point.
When it’s your turn to ride, you will receive a text message. You have a TWO HOUR window to return and get in line so don’t stress if you’re in line for another ride or eating. With Boarding Group 61 I got the call back to ride around 12 pm.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Q: What is the height requirement?
A: You have to be at least 40″ tall which is your average 3-1/2 to 4-year-old. I believe a 4-year-old can handle the ride just fine but I fear they won’t be able to see over the top of the ride vehicle very well which would affect their ride experience.
Q: Is there a line once my Boarding Group is called?
A: Short answer- yes. How long the line will be will very. Each Boarding Group number has a 2 hour window to return so you never know when a party will show up. And with a range of around 20 groups able to enter the queue at a time, the line has the possibility of getting long. I waited about 17 minutes in line.
Q: Does a Boarding Group count toward my 3 allowed FastPass+ and can I book other FastPass+ rides even if I have a Boarding Group?
A: No and yes! A Boarding Group does not count toward your FastPass+ rides. FastPass+ and Boarding Groups are completely separate things. A Boarding Group is a virtual queue so instead of standing in a 4, 5, or even 6 hour long line you can enjoy your day while you wait for your turn. You can still book your other 3 FastPass+ ride selections as normal.
Q: I don’t want to join a Boarding Group. Can’t I just wait in StandBy?
A: Nope. There isn’t a StandBy line to wait in. Being in virtual queue is the only way to ride Rise of the Resistance at this time.
Q: Since wait times are so long, can I leave Hollywood Studios?
A: You absolutely can. Leaving the park does not affect your line in a Boarding Group. Just make sure you have notifications turned on and be very diligent about checking the app. Once your group is called you only have two hours to arrive to the ride entrance and check in.
Q: How long does the ride last?
A: As I said before, it’s not just a ride but a full on experience. From start to finish you are looking at around 15-20 minutes. There are 3 different parts to the experience before you even step foot on the ride vehicle!
Q: Can I ride if I have motion sickness?
A: If you can handle Toy Story Mania then you’ll be fine here. Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance is not like motion simulator rides like Star Tours or even Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run. The ride portion utilizes a trackless ride system that glides around the floor. The other parts of the experience is you walking from area to area with a small portion of it being on a transport ship that rides like the monorail.
Q: Are there any drops?
A: Yes there is one small drop but it is not intense by any means. I would compare it closer to Pirates of the Caribbean than Tower of Terror. So you’re not caught off guard, it happens as you enter a ship to escape the First Order Star Destroyer.
Q: How many people can ride at once?
A: 8 can ride at once. 4 seats in front and 4 in back. You have to wear a seat belt and there is a bar in front of you but it does not come down like a lap bar.
Q: I’m not a big fan of Star Wars. Will I even enjoy this ride?
A: Absolutely. You’ll definitely get more out of it if you’re a fan of the franchise but can enjoy Rise of the Resistance without ever seeing a single Star Wars film. Much like if you like Splash Mountain without ever watching Song of the South or how my kids loved Flight of Passage without ever seeing Avatar.
Q: Is Child Swap available?
A: It is but I don’t think it’s necessary to use. Since there is a two hour return window that’s plenty of time to allow parent 1 to ride then once their off parent 2 can get in the queue.
Q: Does Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance accommodate Disability Access Service (DAS) card?
A: It does but you still must join a Boarding Group like everyone else. When your Boarding Group is called check in and inform a crew member that you have a DAS card.
I hope this helps plan your day to Hollywood Studios a little easier. Expect these procedures until at least middle to end January 2020. After January we will know more about how Boarding Groups (if any) will be handled. I expect Disney to continue this system until Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway is open on March 4, 2020. If you expect a slow down or plan on waiting until things die down… well… don’t. Flight of Passage is just as popular today as it was the day it opened 3 years ago. The only difference is this is Star Wars. Enough said.