Updated: Jan 26, 2020
If you follow my Instagram (@bibbidibobbidibatts) you know that today was a big day for me! I had the opportunity to experience Rise of the Resistance for the first time, and it didn’t disappoint. In fact, it takes my current top spot for best theme park attraction I’ve ever been on. A ranking I don’t take lightly. With its amazing integration of characters and storytelling through a trackless ride path and not one but three amazing “pre-show” areas, I completely felt immersed. It really lives up to the hype!
(UPDATE - As of January 11, 2020 the virtual queue opens as soon as the park opens, no earlier. However I still recommend getting there about an hour early since they let you into the park 30 minutes early and you‘ll need to scan in to enter the park before you can access the boarding pass option on the app.)
All that being said, I did a lot of research (mainly about the virtual queue and how to join a boarding group to even hope to experience the ride) and learned quite a few things in the moment that I want to share with you so you can enjoy this amazing experience for yourself! If you have any questions, or if any part of it doesn’t make sense, feel free to ask questions in the comments section 😊
Tips and Tricks (in Day-Of Chronological Order)
- Make sure you have the latest version of the Walt Disney World app downloaded on your phone with your account set up, as well as your family and friends accounts all associated with the tickets you’ll each be using for the day. Also make sure push notifications are enabled for the app so you know when your boarding group gets called, but I’m getting a head of myself.
- Here’s the tiring (but fun) tip …the park has been opening unannounced up to 2 hours before the scheduled park opening listed time, so get to the park early. (This is the reason why boarding passes have been filling up before the park officially opens.) When I say early, I mean early. The day I was able to ride the attraction, I arrived at 5:50am with the park’s scheduled opening of 7am. We didn’t get into the park until 6:40am or so, and I’m pretty sure there were about 1k people in front of me and at least that behind me in line. I’ve been hearing that the park is opening closer to 1 hour vs 2 hours early now since it’s no longer opening weekend.
- Have your app open so as soon as you and your entire party joining you for the day enter the park, you’re able to request to join a boarding group. The Cast Members told me that it could take 2-5 minutes for the app to verify your ticket has been scanned at the Studios for the day, but since I was a party of one, it was pretty quick to sync.
- Once you get your boarding group assignment confirmed, a good portion of the stress is over. I highly recommend exploring the hot ticket attractions while you’re in the park early. Slinky Dog Dash had a 10 minute wait and so did Toy Story Mania both of which I enjoyed prior to my group being called. Tower of Terror, Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster and of course Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run would also be great choices. One of the nice things about having a boarding group is that even if your number was called first (props to you for getting there so early), you have a two hour window to return to the attraction, basically it’s an extended fastpass window, so it’s worth checking out the rest of the park before the masses arrive.
- When your boarding number is called, you’ll get a notification on your phone via the Walt Disney World app and it tells you when you need to arrive by. I was in boarding group 29 and I was called in around 8:50am. (I see that group 70 is currently being called and it’s almost 5pm)
- When you arrive in Batuu, the attraction is the first thing on your left and there will likely be a bunch of people waiting around and Cast Members greeting you. (TIP – I recommend going right up to the Cast Member and telling them your boarding number. When I was there, the people who were outside seemingly queued up were actually just waiting for their boarding number to be called, so no need for you to wait … it’s your time to join the resistance!)
- Once you enter, they’ll ask to scan either your magic band or RFID park ticket to confirm your boarding group is able to check in, then you’re in the queue and you can enjoy the experience from there. Even if you start in the outside portion of the queue, I waited only about 40 minutes in the actual queue, thank the Lord the ride didn’t break down during the process. I’ve heard quite a few people who kept dealing with ride break downs who had to keep coming back using the readmit tickets to enjoy the ride fully. Thankfully the 20 minute pre-show rooms are amazing and were some of my highlights so even if the ride breaks down there are some awesome spots to experience well before you get to the ride.
Okay, those are my detailed tips and what I recommend the process to look like from what I experienced and what I’ve read. In addition, there are a few things to note that may make the experience look slightly different depending on the day you choose to go…
Things to consider
- Extra Magic Hours – If you’re not familiar with Extra Magic Hours, Disney opens certain parks early or closes them late for Guests staying at their resorts to enjoy extra time at the park. However, if you’re not a resort Guest, I don’t recommend coming to Hollywood Studios to try to do Rise of the Resistance on an EMH morning because you won’t be able to access the boarding groups right away since the park isn’t open to non-resort Guests until later. I’m sure you could still try, but the chances of getting a higher boarding group number or none at all are higher.
- Day of the Week - I went on a weekday and it was crazy, but I’m sure not nearly as crazy as a weekend. As all of Disney goes, school holidays and weekends are always going to be the busiest, so if you can avoid them, do 😊
- Transportation – I wouldn’t recommend relying on Disney Transportation. If you can, ride share or drive yourself. Then you have more of a say on arrival time.
- Snacks and Water – Since you’ll be in quite a few places that don’t have easy access to food and water while you wait, I recommend packing a few extra essentials to help keep you hydrated and nourished. After all, if you’re like me, crowds and lines bug me way more when I’m hangry, so no need to add that to the equation.
- Charger for your phone – Since a lot of the day’s activities take place on your phone, I recommend bringing a charger that you can keep with you just in case.
I know that was a lot of info, so please let me know if anyone needs clarification. I want to make sure you’re as prepared as possible to enjoy the experience! (If you want to get a bit more hyped, I’ll put my Rise of the Resistance stories on my insta story highlights).