Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance is one of Galaxy’s Edge’s newest attractions at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. This highly anticipated attraction opened a little over a year ago and requires guests to secure a boarding group to experience the ride.
This full review will cover all of the Rise of the Resistance details, including the following topics:
- What kind of ride is Rise of the Resistance?
- How to secure a boarding group for Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance. (New Boarding Pass Procedures for 2021)
- What if you don’t receive a boarding group?
- Expected wait times for Rise of the Resistance after receiving a boarding group.
- What to expect after entering the queue, ride drops, scare factor, and more.
- Does Rise of the Resistance live up to the hype?
So brace yourself because it’s time to learn how to become the next up-and-coming Resistance leader. Or maybe just your family’s hero because you did the research and succeeded in securing a boarding group on your vacation.
After reading this, if you still think it’s a simple process, may the force be with you a bit more than usual. Unfortunately, Rise of the Resistance causes guests to jump a few hurdles to ride. And so far, the attraction seems to have daily issues that limit capacity even beyond those who have obtained a boarding group. Let me explain.
MAJOR UPDATE: Disney has announced that beginning September 23rd they will be pausing use of the virtual queue system for Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance. Guests will be able to ride the attraction via the standby line. The announcement states that Disney may still use the virtual queue system for this attraction and others moving forward.
You may or may not be aware that the new Disney Genie system is set to come online this Fall. And it appears this announcement (more details here) ties back to correlate with the Disney Genie and possibly Lightning Lane attractions.
As with all of the attractions reviews on the site, here is a chart for Rise of the Resistance. It goes over all the need to know details.
|Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance||Hollywood Studios|
|Disney Genie/Lightning Lane||TBD|
|Ride Type:||Immersive, Highly-Themed, Thrill|
|Seats Per Vehicle:||2 rows of 4 each|
|Good For:||Everyone who meets the height requirement.|
|Must-Do List:||High Priority|
|Perfect For:||Star Wars Fans|
|Special Mention:||You MUST have a boarding pass to experience, OR NOT.|
Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance Review
Rise of the Resistance is the ultimate, top-priority for nearly 100% of guests visiting Walt Disney World. Since the ride’s opening, guests have requirements to obtain a boarding group to experience Rise of the Resistance.
**Boarding groups will be paused for this attraction beginning September 23rd, 2021.
Guests that would like to participate in the opportunity to receive a boarding pass will need to be up at 7:00 a.m. and within Disney’s Hollywood Studios’ vicinity.
“Guests with a valid ticket or annual pass and a Disney Park Pass reservation for Disney’s Hollywood Studios will be able to access the virtual queue system and check for an available boarding group starting at 7 a.m. on the day of their park reservation. This can be done before you leave your Disney resort hotel, or wherever else nearby you might be at that time.”
Any additional boarding groups that are available will be up for grabs later at 1:00 p.m. that day. That process is outlined below and has not changed. You must be inside Hollywood Studios to be eligible for the opportunity to get a boarding pass at 1:00 p.m.
*Remember, at this time in order to visit any of the four Disney parks, you also must secure a theme park reservation in advance.
Make sure to read that article if you are unsure about the process. Hollywood Studios is the most difficult park to reserve. Therefore, you’ll want to make reservations to enter this park a priority over other parks.
What kind of ride is Rise of the Resistance?
This attraction is a highly immersive experience, more so than your typical ride. Many people expect Rise of the Resistance to be a roller coaster; however, it isn’t. There isn’t even a track involved.
Trackless ride systems appear to be the latest thing in theme park entertainment. You can expect to encounter trackless rides within Walt Disney World at Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway and when the new Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure opens at Epcot.
After experiencing Rise of the Resistance for the first time, I was blown away by the technology. The ride got me thinking about how far things have advanced into realms I wasn’t even aware of to date.
It’s pretty amazing what they’ve been able to do with the attraction. And I can even see how improvements can and potentially will be added in the future.
When you ride Rise of the Resistance you can expect all of the following: a themed queue, mission-type experience, capture, holding rooms, an interrogation, and a thrilling escape!
Next, let’s go over how to obtain a boarding group. Then if you would like to continue, I’ll walk you through the whole experience. However, if you don’t want to know the full details, I get it.
I prefer to have limited knowledge of new attractions before experiencing them. That way, I can form my own opinion.
But if you are visiting with children or guests that might be unsure about riding Rise of the Resistance for the first time, the walk-through will help you discern if it will work for your group.
How to Secure a Boarding Group for Rise of the Resistance
Here is the step-by-step process to secure a boarding group.
Securing Rise of the Resistance Boarding Group
- You must have a theme park reservation at Hollywood Studios. As mentioned above, make sure you have a theme park reservation for the day you plan to visit
- Have the My Disney Experience app ready. Make sure you have the My Disney Experience App downloaded on your phone.
- Have push notifications turned on in the app. Make sure you have the My Disney Experience App downloaded on your phone and have notifications set to on.
- Set an alarm prior to 7:00 a.m. to remind you. Have the My Disney Experience app open and ready to secure a boarding pass at 7:00 a.m. sharp. This can now be done from your Disney resort room or a nearby hotel.
- Secure your boarding pass! When the clock strikes one minute prior to 7:00 a.m., have the My Disney Experience app open and begin refreshing. This window below will be on the home page of your My Disney Experience App.
- Join the group. You will want to select “Join” and then refresh back over and over until you secure a boarding group. If you have multiple people in your party, make sure you select them all when the boarding group window comes open.
It’s also a good idea to have everyone in your group with a phone refreshing for a boarding group. The boarding groups are assigned within less than a minute, which leads us to our next subject.
What if you do not receive a boarding group?
This is a topic that I hate we have to discuss, but the reality is that reserving a boarding group is literally a by chance thing. Right now, Disney’s solution is to have a second boarding group process at 1:00 p.m every day.
So on one of my last visits, we decided to try our luck at the second boarding group. Initially, we left our condo at around 9:25 a.m to see if we could get there on time. (This was before the 7:00 a.m. process started. Thankfully, now you don’t have to be in the park. The downside is waking up so early when the park probably won’t even be open until 10:00 a.m. )
Due to a traffic backup at the entrance gate, it was after 10:00 a.m. when we scanned into the park–leaving us to plan B, which was trying for a boarding group at 1:00 p.m.
And we successfully refreshed and received Boarding Group 49 with an estimated return time of 175 minutes. That’s probably longer than you think. Fortunately, we did get to experience the attraction at the end of the day. But we also waited over 90 minutes in the queue due to the ride going down.
Therefore, if the second group becomes “your only hope” after not securing an initial reservation, set an alarm for closer to 1:00 p.m. Then try your best to secure a backup boarding group.
If all else fails, I suggest making a complaint to someone in guest services or guest relations at the front of the park. We are able to visit the parks on a somewhat regular basis. Making it not a big deal if we don’t get a boarding group. Sometimes we don’t even try.
But for those traveling from long distances or on a rare vacation and primarily at Hollywood Studios to experience the new offerings, I get it.
With all that being said, I can’t guarantee any positive result from making a formal plea or complaint to someone in the park. Sometimes it takes talking to the right person. Just remember that old proverb, “You can trap more flies with honey than vinegar.”
The main thing is to let your family know that you’ll do everything within your power to secure a boarding group. But if you don’t get a Rise of the Resistance Boarding Group, commit that you will still enjoy your day with everything else Hollywood Studios has to offer.
And again, I hate to have to say that. But from our experiences, it appears the reason they are offering a virtual queue system is to control capacity. For instance, on a day when they are having issues, Disney could offer little to no boarding groups come 1:00 p.m. How would anyone know the difference?
There is some speculation about how many guests are riding Rise of the Resistance per day. But as I recently discussed with another blogger friend, you’d have to stand outside the attraction and literally count guests as they enter the queue.
I also don’t know how to measure disappointment between not getting a boarding pass at all or getting a boarding pass and not being able to ride. Both seem like downers to me.
While I’m not sure why the ride experiences downtime so often, I can’t help but think it is due to its vast size. Surely, it takes a while to reset everything when something malfunctions. You’ll see what I mean when it comes time to take your own spin on Rise of the Resistance.
Now we’ll take a look at what happens when you do receive a boarding pass.
Expected Wait Times after Receiving a Boarding Group
As you can see in this visit below, we were lucky enough to get barding group 7. You might also note that the time had rolled over to 10:01 a.m. on my phone. My son and I were both refreshing for passes. But he was the one who actually secured this boarding group. It immediately showed up on both of our phones.
Another thing to point out is that the app gives an estimated return time after securing the boarding pass. This is just an estimate but it does update as the day goes on. Once your specific boarding group is called, you will have one hour to return for your experience.
As you can see on this day, we received notice to return at 10:30 a.m. and had until 11:30 a.m. to enter the queue.
Getting to experience Rise of the Resistance so early in the day is a huge benefit. Many guests who receive higher number boarding groups have to wait around all day to experience the attraction.
Unfortunately, on this experience, we waited for nearly two hours because the ride was having issues. At least with the current socially distanced queues, everyone has a little space to spread out. However, most of us don’t want to spend hours standing inside a cave when we’ve already gone out of our way to secure a boarding pass in the first place.
If this happens and you decide to exit or need to visit the restroom, let the cast member in your area know. They will assist and inform you of your options.
For me, the experience has been that the attraction is somewhat of a letdown when these long waits occur. On this particular day, we both felt like we were starving by the time we exited the ride. And between the lengthy wait and other factors, our anticipation of experiencing the ride had dwindled significantly.
Here’s a look at the push notification Disney sends out when your boarding group is called. Make sure to have these notifications turned on. It keeps you from having to check the app multiple times and draining your phone’s battery.
Additionally, there are wait time boards throughout the park. The wait time boards are electronic signs that offer the wait times at all the attractions. These boards also display the current boarding groups that are loading for Rise of the Resistance.
What to expect with Rise of the Resistance
We have reached the part of this review where I will walk you through the actual ride experience. At this point, you might want to keep reading or elect to visit some other blog posts on the site. But fair warning, you’ll be familiar with the ride in detail if you keep reading.
Due to offering a virtual queue, one would think that Rise of the Resistance might not have a long physical queue. However, the queue is quite lengthy and similar to what you would experience at any other headliner attraction. The first portion of the queue is outside and has a lot of landscaping.
The inside portion of the queue is cave-like as you approach the Resistance Headquarters. There you will be greeted by Rey from the most recent Star Wars series. She appears to guests in the form of a hologram and petitions for your help on the next Resistance mission.
BB-8 makes an appearance as well.
You’ll also see a few other well-known characters.
The doors then open and you find yourself back outside boarding the latest Resistance fleet.
Inside your starship, you’ll be asked to hold on or lean on something to keep your balance. After takeoff, you’ll experience a bit of movement. This is a light simulated motion with minimal gravity loss. I don’t think it would actually bother anyone, but you might not expect it.
Right now, guests are being assigned dots to stand on inside. I enjoyed standing at the back of the ship best so I could see what was happening around us.
The scene changes from flying off the luscious planet, jumping to light speed, and then approaching the Star Destroyer. Think Star Wars movie where you get too close and they pull your ship in for examination. Yeah, big time trouble!
Here’s the bay where your ship is seized. Things go from exciting to intimidating as you disembark to an army of storm troopers. While these are animatronics, make sure to pay close attention. Many of them subtly move and offer a lot of realistic features.
Imagine the attraction breaking down right here and spending an hour and half with these guys staring you down.
I guess it’s not the worst place to wait. You will then be called to wait for an interrogation and enter the Star Destroyer portion of the queue. As long as everything is operating smoothly, this portion will go by quickly.
Here’s a look at the holding area.
Once inside your containment room, a stormtrooper will be assigned to guard you.
Before long General Hux and Kylo Ren will show up to apply pressure. Thankfully, an issue occurs that causes them to leave you briefly alone.
Just as things can’t seem to get any worse, help arrives! The Resistance has boarded the ship and is breaking you out. They have taken over the system’s mainframe and have secured droids to help you reach the escape fleet.
This baby droid is your new best friend as he whisks you away to safety. You’ll find yourself dipping and dodging through some of the most recognizable Star Wars weaponry.
Expect an elevator-style drop and surprise lift during the experience. Truly, it’s all thrilling, and I am somewhat excited writing about the whole thing.
But when I say thrilling, I don’t mean in a scary way. I can see how the attraction could be intimidating to a smaller child, but I think most will do fine once on board. The drops are tummy-ticklers but not anything like you would expect on a major thrill ride like the Tower of Terror.
Growing up watching Star Wars and being a lifelong fan, I can express to you that it’s like stepping into the set of the movie. And I can only imagine it being somewhat emotional for many guests.
But I digress! I forgot to mention whatever you do, don’t turn around! Storm Troopers are most definitely shooting directly at you!
Next thing you know, the droid has taken a wrong turn and landed you back on the main bridge of the Destroyer.
Kylo Ren is not happy and is determined to put an end to the entire fiasco. Imagine him coming after you and your only protection is a confused droid.
Thankfully, the droid narrowly escapes again, but as you can see Kylo Ren isn’t far behind.
Luckily, a window is blasted out in the process causing Kylo Ren to have to use the force just to stay on board.
While he’s distracted you reach the ship and quickly take off by jumping into light speed. (While exciting, you will remain in your droid vehicle the entire time.)
And next thing you know you are safely back at Resistance Headquarters.
So as you can see there’s quite a lot that goes on during the entirety of the experience. Most guests will be blown away by the technology. But it really takes experiencing the attraction a few times to grasp the entire concept.
With so much going on it can get a bit confusing. The cast members do a good job role-playing as well. These fine touches and extra elements really help make Rise of the Resistance come to life.
And now for the question…
Is riding Rise of the Resistance worth it?
If you’ve read the entire review you might have noticed that I have mixed feelings about Rise of the Resistance. This comes in part because of my personal experiences riding the attraction.
I don’t want to have to get to a park extremely early in an effort to experience one attraction. And if I get there early and am still not guaranteed a spot, it’s probably going to impact my day negatively.
And if I try again later in hopes to obtain a boarding pass and still don’t get it, I will probably be beyond frustrated.
Especially, if my kid wanted to ride it and couldn’t. And I think that’s the way most guests visiting are going to feel. Even if you read my warning to try and have a good time no matter what.
And with all that being said, no one wants to secure said boarding pass and then still have to wait two hours to ride because the attraction is down.
So as far as the actual ride, it’s a truly stupendous feat. You will love it…if you get to ride it. And you might be disappointed by the time you get to ride if you have to wait a long time. Especially, given the fact that a virtual queue is supposed to eliminate the majority of wait times.
Final Thoughts on riding Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance
Disney has done a really good job with Rise of the Resistance. But there are still many issues with the ride that will need to be worked out over time. Hopefully, when these issues are corrected the overall experience will improve across the board.
Anyone can read this entire review, join one of the first Rise of the Resistance boarding groups, and have a flawless experience. That is ideal. Unfortunately, it just hasn’t been the case for most guests.
Until next time, may the force be with you!
For more Galaxy’s Edge info check out these other reviews:
- Disney’s Smugglers Run Review (Millennium Falcon)
- Oga’s Cantina Review
- Ronto Roasters & Wraps at Disney
Have you had the chance to ride Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance? What are your thoughts about this attraction?