How to Get a Great Rise of the Resistance Boarding Group
Updated: Dec 15, 2020
Heading to Hollywood Studios soon in the hopes of grabbing a boarding group for Rise of the Resistance?
We just got back from a weeklong trip to Disney World and had the most amazing time. 5 adults and 5 kids spent 7 nights and 6 days at the most Magical Place on Earth and it was glorious.
We had the pleasure of experiencing that attraction not once but twice on our trip. And each time getting a boarding group was a different and challenging experience.
I thought I had all the tips and tricks to getting a boarding group down. But I ran into a few surprises that impacted the boarding group we were able to get, things I hadn’t read about or heard from other guests.
What were they and should you be concerned about them??
Read on my friend. I’ll break it all down for you, give my suggestions for overcoming these obstacles, and list my recommendations on what to do in the hopes of getting a low boarding group for Rise of the Resistance.
NOTE: This post has been updated since I first posted this to reflect the changes since Disney World reopened with COVID restrictions.
November 2020 BIG UPDATE!
Disney has changed the boarding group process again!
Starting on Nov 3, 2020 you no longer have to be inside Hollywood Studios to obtain a boarding group in the morning. As long as you have a valid park ticket AND park reservation for Hollywood Studios that day, you can try for a boarding group wherever you are. Here is how it works:
You can try for a boarding group at 7am ET on the day of your park reservation, no matter where you are located.
You will follow the same steps as before to obtain one, using your My Disney Experience account.
You will want to make sure the ticket and park reservations for everyone in your party is linked appropriately in your My Disney Experience account ahead of time.
If you are unsuccessful at 7am, you can try again at 2pm. However, you will need to be inside the park gates to try for the 2pm slots. Yet another update: Starting December 20, 2020 the time moves from 2pm to 1pm.
Follow these steps:
Determine ahead of time if your phone will be faster on WIFI or on Cell Service where you will be located at 7am.
Have someone pull up the world clock on their phone and watch the time.
At 6:59 ET am have ONE person in your party head to the MDE app, click the three lines in the bottom right corner, choose "Virtual Queues," then "Join Virtual Queue." If it doesn't allow you to join one yet, hit back and try again over and over until it does. It goes quick!
If you are unsuccessful at 7am, no worries. You can try again at 2pm (1pm starting Dec. 20, 2020) as long as you are physically inside Hollywood Studios. Just make sure you are NOT on the park WIFI and only ONE person in your party makes the attempt.
There is a lot of luck involved in this process. So while these steps can help make sure you are completely prepared and ready to go, it does not guarantee you a boarding group. As you can see from the stories below, I've been lucky and not so lucky.
Best of luck!
First Attempt – Sunday, January 26, 2020
Originally, we weren’t planning on going into a park this day. But because of the promotion Disney was running for our travel dates we essentially got a free park day. Woo hoo! Hollywood Studios here we come! It was opening at 7am, which meant a very early morning for us.
Getting to the Park
We were staying at the Disney Polynesian Resort. Our choices of transportation to get to Hollywood Studios included Lyft, Uber, and Disney’s bus transportation. I had read that going by Uber or Lyft was the best way to go and originally planned to go that route, but since there were 6 of us and 2 required car seats going by bus was pretty much our only option.
That turned out to be a blessing in disguise. We got on the bus at the Polynesian at 6:15am and arrived at Hollywood Studios around 6:30am. The line of cars trying to get into Hollywood Studios was INSANE. Way backed up and had we taken an Uber we would have been stuck in that.
Instead our bus breezed right past all those cars and we got off the bus and booked it to security in no time.
Recommendation #1: Stay at a Disney property and go by Disney transportation.
POST COVID UPDATE: Things have changed quite a bit since I originally posted this. Because of the physical distancing requirements, Disney transportation is taking longer than usual.
While some folks have had luck getting an Uber to Hollywood Studios in time, there is still the chance of a long wait time for cars to get into the parks. They are not letting cars in any earlier.
The bus and Skyliner can have long waits first thing in the morning. So if going by one of these modes of transportation get to the bus or Skyliner station at your hotel an hour to 45 mins before you want to LEAVE your hotel. Not when you want to arrive at the park, when you want to LEAVE your hotel.
If grabbing that coveted boarding group is of utmost importance to you, I suggest staying at a hotel that is within walking distance to Hollywood Studios. That means Yacht & Beach Club, the Boardwalk, and the Swan & Dolphin resorts.
Getting Through Security & Scanning Into the Park
We left our stroller at the hotel, but we did have small bags with us. They have all the lines segmented, with strollers in certain lines, those with bags in other lines, and those without bags in another. Of course, the lines without bags go the quickest, but we traveled light and were still able to get through the bag line quickly.
Recommendation #2: Bring as little with you as possible. If you can, go without your stroller and bag.
We got through security and scanned into the park entrance within 10 minutes of getting off the bus. It was very quick!
Getting a Boarding Group
By now it was 6:40am and we had time to kill. Lots of people went to the area of the park that had the rides they wanted to rope drop. For most that meant heading towards the entrance to Galaxy’s Edge or Toy Story Land. We decided to just hang out near the Chinese Theater and grab a bite to eat and some coffee while we waited. We grabbed some snacks from one of the food carts (the line for the coffee shop was extremely long) and found a place to chill while we waited for official park opening.
I made sure to turn off park WIFI and rely completely on my data plan. Make sure you do this before you head to the park. I forgot to do this on our second attempt, and you’ll see what happens!
Recommendation: Do not use the park WIFI.
I also made sure NOT to open the Disney World app at all before 7am. Not even to check if it was working yet. Again, this is key, and you’ll see why later.
Recommendation: Do NOT open your Disney World/MDE app until park opening.
10/2020 Edit: They have changed the app since I posted this. You can open the app before park opening time without issue. Now I recommend about 45 seconds before they release the boarding groups start refreshing the Virtual Ques area in the app. Step 1: Hit the three lines on the bottom right of your screen. Step 2: Select "Virtual Queues." Step 3: Hit Join Virtual Queue. If that is not lit up to allow you to choose a group yet, hit the back arrow at the top left of your screen and try again. Keep going back and forth until it lights up.
Finally, it was 7am. Go time! I was so nervous; I was literally shaking. So much pressure to get a boarding group! An announcement was made over the park speakers that it was time, but I had been watching the clock and opened that app as soon as it hit 7am.
I opened the app, hit “Find out More” under the Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance section on the homepage, and rejoice! The “Join Boarding Group” button was lit up and I could start the process.
This is where the first hiccup came in that I was not expecting. I just assumed that it would only show me the Friends and Family I was with that were in the park. Nope! To my chagrin every single person I have on my MDE Friends and Family list was listed and I had to sort through the entire list to choose the 6 of us that were in the park.
This really took away valuable time from getting a boarding group and I really wish they had a way to just show you the people you are with that day.
Like I said, I was shaking I was so nervous about getting a group and my hands were shaky while scrolling through my list. It only took a few seconds, but it felt like forever. Especially since people around me had started cheering when they got their boarding group.
Recommendation: If possible, scrub your Friends and Family list to just the essentials. You can always try and add people back later if you want.
10/2020 UPDATE: They fixed this! They will now automatically select everyone in your group that has scanned into the park that day. No more hunting through your list!!
Finally, I had all 6 of us selected and was able to get a boarding group. We got 65! Not super low but wasn’t a backup group so we were happy and felt confident we’d get to ride.
Waiting to Ride
This is where luck really comes in to play. Whether you get to ride or not is not guaranteed by getting a boarding group. The ride breaks down. A lot. So, it’s up to fate whether the ride is working well that day and the boarding groups go quickly.
That day was not a good day for breakdowns. It broke down a bunch and it took a while to get through the groups. Our group was finally called at 2:30pm and we had until 4:30pm to ride.
Since we were in line for Smugglers Run when our boarding group was called, we didn’t head to Rise of the Resistance right at 2:30. It was probably closer to 4 when we finally headed there.
We scanned our bands at the entrance and breezed through the front part of the line. We were pleasantly surprised at how quickly the line was moving and were getting pumped to experience the attraction.
When we were about halfway through the queue, the dreaded announcement was made. The ride had broken down. Noooooooooo!!
No estimate was given as to when it would be back up and running. But lucky for us they didn’t make us leave the line and come back another time. Instead we got comfy with our fellow park goers, my kids played with the droids they had made earlier that day, and we patiently waited for them to get the ride back up and running.
Whoever designed the queue must have anticipated a lot of waiting, because benches were built into the walls in certain areas and we were lucky enough to be by one of them.
Cast members came through to offer us popcorn, chips, water, and bananas at no cost. Not only that, but Rey, Chewie, and another Resistance character (sorry, I don’t know her name) came through to entertain us and take pictures with the kids. They really take good care of you if the ride breaks down and you are already in line.
Recommendation: If the ride breaks down while you are in line, stick it out! Take advantage of the free goodies and character greetings.
It took about an hour for them to get the ride back up and running but the time breezed by. We had fun chatting with our neighbors, eating our snacks, and visiting with the characters. Plus, it was a nice break from being outside and we were able to get off our feet for a bit.
Experiencing the Attraction
Once the ride was back up and running, the line moved quickly. I’d say it was about 20 minutes of waiting in line once it was moving again, but you were constantly moving and there were plenty of things to look at.
Finally, it was our turn. I don’t want to give away any spoilers. All I will say is it was AMAZING. Truly one of the most unique attractions I’ve ever experienced, and it was 100% worth the wait and stress of getting a boarding group. I LOVED it!
My 7 and 9-year-old boys loved it. My 4-year-old daughter did just fine on the attraction but did get scared and declared afterwards that she did not want to do it again. There are some intense parts and because it feels so real it could be a bit too much for the littlest riders.
Recommendation: Be aware of some intense parts for younger and more sensitive guests.
Second Attempt – Tuesday, January 28, 2020
After a successful first attempt, I was feeling good going into Tuesday. I assumed the crowds would be lower since it was a weekday, I knew how the process worked. I was going to kill it the second day. Low boarding group here we come.
We had a different group of people this day, and a stroller. But we were still through security and inside the gates with plenty of time. We took the bus from our resort again and it worked out great.
We found a different part of the park to wait for official opening time and grab some snacks. Then it hit me, I forgot to turn off my WIFI! Mistake number one. I quickly turned that off.
As we were waiting, we were discussing the day and coming days and I pulled up the MDE app to check some plans for later in the week. Mistake number two! I thought that if I turned off the app with plenty of time it wouldn’t make a difference. Boy was I wrong.
Official park opening time came and I pulled up the app again and thought it would be smooth sailing. But for whatever reason my “Join Boarding Group” button was not lit up!
I could hear people around cheering when it worked for them. Yet I could not get it to work, no matter how many times I refreshed or closed and reopened the app. More and more people are cheering, and now I’m in panic mode.
My sister pulled up her app and was able to get in a group right away, but she couldn’t see everyone who was there, and I could. I was finally able to pull it up and get the rest of us in a group, but by then we were put in group 96. That day it wasn’t a backup group, but almost. I was so frustrated and dejected.
Luckily the ride was running smoothly that day, and our 96 boarding group was called before 2:30pm, which was when our 64 boarding group was called two days prior. And my sister’s group was close enough to the one I got; we were still able to ride the attraction together.
And it was just as amazing, if not more so, the second time. I was able to pick up things I didn’t catch the first time. There is so much detail in the ride. It’s incredible!
Here are my tips to ensuring you get a boarding group for Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance at Disney’s Hollywood Studios:
Stay at a Disney property and leave your hotel at least an hour before park opening. (POST COVID Update: stay at hotel within walking distance or head to the bus or Skyliner station at your hotel 45 mins - 1 hour prior to when you want to leave your hotel.)
Bring as little as possible into the parks to speed up the security process.
Turn off your phone’s WIFI. Use your data plan.
About a minute before the groups are released (right now that is at 10am and 2pm, or 1pm after 12/20/20), start refreshing the Virtual Queues section of the app until it allows you to join a group.
If the ride breaks down while you are in line, stick it out! Disney will take care of you with snacks and perhaps some special character greetings.
Be aware there are some intense parts that could be too much for smaller and more sensitive guests.
Despite all the stress and drama with getting a boarding group, and the necessity to get up SO EARLY, I love that they are doing boarding groups.
I personally would not spend hours standing in line. I love the virtual line. We got so much done in the park those days, and we got to experience the attraction twice!
I’m not sure how long they plan to do the boarding groups for the ride. Judging by how many people were there and how quickly the groups are “selling out” months after the ride opened, I suspect this process could be used for a while.
I hope you find these tips useful and they lead to you getting a low boarding group and experiencing this amazing attraction for yourself. It is an amazing attraction.
Have you experienced Rise of the Resistance? What was your boarding group process like? Share in the comments!
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