It's no secret that the Frog Fam are toadally huge Star Wars fans. We could barely contain our excitement as we waited for Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge to open, and are frequent visitors to Black Spire Outpost now that opening day has finally come and gone. We've piloted the Millennium Falcon. We've built our own droid BFF. We've assembled some "scrap metal." And now, we can officially say that we've escaped the epic battle between the First Order and the Resistance!
Disney’s newest attraction, Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance, has been a game-changer. Not only is the attraction itself one of the most technologically advanced that Disney has ever created (utilizing not one, not two, not three, but FOUR different ride systems!), but Disney also introduced a brand-new virtual queue system as the only way to access the ride to manage its high demand. Ahead of its opening, we knew that Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance wouldn’t use FastPass+ initially. But the introduction of the virtual queue eliminated the standby line entirely and completely changed our tactics for tackling this most impressive attraction. That said, don't let this unexpected addition deter you! Using Boarding Groups is toadally easy, and we're here to walk you through it, step by step, so that you're prepared for your visit.
Currently, Boarding Groups are only required for Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance. You do not need one to access Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge (the land itself) or Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run.
In this guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know about when to arrive at Disney’s Hollywood Studios and how the virtual queue system works, including how to join a Boarding Group. Grab your lightsaber! Here’s our step-by-step process so you can have the best chance at riding Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance.
Before You Arrive at Disney’s Hollywood Studios
In order to ride Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance, you’ll need the My Disney Experience app to join a Boarding Group as part of the virtual queue. Be sure to download the app from your smartphone’s app store the night before, so you can have it ready to go once you’re inside the park. If you already have the app, update it to the latest version. You don’t want to lose any precious time in the morning when you arrive!
It’s also very important to add your entire party to your Family and Friends list within the app so that everyone can join the Boarding Group at the same time. Each member of your party must have a My Disney Experience account and be linked in your Family and Friends list, or be a guest (such as small children) that you already manage on your account.
If you have an E-Ticket, we'd recommend that you get it linked to a MagicBand or hop to the park the day before to get it converted to a physical park ticket RFID card. Cast members are available to help you do this at the Guest Relations window in the morning, but it's simpler if you have a MagicBand or park ticket card already set so you can proceed to scan it at the touch point.
When to Arrive at Disney’s Hollywood Studios
As I always say, "The early frog gets the flies!" This is especially the case when it comes to figuring out when you need to arrive at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. During the ride’s opening week, the park unofficially opened between 6 a.m. and 6:30 a.m., allowing guests inside to start the virtual queue process. In the first couple weeks of using the system, Boarding Groups were filled even before the park’s official opening time of 9 a.m. We hopped back on a day that the park opened at 8 a.m., and all Boarding Groups for the day were toadally full just minutes before the official opening time.
However, Disney recently switched up the process so that guests will not be able to join a Boarding Group until the park's official opening time. Guests may still be welcomed onto Hollywood Boulevard prior to the park's opening, but only nearby limited locations, such as Trolley Car Cafe and Keystone Clothiers, are open. The rest of the park remains closed until the official opening time. The new year begins with 7 a.m. openings through Feb. 2, 2020.
There is still no rhyme or reason when it comes to figuring out how long it takes before the virtual queue closes. It depends on a number of factors, such as the crowd level or technical difficulties that the ride has experienced. The last Boarding Group number able to ride the attraction has been different every day so far! Because of these variables, we still recommend hopping to Disney's Hollywood Studios about 45 minutes to an hour early to allow time to get through security and the touch points by the time the park opens. We'll continue to update this post with our best advice as the process changes!
We’d highly recommend using a Minnie Van or another ride-share app to get to the park instead of relying on Disney transportation since an early arrival is crucial to this process.
What Is a Boarding Group and How to Join to Ride Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance
A Boarding Group is currently the only way to access Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance. Unlike a FastPass+ return time, once you've joined a Boarding Group, you’ll be assigned a Boarding Group number. These Boarding Group numbers are then notified in chronological order when it’s time to return to the attraction and enter the queue. You may get an estimated time of day, such as “Evening,” but otherwise, the time depends on how quickly the ride can accommodate the Boarding Groups before you.
In order to join the virtual queue, you need to enter the park and physically scan your ticket or MagicBand in at the touch point, including providing your fingerprint. Once it's the park's official opening time, you’ll then be able to join a Boarding Group through the My Disney Experience app. On the home page, there will be a section named “Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance - Access by Boarding Group.” Click on the Find Out More button. This is where you and your selected friends and family members can join a Boarding Group and check the status to see which groups are currently boarding. If you do not have a smartphone, you can visit a Guest Experience kiosk to join a Boarding Group. However, if you have access to the app, don’t waste any time — that’s the fastest way to join a Boarding Group. Everyone in your party must be on Disney’s Hollywood Studios property and have scanned in, as well. So no, Mommy and Daddy frogs can’t get a head start to get boarding passes without the tadpoles present.
Disney is now implementing backup Boarding Groups. You still need to arrive in the morning in order to join the virtual queue. Once the initial Boarding Groups have been filled, you will be notified that you are joining a backup group (this cut-off Boarding Group number changes daily). These backup groups will only be called if all of the initial planned groups have been called and there is capacity for more riders in the evening. Joining these backup groups does not guarantee access to the ride. A push notification will be sent through the app if your backup group is called.
You’ve Joined a Boarding Group! What Happens Now?
Congratulations! Now that you’ve successfully joined a Boarding Group, you have time to explore the rest of Disney’s Hollywood Studios. While the park is no longer operating other attractions before the official opening time, wait times for most of the rides will still remain low within the first hour of the park opening. We still recommend taking advantage of this time before heading over to Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance since you have a two-hour window to join the queue.
If you sacrificed breakfast time, don't worry. Starbucks at the Trolley Car Cafe will be available (even before the park's official opening!) to serve up your much-needed cup of Joe. In the meantime, you can keep track of your Boarding Group's status through the My Disney Experience app. Be sure to turn your push notifications on so that you’ll receive a notification when your Boarding Group is called! There are also digital boards that display which groups are boarding throughout the park.
Once it’s your Boarding Group’s turn, you have a two-hour window to return to the attraction’s entrance and check in with the cast members to enter the queue. The cast members will have iPads to scan your MagicBand or park ticket card, so have those ready to go! Once you enter the queue, it will be about a 30- to 45-minute wait without any delays until you reach the first pre-show, which kicks off the ride experience. (If you're OK with spoilers before you ride, you can check out the full queue and pre-show in the video Tad shot below!)
If your Boarding Group is a higher number and isn’t expected to be called until later in the day, you may leave the park to go to another park or return to your hotel to swim in those luxurious heated pools or take a nap (you deserve it, you early riser!).
If the ride happens to shut down in order to work out some kinks, there is a chance you could experience a delay. Boarding Groups will stop being called, and entry into the queue will be closed if you're not already in line. One time, our Boarding Group was called, but by the time we got to the ride entrance, the ride was experiencing a delay so we had to wait until it opened back up. Once the ride is up and running again, the order of Boarding Groups will pick up where it was left off. Your two-hour window will be extended if a delay causes you to miss your expiration time, but still keep a close eye on which Boarding Groups are allowed entry.
Joining a Boarding Group does not guarantee that you'll be able to ride Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance. For some time, Disney had been accommodating guests whose Boarding Group number isn't called by the end of the day with return passes. (In this case, you would receive a push notification and be able to access the return pass through the My Disney Experience app.) However, lately the virtual queue has been running efficiently, and people in backup Boarding Groups have been able to hop on the ride on a regular basis.
Other Important Details and Tips About Riding Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance
- If you have a DAS card, you’ll still need to secure a spot in a Boarding Group first. Once your Boarding Group is called, you’ll show your DAS card to the cast members, who will direct you to the FastPass+ line.
- Similarly, you'll need to enter the virtual queue if you wish to use the Rider Switch service, which is available. When your Boarding Group is called, scan in at the ride entrance and look for a Resistance cast member in a mustard and brown vest near the queue for further assistance.
- It’s unknown how long the virtual queue system and its Boarding Groups will be in place, but it seems likely that it will be utilized in the coming weeks and into the new year. We’ll keep you posted with any changes!
- You cannot get more than one virtual boarding pass for Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance per day.
- Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance is currently not open during evening Extra Magic Hours.
- Joining the virtual queue does not affect any existing, same-day FastPasses for a different park. Additionally, you are able to acquire same-day FastPasses at another park once you're assigned to a Boarding Group.
- If you receive a low-numbered Boarding Group, take advantage of the low wait times for other attractions in the park first. You don’t have to jump in line immediately when your Boarding Group is called, thanks to the two-hour window. You can get a lot accomplished before you hop in line for Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance, which could take up to 60 minutes (time spent in the queue, pre-shows and on the ride) without any delays before you exit the ride.
Will you be up bright and early to join a Boarding Group for Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance? Do you have any other questions about the virtual queue system? Share in the comments below.