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 last fall, and have since been frequent visitors to Black Spire Outpost. We've piloted the Millennium Falcon. We've built our own droid BFF. We've assembled some "scrap metal" (aka building a lightsaber!). And now, we've escaped the epic battle between the First Order and the Resistance!
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 virtual queue system as the only way to access the ride to manage its high demand (and to control capacity once Disney's Hollywood Studios reopened after the COVID-19 closure). 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. While the boarding group system has changed a couple of times in recent weeks as the park reopened, fear not, your favorite frogs are here to walk you through what you need to know.
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! (Pssst. Check out our full guide to using My Disney Experience.)
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
Originally, the virtual queue system opened right at the official park opening time, so our advice was to be at Hollywood Studios for rope drop. However, since the park has reopened, the virtual queue system has been slightly modified. The process of joining a Boarding Group is essentially the same, but the virtual queue now opens up for a second time during the day (10 a.m. and 2 p.m.). If you're not an early riser, great news! You don't have to arrive as soon as the park opens for a chance to snag a Boarding Group.
If riding Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance is super important to you, you may want to arrive early so you'll have a second chance if you don't get a Boarding Group at 10 a.m. (the virtual queue still fills up quickly.) The parking lot opens at 9 a.m., so you shouldn't arrive any earlier because you may be told to leave and come back.
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. If there is a significant ride delay and less Boarding Groups go through as a result, the 2 p.m. distribution time may have reduced capacity.
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 wait time (such as 20 minutes) 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. Once it's the park's official opening time or 2 p.m., 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 - Request Access with Virtual Queue.” Click on the Join button. This is where you and your selected friends and family members can join a Boarding Group. 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 still implementing backup Boarding Groups. Once the initial Boarding Groups have been filled, you may 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 additional riders. 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. If arriving at park open, we'd suggest taking advantage of any rides with low wait times, or making a bee-line toward your next priority ride (Slinky Dog, anyone?).
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 exactly which groups are boarding throughout the park.
Once it’s your Boarding Group’s turn, you'll be assigned a one-hour window to return to the attraction’s entrance and check in with the cast members to enter the queue.
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 may 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 and return to your hotel to swim in those luxurious heated pools or take a nap. But keep in mind that you'll only have an hour to return once your Boarding Group is called! (We suggest staying inside the park so you don't run the risk of missing your arrival window.)
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 return 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.
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.
- You cannot get more than one virtual boarding pass for Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance per day.
- We've found that turning off Disney's Wi-Fi and using our cellular data works best, along with our speedy fingers.
- Be sure to have your push notifications on and keep an eye on the app, as you only have a one-hour return window and may need to jump to the queue quickly.
- Take advantage of any low wait times for other attractions in the park first before more crowds show up later in the day.
Are you ready 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.