UPDATE (12/8/2019): Disney has limited guests to one boarding pass per day. Our original article continues below, and we will continue to update the top of this post with changes as they occur.
UPDATE (12/12/2019): Disney has begun to open the park at 7am, we’ve updated some of the wording in the post below, but an early arrival still is the overarching advice.
UPDATE (12/16/2019): Disney has announced Backup Boarding Groups. In short, it doesn’t make much of a difference in your touring plan. We’ll discuss below.
UPDATE (12/18/2019): Disney has moved to a hard-open of the boarding groups right when the park opens. We still recommend getting to the park about 60 minutes before scheduled park opening.
Rise of the Resistance is now open at Disney’s Hollywood Studios and how you approach the first few hours of your day will greatly impact not only when you’ll be able to ride, but if you’ll be able to ride the headliner attraction at all. In this post, we’ll cover what a boarding group is, how to get one, and some tips on how to make the most of your vacation when visiting Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge. Here’s our Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance virtual queue guide!
- Timing Your Arrival
- Getting a Boarding Group
- Download the My Disney Experience App and Link Your Party
- Your Entire Party Must Enter Disney’s Hollywood Studios
- Help, The App Isn’t Working
- It’s Time to Ride!
- Backup Boarding Groups
In order to manage the high demand for Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance, Disney is implementing a virtual queue where guests wait in a virtual “line” instead of a physical line. It’s important to note that a Boarding Pass is only required to experience Rise of the Resistance. You do not need a Boarding Pass for Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run and you won’t need a Boarding Pass to enter the Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge land as a whole. There seems to be some confusion on what a Boarding Pass is needed for: it’s only needed for the Rise of the Resistance attraction.
Timing Your Arrival
We have an entire post about how to time your arrival and photos showing how the crowds build in the morning, but we’ll try to keep it succinct here.
Since Disney has moved to a hard-open of the boarding groups when the park opens, Disney’s Hollywood Studios is the only park that doesn’t respect a first come, first served approach to rope drop. For more on our opinion of the change, check out our post (HERE).
The most important thing for you to do is ensure that you are inside Disney’s Hollywood Studios before park opening. Because we’re writing this guide for the masses, we have to be a bit conservative in our advice. While it’s certainly possible for you to show up 20 minutes before park open and get into the park before park open, we simply can’t recommend doing that.
We also don’t want to make you and your family show up hours and hours before what is needed. That said, you need to consider what your goals are to plan rope drop. We take two approaches below.
Just Getting a Boarding Group
If your goal is just to secure a boarding group, grab a coffee, and maybe get to ride Tower of Terror or don’t mind waiting for your first attraction of the day, you can safely show up 45-60 minutes before park opening. Bag check will be open and while there will be a big crowd in front of you, Disney is pretty good on getting people into the park first thing in the morning.
Don’t plan on being first in line for Slinky Dog Dash or Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run, but at least you’ll be in the park.
Low Wait for First Attraction
A more intense approach is trying to get to the front of the groups that form for individual land rope drops. For more on where the crowds form, check out our post showing what rope drop looks like right now inside the park.
If you want to make sure that you’re one of the first to ride some of the headliner attractions, you’ll have to show up 90-120 minutes before park opening. This will ensure that you’re one of the first few hundred to enter Disney’s Hollywood Studios and allow you to head towards your attraction of choice.
Of course, showing up so early doesn’t give you an advantage to securing a boarding group for Rise of the Resistance as everyone will be trying to get a boarding group at the same time.
Next, how do you get to Disney’s Hollywood Studios extremely early in the morning? You really can’t depend on resort buses as they officially begin running just an hour before official scheduled park opening. That means that you’re left with a few different options based on where you’re staying.
Disney’s in-house private taxi service is called Minnie Van, and they’ll magically whisk you anywhere you want on property. The key part about the Minnie Van service is that it’s the earliest possible form of official Disney transportation, beginning service at 5am. This is your best option if you want official Disney transportation. We recommend visiting the front desk at your resort the day before and checking hours and seeing if you can arrange a pick-up time for the morning.
Own Car/Ride Share
Your best option is to take your own vehicle or rental car to Disney’s Hollywood Studios. It allows you the most flexibility out of any of the options and allows you to control the situation. That said, if you wouldn’t otherwise have a rental car, don’t go out of your way just to get to Disney’s Hollywood Studios at some extremely early hour. Another good option is using a ride share service such as Lyft or Uber. These apps will let you schedule a pick-up time at your resort the day before and they drop off close to the Hollywood Studios bag check.
The Disney Skyliner is simply a bad option to get to Disney’s Hollywood Studios in time for park opening. For some reason, Disney is not currently running the Disney Skyliner before park opening, making the transportation system pointless.
Buses officially start running about an hour before park opening. We don’t recommend using a bus unless you find some running 90 minutes before park opening.
Getting a Boarding Group
Download the My Disney Experience App and Link Your Party
To enter the virtual line, guests will have to secure a Boarding Pass via the My Disney Experience app. If you haven’t already, you’ll need to download the My Disney Experience app from the app store and make sure your entire party is linked to your friends and family list. In order to get Boarding Passes for your entire group, each member of your party must have a My Disney Experience account and be linked to your friends and family list. In addition, any guests that you manage on My Disney Experience (such as children) will already be added to your friends and family list and you won’t have to take further action.
Your Entire Party Must Enter Disney’s Hollywood Studios
Once you’ve downloaded the My Disney Experience app and liked all of your friends and family, you’ll be good to go on the “tech” prep side of things. Next, you have to enter Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Each and every member of your party must scan their MagicBand or park entry card to qualify for a Boarding Pass. After you all have entered the park, Cast Members tell us it takes about 2 minutes for their system to update and allow you to get a Boarding Pass for Rise of the Resistance. Once you are all “in the park” in the My Disney Experience system, you simply open up the app, and click on the “Find Out More” button on the Rise of the Resistance section at the top of the main page. From there, you’ll select who you want to include in your boarding group from a list of your friends and family. Select everyone you want to ride with. Anyone not selected will not be able to ride with you.
Help, The App Isn’t Working
If you have any difficulties with the app, don’t fret. There are dozens of Guest Experience Team Cast Members lining Hollywood Boulevard in blue shirts, ready and willing to help. We’ve seeked them out before and it’s been a painless and quick experience. Hand them your entrance media (card or MagicBand), and they can take care of the rest.
It’s Time to Ride!
After that, you’ll be enrolled in the boarding group listed in the app and will be able to ride, with a fairly minimal wait, when your group number is called. To check what group number range is currently boarding, you can either open up the app or check one of the many digital display boards around the park or at the entrance to the attraction.
When your boarding group is called, you have two hours to return to the attraction entrance, so no rush! At the entrance to Rise of the Resistance, Cast Members will have iPads to scan your MagicBand or park entrance card and welcome you onto the ride.
Backup Boarding Groups
Disney began offering what they’re calling “Backup Boarding Groups” on December 16th. Backup boarding groups will only be called if all of the initial planned boarding groups have been called back and there is capacity for more riders. Joining a backup boarding group does not guarantee access to the attraction and Guests will receive a push notification if their boarding group is called.
We’ll continue to update this guide, but here’s what we know about Backup Boarding Groups so far.
As seen in the screenshot below of the My Disney Experience app, any group above group 121 will only be called if capacity allows for it. It still remains paramount that you show up early if you want a chance to ride Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance, and we don’t recommend trying for a Backup Boarding Group or even planning on being able to use one.
If you’re reading this now after sleeping in a bit, check out our video below of the full Rise of the Resistance experience, from start to finish!
As always, keep checking back with us here at BlogMickey.com for the latest from the Rise of the Resistance opening week and much more from around the Disney Parks!