Rise of the Resistance, located in Disney’s Hollywood Studios is the park’s most innovative and elaborate attraction ever created. It features multiple ride systems, some fantastic interactions, and lasts 15-18 minutes from the time you start the briefing process. Because of the immense popularity of it, a boarding group system was instituted when it opened to control access. Getting a Rise of the Resistance boarding group is currently the only way you can ride this ride. There is absolutely no standby queue available. Group assignments are available to everyone, but you will need to be in the park at opening time, have a smartphone, and have fast fingers. Here are my tips for making sure you get a boarding group for Rise of the Resistance. I snagged us group #28 on my first visit and #2 on my second, so I know what it takes.
Update: Boarding groups are still required to ride Rise of the Resistance, however the process has changed. There is less of a need to arrive before the park opens with the new system. Boarding groups will be distributed three times a day instead of only first thing in the morning. Guests will still need the app and fast fingers, but you’ll have a chance at 10 am, 1 pm, and 4 pm daily. Find out more on the Disney Parks blog.
Basic information about Rise of the Resistance boarding groups
Boarding groups are called sequentially throughout the day to return to the ride and join the queue. There are typically several groups active at once, as you can see in the above picture where groups 2-11 are being admitted. The My Disney Experience app is the best way to stay on top of which groups are being called throughout the day, but the wait time signs at the intersection of Sunset Boulevard and Hollywood Boulevard will also track this.
When getting a boarding group, you generally want the lowest number possible – this means that you’ll need to be fast. There are two main reasons for this: 1. The lower your number, the more likely you are to get to ride. If Rise of the Resistances experiences significant technical difficulties during the day, the higher number groups may not get called to join the queue. 2. The wait times once you’re called to enter the queue tend to grow as the day goes on. There have been reports of guests still waiting an hour even with boarding passes later in the day. Compared to that, when we had group 28, we waited about 15 minutes and when we had group 2, we pretty much walked straight to the initial briefing with barely a pause.
While prepping this article, I periodically checked the app (a total mistake when stuck at your desk in cold, gray Michigan) to see what groups were boarding at a particular time of the day. Here is what I found. Keep in mind that these were all 8 am opening times unless otherwise noted.
Saturday, February 1 at 9:10am: 22-33 (7am opening)
Sunday February 2 at 7:15am: 2-11 (7am opening)
Wednesday, February 12 at 4pm: 85-96
Thursday, February 13 at 12:10pm: 25-38
Thursday, February 13 at 3:45pm: 39-44
Friday, February 14 at 8:55am: 8-9
Friday, February 14 at 12:15pm: 28-40
Sunday, February 16 at 10:10am: 9-30
Sunday, February 16 at 2:40pm: 38-41
Sunday, February 16 at 5:50pm: 49-66
Monday, February 17 at 2:45pm: 37-46
Tuesday, February 18 at 9:15am: 15-32
Tuesday, February 18 at 11:30am: 34-40
Tuesday, February 18 at 7:15pm: 112-115
You can see how much of a variety there is in terms of when groups get called. This is almost 100% due to downtimes on the attraction. There were a few days I was checking when there still were no groups being called more than an hour after the park opened. You can see just from this small sample set that 2/18 was a pretty good day – the ride got into the 100s, which includes many backup boarding groups, and at 11:30am, it was roughly on par with where it was at 2:40pm on 2/16 and 2:45 on 2/17. If you get a higher number, you just have to hope for good luck and smooth operations.
There are two types of boarding groups – regular and backup. The backup groups will only be called if the lower numbered groups ride that day. If the ride operates at full capacity, there’s a very good chance that at least some of the backup groups will get to ride. If you get a higher number boarding group or a backup group, cross your fingers and hope for smooth operations.
The “guaranteed” boarding groups are usually gone withing a minute or two, and the backups soon after that, so you really do need to be there early if you want a chance to ride.
In order to get a Rise of the Resistance boarding group, you and all members of your party who wish to ride have to be in the park when the system goes live at opening time. This means you all need to have scanned your Magic Bands or tickets at the main entrance. You cannot reserve boarding groups for anyone who has not entered the park. I tried to help a group next to us in the rope drop crowd on our second day because they were struggling, and it turned out they were trying to book for the rest of their family that was still at the hotel. They all ended up missing out on a guaranteed group and settled for a backup group.
Once you get a boarding group, you can spend your day however you choose. You do not have to remain at Hollywood Studios, so if you have a higher number you’re free to park hop or return to your hotel for a nap or do whatever you please. If you leave the park, you’ll want to monitor the app to see what groups are being called so you can start heading back when your number is closer. You can do this by hitting the “Find Out More” button in the Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance – Access By Boarding group section of the home screen.
Once your boarding group is called, you’re given a 1-hour or 2-hour window to return to the ride entrance, where you’ll have to tap your Magic Band or park ticket for entry. Disney hasn’t exactly specified what determines the length of your return window, but it’s generally thought that the earlier in the day your group is called, the more likely you are to have a one-hour window.
If you have a 2-hour window, you should have no problem working around existing dining reservations, FastPasses, or the really long line for Slinky Dog Dash you’re halfway through. The one-hour windows make things a little more complicated. The good news is that CMs are generally pretty flexible, so if you realize you’re going to have a conflict, find a guest experience team member and ask for advice.
The first time we visited, we were watching the boarding groups count up and it became increasingly clear that the timing was going to be an issue for us. We had Slinky Dog FastPasses from 8:45-9:45 and an Oga’s Cantina reservation at 9:30. I was ok walking away from the FastPasses, but really didn’t want to get bitten by that pesky credit card guarantee that would’ve charged us $20 for no-showing the Oga’s reservation. I also would’ve been ok with skipping the reservation if I could get confirmation that I wouldn’t be charged the no-show fee. As luck would have it, our group got called as we were waiting to board our Slinky Dog train at about 8:55, so as soon as we got off the ride we headed toward Galaxy’s Edge. We asked one of the CMs at Rise of the Resistance what we should do. He looked at his watch and told us he thought we’d be fine and that we should get in line. Since it was already almost 9:10 at that point and I knew the ride was 15+ minutes long, I was pretty skeptical, but I figured I had enough grounds to go to Guest Services if we ended up getting charged for Oga’s, and even without that after flying to Orlando, waking up at 5:15 am, and taking a Lyft to the park to make sure we got in early, we were willing to eat the cost anyway. We did end up showing up for Oga’s about 15 minutes late for our reservation, but the CM there didn’t seem to care, and we were brought inside almost immediately. We didn’t even have to go through our explanation for why we were late, so it worked out well.
How to get your Rise of the Resistance Boarding Group
On our first try, I got group #28. We returned the next day, and having learned a bit from the first go round, I was even faster and got #2. Getting the low numbers was really important to us because we were cramming four parks into less than two full days so we wanted to park hop and not have to return. With group 28, we were off the ride by 9:40 and with group 2, we were off by 7:40 (both days were 7 am openings).
A few general notes: You’ll want to do these anyway for your trip, but they’re especially important for Rise of the Resistance. Make sure your My Disney Experience app is fully up to date, ideally before leaving the hotel. Make sure that you have added all members of your party as friends and family beforehand as well. You can test to make sure you’re linked by checking to see who you’re able to make FastPass or dining reservations with.
My first tip for getting your boarding group for Rise of the Resistance is to use your cell network instead of the wifi if possible. There will literally be thousands of people slamming the wifi network when the boarding groups go live at park open, and you don’t want that to slow you down. Test your cell network connection to make sure it’s strong wherever you’re standing – try loading a couple web pages or playing around in the Disney World app for a minute.
Force kill the My Disney Experience app a couple minutes before park open so that it has to start fresh. Open it and see approximately how long it takes to load – you’ll see the fireworks screen flash before the app’s home screen loads. Force kill the app again and wait.
Use a paired smart watch or a clock app on your phone that shows seconds. Around 5 seconds before the park opens (longer if your phone was slower when testing it), tap the icon to open the My Disney Experience app. It should load at just the right time to select a boarding group.
Once the screen loads, hit the Find Out More button under the AT-AT walkers (right below the map at the top). This will take you to the next screen, and if you’ve timed it right, the Join Boarding Group button will be active so that you can tap it. If you’re too early, it’ll still be grayed out. I had to close the app and restart the first time I tried, but timed it perfectly on the second go around.
Quickly select the members of your group that you want to make a reservation for and then hit the button at the bottom to join a group. Everyone that you choose must have used their Magic Band or park ticket to enter Hollywood Studios prior to this or it will not work for anyone. If you’re successful, you’ll immediately see your boarding group number. It’s at this point, you’ll hear people in the crowd around you shouting out their own group numbers excitedly and high fiving (or shouting in frustration if they haven’t followed all the tips).
Pro tip: If you really want to get a low number, have an idea of where your party members fall in your friends and family list. Example: I have a lengthy list thanks to a large family and several friends I’ve visited the parks with. The first morning, I had to skim through it looking for the name of the friend I was with to select it. By the time we tried again the next day, I had looked at the list so much while making FastPasses that I knew she was the second from the bottom in my list. When the time came, I gave it a mighty scroll and went straight to the bottom, tapped her name, and hit the button to join it in only a couple seconds. Just make sure you don’t miss someone in your party in your hurry to hit the button. They’ll be pretty salty about it.
I would recommend having everyone in your group trying for a boarding group at the same time. Whoever is successful first will get the assignment for everyone and those who are a bit slower will just get the message that they’re already in a group. Doing it this way gives you a better chance that someone will get through and safeguards against technical glitches as much as possible.
If riding together is important to you, make sure that everyone is selected in the same boarding group. If you have a large group, pairing off might make you a little faster when selecting your friends and family and joining, but seconds can really make a huge difference when getting Rise of the Resistance boarding groups, so you run the risk of not getting called at the same time or some people not getting to ride at all if they’re too slow. Having different boarding groups doesn’t necessarily mean you won’t be able to ride together as there are typically 10-25 being called at once, but if you’re separated by any more than that you will just have to split up.
What to do when your Rise of the Resistance Boarding Group gets called
You do not have to stay in the park once you have a boarding group, so if you get a higher number, you can choose to park hop or head back to the hotel for a nap. Otherwise, hang out at Hollywood Studios and enjoy the park as normal. When your boarding group is called, you’ll receive a push notification from the My Disney Experience app (make sure you have these enabled on your phone). We were checking the app pretty much every five minutes watching the group numbers count up though, so we knew when we were about to be called.
Your app will tell you how long you have to return to the ride entrance. Your window will be 1-2 hours. Higher numbered groups will be more likely to have the longer return time to allow for those guests to return to the park. Both of my boarding groups have been low numbers – 2 & 28 – and we had one hour to return both times. (That was a little bit of a problem for us the day we had #28, but I’ll cover that later.) If you aren’t at Hollywood Studios, I’d recommend checking regularly to see what boarding groups are currently active so you can start heading back to the park a little before your number is called.
Once you’re ready to ride, head over to the entrance for Rise of the Resistance – it’s at the end of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge nearer to the Muppets Courtyard. There will be Cast Members there to scan your Magic Bands or park tickets and then you’ll be able to enter the queue. From there, the wait time varies depending on how many people are in line in front of you and the operational status of the ride. I’ve seen articles that report that the later in the day you’re called, the longer you should expect to wait, but have no actual confirmation of that as Disney World isn’t publishing the wait times on the app at this point. My very, very limited experience does fall in line with that, but it’s far too small of a sample size to actually draw conclusions from. The first time we rode, we were group 28 and we waited about fifteen minutes in line. When we returned the next day and got group 2, we thought the line was longer, but they had less of the queue opened and we barely paused as we walked through so we were on in maybe 2-3 minutes.
Rise of the Resistance boarding group FAQs
Can I just wait in line for the ride if I don’t get a boarding group?
No, there is no standby line for Rise of the Resistance. The only way to ride it is with a boarding group.
Do I have to be there early to get a boarding group for Rise of the Resistance?
Yes, if you want to ride the ride, you’ll pretty much have to be in the park when it opens. Guaranteed boarding groups are gone in seconds and the backup groups are full shortly after that.
Do Rise of the Resistance boarding groups cost money?
Unlike almost everything else at Disney World, there is no charge for boarding groups.
Can I use a disability pass for Rise of the Resistance?
Yes, but you and your party still need to get boarding groups. When your group is called, you will likely get to use the otherwise-unused FastPass line to enter.
Is there a rider switch for Rise of the Resistance?
Yes, but everyone who will be riding still needs to get a boarding group in the morning. Like the disability passes mentioned above, when the second rider returns, you’ll get to go through the otherwise-empty FastPass line.
What time can I enter Disney’s Hollywood Studios?
Guests are typically admitted around thirty minutes before official park open. The rides will not be operational, but you can join a mass of people waiting to rope drop different areas. The bag check will open a bit before that. I recommend staying as far to the right as possible for both as both mornings we were there, lanes at the right opened for both security and the entrance and we were able to swing wide and join the much shorter new lines.
When does the virtual queue start?
At park open. There was an announcement for the start of the boarding group distribution, but I would keep an eye on your phone’s clock and even went as far as to open up the built in clock app so I could see the second hand as we got to the final minute.
Does Disney transportation run early enough to get me there for open?
Yes and no. We didn’t want to chance it, so we paid for a Lyft from Pop Century both days, for a total cost of $25 with tips. Disney buses are supposed to start running 45 minutes before the park opening time, but their schedule isn’t exactly reliable and with the reduced bus service to Pop because of the Skyliner, we didn’t want to chance it. Skyliner hours vary, but it was posted to start thirty minutes before park open when we visited. We weren’t confident that we’d get there early enough with that and didn’t want to blow our only two chances to ride so we also skipped that.
It’s likely that catching the first boat or bus or taking the Skyliner as soon as it opens will get you to the park in time to get through the gates before the official opening time, but if you also intend to rope drop a different ride like Smuggler’s Run or Slinky Dog Dash, you’ll be way too far back in the pack to have any benefit if you roll in five minutes before the park opens. For reference, both days we made a beeline for Smuggler’s Run and were within the first 100 people in the queue. By the time we got off the ride, the entire queue was full and the posted wait time was nearly 2 hours. If we’d been at the back of the rope drop pack, we might not have even bothered to wait in line.
Can I get multiple boarding passes in the same day?
No, once you acquire one boarding pass, the app will prevent you from getting a second one that day.
Can I ride Rise of the Resistance during Extra Magic Hours?
Sadly, no. Rise of the Resistance is not open during morning or evening Extra Magic Hours. This will likely change in the future though so check closer to your planned trip.
Do Disney World resort guests have any advantage for riding Rise of the Resistance?
Nope, unless you consider that the park is walkable from a handful of the Disney resorts, putting those guests in the greatest control of their arrival time. Unlike FastPasses and dining reservations, there is no advantage for resort guests in getting a Rise of the Resistance boarding pass. As long as you’re in the gates at park open and are fast on the app, you have the same chance of riding as someone staying on property.
Can I get a boarding group for my friends and/or family who haven’t entered the park yet?
No. All guests must have scanned their Magic Bands or tickets to enter the park before they can get a boarding group. No drawing straws for one poor sap to get up at the crack of dawn to get them for the whole group. If you want to ride, you have to be in the park.
Does that include kids too?
Can I get a FastPass for Rise of the Resistance instead?
Not at this time. The other Star Wars ride – Smuggler’s Run – started giving them out approximately six months after opening. I would anticipate at least that long of a gap before Rise of the Resistance FastPasses become available, which would be mid-June 2020.
Does a boarding group count as one of my three FastPasses for the day?
No. You’re still entitled to your three pre-booked FastPasses whether or not you get a boarding group for Rise of the Resistance. And just like always, once you use those three you can book additional ones one at a time.
How long will this boarding group nonsense last?
No one knows. At least not outside of Disney management. The boarding groups are still being distributed within seconds, so I wouldn’t count on it ending any time soon. I would be shocked if it lasted beyond a year from the ride’s opening though, and expect it to end by the summer.
Is all this worth it if I don’t even like Star Wars?
You probably won’t get as much out of it as a huge nerd like I did, but it’s still a phenomenal ride and totally worth experiencing. I couldn’t care less about the Avatar movie and actually thought the Pandora land announcement was a joke at first, but I still find Flight of Passage to be an incredible ride and will try to get a FastPass for it every single time.
Please let me know if you have any other Rise of the Resistance boarding pass questions in the comments! I’m happy to help.
And, of course, don’t forget to save this post for later on Pinterest.