Disney World pauses Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance virtual queue; wait initially jumps to 3 hours

Sep 23, 2021

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As Disney World continues to prep for its 50th-anniversary celebration that starts next week on Oct. 1, a significant change to the boarding process for Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance has begun. Beginning today, Sept. 23, the popular ride at Galaxy’s Edge within Hollywood Studios no longer uses the virtual queue system that required both a little skill and luck to secure a ticket to ride.

With this change came a traditional line that quickly jumped to more than three hours this morning, according to the wait times posted on the My Disney Experience app. However, those times have dropped to under two hours as the day has gone by.

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When the ride first debuted in 2019, a new boarding system was also implemented that kept visitors from spending half their day lined up for one attraction. In recent months, instead of a traditional standby queue, guests had to log into the My Disney Experience app at one of two time periods (7 a.m. or 1 p.m.) to secure a boarding group in a virtual queue. Thousands of guests waited with bated breath in the minutes that led up to each slot, constantly refreshing until they were able to confirm their party and attempt to secure a spot.

Within seconds of the virtual queue opening, all boarding groups would fill — which makes the experience feel a bit like a lottery. And once you have your boarding group, you pretty much have to plan your entire morning or afternoon around when your number might be called.

On a July trip to Disney World, I was unsuccessful in snagging a slot at 7 a.m., but I was able to get into a boarding group at 1 p.m. Because of that, my entire afternoon game plan was shifted to accommodate. The attraction was great, but the virtual queue process — which was first rolled out to help guests have more flexibility in their day — ended up being more constraining on my schedule than anything.

Related: Disney makes it easier to secure a spot on its most popular rides 

(Photo by Madison Blancaflor/The Points Guy)

With the ‘new’ way of experiencing the attraction, you no longer need luck, just good standing shoes and some patience. Rather than racing to the app first thing in the morning, guests will have to actually race to snag a spot in line if they hope to avoid longer lines.

It may take a few days for the line wait to get more predictable for this attraction, but based on day one, it looks like you should either “rope drop” this attraction and head there as soon as guests are let in the park (which may be well before the posted opening time) or wait to experience it until the wait has decreased later in the day.

When you aren’t enjoying Rise of the Resistance, there is also the ancillary benefit to a likely lessening of waits for the other Hollywood Studios attractions as some guests are now spending some of their time in this line when before they were instead increasing the waits for the other rides and shows.

It’s important to note that Disney isn’t discarding the virtual queue process altogether.

According to the Disney Parks Blog, “Virtual queues continue to be helpful with attraction access, merchandise launches, grand openings and more, and guests should continue to check the My Disney Experience app for the latest on how we’re using virtual queues across Walt Disney World Resort including its potential use at Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance at a later date, or from time to time.”

In fact, the virtual queue process that had been in place for Rise of the Resistance will debut once again with the opening of the Ratatouille attraction in Epcot on Oct. 1.

It’s also worth noting that Disney World will soon introduce Genie+ “Lightning Lanes” that allow guests to bypass lines at an extra cost, which should help mitigate long wait times for guests who have the extra budget for the passes. Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance is set to be a top-tier attraction that will cost an additional fee for Lightning Lane on a per-ride basis beyond the cost of Genie+. But for now, pack those masks and comfortable shoes as one of Disney’s most advanced attractions is back to an old-fashioned line.

Additional reporting by Summer Hull.

Featured photo by Summer Hull/The Points Guy. 

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