Rise of the Resistance has opened at Star Wars Galaxy Edge at Disneyland!
Here is everything you need to know about the attraction. From what we experienced on opening day to providing you with as much accessible information as possible.
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Rise of the Resistance opening day
My family and I were fortunate to have had the opportunity to ride it on opening day. Here is a quick recap of what went smoothly that morning and what went wrong.
On opening day the Toy Story parking lot opened at midnight. This made it possible to come early. This will not be the case from this point forward. All parking garages and lots open no earlier than 90 minutes prior to official park opening.
Expecting a large crowd, security opened early as well. Do not expect this on your visit. Security begins allowing people into the esplanade at the same time the parking garages and lots open.
With lines reaching as far back as the gates to California Adventure, Disneyland opened its gates at 6:00 AM. Although we were in the park, boarding passes would still not be available until the official opening at 8:00 AM. By 7:00 AM they opened the hub area in front of the castle. This allowed guests to order breakfast from Jolly Holiday. We ate breakfast before arriving at 4:15 AM and were too nervous to eat until we had our boarding pass.
We had three in our party. Each of us were on our phones frantically pushing the refresh and join group button on the app the second the clock struck 8:00 AM. It was the most stressful 60 seconds of my life. I can’t even express how relieved I was when my husband shouted out that we got one. I will share what number and the decision we had to make later in this post.
Once we received our boarding pass, we went to The Red Rose Tavern for breakfast. We have been using mobile ordering since it was first added to the app. It’s our favorite way to order food. However, this morning it would be the worst experience for everyone!
While the system worked great for the boarding passes, it must have caused a glitch with mobile ordering. We waited over an hour for our food. Our app never showed the order completed, even after we went up to request our food.
This was a park-wide issue. I do not know how long other people waited for their food at other restaurants, but at Red Rose, the average wait was 70 minutes. Again, I cannot speak for other guests, but a couple of hours later, we received a notification that our breakfast had been refunded.
Hopefully this was a one time glitch. Either way, one thing became very clear. Disneyland needs more options for breakfast when they have special events or are expecting larger than normal crowds.
The rest of the day
The rest of the day went smoothly. Many of those who did not obtain a boarding group left the park. Ride times were exceptionally high for the first 30 minutes. Later they dropped down to average rates and remained there for the rest of the day.
The foot traffic in Galaxy Edge was heavier than I had seen it since the land opened. However, it was still the most relaxing and easiest land to get around in. By observing the numbers being called to board on the app all day, we estimated a window of when we might be called. We were close! I estimated we would board between 5:45 and 6:45 pm. Our notification came through at 7:20 pm.
How to get a boarding group
There are two ways to obtain a boarding group. The first is via the official Disneyland app. It is the easiest and fastest. The second option is to get it from a kiosk, but with how fast groups are going there is not enough time to reach the kiosk in time to get one.
This system will remain in place for the foreseeable future. At some point when the demand to ride goes down, it will be like most other attractions and have a regular standby and Fast Pass queue. This could happen within a month or it could last for a year or longer. We will just have to wait and see.
*Guests who use DAS or have a service animal need to first get their boarding pass like everyone else. Once you have a group number, speak to guest services for your boarding instructions.
**Guests with mobility aids get their boarding group number and enter the attraction like everyone else.
What you need to do before park opening:
- Have the official Disneyland app downloaded on your phone
- Link all the passes from every member of your group on at least one phone (We suggest having every member linked on all party phones to increase the number of people attempting to get a boarding group)
- Make sure everyone in your party enters and is scanned into the park before it officially opens.
What to do when park officially opens:
- Open the app minutes before
- Go to Rise of the Resistance Boarding Information
- The moment the status goes from closed to open press “Join Group”
- If you receive a number, you are done.
- If you do not, keep trying for a few more seconds. You may receive a backup group like we did.
I saw that another blog recommended to not have more than one person in your group attempt to obtain a boarding group. They claimed that it would cause your group to unlink giving you different times. We did NOT have this issue. The three of us all attempted to get a group. We remained linked together and the rest of stopped trying the moment my husband announced he got us in. Of course, each of us had all three of our passes linked to each of our apps. I am not sure if those who say they were unlinked did or not. I would love to hear what your experience was like.
Should I wait or should I go?
When you receive your boarding group number, you will also receive a notice of whether your group is part of the overflow. This number will differ each day. For example, we were issued group 94. Our notification informed us that any group over number 82 would only be called to board if the numbers below had been called. No one is guaranteed to ride. Even groups 1-? could not ride if the attraction should breakdown for the day.
Because we were only a dozen above the threshold, we decided to wait it out. As you know, we were able to ride even with a number in the overflow. On that day, 160 groups were issued. Only 114 were called to ride. Each day will vary depending on whether the attraction breaks down or not and how many groups Disneyland decides to issue.
Had we been issued anything above 120, I may not have waited around that day. Being an annual passholder, the plan was if we didn’t get a boarding pass my family would leave and return the next day to try again. And repeat on Sunday if we didn’t get one on Saturday. But like I said, with us being so close to the cutoff, we decided to spend the whole day.
Based on how slow the groups are boarding today as I write this post, it is safe to say that group 94 wouldn’t have a chance of boarding. I suggest having a backup plan that includes arriving early each morning until you get a decent number and enjoying everything else the parks have to offer when you don’t.
Estimate boarding time
There was a delay in boarding the first groups as the park was doing some media shots with characters. But once it began, the groups were called in a surprisingly timely manner.
The intervals we noticed were new groups being called every 2 or 20 minutes. We watched the group numbers from home on Saturday. We noticed that it was pretty much the same, with the exception that they lowered the threshold of numbers of groups to be called.
A break down would throw off any estimate. However, by watching how many were admitted during the first four hours, we were able to estimate when we might be called. We estimated that we would be called between 5:45-6:45 pm. Our actual call time was at 7:20 pm.
By mid-afternoon Disneyland is able to make the call on which groups will not have any chance of boarding. Those groups will receive a notification informing them that they will not be boarding on this day. On opening day, guests who had boarding groups 120-160 were notified at 3:00 pm that they would not be boarding.
Groups 1-114 were notified throughout the day and given one hour to check into the attraction. Thankfully, it is possible to reach the attraction from pretty much anywhere at the resort within an hour. Just be sure to check the current boarding information throughout the day to make sure that you don’t go too far as your group number nears. I also recommend NOT making reservations for anything that will take longer than an hour to complete. You will not be permitted to board Rise of the Resistance after your boarding time is up.
There are also digital boards near the entrances of Galaxy Edge that display the current boarding information.
Your entire group must be together when checking in. Anyone missing will not get to ride.
Rise of the Resistance queue
The queue for Rise of the Resistance is ADA accessible. it is easy to get through on foot and with a rollator/wheelchair/ECV. There are areas to sit throughout the queue until you reach the interactive walkthrough portion of the attraction.
Your experience begins with the walk-through portion of the attraction.
Is Rise of the Resistance for you?
I am going to break down the attraction into the sections you enter in order. There are aspects in each area that those with a disability should keep in mind or be aware of. FYI: From this point, guests are still on foot. Anyone using a wheelchair, ECV, or rollator may continue to do so. Never throughout any part of the attraction did I feel like I was in the way or an afterthought. Mobility aids fit in the area like they belong. Throughout all of Galaxy Edge, the residents (cast members) refer to mobility aids as transport vehicles.
A message from Rey
The first part of the experience takes place in a room with BB8 and Rey. I was impressed that they didn’t fill the room in the same manner as the Haunted Mansion elevator. We all had plenty of space to move about the room, look around, and to see Rey and BB8. This was impressive considering there were two of us with mobility aids. I had my rollator/transport chair combo and another guest had an ECV.
The mood of this room is calm. Even with BB8 beeping and Rey speaking, there aren’t any major sensory triggering issues that I was able to see. If you note something on your visit, please let me know.
After Rey briefs you on your mission, your group will be rushed to board your transport vehicle. At this point, the mood becomes more hurried. You begin to feel the stress and importance of your mission. Guests remain on foot and are able to continue using their personal transport vehicles in this portion of the attraction. Once again there is plenty of room for the number of people they put in it.
Upon entering you will notice safety bars in the middle and on the sides of the transport vehicle. If using a mobility aid, lock your wheels! Then you may either remain seated on your mobility aid or choose to stand. If you choose to stand, I highly recommend standing where you are able to comfortably hold the safety bars.
The movement of this vehicle isn’t harsh or jarring. Instead it feels more like being aboard a boat. Just enough movement to throw you off, especially if sensitive to that kind of movement.
Sensory issues may arise in this portion for people who have problems with movement while standing. Because we have begun our mission, the mood becomes more hurried.
There is action on both ends of the vehicle. On one end you have Bek who addresses the group and explains what is going on. The other end has a window with a view of what is behind you. There are more noise and action than in the first room. The mood remains upbeat until the end of this portion. It changes when the doors to the vehicle open and it is announced that you are now a prisoner of the First Order. The moment the door opens, the mood changes to quiet terror.
The mood from the point of the door opening can only be explained as deathly quiet. You come face to face with an army of Storm Troopers who look as menacing as they do in the movies. To see photos does nothing. Even knowing what to expect, I was still in complete shock by how real and just how intimidating this section was. Our group was silent. We followed orders which led us to where we would be assigned prison cells.
When assigned a color to line up on, remember it! You will need to know your color after you have been put in your cell. This was not made clear. Which caused some confusion when we actually loaded onto the ride portion of the attraction.
There is more of the pre-show story that takes place after being placed in your cell. Before entering your cell, you will be asked if you can stand for a couple of minutes and walk a few feet without your mobility aid. I left them with my transport vehicle and entered the cell. The time spent in the cell is short. In fact, lately, I have not been able to stand throughout the elevator portion of the Haunted Mansion. But I had no issue with the short amount of time we were held in our cell.
At the end of this portion, a door opens. Members of the resistance informed us that they were breaking us out. From there, we were instructed to board seated transport vehicles. Guests are directed to sit in the row of their assigned color. Another group was sitting in ours. Cast members told them to move to their color.
The ride portion
Once everyone’s seat belts were fastened, we were given the signal, and our transport vehicles took off. I won’t go into much detail about the ride portion other than to let you know what to expect your body to be put through.
The “ride” is smooth. There are no jarring or harsh turns or movements. I never felt like my neck was being whipped in any direction. Nor did I feel like I was going to bump into the people sitting next to me. There is a spot where the vehicle rises in the air. But it is not like being shot up on Guardians of the Galaxy or Tower of Terror. It was gentle and short. Later there is a drop. Again, nothing like GOTG or TOT. It’s a small and gentle drop. So short that no one’s hair rises! Instead of feeling like you have been dropped to the ground, your vehicle takes flight. The sensation becomes similar to that of Millennium Falcon: Smuggler’s Run.
Upon exiting my rollator was waiting at the entrance to the exit trail. The ECV belonging to the other guest in our group was located a little farther down the trail. Cast members were scratching their heads wondering where it was. We spotted it and informed the other guest where to find it.
Who Rise of the Resistance is NOT for
Rise of the Resistance is truly an amazing experience. With that said, it is extremely realistic. It’s not like visiting a movie set. It is like you are living the movie. The First Order is intimidating. They instill fear. This could be traumatic for some children and adults. There are many terrifying moments throughout the entire attraction.
Key points to keep in mind for Rise of the Resistance
- Arrive early enough to enter the gate before the official opening time.
- Make sure you have the official Disneyland app downloaded on your phone.
- Have park passes for your entire group linked to the app.
- Be ready to access the boarding section of the app the moment the park officially opens.
- Do not give up with the first message saying that groups have all been distributed. Try again as you may get a backup group. However, if you continue to receive this message after a few minutes, there really are no more groups available.
- Prepare to spend the day.
More to consider
- Flexibility with plans is a must if you are vacationing. Have a plan B in place in case you are not able to ride this attraction during your visit.
- This attraction could be frightening for younger guests
- Make sure to get your virtual boarding pass before talking to guest services about how to access with DAS (disability access service).
- Do not make a judgment about whether to stick around or not based on prior activity. How efficient the ride performs will change daily.
- Watch the boarding progress via the app throughout the day. Remember you only have one hour to arrive at the entrance of the attraction.
Rise of the Resistance has become my favorite attraction throughout the Disneyland Resort. It was worth the wait. Disney has definitely raised the bar for future attractions.
Have you experienced Rise of the Resistance?
What did you think of it?
Did you run into any issues with your disability?
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