If you are wondering what to expect on Disney’s Star Wars: Rise Of The Resistance Ride, now open at Hollywood Studios, I’ve got you covered! I just spent the last THREE DAYS on the opening weekend trying to ride this ride, with many snafus, misunderstandings, and confusion from Disney to guests.
All in all, I did ride it and it was TRULY fabulous! In this Rise Of The Resistance view, the first part will be NO SPOILERS!!!!!! This way, if you want to go into the ride without knowing anything about it, you can hear my thoughts without the experience being spoiled.
The second part of the article will be flagged for *spoilers* surrounding the Rise Of The Resistance ride so you can proceed at your own risk!! All I can say is, this new Star Wars ride is totally worth every second you spend waiting and was certainly worth my 6 am wake up call.
Read on to see just how bad “the drop” is, the experience with the virtual queue for Rise Of The Resistance, the ride walkthrough and more!
Exactly What To Expect On Star Wars Rise Of The Resistance
Rise Of The Resistance Is Currently Using A Virtual Queue (Updated 12/7/19)
The virtual queue at Rise Of The Resistance was the bane of my existence on opening weekend. It was not communicated by Disney in any way, shape, or form that this was the way this ride line was going to be set up. Although Disney had stated the park wouldn’t open until 8am on opening day, it was open by 5:30 am and all passes to the virtual queue were sold out completely by 8:15am! This is just 15 minutes after the official park open time.
When I arrived, I proceeded as normal to the entrance of the ride. There were huge signs all around Hollywood Studios saying that the virtual queue was sold out for the day. In front of the ride entrance, there were many DAS (Disability access service/medical pass) families very disappointed and talking with Cast Members.
Traditionally, with DAS, you scan your Magic Band and then wait in a virtual queue. This is NOT the case for Rise Of The Resistance. Everyone must get in the virtual queue which acts like the DAS pass but for every guest. Now, this is totally fine, except Disney didn’t communicate this to anyone leading to chaos and disappointment on opening weekend.
Every single guest I came across was disappointed, but not mean, yelling, or upset at Cast Members. It was actually the other way around. Cast Members were very terse in their responses and mothers of crying DAS children were ushered away.
Of course, the Cast Members don’t make the rules, but when asked if this is where to sign up for DAS, Cast Members would respond asking if they are already in the “virtual line” that nobody knew existed until the moment the park opened.
If you were not on social media, as many of these busy parents surely were not, you never would have known.
Unfortunately, Disney Cast Members had been treated poorly by Disney as well. First, they had no clue there was a “virtual line” either until opening day. There was also no Cast Member preview due to the time constraints as the ride was running behind schedule.
A friend whose husband is a Cast Member told me that Smugglers Run, the other Galaxy’s Edge ride, had a 2 week Cast Member preview, which allowed Disney to iron out a lot of kinks and allowed Cast Members to be prepared on opening day. In her words, “the people who are suffering the most from this decision are the guests.”
In addition, I visited Hollywood Studios on opening night at 10:30 pm after the park had closed. On my way out, I asked a Cast Member if the park would open early tomorrow, as it had done on opening day. She said no, it was slotted to open at 9am.
I wasn’t feeling the best, so I didn’t go. I found out from some Disney groups that I am in, that the park had opened at 6:30am and again, all virtual queue passes were sold out by 8:15am. I had been in the park just a few hours before and told the park opened at 9am. Had I been feeling better and following the instructions, I would have arrived much too late to ride the ride that day if I had even gotten to the park at 8:30am.
IF YOU ARE VISITING IN DECEMBER 2019/EARLY 2020
I highly recommend monitoring Disney groups on Facebook. If you are heading to Rise Of The Resistance between now and Christmas, expect early opening times every single day. I arrived at 6am and wasn’t able to return until 11:30am.
If you want to ride Rise Of The Resistance, sacrifice your sleep and show up early! At least for this initial opening month! If you aren’t sure, simply ask in a Disney group what happened “the day before” you plan to go and see what time the virtual queue sold out the day prior. This is a good gauge on what to expect and plan for when you go.
No Extra Magic Hours For Rise Of The Resistance Or Hollywood Studios
I got to Hollywood Studios by 6am. The park was set to open at 8am for Extra Magic Hours. By just 7:15am Slinky Dog Dash, one of the most popular rides at Hollywood Studios, was already at a 55-minute wait. The park hadn’t even officially opened yet.
To me, this is entirely unfair on Disney’s part. People in a lot of Disney Facebook groups had planned this as their day to rush early. They planned to be there early for their specific time at the park for those staying at the resort, only to see that the most popular ride had an hour wait before the park even opened.
This was because Hollywood Studios opened at 6:30am and Toy Story Land opened shortly after.
At this time and until further notice (12/7/2019) there are no Extra Magic Hours at Hollywood Studios. If you want to visit, make sure to monitor Disney Facebook groups (do not, under any circumstances, take Disney at their world!!!!!!!!!) so that you know from other guests exactly what is going on!
Waiting For Hollywood Studios To Open
After three days of the Rise Of The Resistance virtual queue selling out for the entire day before the park even officially opened, I knew I had to woman up and go early if I wanted to ride. I woke up at 5:55am an was on park property by 6:05am.
At 6:15am there was a massive sea of hundreds of people outside the entrance. I had asked in a Disney group on Facebook the night before, and multiple people had stated that the park opened at 5:30am on opening day and 6:30am the day before. This is why I planned to arrive at 6:05am.
At 6:15am, I spoke with a Cast Member who was standing near the crowd. I asked her if she thought Disney might open the door at 6:30 am as that had happened the last few days. She looked me in the eye and said NO. No they will not open early and the opening time is 9am. I said “so we should plan to stand here for 3 hours?” She looked me directly in the eye and said “yes!” I thanked her and walked back to my place in line.
Less than 15 minutes later, around 6:30am, there was a loudspeaker announcement that the park was indeed opening and we should be ready to proceed inside. I was shocked that this woman lied to my face when I directly asked. This seemed to be a trend with the Cast Members this weekend. Of course, they don’t make the rules, but all anyone asked for was a little respect and common decency.
I understand that they can’t talk specifics, but if the Cast Member had simply said “Well, the official opening time is 9am, but the park has opened early between 5-6:30am the past few days. If the park gates get very crowded and we are staffed, we may open early. I can’t make any promises, and the official time is 9am so please be prepared.”
This would have been better than telling me to my face that I will be standing for 3 hours and less than 15 minutes later, we walk into a fully staffed Hollywood Studios. I don’t blame the Cast Members, I blame Disney for the lack of communication and lack of sympathy to many guests who didn’t know what to expect in advance and, unlike me who lives nearby, had to leave to go home from their vacation without ever riding the ride.
Using The Rise Of The Resistance Virtual Queue
In order to use the Rise Of The Resistance Ride’s virtual queue, every single person who wants to ride must be in Hollywood Studios. All you have to do is scan your band, open your My Disney Experience app, and the first thing you will see is a huge “Star Wars” picture. Click this, choose your guests, and grab a boarding time.
I would say that I was 3/5 back in the giant sea of people. There were a ton of people in front of me, despite the fact that I was in line at 6:05am, but there were a bunch of people behind me too! I joined the virtual line for Rise Of The Resistance within moments of scanning my Magic Band, and I was set in group 32. Group 32 wasn’t called until 11:30am! It was currently around 6:45am when I joined the line.
When you join the Rise Of The Resistance Virtual Queue, you CAN leave the park!
The moment you scan your magic band, enter Hollywood Studios, join the virtual queue and are accepted, you can 100% leave the park! I left and went back to my hotel to sleep a little more. Others took their children to the hotel for breakfast or pool time.
If you were one of the people coming in when I was leaving, shortly after 6:45am, I’m confident your return time wouldn’t have been until later in the afternoon and beyond. Until this dies down, and I will update this post when it does, expect to come to Hollywood Studios early if you want to ride Rise Of The Resistance at some point during your visit.
Using Virtual Queue does not impact your Fastpass selections! Please understand that the virtual queue is in addition to your Fastpasses for the day! You can still select and use 3 Fastpasses as well as join the virtual queue for Star Wars: Rise Of The Resistance.
Please note: If the park is at capacity, your return time does not guarantee you entry into the park! The park shouldn’t be at capacity, but it is a good thing to note!
Rise Of The Resistance Review: No Spoilers!!
After all of this drama over the past three days of opening weekend, I began to wonder if it was worth it. I was very disappointed in Smugglers Run and it lands on my list as one of the worst Disney World Rides! Disney was so secretive about this ride, so would it live up to the hype?
When my return time for Rise Of The Resistance came about, I proceeded to the entranceway. As soon as I entered the first part of the ride, I was entertained and interested. I was glad to see Star Wars characters that I recognized. I didn’t recognize many people on Smuggler’s Run so this was great!
By the time I had moved to the second portion of this 15 minute+ experience, I was welling up with tears. It was already SO SO SO well done! I couldn’t believe it! 100% worth the hype and we were just getting started!
Then we proceeded throughout the experience, and it was an experience, and I continued to be in shock and awe!! I was BLOWN AWAY! The level of detail. The graphics. The immersive experience. It was insane. I was transported to Star Wars that I grew up with mixed with the newer Star Wars characters.
I loved that the ride portion of this experience is suitable for everyone. It wasn’t “scary” in the least bit and my mom, who hates roller coasters and thrill rides would 100% be comfortable riding it. Although there is an odd 40-inch height requirement, I’m not sure why.
The ride car simply fastens with a lap belt and I didn’t find the ride intense as far as the movement went at all. It was very enjoyable and fun!
Without giving anything away, the best part of the whole Rise Of The Resistance ride experience was the graphics and realistic elements. Every Cast Member was in character. Every animatronic lifelike. Every screen with projections was so realistic that it was more lifelike than my own eyes looking outside of an airplane.
It is no secret that Rise Of The Resistance has a “small swift drop.” This is literally all it was and it is nothing to be scared about at all. It was a little underwhelming and nothing at all like Tower Of Terror or other “drop” rides. It is seamless and fits so perfectly with the ride that you will barely feel a thing.
My mom hates thrill rides and scary drops and she won’t be bothered by it at all. The ride is acceptable for pretty much everyone, no matter their intensity level, and the majority of guests should have fun on this ride and won’t be scared at all.
I truly can’t say enough about this ride. I love Star Wars and grew up with it, but I am by no means a rabid fan. I don’t dress up in Star Wars gear, have any Star Wars tattoos, go to any conventions, read the books etc. But I totally loved it! Even people who don’t know the first thing about Star Wars will enjoy the fantastic immersive experience of Rise Of The Resistance!
My review? It was 100% worth it. I hate the way that it was brought about and the weird rules that Disney didn’t tell anyone and the people who weren’t able to come, but after I pushed through all of that, it was worth it. When the hubub eventually dies down and it becomes Fastpass-able, it should 100% top your Hollywood Studios Fastpass list.
Even if you have to wake up at 5am like I did, and I am not a morning person or stand in line for a long time, it will be worth it. This is unlike anything you have ever experienced. This is so well done and truly outstanding.
As I said, I nearly teared up with how beautifully done it was! 10/10 for story. 10/10 for design. 100000/100000 for graphics and Imagineering. Please go on this ride, you won’t regret it!
Rise Of The Resistance Review: SPOILERS BELOW!
**PLEASE DO NOT PASS HERE IF YOU DON’T WANT TO SEE SPOILERS!!**
When you arrive at the Rise Of The Resistance Entrance, regular people will be sent into a “regular” line and people with DAS passes will be sent down the future Fastpass line. Keep in mind that the regular line can be an additional 30-60 minutes longer than your virtual queue time.
Rise of the Resistance is set up with a 3-Act flow:
- Act 1: The caves of Batuu and ride Pre-Show (all very underwhelming)
- Act 2: Ascent into space aboard the I-TS shuttle (the part that I nearly cried at)
- Act 3: Escape from the Star Destroyer ( the epic grand finale!)
Please note that there are more than 65 state-of-the-art animatronic figures such as droids, stormtroopers, and even Kylo Ren! I was thrilled as Disney hasn’t done an animatronics-heavy ride in a very long time. This is also the ride at Disney with the most animatronics ever!
Anyway, enough with the statistics, onto the experience that is Rise Of The Resistance!
As I entered the line, I walked past rock formations and little waterfalls. Then, I entered an “underground” bunker area. This whole time, everything was unassuming. I knew Disney was hiding something. But I didn’t know what! I knew it was going to (hopefully) be good, but I didn’t know how!
Next, we arrived into a small room where the “Fastpass” line (used for DAS pass people) and the regular line blended together. We stood there for a few minutes and got put into lines.
The “theme” of Rise Of The Resistance seemed to be getting shuttled to/from a bunch of little rooms. Now, these rooms became progressively cooler as the ride went on, but nonetheless, a lot of rooms, then hurry up and wait, then a lot of rooms. And repeat.
The first room was a room with BB-8 the droid “speaking” to us. Then, we saw a Hologram of Rey! She spoke to us and explained our “mission” and what we had to do for this experience. It was a typical room where you have to wait and “kill time” before a ride. I wasn’t all that impressed with the pre-show but it was still kind of neat!
But then, the pre-show room opened to….the outdoors? I was immediately impressed. Rey had mentioned something about some I-TS shuttle in the pre-show and then the doors opened to the actual outdoors and lo and behold there it was!! The I-TS shuttle that we were about to board!
It was a realistic space ship and it was huge!! There was also Poe’s X-Wing outside too and you had a few moments for photos and looking around before you boarded the I-TS shuttle.
What I loved about this part was the thought! Who knew that you were in the caves and a “boring” Pre show and then you went outside?!
So we board the I-TS shuttle and the floor begins to “rumble” with a little movement to feel as if you are taking off into space. All along the windows and in the front and back of the spaceship, there are projections that make it appear as if you are flying away!
The best part is the lifelike Nien Nunb animatronics figure located at the front of the ship. He moves and interacts just like the character in the movies. This is the part I almost started to cry at! It seemed so lifelike and realistic. I already knew why Rise Of The Resistance had been so popular and it was only a few days old!
There are no seats during the shuttle ride, which lasts a few minutes! You stand the whole time! There are handrails and you are free to move about the shuttle. I walked from front to back taking photos and videos of everything.
The graphics were very realistic and that is what made the experience even better! And we were just getting started! As the shuttle experience moves along…OH NO!!!! The first order “got us” in their tractor beam!
We are now being pulled into the First Orders massive Star Destroyer! This is just as you see in the movie, except you are actually riding on the ship. The shuttle ship doesn’t actually move and you won’t get sick like on other simulators, but it is very realistic and you do feel like you are moving!
Anyway, there are various announcements that go down as the First Order tractor beam “brings us in” to their Star Destroyer. You watch everything on 360 views in the shuttle.
Then you land. And the doors open. Remember how you started outside? NOW YOU ENTER INTO THIS!!!
I gasped!!! I lost my breath!!! I was awestruck!!! I couldn’t believe how we could be HERE when we were just outside! Had we moved? Of course we hadn’t, it was a trick the Rise Of The Resistance Creators pulled! All that happened is we went in one door, watched a really convincing movie, and stepped out the other door into a whole new world!
For this third part of Rise Of The Resistance, you step into the largest room Disney has ever made. It is so quiet you can hear a pin drop. Your group is the only group here. There aren’t any people around except for ALL THE BAD GUYS?!
The MASSIVE room is filled with 50 stormtroopers and there is a TIE Fighter on the wall! The screen looking out to “space” is over 100 feet long and is the most realistic thing I have ever seen! It literally was like looking into open space through the door of a First Order ship! There are even other ships flying by as well as stars.
The most impressive part to me was the 50 stormtroopers. I literally couldn’t figure out if they were animatronics or real actors. I later found out that they were a mixture of both. I saw a stormtrooper “swaying” so I knew it couldn’t be animatronic, but how could Disney hire 50 people to stand there?!
To keep the magic alive, some stormtroopers were real and the rest were very well done animatronics.
You even have a few minutes in this room to take photos in the silence before the First Order ushers you into the interrogation.
This was easily my favorite part of the entire Rise Of The Resistance ride. I couldn’t believe I had stepped off the shuttle into that absolutely massive room! The graphics, stormtroopers, lighting and colors made for an incredibly memorable and fantastic experience!
Next, you are brought to another part of the line. Here you wait for about 10 minutes before waiting more in another, more authentic room. Nothing is too special about this room, it is literally just a line.
Then you get divided into groups and go to a very “First Order” hallway to wait more. This is very realistic of the “bad guys” in the Star Wars Series and really does feel like you are walking around the First Order ships. Every attention to detail is taken care of.
The Cast Members are dressed in First Order clothing and refer to you as “rebel sympathizers.” They are not friendly and do not laugh or smile, even when a guest tried to crack a joke. They are totally in character and it was awesome. This whole bit took a bit longer than I would like, especially after the exciting shuttle ride and entrance to the First Order ship.
Then, we are ushered to another “pre-show” type room. As I said, these series of rooms is the theme on Star Wars’ Rise Of The Resistance ride! We are now in Act 3.
You are separated into groups of 16 people. These will be your mates for the remainder of Rise Of The Resistance. You will then be ushered into a triangular “cell.” You wait a few minutes and then Kylo Ren and General Hux arrive. Kylo threatens you and says you will be interrogated and then leaves all mad.
As soon as you think there is no way out, and there really seems like there won’t be, you see a panel light up, as if the door was being cut open with a laser.
THEN!!! You are told the rebels are there to save you, but you must hurry!
The door opens and Cast Members dresses as Resistance fighters urge you to RUSH RUSH RUSH!!!! After all, Kylo might get us!! The door opens to two ride vehicles. The ride vehicles are two sets of four seats across. There is no bad view in any of them.
I literally felt breathless at this part! I RUSHED onto the ride car and felt clammy as I buckled my seatbelt. Then I relaxed as I remembered Disney couldn’t start the ride if I wasn’t ready.
The Rise Of The Resistance experience is that good that I instinctually rushed and fumbled with my seat belt so as not to hold up the Resistance fighters. Then, Finn comes on a monitor and explains what will happen.
And just like that, you are off!! The ride is trackless just like the Ratatouille ride will be [and how it is in Disneyland Paris.] This means that there is just a floor that you roll over and no way to tell where you are going! There is no visible track which leads to intrigue!
As you move along, you are going at a decent pace, but nothing too slow or too fast. It isn’t a scary pace and it is smooth as butter, not bumpy or jerky at all.
You will pass by fantastic animatronics and stormtroopers who look so realistic! They “shoot” at you and other parts of the Star Destroyer light up as if the area near you had been hit. You will duck because you don’t want to be shot at.
Eventually, your trackless ride vehicle will enter the long-anticipated room with two lifesize AT AT walkers. This was breathtaking and massive!!
Just as the AT AT’s are about to destroy you, Finn comes and saves the day and you back into an elevator and are lifted to the second floor of the attraction! Before this, you are riding around under the walkers for a few moments, and then you are lifted up and off.
This is my second favorite room in Rise Of The Resistance because the AT AT walkers are built to scale and they are so massive! It all happens so quickly but it is so realistic.
Next, you will have your first encounter with Kylo Ren. He is looking out a window with General Hux and they are commenting on The Resistance. Of course, you slowly back away so he doesn’t see you!
But it is too late! Kylo sees you and chases after you! He is now in a rage and his light saber lights up! He begins to use the dark Force on you and you escape into an elevator. Whew!
This was another favorite part of mine! Inside the elevator, you try and escape, but Kylo Ren jumps on top and stabs his lightsaber through the room and starts to cut a hole. WHO THOUGHT OF THIS?!! Disney, that is who! It is so realistic and like you are in an action movie, except you are wearing theme park clothes!
Then, you head back to the first floor of Rise Of The Resistance. You are now in “the gun room” where there is a gorgeous space scene outside the window. The graphics at this part of the Star Wars ride is unlike anything I’ve ever seen and so well done! You see the ion cannons from the First Order shooting at the incoming Resistance ships and fighters.
You are in the midst of the battle! The lasers and visual effects are truly fantastic so you will want to keep your eyes open this whole time. It really does feel like you are in the middle of a space battle and I’m not just saying that!
Finally, it is time for one last epic battle with Kylo Ren. He is “using the force” on you and there seems to be no escape but then a Resistance Fighter fires at the Star Destroyer and it hits right where Kylo Ren is standing. This causes him to lose his balance and the ceiling falls down on top of him! You barely make it but rush to an escape pod before the Resistance blows this whole thing up.
This is the part of the ride where “the drop” is. I am here to tell you the “drop” isn’t bad at all and hardly noticeable! My mom could 100% do it and she doesn’t like thrill rides. Please don’t make “the drop” the reason why you don’t ride this ride. It is very minimal and most riders should be able to handle it, even if you don’t normally like this kind of ride.
You escape from the First Order ship just as it is blown up and you make your way to Batuu. As you land in Batuu, you are actually landing back in Hollywood Studios Star Wars Land! As the ride ends, you actually leave the Rise Of The Resistance ride outdoors.
This is SO realistic because Batuu is where Galaxy’s Edge is set so it only makes sense that this would be a seamless transition!
And just like that, this fabulous ride has come to a close!! It WAS an experience like no other. The various “acts” and the graphics and animatronics really bring it all together in a way that no other ride has ever done at any theme park.
Rise Of The Resistance is a true gem and I highly recommend riding.
Despite all the crazy that happened on opening weekend, I highly recommend this ride. But please, go in with an open mind that virtual queue passes will be sold out quickly for the first few months and Fastpass will not be an option in the beginning stages!
Please do let me know if you have any questions regarding the Star Wars Rise Of The Resistance ride in the comments below and I will be happy to answer them!
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