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Rise of the Resistance Disney World: 2021 UPDATE

Inside this article:

Rise of the Resistance Disney World has long frustrated guests.

Though most will be happy the the updated “rules” to securing a place in the virtual queue.

Since launching (Nerdy pun definitely intended) December 5, 2019, few attractions in history have garnered the attention of Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance Disney World. To be sure, it was to be the headliner attraction at the immensely popular Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge which had opened in August to long lines and introduced guests to the Virtual Queue.

This is another way of saying Disney introduced guests to mass confusion. Everywhere fans looked online, there were slightly varying stories of how to experience Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance Disney World and even more stories addressing its frequent breakdowns. Frustrations mounted as Hollywood Studios became significantly more crowded and many in the crowd were unable to enjoy Rise of the Resistance; presumably their reason for crowding the park.

Rise of the Resistance Prior to 2021

The strategy was pretty simple, if a bit confusing. Get your entire group to Hollywood Studios prior to the park’s official opening time. This often required waking in the 5 o’clock hour to be walking through the turnstiles in the early

Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance Disneyworld

6 o’clock hour (ahead of the 7am official park opening)and stand around with thousands of your closest friends on Sunset Boulevard.

The trick here is that EVERYONE in your party, who intended to experience the attraction, had to physically scan their ticket and enter the park. They could immediately exit the park and still compete for a spot in the virtual queue.

The crowds buzzed and people jockeyed for position – the strategy being twofold: 1) secure a place in the Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance Disney World, and 2) get to your first attraction as soon as possible! Hollywood Studios, as one of the smaller parks relative to areas guests can roam freely, is not especially set up for large crowds.

Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance
Lots of guests were sad to see this sign on their visit to Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

As the clock announced the park’s designated opening, it was calm and quiet. Nobody spoke, no one ran ahead to grab a place in line, and the rope did not drop. Instead, guests immediately turned to their phones in a frantic effort to secure a Rise of the Resistance Disney World spot. Within seconds of the eery calm, a smattering of applause turned into loud cheering and audible groans as the chosen ones were revealed.

Later, as the crowds became more predictable and the attraction more reliable, Disney would add a second chance to secure a spot in the virtual line in the afternoon. Overall, the experience worked although many guests left disappointed arriving at the park in the wee hours of the morning only to miss two opportunities to secure a spot in line.

2020 and the temporary elimination of the Park Hopper further complicated this set-up. Now, should a guest not secure a Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance Disney World spot, they were effectively “stuck” with their choice of parks for the day.

Rise of the Resistance 2021

In 2021, the Park Hopper returned and Disney unveiled Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance Disney World Virtual Queue Rules 2.0. Sometimes Disney issues rules that are a bit of a head scratcher, but this time, the Nerd thinks this was a great adjustment that will increase guests satisfaction and enhance overall guest experience.

Star Wars: Rise of the ResistanceNow, guests can secure their place in the Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance Disney World virtual queue from the comfort of their hotel room. What is required is that everyone in the riding party has a reservation for Disney’s Hollywood Studios. At 7am, guests from around Orlando will be desperately trying to snag a spot in the virtual queue and drift back to sleep ahead of the park’s later (often 9am) opening time.

Guests who secure their spot can relax, grab breakfast, drink coffee and otherwise “chill” ahead of beginning their Hollywood Studios adventure.

Guests who are not quite so lucky have a choice to make (emphasis on choice where prior to the rule change, guests were already stuck with their decision):

1. Head to Hollywood Studios, as planned, and enjoy other headliners like Slinky Dog Dash, The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway, Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster, Toy Story Mania! and then try again at 1pm for the afternoon virtual queue distribution; or

2. Make a reservation for a different Disney World park – Epcot, Magic Kingdom or Animal Kingdom – to enjoy for the day with plenty of time to arrive for opening.

Allowing guests this option is Nerd approved and just good customer service. Notably, there are some caveats to these rules that are important to remember.

Canceling Your Hollywood Studios Theme Park Reservation will Cancel Your Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance Disney World Virtual Queue Assignment

That’s right. You cannot secure a Rise of the Resistance spot and then start your day at a different park. The Nerd

Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance
These green lines are what every guests is excited to see – time to experience Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance!

thinks this is a great move because it stops those who (like the Nerd himself) would grab a place in the Rise of the Resistance Disney World queue and enjoy other parks until their boarding group was called. In essence, Disney is giving priority to people who have committed to spending the day at Hollywood Studios and this is as it should be.

Wait? I can try for a Rise of the Resistance at 1pm? But I cannot Park Hop until 2p?

Exactly. The other change is that Disney World moved up the time for the second daily lottery to enter the virtual queue. By moving it to 1p and requiring guests be physically in the park, they are rewarding those who elected to spend their day at Hollywood Studios and actually…spent their day at Hollywood Studios. All in all, a solid strategy.

Disney even thought ahead and is issuing instructions via email for those with an upcoming reservation.

rise of the resistance screen shot
Disney World is sending information to guests ahead of their visit.

Thumbs Up

The Nerd supports these changes and believes them to be a great balance for all guests. We like changes that enhance the guest experience and think Disney World nailed it with this one.

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