My review of 'ROTR': Stunning. Game changing. A technical and theatrical miracle. It sets a VERY HIGH standard for all attractions that will follow it. Yes, probably the best ever.
Having said that, the purpose of this post is not to evaluate the attraction, but rather to relate how my squad (party of five) attacked the prospect of going to DHS and getting a chance to experience the attraction. This is not really a classic "tips" kind of post. Rather, I'm just reporting what we did and how it worked out.
I had been reading reports that the gates had been opening early (around 6:30 AM). I spoke with a DHS manager (a friend) the day before asking if I could get some info as to when the gates would open. I was told the published opening time is the only thing that they could tell me and that opening early was a decision that would be made that morning.
I live about 15-20 minutes from the park. Under my direct orders, we were up early and left our house at 4:30 AM. After a quick stop at 7-11 (did you know they make 64 ounce Red Bulls?) we headed to the park -- arriving around 5:10 AM.
By the time we parked the line of vehicles was back to it's fourth row of cars. We walked up to bag check. They were not releasing guests into the entry plaza. There looked to me around 1,500 - 2,000 guests waiting. As we stood there a Disney guy in slacks, dress shirt and name tags walked through the crowd announcing that the park gates would open at 7:00 AM. They opened security around 5:45 AM. We got through bag check and headed up to the gate.
Now then, I want to remind everyone this was my experience. This is not me giving advice, but we went to the far left side of the gates. We were literally on the edge of the crowd, but still in line. While others had converged on the center, those of us on the left seemed to be further forward. Just sayin'.
Additionally, our placement at the left side turned out to be really very helpful. We had paper tickets and when a CM came through the line she did a preliminary scan of our and indicated that we needed to get hard tickets from guest relations. Because we were on the left side of the entrance plaza we were able to step out of line, visit guest relations and step back into line without having to worm our way through the crowds to re-locate our party. Also, the guest relations window was only a few yards from where we were standing.
This location was also helpful when nature called (Again, 64 ounce Red Bull). An interesting note, when I doubled back to use the restroom (about ten minutes after we camped at our spot outside the gates) the bag check area was relatively empty -- from 2,000 guests down to about a dozen or so.
Also, regarding that visit to guest relations, there was a line of about 20 or so people ahead of the person we sent to deal with our ticket issue. As soon as the windows opened the guest relations CMs went to work and cleared the line in a matter of minutes. Well done, guys!
So we had our tickets, and my pal who had the My Disney Experience ap on his phone collected them all and scanned them in. Again, this was before the gates opened. We could not jump into the queue but we had the collection of tickets in the system and ready to go.
The gates opened a little after 6:30 AM. By that time the crowd waiting to get in had to be about 4,000. Our MDE guy went through the gate and as soon as our party had tapped in (BOOM!) he jumped into the queue. We were in Group 21.
We hiked back to SWGE. We walked over and took our obligatory photos in front of the Falcon and (BOOM [again]!) we got tagged that we were cleared to board ROTR.
It was around 7:10 AM when we entered the queue.
Were totally hyped. Jazzed! Excited ... And then the attraction broke down.
I won't indicate where we were other than to say it was in the pre-show segment. So there was no really heavy evacuation involved. But what I will say is that the cast members were VERY apologetic and gracious and handed up the fast passes for our return.
So we went back over to the Falcon. And we were going to jump in line but I noticed that there was a tiny line of people standing in line at Oga's Cantina. So I walked up to a nice young lady at the door, indicated we had no reservation but "Could she? Would she?"
She could and she did!
We went inside the Catina, snacked and drank. Enjoyed our server PAUL -- VERY VERY FUNNY GUY.
And then, five seconds after that we found out that ROTR had re-opened. We hustled over to the building and (with the fast passes) they ushered us through an alternate queue that virtually eliminated our wait. The ride began and performed flawlessly -- reference my detailed review earlier in this thread.
And when we exited the attraction ... It was 9:15 AM.
Again, a BIG shout out to the DHS team and the way they are managing guest relations and the operation of the entire park. Everyone we encountered listened to our questions, greeted us pleasantly, laughed at my stupid jokes and just set a platinum standard for customer service. They are all extraordinary people who made the entire day a wonderful experience.
Bright suns, everyone. And may the spires keep you.Tweet