Rise of the Resistance revisited at Disney's Hollywood Studios

Edited: January 19, 2020, 6:06 PM

I switched my DHS visit from Thursday to Friday because of the opening of the Festival of the Arts. I arrived at DHS around 6:30, and breezed straight thru the no bag line and wandered over to the entry gates. Crazy to see people frantically changing lines so they could get into the park quicker !! I was in by 6:45, so found an empty bench and sat down waiting for 7am to arrive. It’s all very weird. 1000’s and 1000’s of people all mindlessly milling around waiting for the app to open. Then 7am, and BAM !! everyone’s phone lights up and the race is on. Cheers go up as people get a boarding group. It seems very random as the people next to me got 22, and I got 84. I was OK with 84 though, as my plan was to go to Epcot, and then onto the Magic Kingdom. It was a passholder collection day, of magnets and limited pins. I wandered around the park and was intrigued to see the line for MFSR extending into TSL, with a posted wait time of 2hrs. I exited DHS and headed for a deserted Skyliner. It was all very nice ‘flying’ over to Epcot solo. It was surprising how cool it felt in the cabin, so much so I actually shut the vents. I picked up my magnet and headed for the monorail. Magic Kingdom was its usual hellish self, but I got my pin and I was out of there. On the way back from the MK I checked the app again, and the Rise groups had stalled at 36. The lower number was edging closer, but it had been 36 for a long time. I got to Epcot and checked again, and boarding groups were not being called. Rise was down. I had my Fish ‘n Chips and headed for the Skyliner. It was now just gone noon, and still no boarding groups.

I was going to have to make a decision very soon. I’d snagged a SDD for 2pm, but if Rise wasn’t working I didn’t want to hang around for something I’d been on plenty of times. I did a lap of DHS and the entrance to ROTR was eerily quiet. I decided to roll the dice. It was 1:15 and I was heading out. A calculated risk, but from what I’d seen, 84 was not going to make it. Around 2pm the groups started to board again, but soon stalled on 50. Rise was down again. I’d rolled the dice and won … :)
Around 4, I received my ‘prize’. A FP+ for Saturday, anytime during the day. I also had a complimentary day pass to DHS. Rise started up again late Friday, and by close the boarding group call was up to 70.

Saturday arrived, and no need to get to the park before 7 today. I got there around 10 and walked straight on. I had seen the future, and a bright (suns) one it was too. It was a future with ROTR available on FP+. The FP line allowed us to enter the ride at the point of going in to see Rey and BB8. I really tried to be positive about this 2nd ride, but I just don’t get it. It has to be because I’m not a Star Wars fan. Sure it’s an awesome immersive experience, but what’s the point when half the time you are either walking and/or standing in line. I must admit though, the view out of the back window of the transporter is best. I will give Disney credit, whatever they did overnight seemed to have solved all the Friday issues. The ride worked flawlessly, although it’s still nowhere close to running at full capacity.

Replies (13)

January 20, 2020, 9:51 AM

I assume that you mean on Friday January 17 when we also got into DHS about a quarter after 7 from Pop Century. We got 120. It came with a notice that it was not guaranteed but was still in the line. Later we got the notification that it was not to be, apparently because of the breakdown you mentioned but I never heard that. Like you we aren’t Star Wars devotees but decided to see the area before we left as we had checked out after our stay. The line to Rise was forever and I saw an older cast member (a supervisor most likely) patiently listening to a real pain giving every excuse why he was given promises of getting to ride after arriving at the park after 8 because he was told the park didn’t open until ... and he had traveled ... miles and spent ... hours and his little girl wanted ... and crying ... on and on although very vague in identifying who told him ....
In the blog above on DL it mentions that WDW had passes for those in the first hours.
Anyway the cast guy took the guy somewhere for some kind of prize I guess.
I left (and am wondering about my next planned visits.)

Edited: January 20, 2020, 10:38 AM

@OIGramps …. Yes, the 17th. Rise was a real mess, but it had been on Thursday as well, but at least groups we being admitted slowly throughout the day. Rise had 2 extended stops on Friday, which sent everything into disarray. Disney issuing me with a FP+ at 4pm (4hrs before close) showed how much of a problem they had. MFSR was 90+ mins, and SDD over 100 mins for most of the day as people looked for alternate things to do. Lines to Olga’s and Doc Ondar's were horrendous. Sure, Fridays are almost as much of a bear as the weekends, but with the increase of people visiting, and Rise not working, it was far worse than usual. People will stay on for as long as possible in the hope the ride may open, and they’ll get on. Like you, for many it’s their one and only chance, and if you don’t get on the ride that day, it’s over. I wonder how many people went back on Saturday with the FP+ ? When I went in around 10, I was with a group of 8 other FP+ holders. It was a quiet and pleasant walk onto the ride in actuality.

As for capacity. On Saturday they were still only running half of the ride vehicles with people, so still under performing in that respect. Makes you wonder with all the problems they are still having, if they will ever run the ride at full capacity. They are at groups 45-66 this morning, so when you consider they only limped to 70 on Friday, it shows, at the moment, things are back to ‘normal’

I’m done with ROTR now until DHS goes back to opening at 9am. According to the app, that’s Sunday Feb 2nd, so we’ll see if they change the timing as that weekend gets closer.

January 21, 2020, 9:37 AM

Honestly Mako, Disney needs to make every Boarding Group a "backup". Guests need to get through their head that there is no guarantee that any attraction will run flawlessly for an entire day, and that attractions with extremely high demand and low capacity (albeit artificially so because RotR is still limping along at half capacity) are simply not going to be able to accommodate every guest that wants to ride them. When details about RotR were coming out, the rumors were that it was going to be a people-eater of an attraction, but it simply hasn't been that yet, and the one-of-a-kind nature of the ride along with its newness is creating a level of demand that simply cannot be satisfied, and probably will still outstrip supply (daily capacity) even when it's running at peak efficiency.

Disney doesn't owe any guests a ride on RotR, nor do they owe them an anytime FP+ or free return ticket to the park if they don't get on. They need to nip this issue in the bud and stop building anticipation for guests where nearly half of them waking up at 5 AM are not going to ride the attraction they were expecting when they rolled out of bed. Guests need to be given a reality check, and I think Disney needs to be a little more forthcoming about the performance of the attraction, which is being shrouded in secrecy thus far, but it's pretty clear that it's still limping along and has been for nearly 8 weeks now in Florida.

Edited: January 21, 2020, 11:11 AM

If the app's correct, so far today no boarding groups have been admitted, and it's 11:50am.

People's expectations are always higher than the reality of the situation they find themselves in. As you know, my perspective is 180deg opposed to most people on here, as I'm a Disney AP. So for me to get a next day FP+, was like getting a $10 scratch-off and winning $10. Basically a win-win. For the vast majority of visitors though, it’s a nightmare scenario. We've all been there. We have planned our trip meticulously, but the ride we wanted to go on the most is not working, and we only had that one chance. For those on the “once in a lifetime” trip to WDW, that’s got to be a crushing blow. It’s one of the reasons why I always try and give myself a minimum of 2 days at any new park I visit.

This is where I think Disney missed the boat with no CM and/or pass holder previews. If they’d have done that, then these problems would have been spotted BEFORE the ride opened to the general public, and maybe, just maybe, the issues they are seeing now could have been prevented. And then to exacerbate the situation, they open up Rise in Disneyland, and guess what ….. they are seeing the exact same problems. Never saw that one coming obviously.

The FP+ and/or free day pass is meaningless really. What percentage of people will actually take Disney up on either of those 2 ‘freebies’. It’s a sweetener, that’s all. They know the majority of guests issued with them will not be back. Just think if everyone who was issued with a FP+ on, let’s say, a day like today, when the ride isn’t even operating yet, all turned up tomorrow ?? That would mean a huge increase in foot traffic, to what would be the detriment of the boarding groups. From 1st hand experience on Saturday, they let us FP+ holders thru before the boarding group people.

If this continues, the only option they have will be to introduce the FP+ system to the ride. Keep the virtual queue, but run it side by side with the FP+.

Edited: January 21, 2020, 11:56 AM

You make some good points Makorider, but as we've seen, the CM previews (supposedly conducted over the first 2 weeks of January) didn't help one bit in Disneyland. I think it boils down to theme parks having to walk along the "bleeding edge" of technology in order to keep attractions fresh and relevant for as long as possible. If Disney is spending hundreds of millions of dollars on an attraction (I have no idea how much RotR cost to develop and install, but it's certainly over $200 million), they need it to last the test of time. They certainly could have ironed out some issues by doing more thorough stress testing of the system, but DHS's version is coming up on nearly 2 months of operation and it's still not running anywhere close to peak capacity and is suffering from frequent breakdowns every single day. The stress that the attraction has experienced over the past 7+ weeks is more than equal to what it would have gotten through a soft opening period, yet it's still dealing with significant issues and downtime.

You have to wonder whether we're in a Catch-22 situation. Guests demand more exciting, thrilling, and immersive experiences (while still having bullet-proof safety standards), and theme parks are trying to deliver that with increasing levels of intricacy, technology, and innovation. However, when the envelope is pushed just a tad too far (as with RotR) or not quite far enough (as with Antarctica), guests are disappointed at the frequent downtime and reliability or underwhelmed because the ride is boring. So either parks play it safe and install a ride that doesn't meet expectations or they try to hit it out of the park and can't control where the ball is going.

I kind of like your FP/VQ idea, but you still end up with the underlying issues with FP in that guests are forced to lock in their plans months in advance (if WDW would adopt MaxPass, I'd be on board). With RotR, you would think the number of FP+ reservations available would be extremely limited (maybe no more than 3-4k per day), which again would put it to a lottery system of guests getting lucky with their connection and computer speed when they log in on the FP reservation day. In the end, I think there's something to be said for having a standby line that acts as a deterrent. People are willing to stand in a 240-minute line for FoP because the ride is that good, but there are definitely people that see that 240-minute line and say, "No Way" (me, for instance). I think integrating a standby line with a maximum length combined with VQ might be the best way to go.

The "freebies" FWIW are nothing to sneeze at. The FP+ can be used at ANY park, so if you don't have another day planned at DHS, then you can use it to ride FoP. Also, the free day passes are reportedly valid through 2030, so you could save it for a future trip, or if you don't have a park hopper, it could serve as a de-facto park hopper ticket on your current vacation. If we were to get these (we're currently planning to visit DHS on Sunday and Tuesday, but have flexibility and park hoppers to try more days if needed), I'd probably only use the return ticket on this trip on Saturday if we weren't able to get on any of our other 6 days of our visit (probably won't be back to Orlando until fall 2022), and even then we'd be pushing it to try to get on before we'd need to get to MCO early Saturday evening. My point though is that Disney really shouldn't even be giving these away. Rides break and malfunction, and it sucks if you miss out on the one new ride you wanted to experience on your vacation (honestly, FP+ and the overplanning of WDW vacation caused by FP and ADRs is mostly to blame), but Disney is establishing a dangerous precedent by giving free tickets and FPs to guests just because a brand new uber-technical ride is having trouble. Sometimes you're just unlucky, and need to accept that things don't always go your way. I would think a single FP for MFSR ONLY would be a far more appropriate compensation if you couldn't get on RotR.

January 21, 2020, 12:56 PM

Russell .... I think things have changed a little since the 2030 ticket idea. My ticket says "1 Day Studios only complimentary" "valid 1/16/2022" Still good, but one park and a 2 year expiry date.

The FP+ said "tomorrow" and "any ride, including ROTR"
I must admit I didn't even think it would be for any park, but it makes sense I suppose.

Good luck for next week. With the amount of time you have allocated, you will be OK. Although, still no boarding group calling so far today ?? If this really is the case, I'm sure it'll be on the local news tonight LOL !!

Edited: January 21, 2020, 1:29 PM

I guess things have changed, probably because Disney hasn't had to give those out very often since they switched to the new system. The comp ticket has never been a park hopper, but my point was it could be like having a park hopper because if a guest were visiting on a non-hopping ticket they could use the comp ticket as a way to hop to DHS on a day they were already planning to be at another park.

I will still say that it's essentially $100 that they're giving guests for not getting on a ride that shouldn't be a guarantee in the first place. If you go to a concert and the band doesn't play your favorite song, it's not like they give you a free ticket to see them again. I went to Hawaii, and one of the roads I wanted to drive along in Volcanoes National Park was closed because of lava flows, but the National Park Service wasn't giving me a future pass to see the park on a later day. The same expectation should be for theme parks, and I realize Disney is catching a lot of flak from annoyed guests who feel entitled and spend tens of thousands of dollars and months planning their Disney trips (really, that's 99% of the problem there, especially with FP+ that makes people think they're entitled to every ride they have a FP for), but giving in and comping people because an already temperamental ride broke down is a slippery slope. I know a lot of guests are flocking to WDW and DL right now explicitly to experience RotR (that's primarily why we're going), but Disney is going over the top in trying to compensate guests that are just unlucky...FWIW, they just started boarding RotR in DHS a little bit ago.

January 22, 2020, 12:48 PM

Russell: "...RotR is still limping along at half capacity."

Me: I've no doubt that it hasn't run at capacity, but do we have a credible source that says its only running at "half"?

January 22, 2020, 1:11 PM

@TH ..... Let's just say, when I've been on it, the number of vehicles moving thru the ride is 4, and only 2 of them are with people.

So if you go by that analogy then yes, I'd say "ROTR is still limping along at half capacity"

But, considering the ride seems to be breaking down more now than ever, then half capacity is being very generous. It's 2pm and they are on groups 29-33. Another bad day for Rise .... :( I'm sure you guys know this, but the closer the group numbers are together, the more issues they are having. A span of 4 right now is not a good sign.

Maybe WDWNT's theorizing yesterday that the cold weather was to blame, isn't that far off ?? It's a nasty cold, windy and damp day for sure.

Edited: January 22, 2020, 1:15 PM

Every video that I've seen of the ride operating on BOTH coasts shows the dispatch of 2 full vehicles along with 2 empty vehicles. In addition to the many many videos, there are multiple reports of guests confirming this and noting that CMs are only using 1 side of the final load queue (before the interrogation room) and guests always loaded through the same room/boarding platform. From all reports, it sounds like they're running it at or near full capacity in terms of vehicles on the "track" (of the final dark ride portion that is), but not all of those vehicles are being loaded. It does seem like the vehicles are going through all of the possible routes through the attraction (meaning that they are randomized, and not necessarily linked to the specific load platform), but CMs appear to only be loading half of the vehicles with guests right now. I plan on riding it at least twice next week (maybe more now that Disney extended DHS opening hours to 7 AM every day next week), so I can offer a first hand account in a few days.

I'll again note that FoP ran at half capacity for nearly 3 months before Disney was confident at operating 3 of the 4 theaters simultaneously - and even now CMs stagger ops so all 4 are never running at the same time. Running below the theoretical capacity is normal, and even running at half capacity during the first few months is not unprecedented. However, it's clear the demand is far outstripping supply for the attraction, and Disney not only needs to reduce the frequent and interminable bouts downtime, but they need to get to the point where every vehicle dispatched has the maximum 8 guests.

January 23, 2020, 8:23 AM

BTW Makorider, it looks like you're getting your wish. Millennium Falcon Smugglers Run is starting FP+ operation on February 19, and is being listed as a Tier 1 attraction (with just Slinky Dog Dash). This should loosen up demand for Star Tours and reduce the frequency with which guests are getting "throwaway" FP+ reservations for the shows since ToT, RnR, ASS, and TSM are moving down to Tier 2.

January 23, 2020, 8:42 AM

Yep .... just seen the great news ... :)

Although I can't access the DHS FP+ choices at the moment, but plenty of time. Obviously a lot of people have just heard !!

It's also good to see the top tiers have changed. It'll be nice to go back in the evenings and ride Aerosmith, TofT plus a top tier.

I'm going to assume Mickey and Minnie's railway, and Rise will make up the 4 top tiers.

Edited: January 23, 2020, 8:48 AM

The real question is whether they institute a virtual queue for MMRR when it opens and if guests will need to choose between it and RotR.

The changing of the Tiers is a welcome change, though I expect ToT, RnR, and TSM FP+ reservations will be much harder to come by since guests will no longer be limited to 1 for those attractions.

MDE is slammed right now, and this change is near the start of the busy Spring Break season, so I expect availability to still be pretty limited as guests start shuffling their plans.

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