Fans queued well before dawn this morning for the public opening of Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance at Walt Disney World's Disney's Hollywood Studios.
Disney revived its "Boarding Group" virtual queue system for the opening, and by 7am, fans entering the park already were being given estimates of afternoon return times.
Disney World is using its “boarding group” virtual queue for Rise of the Resistance. Estimating now for afternoon return times. pic.twitter.com/x7aP0yFDKy— Theme Park Insider (@ThemePark) December 5, 2019
By 8:30am, the return time estimate moved to "Evening." (Update: And by 9am, all the day's spots were gone.) Unlike Fastpass, the virtual queue system does not provide an assigned return time, only an estimate of when your boarding group will be called. Therefore, Disney is not publishing estimated wait times for Rise of the Resistance, preventing fans from employing one of the more misleading data points for judging a new attraction's popularity. (Remember capacity, people!)
Social media reaction from those who arrived early and rode has been universally positive, matching media reviews from yesterday. Whenever you get on, remember that you now can rate and review Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance here on Theme Park Insider.
(Updated added below at 10pm)
As fans waited their turn to ride, several members of the attraction's creative team met with me and other invited reporters to talk about the ride.
Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge Executive Producer Jon Georges encouraged fans to watch for detail that they might miss on an initial visit, a point that fellow Imagineer Jon Larena emphasized in my interview yesterday.
"Next time you ride pay particular attention to the space battles, because I think you get so distracted by the interior environment," Georges said. "You know there's big guns are in your way as you're going through, and everybody's stares on the guns, but look out the windows. ILM created this beautiful space battle we get right outside the window that a lot of people aren't really focusing on because you're all in on the [interior] experience."
Pay particular attention on the transport vehicle in the queue, too, he said.
"Next time you're in the ship, there's a window in the front, where you're going and there's a window in the back where you've been so you get beautiful views of leaving the planet and coming into the Star Destroyer. It's worth just standing in the back and watching the whole experience."
Then when I asked about all Galaxy's Edge visitors getting to see this...
Walt Disney Imagineering's Star Wars Portfolio Creative Executive, Scott Trowbridge, responded,
"We're not going to announce anything right now, but I think we talked about this when we opened Galaxy's Edge, the way we thought about our anticipated crowds when we opened might make us make certain decisions about how much we put out there, if you will," he said. "You have seen some examples of kind of some of the stuff we have. We will make adjustments to our plan as we feel it is in the better interest of everybody's experience in the land."
"We never stop thinking about how do we improve things - technically, operationally, creatively," he said. "It's easy for us to think about Rise of the Resistance as getting to the finish line, but we don't think that way," Trowbridge said. "We are at the starting line right now for how we now run these things and run this land for years and decades to come."Tweet
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