Disneyland to follow Florida rules for its new Star Wars ride

January 10, 2020, 12:43 PM · The Disneyland Resort has confirmed that it will be following the same procedures as the Walt Disney World Resort for admitting guests to its new Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance ride, which opens January 17 at Disneyland.

As at Disney's Hollywood Studios in Florida, Disneyland visitors will need to join a "boarding group" virtual queue in order to get on the new Star Wars ride. The virtual queue will open at the park's published opening time in the morning and guests will need to be inside the park in order to request to join a boarding group.

The easiest way to make that request is to be logged in through the official Disneyland app and to click to join a boarding group through that. However, Disneyland will make locations available inside the park where guests without the app can use their park ticket to scan in and join a boarding group.

At Disney World, all of the day's spots in the virtual queue are filling within an hour or so of the park's opening, so we are recommending that Disneyland guests plan to arrive early enough to be inside the park at its published opening time in order to join a boarding group immediately. We also recommend that you use the app to manage your boarding group status instead of one of the physical locations inside the park, where you might lose precious minutes waiting to scan your park ticket.

Disneyland is allowing guests to join only one boarding group per day, so no re-rides for now. The app will send you a notification when it is time for your boarding group to enter Rise of the Resistance's physical queue. If you don't have the app or miss the notification on your phone, signs throughout the park will show which boarding groups have been called for the ride, too.

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Update: To answer a FAQ, Disneyland's parking policy is to open 90 minutes before the first published opening time for a park. On the 17th, DCA opens at 7am for its Extra Magic Hour, so 90 minutes before that would be 5:30am. But Disney is saying that if fans show up early, they’ll be able to park.

Since you only need to be inside the Disneyland front gate by 8am for the best shot at the virtual queue, I'm not seeing a big need in showing up before 5:30, as two and a half hours should be more than enough time to get through the toll booths, park and get through the esplanade lines to scan into the park. But I’m not planning on riding on the 17th, so do what you feel you need to if you you are.

Replies (10)

January 10, 2020 at 1:00 PM

I'm visiting Disney World soon, and am a seasoned Disney park vet. This boarding group thing has me a bit worried but it seems like it is smooth sailing, as long as you are in the gates by 9:30-ish (in FL at least). I was there opening day for Harry Potter back in 2010, and this idea seems a lot better than the 9 or so hours I spent in queue.

Question though: For those who have done this in Florida, about how long do you usually wait in the physical Rise of the Resistance queue, once your boarding group has been summoned?

January 10, 2020 at 1:03 PM

"At Disney World, all of the day's spots in the virtual queue are filling within an hour or so of the park's opening"

More like within 15 minutes based on recent reports. In fact, this past weekend saw Boarding Groups disappear within 3-5 minutes. As holiday crowds have died down by the middle of this week, guests have been reporting normal (not backup) Boarding Groups being available until 7-15 minutes after official park opening time. You are still able to join a "backup" boarding group for sometimes up to 2 hours after park opening, but there is no guarantee that you will actually be called to ride, and chances are less than 50/50 that you will because of breakdowns and technical issues. There have only been a handful of days where the attraction has accommodated all of the guests given backup boarding groups.

I wouldn't be surprised to see Disney mix up the procedures in the not so distant future, because it's clear that guests have caught on to how to make sure they get a boarding group. There are actually "how to" videos on YouTube and strategy guides for where to enter the park and stand based on what broadband provider you have for your phone or if you are relying on Disney WiFi. Some people are taking it just a bit too far (some relying on friends and family who aren't even on vacation with them to log into their Disney account to grab these to avoid overloaded in-park networks).

The real solution will be for Disney to increase the uptime of the attraction and run it as close to maximum capacity as possible. I would hope that the lessons learned at WDW plus the additional testing time will help Disneyland's version of the attraction run close to full throttle from day 1.

January 10, 2020 at 1:11 PM

At the risk of getting blamed if Disney actually does something with this... remember that Disneyland has a tool at its disposal that Walt Disney World does not: Maxpass. I wonder if that could come into play if Disney looks for ways to mix up the RotR boarding procedures in the future.

January 10, 2020 at 1:19 PM

@Manny - It's not really as "smooth sailing" as you might think. If you want to assure yourself of getting on the attraction, you MUST be through the park gates before the official opening time (ideally at least 5 minutes prior to make sure the system recognizes that you're in the park). If you expect to stroll through the gates at 9:30 (assuming a 9 AM opening time - check the date you're visiting, because Disney has moved up DHS opening times for many days between now and Spring Break) and get a guaranteed spot to ride, then you're gravely mistaken. It's pretty likely that you will get a "backup" boarding group, which may never be called, and you will not be given any compensation for waiting all day (unlike a regular boarding group spot, which Disney has been giving anytime FPs and 1-day admission tickets if you're group is never called). You're certainly free to take your chances by showing up after the park open, but you're taking a HUGE risk.

We're going to be there in 3 weeks, and we plan to be at the gates at least 45 minutes prior to park opening to make sure we are in the park and have a reasonable shot at joining an early boarding group (we plan on park hopping every day, so getting on early is pretty important for us).

As far as the length of the wait once you show up, it seems to vary depending upon how the ride is performing. When the ride is running smoothly, your actual wait in the physical queue (prior to the first pre-show room) has been reported as less than 10 minutes. However, it's always possible that you show up to the entrance right as the attraction breaks down, which could result in an extended wait in the queue. Disney has been treating guests extremely well (a little overboard IMHO) by sending characters and snacks/water through the line if there's any sort of delay for guests standing in the physical queue (though they didn't give anything to guests that were detoured around an entire portion of the attraction because of technical issues).

That's a great point about MaxPass Robert. I was actually anticipating that MaxPass was going to be needed to enter Galaxy's Edge when it debuted in Disneyland. They instead went with the reservation system during the "soft opening" period and then established the boarding group system when it officially opened in June, but it was never needed beyond the first official day. MaxPass would be a powerful tool to use, and similarly requires you to be physically in the park like the boarding groups. However, I think Disney wants to avoid the possibility that RotR would essentially turn into an upcharge attraction if all of the capacity was chewed up by guests purchasing MaxPass.

January 10, 2020 at 1:22 PM

It's the Disney marathon weekend, and DHS is still on the 7am schedule. (Until Jan 28th .... at the moment) I may go next week to re-ride ROTR, so I've been checking the app.

Today at 7:05am all initial boarding groups were gone. Around 8 I checked again, and the back-up groups were still available. They are on BG 67-86 right now with backups after 106. MFSR is 60min standby.

The idea that people wouldn't arrive early because they weren't issuing BG's until after park opening, is total fiction. I plan to be at the gate around 6:30am next week, and I'll let everyone know how it goes, if I decide to go.

January 10, 2020 at 1:49 PM

@makerider - I don't think there was ever a notion that people wouldn't show up early to ride RotR, it was just that the way Disney was doing it when the attraction first opened, guests kept showing up earlier and earlier each morning hoping that Disney would allow access to boarding groups sooner and sooner each day. The day when they switched to the current procedures (they didn't announce the change before it happened), it was reported that the first guests arrived at the gates before 4 AM (for an 8 AM opening). Now as long as you get through the gates a few minutes before the official park opening, and showing up hours ahead doesn't give you any advantage on getting a boarding group, guests are not showing up nearly as early (though just as many are there by opening time).

If you want to roll the dice, strolling through the gates after park opening is certainly an option (though understand you're definitely not going to get called until very late in the day, if at all), but if you want to make sure to get on the ride and have any hope of experiencing it in the morning, you should plan to arrive at least 30 minutes before opening time.

The affects of this procedure are pretty interesting though. Standby lines for all of the top attractions (MFSR, ToT, RnR, SDD, and TSM) are through the roof ALL morning as guests seek out stuff to do while they wait for their boarding group to be called. However, lines in the late afternoon and early evenings have been extremely short. I have seen lines for SDD below 30 minutes after 6 PM. It seems that a lot of guests are either leaving after the ride RotR or foregoing their midday nap because they're waiting for their boarding group to be called so a lot fewer guests are making it to the end of the day.

January 10, 2020 at 2:00 PM

I was there last weekend, and it was fairly smooth sailing.

We arrived at 6:50 and were in the park at 6:58. At 7AM they announced when you could get boarding groups. Everyone was standing around for a minute poking frantically at their phones. Within a minute or so, we had our boarding group -- 111, which was admitted to the queue at roughly 3PM. I believe they made it through at least group 160 or 180 by closing time that night, even though everything above 125 were theoretically "backup groups".

Per a comment above -- people still do arrive early, they just don't have to arrive at 4AM (as a friend of mine did before they changed the boarding group procedure a few weeks back).

As for the initial question: We were in the queue maybe 20 minutes before riding.

Overall it felt like a very fair and easy experience -- and WAY better than showing up early at Universal a few days earlier only to find the Hagrid's wait at 6 hours in a non-virtual real-life queue!!

January 10, 2020 at 2:57 PM

We were there on Jan 2. Arrived at the park at 6:15 for a 7:00 official open. They let us through the gates at about 6:30. Inside of park was packed. At 7:00 they made an announcement and I hit the app right away via cell phone service. About 30 seconds of spinning icon and then we got boarding group 83.

They started that day with boarding group 12 and got to 83 at around 1:00. We were right there and walked directly into indoor queue which shuffled along at an ok pace for about 15 minutes until it just stopped for 15 minutes (not a good sign). We moved again, got halfway through the ride (the interrogation room) and then they evacuated us due to mechanical failure. Waited outside for about 90 minutes and then they reopened and let us through the FastPass line directly to the start of the ride. Ride went smoothly and was truly impressive. Definitely worth the effort.

January 10, 2020 at 4:06 PM

I was at DHS on Wednesday and my story is about the same as everyone else's; arrived at 6:30, was able to join the virtual queue just after 7 (assigned number 90) around 7:03 (using Disney's Wi-Fi) and our number was called around 5:00. Where my story is different was once my number was up (and we were standing at the gate as they called number 89 and waited till it changed to 90), we still had a 50-minute wait in line. Oh well - that quibble certainly meant little once we hit the ride and it turned out to be as good as everyone has said.

January 11, 2020 at 8:02 PM

I’ll represent the TPI world on Friday morning!!

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