An interesting thing happened back at Disneyland today. For this first time that I can recall, boarding groups to get on Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance not only did not "sell out" within moments of the park's opening, spots in the ride's virtual queue remained available into the afternoon.
I'm still on the east coast now, wrapping the Mickey & Minnie's Runaway Railway media event and getting ready to fly home to Los Angeles. But I have been checking the Disneyland app to see the status of Rise of the Resistance, comparing it to the same ride here at the Walt Disney World Resort.
Yesterday, Disney provided participating media representatives with a one-time line pass to go through the Fastpass entrance to Rise of the Resistance at Disney's Hollywood Studios. Once I had my stories posted for the day, I had an hour left on that ticket, so I gave it a go.
It was by far a smoother experience than any of the times I went on Rise during its two media preview days, here in Orlando last December and at Disneyland in January. I was in and through the attraction in 25 minutes, with no delays at any point in the ride and all its effects appearing to work properly. Disney's Hollywood Studios got past at least boarding group 140 in its 12-hour day yesterday, thanks in part to the relatively hassle-free operation.
At Disneyland today, clearly lower-than-usual attendance is in play. It's the same "off season" here in Orlando, but crowds coming for Runaway Railway helped claim all the backup boarding groups for Rise within an hour of the park's opening. But backup boarding groups remained available by early afternoon in Anaheim, where no major new attraction was bringing extra visitors to the park during a slow Wednesday in early March, and wait times for all other attractions remained low.
The final boarding groups were assigned at Disneyland around 12:30pm... when the wait time for Radiator Springs Racers was posted at just 50 minutes. That's a slow day at Disneyland.
Still, we've seen many days that should have been low attendance between Rise's Disneyland opening in January and now. But the huge demand for this well-reviewed attraction saw the park's Main Street filled each morning, as fans claimed all the day's boarding group assignments within minutes. Some fans might have wondered if this was to become the new normal at Disneyland - an early arriving crowd that filled queues throughout the park at the beginning of the day, unlike the park's recent history of welcoming relatively late-arriving crowds.
That boarding group virtual queue assignments remained available on Rise for more than three hours today suggests that perhaps the "old normal" might not be gone forever at Disneyland. Sure, I'd still recommend a pre-opening arrival for anyone who wants to be certain of getting on Rise - especially if you are visiting on a weekend or holiday week. But also I want to believe that the day will come - and soon - when someone who can't get to Disneyland until after work or school has a shot at riding Rise of the Resistance that evening.
For more coverage:
For discounted tickets to the Disneyland theme parks, including great Southern California resident discounts, please visit our travel partner's Disneyland tickets page.Tweet
This article has been archived and is no longer accepting comments.