Walt Disney World next week will stop requiring guests to use a virtual queue to ride its award-winning Star Wars Rise of the Resistance. Starting September 23, the Disney's Hollywood Studios attraction will begin using a traditional walk-up queue.
Rise of the Resistance had been using a virtual queue since its opening in December 2019. At times, entering that queue felt more like a lottery, as fans swamped the official My Disney Experience app with requests when the queue opened each morning. Eventually, Disney added a second opportunity later in the day to join the queue.
In recent weeks, as demand for the ride has stabilized, the queue sometimes has remained open to new entries hours after opening. On very rare occasions, the virtual queue has emptied before the end of the day, allowing Disney to open the attraction to walk-ups. But at other times, many fans have been frustrated by their inability to get a ride time on Rise, with some complaining that they couldn't experience the attraction at all during their Walt Disney World vacation.
With a standby queue, there no longer will be any question of luck determining your fate on the ride. If you're willing to show up at park opening and wait, you will get to ride. (Assuming that the ride remains operational that day, of course.) What remains to be seen is how the switch to a standby queue at Rise will affect the rest of the park.
A virtual queue effectively allowed people to wait for two attractions at once. Guests could be in the virtual queue for Rise while they waited in a physical queue for something else. Now, they will not be able to do that. All those guests waiting in Rise's queue will draw people from other queues in park, potentially leading to shorter wait times elsewhere.
Or - and I am guessing that Disney is hoping for this - the elimination of Rise's virtual queue may encourage more people to visit Walt Disney World, since they no longer will have to face a risk that they would not be able to get on what has been Disney's most acclaimed ride in years. That would add more people to the park, potentially increasing wait times. So - as usual - we will have to wait to see the ultimate effect of this change.
This is not the end for virtual queues at Disney, however. Remy's Ratatouille Adventure will use a virtual queue once it officially opens to all Epcot visitors on October 1. And Disney is not ruling out a return for the virtual queue on Rise of the Resistance at some point, either.
But for now, the strategy for visiting Disney's Hollywood Studios to experience Star Wars Rise of the Resistance changes, starting September 23. Forget about being on the app at 7am and get yourself to the park itself before opening, instead. Then make a beeline for the Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge land and prepare to wait for this ride the old fashioned way.
Update: Manny Barron makes an excellent point in the comments, reminding us that Walt Disney World will begin giving its hotel guests 30 minutes early entry at all parks, starting next month. This move therefore gives Disney's hotel guests the advantage at getting on Rise that they have been asking for since the attraction opened.
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