The new Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance attraction at Disneyland and Walt Disney World is an amazing experience – but the stress in even just trying to get to experience it is enormous, especially if you only have a limited number of days to even try. So here are some tips to help you out that worked great for us, based on data gathering and some technical knowledge. We made two real-world attempts and we got boarding group 4 on our first attempt, and 2 on our second attempt!
The fine folks over on the DISboards have been experimenting and gathering reports for months, and collected it all in in the first two posts of this thread, and most of what you need to know of is right there but I’ve added a few tricks of my own. Now, bear in mind, things can change all the time so before your trip I’d review those two posts and maybe the last few pages to make sure of the procedures. I’m pretty sure this system is temporary but we don’t know how long it will be in place.
I’ll mostly be talking about the attraction at Walt Disney World, but currently the procedures are much the same for Disneyland.
Rise of the Resistance is not using Fastpass+ or even a Standby line. The only way to experience the attraction is to join the virtual queue system they are using by getting what is called a “boarding group”. With the popularity of the attraction and the busy crowd currently spurred by the whole of the Galaxy’s Edge area, there is a very short window in which to get a boarding group number – as little as a couple of minutes but on average about 35 minutes.
It is important to note also that this system is 100% disconnected from Fastpass+ – having three Fastpass+ selections already does not affect your ability to get a boarding group, and vice versa.
A boarding group (BG) itself is a number that gets “called” for boarding, after which you have a certain amount of time to return to the attraction to experience it, so you can do other things in the meantime. The window to return is typically two hours but sometimes, especially at the end of the day, it may be only one hour. The lower the number, the earlier you will experience the attraction.
There are two types of boarding groups as well. “Regular” groups and “Standby” groups. Regular BGs are somewhat guaranteed – there may be unforeseen circumstances where not all regular BGs get called. If that happens, guests with uncalled regular BGs will typically get some sort of compensation – that usually consists of an “anytime” Fastpass to return the next day, and possibly a one-day ticket in case you didn’t have another day’s admission to return. A standby BG has no compensation, but depending on your number you may still have a good chance of experiencing the attraction. Since February 4th (when they appeared to change how they allocated BG quantities and group sizes) they have not failed to call a regular BG. The big thing is that regular BGs are typically all snatched up in less than 2 minutes.
No one knows how many people exactly are in a boarding group, or how they are handed out. They seem to be fairly sequential based on how quickly people pick them up, but I believe the number of people per group is pretty variable, based on how fast they need to give out the groups and don’t have time to find slots for the group of two in an earlier group, etc. I think they just have a rough number that once filled it goes on to the next, and then the next, etc.
There doesn’t appear to be any evidence that someone canceling a BG they already have frees up anything that people can find later. I believe they just let those slots go unfilled and call standby boarding groups that much sooner.
Some interesting facts: Boarding Groups rarely start with 1. For some strange reason, they usually start at 2 and sometimes start as high as 10 or more – 15 was the highest since Feb 4th. No one knows why, but I suspect they leave some “space” to allow for compensation Fastpasses, etc. by reserving that quantity within the system – but there may be other reasons.
The highest regular BG number also isn’t fixed. It generally varies between 50 and 63. We don’t have a reliable way of knowing how many standby BGs are given out on a given day.
How do I get one? The Basics
You MUST use the Walt Disney World My Disney Experience app on your smart device – typically it’s just called “Disney World” in the app store, depending on which park you are visiting. This is the same app where you can manage your Fastpasses, etc.
You and your entire party also must also be IN Disney’s Hollywood Studios in order to get a boarding group. They are letting people into the park early. You must be fully scanned in to the park by scanning your MagicBand or ticket card at the entrance tapstiles. Sorry, but the rest of your party can’t sleep in while you go to the park for this one. You can, however, practice using the app – if you are willing to get up – and get as far as the party selection screen as shown below.
Currently, the home screen when you run it looks like the first image. Selecting either the picture of the AT-ATs or the Find Out More button will take you to the current status screen.
If there are available boarding groups, the “Join Boarding Group” button will be red. The button will NOT turn red until the actual scheduled opening time of the park, even though they may let people in early. So, if the park opening is scheduled for 8:00am, that’s when you can join a boarding group. Not one second before.
Clicking on that will take you to a screen to select the people in your party. Only you will be selected at first – if everyone on the screen is in your party, just hit the “Select All” button, and select “Join a Boarding Group”.
If everyone is in the park, then all should be well. If not, you might come to a screen that shows one or more people that are not registered as being in the park. If they did and it still rejects them, remove them from the list, continue quickly, and then visit one of the Guest Experience Teams scattered throughout the park to get it checked out. They can add them to your boarding group after they verify.
The next screen will tell you your boarding group number.
That’s really all there is to it – if everything goes right. Because technology is involved, there are various ways in which your device, the app, the network connections, etc. can glitch. So next are some tips to help maximize your chances at not only getting a boarding group, but a low number.
How do I maximize my chances?
Glitch happens. It’s just a fact of technology. So here are some tips on what to do to hopefully minimize the impact of any glitches.
- Practice. Anyone can practice from home. Follow the procedures as if you were at the park, and you should be able to get through as far as selecting the members of your party, but then it will tell you you are not in the park. That’s fine – it means it worked, and now you know what to expect.
- If you have more than one person in your party that has a smart device, have them all try. The first one in wins and the others will get locked out after the party selection screen, saying that everyone is already part of a boarding group.
If they don’t have their own account (say, a child that is controlled by your own account), you can have them log into your account to try. The system is fine with more than one device per account.
- Get to the park early enough to get scanned into the park. They have been typically letting people in one hour early. You can’t do much other than get into a line for Starbucks, or start queuing in some areas like Toy Story Land or the Galaxy’s Edge entrance, but unless you are trying to rope drop an attraction, you don’t need to be super early. Obviously take into account travel and bag checks/security.
- Some time before the official park opening, compare the time on your phone to the official time as provided by NIST. There are some apps that do this (some are called “atomic clock” apps), or you can use a browser and go to www.time.gov. Watch the clock on your phone and the app/web site for how it lags between the turnover of a minute. The app usually activates between 0 and 2 seconds after the official park open time. Smart phones are pretty accurate and sync themselves to the same sources, and are usually less than one second off. If it appears to be more, try rebooting your phone, but I would do this at least 30 minutes prior.
- Find a less crowded area of the park. You may be tempted to get in a line to get on an attraction early, but this puts you in a crowd of people with devices all trying to do the same thing as you, and the more devices there are the more interference and the local infrastructure to handle all the data requests will be taxed.
Consider hanging out closer to a building, especially the entrance, but not inside or at least not deep inside. Mobile data and Wi-Fi signals will generally be stronger. Obviously don’t block the entrance. Check your signal – it can vary and that’s normal, but you don’t want it to disappear or show you don’t have any data signal at all.
- Turn off Wi-Fi. Wi-Fi has problems with lots of devices in a small area. Go with mobile data if possible. If you must use Wi-Fi for some reason, see the recommendation above of being near a building. If you have more than one person trying, you can have some use data and some use Wi-Fi.
- Close ALL applications at least 5 minutes before, including the My Disney Experience application.
- At 5 minutes before, run ONLY the My Disney Experience Application, and watch the clock. Do NOT click through to the Rise of the Resistance screen – STAY on the home screen. While normally you could be on the RotR screen the button should turn red, it doesn’t always.
- After it officially ticks to the park open time, count to one or two before clicking to the RotR screen. When you do, the button should be red but it may take a moment afterwards. If it doesn’t turn red after a couple of seconds, fully close (“force close”) the app as per your particular phone OS’s procedure, then re-open the app. You should get the fireworks screen then the home screen again. Then try again.
Of course, even following these tips glitch happens. Keep trying until it tells you there are no boarding groups available. If the worst case happens and you aren’t able to get a boarding group, have another morning visit planned and try again, maybe trying a different area of the park. If it works for you the first time, then you can come again and possibly ride a second time. You’ll want to.