Update: April 21, 2021 – Disney has adjusted the Rise of the Resistance boarding group process for Disney World and Disneyland, so we have updated this guide for securing boarding groups. 

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It is a time of excitement in the Galaxy! A daring band of artists, storytellers, and creative wizards known as IMAGINEERS have unveiled their newest invention, RISE OF THE RESISTANCE, across two different theme parks to raving reviews and incredible demand. Meanwhile, the evil forces of BREAKDOWNS and SLOW INTERNET CONNECTIONS threaten the experience of guests visiting the remote planet of BATUU. In response, a website offers would-be visitors a guide on how to experience this amazing ride and restore peace and justice across the world and lands of the galaxy….

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In case you’ve been living in an ice cave on Hoth and don’t know already, Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance is now open at Hollywood Studios at Disney World and at Disneyland Park. This attraction is immersive, exciting, incredibly complex, and extremely in-demand. Since the debut of the new attraction, guests have been lining up hours before park opening in order to experience Walt Disney Imagineering’s most ambitious ride to date. After having ridden Rise of the Resistance multiple times, I can earnestly say that this attraction both lives up to the hype and is worth any type of hoops you have to jump through. Which brings me to the topic of the virtual queue…

Because demand is far outpacing capacity for Rise of the Resistance, Disney has implemented a virtual queue system for the ride. While some policies have been tweaked since opening, Disney has solidified the virtual queue procedure at both Hollywood Studios and Disneyland. With a few small exceptions, this process is almost entirely the same at each park, and it’s something entirely new for domestic Disney Parks. In this guide, I will be explaining how the boarding group system works, as well as providing some must-know tips so you can have the best shot at riding this incredible attraction.

Important Fact 1: You must join a boarding group in order to ride Rise of the Resistance.

Rise of the Resistance Sign Disneyland

Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance implements a virtual queue, also called boarding groups. As of this writing, this is the only way to get on this ride. There are no Fastpasses, and there is no traditional standby line. You must join a boarding group in order to ride.

As soon as the attraction is running, Disney will start calling boarding groups by number in order. Once a boarding group is called, guests in that boarding group have 2 hours to return to the attraction, scan their boarding pass, and get in line. It’s similar to Fastpass, because you are free to do whatever else you want to do until it’s your time to ride. The difference is that, unlike Fastpass, you don’t know when your exact return time will be. Also, getting a boarding group doesn’t guarantee that you’ll be able to ride, but getting a lower number is always better. Disney has processed as high as boarding group 211, and as low as group 56 within a day. If you get a boarding group that is lower than the backup boarding groups (this changes from day to day… you’ll be able to see it in the app), you will almost certainly be able to ride. If you get a backup group, there’s still a good chance you’ll get to ride as long as you aren’t one of the highest numbers of the day. For example, if the first backup group is 80 and you got group 85, you have a good chance even though you’re not technically guaranteed. If you got group 120, your chances are slimmer. This all depends on how the ride is running and how much downtime it experiences in a day.

Important Fact 2: You must have a park reservation to get a boarding group.

Hollywood Studios

In order to be able to join a boarding group, you must have a park reservation, and this is slightly different between Disney World and Disneyland. At Disney World, you must have a park reservation for Hollywood Studios to be able to get a Rise of the Resistance boarding group. At Disneyland, you either need a Disneyland park reservation, or a California Adventure park reservation plus a Park Hopper ticket. If you have the California Adventure park reservation and park hopper, you will only be able to access the second enrollment opportunity.

Important Fact 3: Boarding groups become available two times during the day

At Hollywood Studios, boarding groups become available at 7 am and 1 pm. For the 7 am enrollment, you can make your reservation from anywhere, which is a big change from how this used to work. For the 1 pm enrollment, you must be inside Hollywood Studios to be able to join a boarding group.

At Disneyland, the boarding group system works similarly, but the times are 7 am and 1 pm. You can join the 7 am boarding group from anywhere, but you must have entered either Disneyland or California Adventure (if you have a park hopper) by 12 pm to join the 12 pm boarding group.

Important Fact 4: You join a boarding group via the Disney World or Disneyland app. You can also join a boarding group at a physical kiosk (but you shouldn’t)

Boarding groups are available through the My Disney Experience app at Disney World or the Disneyland app at Disneyland Park (see below for steps on how to join. You technically can get assigned a boarding group at physical kiosks at the park, but you shouldn’t, as it puts you at a huge disadvantage to the people with smartphones, and boarding groups run out quickly.

Important Fact 5: You can only join one boarding group per day

Those are the rules. Hey, I didn’t make them up. Considering how high the demand is, this is a good policy for the time being.

Tips for Optimizing Your Chance to Join a Boarding Group for Rise of the Resistance

Because joining a boarding group starts exactly at park opening, thousands of people are simultaneously jockeying for  spots. It is something of a digital lottery because of this, but there are things you can do to put yourself at an advantage.

Tip 1: Have the Disney World or Disneyland app downloaded and set up your Disney account before you go to the park

Rise of the Resistance Boarding Groups As I mentioned above, the best way to join a boarding group is through the Disney World or Disneyland app, depending on which park you’re visiting (i.e. don’t try to use the Disneyland app at Disney World). Before you go to the park, make sure you have made a Disney World or Disneyland account and have linked your park tickets to that account. If you’re going to Disney World, you should do this anyway to make Fastpass+ reservations 30-60 days before your reservation. It’s best to do all this before you go to Orlando or Anaheim, so you don’t waste precious time while visiting the park.

Tip 2: Link your entire party through the app

You can secure a boarding group for your entire party through the app as long as your tickets are linked. This is slightly different in the Disney World and Disneyland apps:

Disney World App Disney World: In the Disney World app, you can do this by hitting the hamburger menu button on the bottom right, hit “My Profile,” and then use the “Friends and Family List” to link different accounts. Alternatively, you can link all the tickets in the “Tickets and Passes” section after hitting the hamburger menu button on the bottom right of the app. If you’ve already set up your travel party to sign up for FastPass+ reservations, you most likely have already set this up.

Disneyland: To link tickets, hit the hamburger button on the bottom right of the app. Go to “Tickets and Passes,” and hit the plus button on the top right to add tickets of everyone in your party.

In both cases, clean up your list so you don’t have extra people linked from old trips. One slight difference between Disneyland and Disney World is how it treats your party once you get to the boarding pass sign up screen. At Disney World, your ticket is automatically selected and you have to tap on the other tickets you want to include. So if only 2 of the 4 people in your party want to go first thing to go on this ride, you aren’t at a disadvantage. While at Disneyland, every ticket you have linked is automatically selected and it takes extra time to deselect tickets that aren’t in use. BONUS DISNEYLAND TIP: Only have tickets linked for the people who are going to be scanned in with you before park opening that day so you don’t need to take precious seconds to deselect tickets. You can always relink the tickets later.

Tip 3:  Wifi or Cellular Data? How to ensure the best connection.

For the 7 am Rise of the Resistance boarding group enrollment, you don’t need to be in the parks, so just be sure you’re somewhere with good internet. But for the 1 pm enrollment, you must be inside Hollywood Studios, or have entered Disneyland or DCA (with a park hopper). So, should you use Disney’s in-park wifi or rely on your cellular connection for that second enrollment?

I’ve read as many conflicting reports saying you should either absolutely use park wifi or use your cellular data. Your connection speed all depends on if you are in a congested area or close to a router. For example, I had great luck on Disneyland’s wifi, which was 10x faster than my poor AT&T connection. I used an app called Speedtest in order to see which one worked better for me. However, your mileage will vary based on your phone and your network.

What’s more important is to not stand in an overly crowded area. This can cause interference which may slow your connection. Once you’ve scanned into the park, try to find a less crowded area to hang out in. At Disneyland, you can technically leave the park and still sign up right at park opening from anywhere if your ticket has been scanned. This way you can scan into Disneyland, then go and see if you have a better connection at Starbucks. (I was too nervous to do this, but I’ve seen people on twitter who have done this to great success to avoid crowds).

Tip 4: Open the app around 3 minutes before the enrollment time and keep it open.

In my personal experience, both the Disney World and Disneyland apps are pretty bad about keeping me always logged in (Disneyland especially). It can take a few seconds for the log in prompt to load, then to log in, then for the “Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance – Access by Boarding Group” box to load. The app can also sometime crash upon load. Don’t worry about getting logged out or having the app crash by opening the app about 3 minutes before the enrollment time. Why 3 minutes? I think that’s enough time to troubleshoot any issues that could arise, while being not too long to keep the app open.

Tip 5: Watch the clock on your phone and be ready to press “Join a Boarding Group”

Put your attention to the “Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance – Access by Boarding Group” box – this is on the main page of the app. There’s a button that says “Find out more.” Click that and it will take you to a Rise of the Resistance page with two buttons: My Status, and Join a Boarding Group. Before park opening, the Join a Boarding Group button will be greyed out. If you click the My Status button, you’ll be brought to the My Status page, which also has a “Join a Boarding Group” button.

So there’s two pages where you can join a boarding group. You want to be on a page with Join a Boarding Group on it as soon as the clock turns over to the park opening.

Disneyland App Main Page - Rise of the Resistance Guide

Main Page

Rise of the Resistance Info Page

Rise of the Resistance Info Page

My Status Page - Rise of the Resistance

My Status Page

The instant the clock changes to the official enrollment time (7 am and 1 pm for Hollywood Studios), do one of the following:

  • Click “Find out more” on the main page, then click “Join a Boarding Group” if it’s solid red. If it’s still greyed out, click the back button to go to the back to the main page and instantly hit “Find Out More.” Repeat until Join a Boarding Group is solid red, then click “Join a Boarding Group.”
  • Start on the Rise of the Resistance info page (the one with My Status and Join a Boarding Group). Click “My Status” as soon as the clock hits official park opening. If the Join a Boarding Group is solid, press that. If not, hit back to go back to the info page. Keep doing this until either of the Join a Boarding Group buttons is solid and click it.
  • Start on the My Status page. Keep pulling to refresh until the Join a Boarding Group button turns solid.

There’s no one way that’s better than the other. Just do whatever you can to press Join a Boarding Group as soon as it becomes available.

Once you’re able to tap “Join a Boarding Group,” you will be prompted to select your party. Once you have that set up, proceed to the next page. If the Force is with you, you’ll find out what boarding group your party has joined.

Now breathe a sigh of relief. Now you can do whatever you want until your boarding group is called.

Join a Boarding Group - Disney World and Disneyland Tip 7: Enable push notifications

While this won’t help you get a boarding group, enabling notifications will let you find out exactly when your boarding group is called. You’ll have 2 hours from that point to go to the entrance of Rise of the Resistance in Galaxy’s Edge. You can also find out what boarding groups are being called in the app, at status boards throughout the park, or at the ride’s entrance.

Tip 8: Practice with the app at home

You can get used to where the buttons are on screen by using the app before you head to the park. Having that extra bit of familiarity and muscle memory can help.

Tips for Rise of the Resistance Virtual Queue

May the Force Be With You and the Virtual Queue.