The most anticipated Disney attraction of the decade – Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance – debuted at Walt Disney World’s Hollywood Studios on December 5, 2019 and in Disneyland on January 17, 2020. Headliner ride openings at Disney parks mean long lines, some times for years to follow.
Several years have now followed, with some intervening and pretty unforeseeable worldwide upheaval that closed theme parks everywhere. Now that Disney World and Disneyland are fully back in action, Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance remains as popular of an attraction as ever, even with several newer rides opening at both resorts. During these last few years, there have been some major changes to how to ride the attraction at both resorts. Of course, these changes necessitate new ride strategies. We are certainly always up for that challenge!
There are many tricks that guests can use to dodge lines for popular Disney attractions. But many of them have never worked on Rise of the Resistance at either Walt Disney World or Disneyland. This attraction queue has operated like no other Disney has ever offered.
Disney has made multiple major changes to the processes that guests use to get onto the ride. Even if you go to Disney parks somewhat regularly, what used to work for Rise of the Resistance on your last Disney trip surely will not work anymore. And what works now at Disney World won’t necessarily work at Disneyland. And vice versa!
Related: Tips for Visiting Walt Disney World During its 50th Anniversary
So, hang in and hold on. Here are all the details you need to know to ride Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance on either Disney coast.
And… keep checking back here as we continue to update this post as we have been doing regularly for over 3 years now.
Last updated: February 24, 2023.
Table of Contents
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Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance – Ride Basics (No Spoilers)
Before we dive into the details about how you can best ride Rise of the Resistance, let’s talk ride basics. Don’t worry… there are no spoilers here! Although if you want those, scroll to the end of this post for all the details.
Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance is the headline attraction in Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge. It’s the second and final of two attractions in the land, joining the already-open Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run. The ride opened at Walt Disney World on December 5, 2019 in Galaxy’s Edge within Disney’s Hollywood Studios. It opened January 17, 2020 in California in Disneyland park in the mostly identical Galaxy’s Edge located there.
The attraction has a 40 inch minimum to ride. This is a height that average kids will probably hit somewhere between their 4th and 5th birthdays. The ride physically is no more intense than a combination of Alien Swirling Saucers and Star Tours.
Parents should consider carefully, however, whether younger kids can handle the emotional intensity of a ride that prominently features the Dark Side. The thrill of the attraction won’t scare most kids away. The intensity of being caught in the middle of a conflict between the Resistance and the First Order potentially could.
Depending on who you talk to, Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance might just go down in history as the best of Disney Imagineering. The attraction is more than just a thrill ride. It takes guests through multiple scenes all with very difference experiences. Many guests proclaim it to be even better than Disney’s previous best, Avatar Flight of Passage. That’s high praise.
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Tips for Riding Rise of the Resistance at Disney World
Disney World’s Rise of the Resistance Virtual Queue: We Hardly Knew Ye
When the ride opened, the ONLY way to ride Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance at Hollywood Studios in Orlando was by securing a place (“boarding group”) in a virtual queue. Effective September 23, 2021, Disney World completely eliminated the use of a virtual queue.
Change can be scary, but the end of the virtual queue is good news for most everyone. The process for getting aboard the ride is a lot more equitable. And there are now several methods to use to get aboard with shorter wait times!
(If you got good at virtual queues, all those skills are not for naught. Disney has been using virtual queues for some time for other new ride openings on both coasts like Guardians of the Galaxy Cosmic Rewind).
Two Ways to Ride Rise of the Resistance at Disney World in 2023
Now that the virtual queue is gone, what are the current methods for actually getting on the ride? They are actually pretty straightforward and simple: 1) a standby line and 2) the Lightning Lane.
Standby Line. The standby line is exactly what it sounds like and what Disney goers have stood in for many decades. Anyone can get into this line, and everyone gets to ride as long as they are willing to wait. For Rise, that wait is pretty long – usually the longest of any line in all four Disney World parks.
Lightning Lane. The Lightning Lane, however, is still newish, as of October 19, 2021. On that date, Disney World released several services to replace Fastpass+ of old. What used to be the Fastpass line for attractions has been rebranded into the Lightning Lane and is a way to access many rides with much shorter waits.
There are now two different ways to access Lightning Lanes, depending on what attraction you are planning to ride. Most rides are part of a service called Disney Genie+ where guests pay an additional daily fee (as of early 2023, pricing is $15-29 per day) to be able to book return times to many popular attractions.
Related: Tips & Tricks for Maximizing Genie+ at Walt Disney World
There are a few very popular rides that are not on Disney Genie+. Instead, guests can only use the Lightning Lane for these attractions by paying a separate a la carte fee. These attractions are sometimes called Individual Attraction Selection or paid/individual Lightning Lane.
As you might guess (since it’s one of the most popular rides in the parks!), Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance is one of the paid individual Lightning Lane selections. In fact, until Cosmic Rewind debuted, it was the most expensive selection of them all. The price ranges from $15-25 per person.
Ways to Ride Rise of the Resistance without a Long Wait
If you are anything like us, you probably don’t want to stand in the longest line at Walt Disney World. So what are your options for hacking your way to a shorter wait to ride Star Wars: Rises of the Resistance?
As is pretty obvious from the above details, you don’t necessarily need to hack it at all. There is now a way simply to pay your way out of a long standby line for Rise with individual attraction selection (a.k.a. paid Lightning Lane).
Guests should be aware, however, that even paid Lightning Lane times often run out very quickly for Rise of the Resistance. So you still need a booking strategy in addition to extra cash!
First, you’ll need a park reservation. That park reservation must be for Hollywood Studios if you want to ride the attraction before 2:00pm (see this guide to making Disney World park pass reservations for all the details). If you are starting in another park and planning to park hop to Hollywood Studios, you will be able to purchase times that are 2:00pm or later.
Next, be ready to make your booking. Paid Lightning Lane offerings like Rise open for purchase on the My Disney Experience app at 7:00am each morning, but only initially to guests staying in select on-property and partner hotels. Those include: all Disney-owned hotels, Shades of Green, and the Walt Disney World Swan, Swan Reserve, and Dolphin.
If you are staying in one of these hotels and act quickly right at 7:00am, you should be able to make a booking for Rise of the Resistance without issue. The windows offered will be one hour long and you can choose your own time throughout the day, subject to park hopping limitations. (Note: if you are also purchasing Genie+ and hope to ride Slinky Dog Dash at Hollywood Studios that day, the best strategy is usually to quickly book Slinky Dog Dash then go right to your Rise of the Resistance purchase.)
If you are staying off-site, however, you can only purchase paid Lightning Lane selections at park opening. Park opening is most often at 9:00am for Hollywood Studios. There may be limited paid Lightning Lane windows left to purchase at that time for Rise of the Resistance. If you are going during a high crowd time, there may be no Lightning Lane times available to you.
If times do remain at 9:00am, they will usually be later in the evening. If you are in this boat and times are still available, dust off your fastest finger and be ready to purchase the moment the clock ticks over because they usually sell out for the whole day in a matter of minutes. You can’t be picky about the time of day either. Just get anything.
The bottom line? If getting on Rise of the Resistance via the paid Lightning Lane is a must-do, I highly recommend an on-property hotel stay unless you are going during a guaranteed lower crowd time. Of course, you’ll be paying a premium for that on-property hotel, so the costs add up.
But for guests on a budget or who don’t want to pay for this upsell, there are thankfully a few other ways to hack the line for Rise of the Resistance.
Early Theme Park Entry
In September 2021, Disney World began offering Early Theme Park Entry. Similar to the Extra Magic Hours from 2020 and earlier, this service gives select on-property and partner hotel guests early access to the theme parks before other guests where lines are much shorter.
While morning Extra Magic Hours were usually an hour early at a single park on a single day, early theme park entry is offered at every park for every day – but only for 30 minutes. That means that eligible guests can make a beeline for Rise of the Resistance right at the start of this early entry period, usually finding very short waits.
That said, Disney sometimes opens the Hollywood Studios gates before the appointed 30 minutes before park opening time. This offers a real opportunity for early risers. If you can get into the front of the crowds on a day when the park opens more than 30 minutes in advance, you can often complete Rise with plenty of time to squeeze in another popular attraction before the rest of the guests are admitted to the park. (H/T to theme park journalist Brooke McDonald who has talked about using this hack on our Disney Deciphered podcast.)
Two major caveats to consider if you are contemplating this strategy:
- If you are staying on a hotel along the Disney Skyliner, it isn’t always a reliable transportation option in the early morning for getting you to Hollywood Studios at the front of the early theme park entry crowd. Check out this Complete Guide to Disney World Transportation for all the options.
- Rise of the Resistance has some major reliability problems and isn’t always open during Early Theme Park entry even though it’s advertised to be at Walt Disney World. You could well waste the full half hour of early admission standing in line for a ride that is ultimately down the whole time. Decide carefully whether that’s worth the risk.
Finally, note that you have to be staying at one of the hotels that participates in the program to be eligible. These hotels are not identical to the list of hotels that are eligible to book paid Lightning Lane at 7:00am, which can get confusing. The hotels that are eligible for early theme park entry are a larger list and include: all Disney-owned hotels, Shades of Green, and the Walt Disney World Swan, Swan Reserve, and Dolphin PLUS B Resort & Spa Lake Buena Vista, DoubleTree Suites by Hilton Orlando, Hilton Orlando Buena Vista Palace, Hilton Orlando Lake Buena Vista, Holiday Inn Orlando, Wyndham Garden Lake Buena Vista, Wyndham Lake Buena Vista, Four Seasons Resort Orlando, Signia by Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek, and Waldorf Astoria Orlando.
“Rope dropping” an attraction is a term that is thrown around often in Disney circles as a way to access an attraction with shorter lines first thing in the morning. Now with the addition of early theme park entry, however, guests who participate in the regular rope drop at park opening time are no longer the first to enter the park.
Rope dropping Rise of the Resistance at Walt Disney World is unfortunately not a strategy that works too well for major time savings, as lines are normally already quite long with the early entry guests ahead of the drop. That said, if you are truly at the front of the regular rope drop crowds, you might be able to shave a decent bit of time off of the longer standby waits that will follow the rest of the day.
Advanced Tips & Tricks for Rise of the Resistance Waits at Walt Disney World
Looking for even more ways to hack your approach to Rise and streamline your vacation?
Try on More Than One Phone: Really racing to book both a Rise of the Resistance paid Lightning Lane and an early Genie+ return time to Slinky Dog Dash (or perhaps the also popular Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run)? Use the two phone method. Have one adult in your party purchase Rise while the other is making the Genie+ booking. You can do this either logged into the same My Disney Experience account or logged into a different account with all tickets linked on both.
Don’t Pay for an Early Morning LL Return Time: As long as you act quickly at 7:00am for individual selection Lightning Lane purchases, you should have your pick of return time windows for Rise of the Resistance. So, don’t pay for access to this ride first thing in the morning! Why? Many other attraction lines in Hollywood Studios have short standby lines in the morning. It’s a better use of your time to ride them and save Rise for when lines are longer for everything later in the day (11:00am or later at least!).
Big Budget? Go VIP: If your budget is really enormous, going on a VIP tour is another way to ride Rise without standing in a standby queue. More power to you if you can afford that! You can also get a Lightning Lane for Rise of the Resistance if you stay in the Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser hotel. But again, that is a pretty spendy experience too.
Know What To Expect if Rise Breaks Down: Rise of the Resistance has well-known operational troubles and breaks down pretty often. If it is does, and you’ve paid for Lightning Lane, you have a few choices. Disney will automatically convert your Rise return time window into a pass that is good for anytime later that day. When the ride is back again, simply use the return pass at your time of choice. If the ride never returns to service that day, your LL purchase will be automatically refunded. If the ride return to service but you are unable to return to it (have left the park for the day, have a dining reservation, etc.), you will need to request a refund in person at a Guest Services location.
Know What Won’t Work For Rise: While there are some methods that work for other rides to hack your way to a shorter wait, know that not all of them are available for Rise of the Resistance. Specifically, Rise does not offer a single rider line. Thus far, it also has not been open during special after hours events. Also, while some parks have extended evening theme park hours for deluxe hotel guests, Hollywood Studios does not. So there’s no special evening access for big hotel spenders to this attraction at least.
Use DAS if Eligible: Disney’s Disability Access Pass (DAS) is available for Rise of the Resistance for guests who qualify. Disney has made changes within the past year to DAS that make it easier to enroll on the app before your arrival. (Note that in order to ride the attraction, guests must be able to transfer.)
Understand the Rider Switch Rules: If you have a child too small or too scared to ride, Rider Switch is offered for this attraction so adults can trade off with the child. You can’t, however, purchase paid Lightning Lane for Rise for only some members of your party and plan to have other members avoid the LL charge by using Rider Switch and returning in the second group. Everyone who plans to ride via the paid Lightning Lane needs to pay for it. Of course, if you don’t want to pay, the first group can wait in the standby line. Your second group at least will be sent through the Lightning Lane – a Rider Switch perk!
How to Ride Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance at Disneyland
Now let’s head over to California to talk Rise of the Resistance at Disneyland. Disneyland added Disney Genie+ and paid individual Lightning Lane to match Walt Disney World at the very end of 2021, so the systems are now more harmonized on both Disney coasts. Of course, there are some key differences between the resorts that guests need to know about.
Disneyland’s Rise of the Resistance Virtual Queue: Gone!
Disneyland held onto its virtual queue system longer than Walt Disney World. But as of November 22, 2021 the virtual queue for Rise of the Resistance is gone now in California too.
That means that Disneyland guests have new systems to learn to navigate in order to ride this popular attraction. And new strategies to put into play!
Related: Guide to Visiting Disneyland in 2023
Two NEW Ways to Ride Rise of the Resistance at Disneyland in 2023
Now that the virtual queue is gone, what are the current methods for actually getting on the ride? They are actually pretty straightforward and simple: 1) a standby line and 2) the Lightning Lane.
Standby Line. The standby line is exactly what it sounds like and what Disney goers have stood in for many decades. Anyone can get into this line, and everyone gets to ride as long as they are willing to wait. For Rise, that wait is pretty long – usually one of the longest waits for any ride in the Disneyland Resort.
Lightning Lane. The Lightning Lane, however, is brand new at Disneyland as of December 8, 2021. Lightning Lane is one of several offerings that replace Disneyland’s previous cut-the-line services, Fastpass and MaxPass. What used to be the Fastpass line for attractions has been rebranded into the Lightning Lane and is a way to access many rides with much shorter waits.
There are now two different ways to access Lightning Lanes, depending on what attraction you are planning to ride. Most rides at Disneyland are part of a service called Disney Genie+ where guests pay $25+ per day to be able to book return times to a number of popular attractions.
There are a few very popular rides (as of early 2023, three in total in two parks at Disneyland) that are not on Disney Genie+. Instead, guests can only use the Lightning Lane for these attractions by paying a separate a la carte fee. These attractions are called a few different names, including paid Lightning Lane, Individual Attraction Selections, or individual Lightning Lane.
Related: Genie+ & Lightning Lane at Disneyland: 17 Top Questions Answered
As you might guess by its popularity, Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance is one of the paid individual Lightning Lane selections at Disneyland. In fact, it’s the most expensive selection of them all. Its price is technically variable but seems to consistently be $25 per person to ride in 2023 so far.
Ways to Ride Rise of the Resistance at Disneyland without a Long Wait
If you are anything like us, you probably don’t want to stand in a very long queue to ride this attraction, even if it is a ride that is more worth the wait! So what are your options for hacking your way to a shorter wait to ride Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance at Disneyland?
As is pretty obvious from the above details, you don’t necessarily need to hack it at all. There is now a way simply to pay your way out of a long standby line for Rise of the Resistance at Disneyland with paid Lightning Lane – at a very expensive cost of course.
First, you’ll need a park reservation. That park reservation must be for Disneyland park if you want to ride the attraction before the current 11:00am park hopping start time (see this guide to making Disneyland park reservations for all the details). If you are starting in Disney California Adventure and plan to hop to Disneyland, you won’t be able to purchase until later (more on that below).
Just how fast do you need to book a paid Lightning Lane before they sell out for the day? Unlike at Walt Disney World where guests can start making bookings as early as 7am, guests at Disneyland can only make a purchase for the Rise of the Resistance Lightning Lane once they have scanned their ticket and actually entered a park each morning.
And also unlike at Walt Disney World, guests cannot choose any time for their Lightning Lane return time. The system at Disneyland works similar to Disney Genie+ where guests are offered only the next available return time.
These two differences mean that Rise of the Resistance Lightning Lanes don’t sell out right away at Disneyland because not as many people compete for them as early. But Rise of the Resistance is always the first paid Lightning Lane to run out for the day at Disneyland. In addition, it often sells out before any attraction on Genie+ is booked up for the day. So you still need a booking strategy in addition to extra cash.
The essentials you need to know to make a reservation in time are as follows:
- Historically, Rise of the Resistance usually runs out slots for the day some time around early afternoon on low crowd days and often before lunch on medium crowd days. On high crowd days (like Christmas week), expect it to sell out before 10am. If you sleep in and don’t get to the parks early, the ride could well be sold out before you scan in and are eligible to book.
- Want to ride Rise of the Resistance in the morning (only available to those with Disneyland park reservations for the day)? Book it once you scan into the park for the morning – the earlier you enter the parks, the earlier the return times will be that are offered to you. If you are also purchasing Genie+, I recommend making your Genie+ purchase and first ride booking first and then purchasing Rise’s paid Lightning Lane – but there’s really no hurry on either like at Walt Disney World.
- Starting your morning at Disney California Adventure and planning to park hop? You used to be able to book a paid Lightning Lane for Rise early in the morning, and it would automatically give you a return time for after the park hopping start. But August 2022 changes to Genie+ and Lightning Lane mean that you have to wait to book until the return times being distributed for the ride are 11:00am or later (the current time that park hopping is permitted in 2023). So check your Tip Board a few times as the morning goes along to watch when post-11:00am times start being offered. On busy days, that may well be not long after park opening. On low crowd days, that may not be until just before 11:00am. Yes, that unfortunately means more time refreshing on your phone than before.
- Want to ride Rise of the Resistance later in the afternoon or evening? You need to keep an eye on how quickly Lightning Lanes are booking. Plan to book one when afternoon or evening return times are offered (but before the slots sell out). Again, more phone refreshing is required.
- Rise of the Resistance is still plagued by regular breakdowns. Booking a Lightning Lane earlier in the day is always safer, as a breakdown may cause Lightning Lane sales to be suspended early for the day.
- Refresh, refresh, refresh. Because of Rise’s lack of reliability, Disneyland is cautious in the number of paid Lightning Lanes it sells. When the ride is successfully operating and processing guests well, Disney will drop additional (earlier timed) Lightning Lanes for sale as the day goes along. If you refresh, you may well be able to snag one of those better times. But once you pay and book for a time, you can’t change it later like you can with Genie+ attractions.
The website Thrill Data tracks just how quickly Lightning Lanes for Rise of the Resistance run out for the day. Give it a peek in the couple of days leading up to your trip. You should also keep an eye on the official Disneyland app in the days prior to your travels. Go to the Tip Board and scroll down to Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance to see what Lightning Lane return times are being offered at a given time of day.
Paying for individual Lightning Lane is a pricey proposition at about $25 per person per ride! So is the cost ultimately worth it? The cost will simply be out of reach for many travelers, especially families who would need to purchase for 4, 5 or more people.
But if the cost is within your budget, Disneyland runs paid Lightning Lane quite well most of the time. The paid Lightning Lane return times are usually short (except right after a ride breakdown when extra guests whose return times were paused will be entering). Every time I have ridden, it was almost like a VIP experience. I was escorted into the first pre-show room of the attraction within a matter of 3-5 minutes. It was faster than most other Lightning Lanes in the park available on Genie+. So at least you get something extra for the large extra cost. Most of the time.
In August 2022, Disneyland began offering a new version of early entry. Similar to Walt Disney World’s version, Disneyland’s Early Entry is available in both parks daily for 30 minutes before park opening. This replaces the old pre-2020 systems called Extra Magic Hour and Magic Morning. Early entry is only available to guests of the three on-property hotels (Disney’s Grand Californian, Disneyland Hotel, and Disney’s Paradise Pier).
Related: Comparing Disney’s Grand Californian and the Disneyland Hotel: Which Hotel is Right for Your Family?
But here’s the catch when it comes to Rise of the Resistance. Unlike at Walt Disney World, Rise of the Resistance isn’t one of the rides open during Early Entry hours! So if you were hoping for that hack on the West Coast, I’m sorry to disappoint.
The one advantage early entry gives is that it can position you in a better spot to get to Rise of the Resistance for the mad dash of Disneyland rope drop (see below). Many early entry guests are now queuing at the left side of Fantasyland to head into the Galaxy’s Edge entrance there to beat the crowds coming from the hub.
But unless you are at the front of the Fantasyland crowd, there’s not much of an advantage. And being at the front of that crowd means sacrificing the chance to ride other attractions during early entry with super short lines. As a result, this isn’t my favorite strategy (and certainly isn’t enough of an advantage to justify high on-property hotel costs).
Speaking of rope drop, it’s still the best way to ride Rise of the Resistance with the shortest standby lines of the day if you don’t want to shell out the big bucks for Lightning Lane. The challenge is making sure you are in the front of the mad dash into Galaxy’s Edge so that you get there before the many other guests trying this strategy do.
Because Rise is not open during early entry (and so few guests are eligible for early entry anyway), regular guests who don’t have early entry privileges are at very little disadvantage when it comes to rope drop.
To improve your chances, I recommend arriving to the parks about an hour before official park opening time (earlier on holidays). This gives you time to pass through security and be near the front of the queue at the turnstiles to enter Disneyland park. Cast members usually begin scanning guests into the park 30 minutes before official park opening. Once you enter, do not stop for photos or to make other in-app purchases. Proceed directly down Main Street and look for the rope set up to the left of the hub in front of the castle. That is where guests headed toward Galaxy’s Edge will line up for rope drop. When the cast members drop that rope at official park opening time, it’s time to make a mad dash to Rise of the Resistance. The speedy will be rewarded with the shortest waits.
Rise of the Resistance, however, is a very long walk in the very back of the park. Slow moving guests (especially families with strollers or younger kids who can’t keep up a sustained brisk pace) likely won’t be able to get to the ride quickly enough to take advantage of short waits at park opening, even if you arrive very early and are right near the front of the rope. I also don’t recommend doing this if you plan to take advantage of Rider Switch because many fellow guests will pass you while a cast member tries to load the Rider Switch allocation onto your tickets. Consider other strategies!
Finding Shorter Standby Waits Other Times of Day
If rope dropping and Lightning Lane aren’t for you, the other best strategy is to find times of day when the standby line is shortest. Of course, the line is never truly short for Rise of the Resistance, but waiting in line for an hour is a whole lot more reasonable than two hours or more!
The bottom line is that if you see a short wait time posted in the app (anything 60 minutes or less is short for Rise of the Resistance) and are close by, make a beeline for the attraction.
If you are thinking about waiting until park closure, which is a great time to jump in line for one last attraction with a shorter wait, think again! Rise of the Resistance does not stay open as late as Disneyland park does. It closes earlier than the park (9:00pm currently but this may change) even if the park is open many hours later.
That said, the lines do get shorter later in the evening before the ride’s closure time, as guests start to head home or camp out for fireworks. So staying late can pay off!
Advanced Tips & Tricks for Rise of the Resistance Waits at Disneyland
Related: Advanced Strategies for Genie+ and Lightning Lane at Disneyland
Use Multiple Phones: Visiting on a very busy park day? Having more than one person working the Disneyland app on separate phones can make sense. If you are trying to book a Rise of the Resistance paid Lightning Lane as well as make a Genie+ purchase and booking, use the two phone method. You can do this either logged into the same Disney account or logged into a different account with all tickets linked on both.
Don’t Pay for an Early Morning LL Return Time: The early mornings are when standby lines all over Disneyland park are the shortest. For that reason, it doesn’t make sense to book a paid Lightning Lane for anything at that hour – especially an attraction so physically far away from much of the rest of the park like Rise. You can be riding so much else! I therefore recommend waiting to book Rise until the return window is at least 11am or later so you can make the most of the morning otherwise. That may mean you need to wait to book Rise a bit later than when you enter the parks. Set an alarm on your phone to check back so you don’t miss the ideal hour!
Big Budget? Go VIP: If your budget is really enormous, going on a VIP tour is another way to ride Rise without standing in a standby queue. More power to you if you can afford that!
Know What To Expect if Rise Breaks Down: Rise of the Resistance has well-known operational troubles and breaks down pretty often. If it is does, and you’ve paid for Lightning Lane, you have a few choices. Disney will automatically convert your Rise return time window into a pass that is good for anytime later that day. When the ride is back again, simply use the return pass at your time of choice. If the ride never returns to service that day, your LL purchase will be automatically refunded. If the ride return to service but you are unable to return to it (have left the park for the day, have a dining reservation, etc.), you will likely need to request a refund in person at a Guest Services location (look for the green umbrellas).
Know What Won’t Work For Rise: While there are some methods that work for other rides to hack your way to a shorter wait, know that not all of them are available for Rise of the Resistance. Specifically, Rise does not offer a single rider line. Thus far, it also has not been open during special events like after hours parties.
Use DAS if Eligible: Disney’s Disability Access Pass (DAS) is available for Rise of the Resistance for guests who qualify. Disney recently unveiled changes to DAS that make it easier to enroll on the app before your arrival. (Note that in order to ride the attraction, guests must be able to transfer.)
Use Rider Switch with Little Ones: If you have a child too small or too scared to ride, Rider Switch is offered for this attraction so adults can trade off with the child. While some cast members at Disneyland only required that the first group of riders in your party purchase paid Lightning Lane when using Rider Switch, this is not the case anymore. Everyone who intends to ride needs to purchase it or risk being turned away. But one advantage of Rider Switch at Disneyland is that the second group of riders can include three total people (at Disney World it’s only two), so more Star Wars loving big siblings can score a second ride on this amazing attraction!
All the Spoilers for Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance
*****Spoilers Start Here! Proceed at Your Own Risk! *****
If you haven’t gone to the Disney parks in the last 3 years to ride Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance for yourself and want to avoid spoilers, stop here. But if you want all the details or simply want to re-live the attraction if you’ve already experienced it, here’s a complete spoiler filled play-by-play. We’ve broken the attraction up into sections, starting with the queue.
You enter the “hidden” rebel base via an entrance marked by a large turret, which seems quite conspicuous. The queue winds around outside a bit until you enter a series of caves that feel carved out in a rush. As you wind your way through the caves you pass by familiar looking navigational maps, lockers containing Resistance jumpsuits, and assorted weapons caches (presumably there in case of a sudden First Order attack). The queue is understated in a good way. It feels like you’re entered a lived in but hastily constructed Resistance base.
The queue ends with a cast member asking you how many in your party. You are then invited to enter the next phase of the attraction, the briefing room.
The Briefing Room
The next room you enter is the briefing room. While it’s technically a pre-show room, it feels much more immersive than that, although describing it doesn’t quite capture the feeling. Again, the room is a cut out cave. A hologram of Rey that looks straight out of the movies briefs you that you need to make a quick escape from Batuu and warns you not to give up the location of the secret Resistance base. But it won’t be easy!
During the briefing you receive some extra intel from Finn, Poe Dameron (who will be escorting your transport), and Lieutenant Bek, a Mon Calamari Resistance fighter who will be with you on your transport. After the briefing is over, you’re rushed outside – and you actually go outside! We felt a huge sense of urgency as we were rushed outside, across a small clearing, and into a fully realized Resistance transport waiting for us.
And just for kicks, Poe’s X-wing is hanging out in the clearing, ready to escort your transport. With good cast members, you really feel a sense of urgency to get into that transport, which really starts ramping up the narrative tension of the attraction.
When you enter the transport, the first thing you’ll notice are two life-size audio animatronics at the front of the transport – the aforementioned Lieutenant Bek and Nien Nunb who you might recognize as having flown the Millennium Falcon with Lando Calrissian in Return of the Jedi.
You quickly take off from Batuu but are attacked by TIE fighters and eventually surrounded and trapped by Star Destroyers. As you are pulled in by a tractor beam, Lieutenant Bek reminds you not to give up the location of the secret Resistance base.
Some people will experience the transport portion of the ride and mistake it for the actual ride. You definitely feel the transport moving and shaking, though obviously it’s nothing too drastic since you don’t need to get strapped in or anything. One tip: if there isn’t room at the front, there is a porthole out the back with a view out the transport window that is as good as the forward view.
After the tractor beam pulls you into the Star Destroyer, your transport is boarded by First Order officers who bark at you to get out and prepare for interrogation!
If you weren’t wowed by the Rey hologram or the Bek animatronic, you’ll be finally wowed when you step into the hangar of a Star Destroyer. Pictures don’t do this room justice – the sheer scale of the hangar bay is mind boggling. You see ships flying outside the hangar and a full platoon of stormtroopers that you’re not quite sure aren’t real. Be sure to take pictures of the TIE fighter and the stormtroopers if the First Order officers don’t bark at you for taking “useless scans.”
This is a good place to note the quality of the First Order officers we experienced when we rode this attraction. They strike the perfect balance of making you feel nervous and doing their actual jobs (moving you along and keeping you safe). They allowed enough time for pictures but still kept the sense of urgency in the attraction alive.
Eventually you are shuttled into a queue to “await processing” and after a few minutes you are lined up to be shot….I mean shuttled into an interrogation room. Again, the quality of the cast members makes it feel like you’re really in trouble – adding to the magic and immersion of the attraction.
When you enter the interrogation room, you’re given a real sense that you’re in trouble. There are stormtroopers looking down on you as if you’re in a cage and eventually Kylo Ren and General Hux come and begin demanding the location of the secret Resistance base.
Kylo Ren even begins using the force on you before thankfully he’s called to the bridge. Once he leaves – someone carves a hole in the wall and breaks into your cell – it’s the Resistance! You’re quickly ushered into escape transports that the Resistance has commandeered as Finn himself tells you the escape plan.
It’s all pretty exciting and, again, the sense of urgency to the whole affair is something that has to be experienced. Don’t forget to “supervise your children” as Lieutenant Bek says (how did the kids get caught up in this mess!?).
The escape vehicles are trackless vehicles similar to Mystic Manor in Hong Kong Disneyland or Ratatouille at Disneyland Paris and Epcot. As stated above, the actual movement of the vehicles isn’t super intense, but as you might imagine, the escape gets pretty intense. So let’s get to that escape!
So to make your escape you board a trackless vehicle that can hold up to eight people. Ostensibly, your escape should be simple: you make your way down a turbo lift to some escape pods and you’re home free. But that’d be a pretty boring escape!
So instead of a simple straightforward escape, you run up against everything that could go wrong: stormtroopers, probe droids, even Kylo Ren himself. The pace is frantic and things get pretty intense, but luckily stormtroopers continue to have the worst aim in history. What’s amazing about the ride is how immersive it is – you feel like you’re being chased.
Laser blasts create damage in the walls around you, you dodge and weave everyone who’s chasing you, and you even move vertically to avoid your captors. The effects combined with audio animatronics make you feel like you’re in the middle of a Star Wars battle.
And make no mistake, you are in the middle of a battle. Halfway through the ride you see the Resistance fleet jump out of hyperspace and engage the First Order Star Destroyers and from that point on the ride’s intensity ramps up to a whole new level. Instead of seeing damage from mere blaster fire you now see and feel the damage of this epic space battle going on around you.
Ultimately, you make your way to the escape pods and quickly drop your way back down to Batuu, a combination of Tower of Terror and Star Tours type action that somehow feels both less scary motion wise but more intense thrill wise than either of those individual attractions. Don’t worry, the drop really isn’t in the same ballpark as Tower of Terror, it’s just the easiest way to describe it.
By the time you exit your escape pod on Batuu, you will have experienced one of the most epic attractions ever created. Again, Rise of the Resistance is something that must be experienced firsthand – it’s a culmination of so much of the amazing storytelling that Disney has done throughout its theme parks for decades. Star Wars fans will surely not be able to get enough of it, but even those unfamiliar with the Star Wars stories will be impressed.
Trust us when we say this – use our tips to get yourself onto this ride. You won’t regret it!
About the author: Contributing writer Joe Cheung loves traveling with his wife and three children. He has been writing about using miles and points to reduce the cost of family travel since his wife was pregnant with their first child. He loves traveling all around the world with a special place in his heart for travel to Asia and all things Disney. When he’s not writing, you can find Joe chatting about Disney World on the Disney planning podcast Disney Deciphered that he and Leslie co-host or working as a travel agent specializing in Disney destinations. You can contact him by e-mail at email@example.com.
Wednesday 8th of March 2023
I just went to Disneyland and rode Rise of the Resistance twice. First time, I refused to pay the premium and waited in line for 100 minutes. It was awesome. We decided to ride again, but then I was willing to pay the premium to get to head of the line. My legs thanked me for paying that extra $. If you can afford it then the premium is worth it. I hate that it's an inequitable way of handling it, but that's how the system works right now.
Monday 5th of September 2022
This was very helpful as I haven’t been on RotR since the boarding group queue.
I haven’t used LL yet but how would it work if we only want to buy LL for Rise for only part of the group? Does everyone need to buy their own or only one person in the group need to make the purchase? In the latter case, would we need to assign who wants to ride at the time of purchase, or can we buy LL for 10 out of 15 and assign them later? Hope that wasn’t too confusing. Thanks!
Denise C Cummings
Monday 20th of September 2021
We are coming jan 2022. If RotR is a regular que does that mean DAS can get a waiting pass for it? How is that going to qork? Do.you know.
Monday 2nd of November 2020
So can we be anywhere for this time change? We live about 2 hours away but can we still reserve the 7 am on the way down even if we’re not close?
Thursday 30th of January 2020
How do you work it if you have one child who’s too young to ride? Does one parent enter at the start of the boarding group and hope they get back in time for the other to ride?