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. But there have been some major changes to how to ride it 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.
As 2021 comes to a close, Disney has made some 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 on your last Disney trip surely will not work anymore. Disney World implemented two brand new changes on September 23, 2021 and October 19, 2021 as its 50th anniversary got underway. And further big changes just came Disneyland as of November 22, 2021. Keep checking back here as we continue to update this post as we have been doing regularly for nearly 2 years now!
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.
Last updated: November 22, 2021.
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
Since opening and until very recently, 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. These boarding groups ran out very fast – often in a matter of a second or less.
Frequent Disney goers devised elaborate strategies for hacking the two distribution times when reservations were released. We synched up with world clocks, tried on multiple Disney accounts, and speed tested cell data and WiFi service – all to be just a split second faster than other guests to snag a coveted spot.
If you got good at this process, I’m sorry to say all those skills are now for naught. Why? Disney World completely eliminated the use of a virtual queue for Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance effective September 23, 2021.
If you were exhausted or frustrated by the virtual queue system, however, this is good news for you. The fastest fingers are no longer the only ones who get to ride Rise of the Resistance. The process is a lot more equitable. And there are now several methods to use to get aboard with shorter wait times!
Two NEW Ways to Ride Rise of the Resistance at Disney World
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 brand new 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 $15 per day to be able to book return times to many popular attractions.
There are a few very popular rides (two per park) 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 Lightning Lane.
As you might guess (since its the most popular ride in the parks!), Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance is one of the paid individual Lightning Lane selections. In fact, it’s the most expensive selection of them all. It costs $15 per person to ride every day of the week. Of course, that price could well increase in the not too distant future.
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). Thus far, the paid Lightning Lane returns times have been quite a bit shorter than the Fastpass+ lines of old, with many guest waiting just a couple of minutes to access the attraction.
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. The times that will remain are usually later in the evening. If you are in this boat, 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 probably can’t be picky about the time of day either. And, if you are going during a high crowd time, there may be few to no Lightning Lane times available to you.
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
Since late September 2021, Disney World has begun 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 has sometimes been opening the Hollywood Studios gates well before the appointed 30 minutes before park opening time. Sometimes, the park gates have opened as early as 7:45 when early theme park entry was set to start at 8:30am on a 9:00am regular park opening day.
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 recently talked about using this hack on our Disney Deciphered podcast.)
Be aware though that Disney Skyliner 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.
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 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!
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 so far 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 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.)
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 for a totally different system and different set of tricks for Rise of the Resistance at Disneyland – at least until some additional changes are unveiled later this fall.
BREAKING NOVEMBER 22, 2021: As of today, Disneyland has now moved to a standby only line for Rise of the Resistance, sunsetting its virtual queue with 7:00am and noon drops. This is likely a precursor for the debut of paid Lightning Lane in a matter of weeks, assuming Disneyland ultimately follows the same timeline that Walt Disney World did in shifting from a virtual queue to a combination of standby and paid Lightning Lane.
That means standby lines are going to be extremely long, especially in the busy Thanksgiving week this change happens. There is really no way to shortcut these lines other than getting up very early to be in the front of the rope drop mad dash for the attraction. Otherwise, expect waits of 2 hours or more. Keep watching this space for incremental updates during this transition period. And if you are a semi-regular visitor to Disneyland who will be back soon or who has already ridden Rise lately, now just might be the time to skip it until the new system is fully in place.
Note that Disney has mentioned that a virtual queue might be used as needed in the future. If it is used, it will not be the virtual queue described below with set time drops. Instead, it will be much more like the virtual queue offered for Indiana Jones earlier this year, where you must have scanned into the park and is used only for when the physical queue runs out of space. Disney has indicated this new virtual queue could be used for WEB SLINGERS in DCA as well as for Rise of the Resistance at Walt Disney World, but has never used it for either attraction. So it’s doubtful this will happen often, if at all. Assume Rise at Disneyland will be standby only for now, but check the app just in case.
Disneyland’s Rise of the Resistance Virtual Queue: Everything You Need To Know (SUSPENDED AS OF NOVEMBER 22, 2021)
Disneyland is still using a virtual queue for Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance! This queue functions essentially identically to the one Walt Disney World used to have, with a couple of minor differences. Specifically, key features to note if you were used to the old Disney World rules:
- Boarding groups at Disneyland are released at 7:00 am and 12 noon (instead of 7:00 am and 1:00 pm as used to be the case at Walt Disney World).
- Only guests with a confirmed Disneyland park reservation for the day may try for the 7:00 am release of boarding groups. Anyone with a park hopper ticket who has scanned into either park for the day may try for the 12 noon drop. This means if you have a park hopper ticket but start your morning in Disney California Adventure, you are eligible for this second drop. And you can hop over to Disneyland park at the 1:00 pm start time for park hopping for an afternoon or evening ride if you are successful.
Regardless of what time you plan to try to get into the virtual queue, everyone must do the following at Disneyland first:
- Obtain Disneyland theme park reservations: In 2021, Disneyland requires reservations to enter any given park on any given day. Make sure everyone in your party has a theme park ticket. Then make your Disneyland theme park reservation. If you have a single park per day ticket, you must reserve Disneyland park to be eligible for the Rise of the Resistance virtual queue that day. If you have a park hopper ticket, you can reserve either park as your starting park. Remember though – only guests with Disneyland park starting reservations can try for both the 7am and 12 noon boarding group releases.
- Set Up the Disneyland app: Before you head to the parks on your vacation, link everyone’s tickets in your traveling party to the Disneyland app. Turn on push notifications on your phone for the app. Make sure you update to the most recent version of the app too. (Trips with Tykes Tip: Remember to purchase your park tickets in advance from our trusted ticket partner Get Away Today, which will get you the very same tickets that Disney sells but at a discount.)
Once you’ve done the above, if you want to join the virtual queue at the 7:00 am drop time, follow these additional steps:
- Open the Disneyland App a few minutes before 7:00 am. Scroll down and look for the image that says “Request access with Virtual Queue”. (You can also get to the same place by clicking the three lines in the bottom right corner and then selecting “Virtual Queues.”) Unlike in previous months, you do not need to be physically present in the parks for this to work at 7:00am. It will work from anywhere.
- Click “Join Virtual Queue” white button and then quickly toggle to the tab at the top right that says Disneyland. This is where you’ll see the Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance option.
- Confirm your party any time between 6:00am and 7:00am (*this step is new as of early September 2021*). Wait here on the next screen as 7:00 am approaches.
- Right before 7:00am, pull down to refresh this page or click the refresh button at the bottom.
- Repeat quickly until you see the blue “Join Virtual Queue” button appear (it appears right in the same place where the Refresh button was). Click it fast.
- Assuming you are successful and obtain a boarding group, arrive to Disneyland park for the day. Earlier boarding groups should plan to be there by about park opening time.
- Wait for a push notification on your phone to tell you that you are eligible to return to the attraction and ride. You can also check the status of boarding group progress in the app.
- Return to Rise of the Resistance within the return time window given. Note that at Disneyland, this is normally only a 1 hour window, unlike at Walt Disney World that normally gives 2 hours. While cast member usually are kind and accommodate guests who are late because they are stuck in another queue or finishing up a meal, it’s safer to be on time.
If you want to join the virtual queue at the 12:00 noon drop time, all of the same steps apply except one very important difference you must do first. What is that? Unlike at 7:00 am where you can still be in your PJs in your hotel room, you must physically scan into one of the two parks for the virtual queue process to be available to you in the app. Everyone in your party must scan into the park as well. You cannot send a single runner to get boarding groups for everyone. And remember, guests with park hopper tickets who start the morning at Disney California Adventure park CAN try for the noon drop.
Insider Tips for Hacking the Disneyland Virtual Queue
Generally speaking, getting a boarding group is still a matter of speed and some luck. Really want to improve your chances of getting a boarding group in a competitive process? Here are the tips that can speed you up and improve that luck:
Practice at Home: Disney keeps changing the systems and screens ever so slightly for its virtual queues, so this gives a major advantage to frequent visitors to who know the latest layout and can move faster than everyone else in the Disneyland app. Even if you are a newbie, you can practice at home to see where the buttons are located and know what you are selecting on each screen so you can move fast. You can go all the way up to the refresh waiting screen to test it out, even without having an eligible ticket. A few days before your vacation, set an alarm for yourself at 6:59am or 11:59am to quickly test things so you feel comfortable with the process.
Use Multiple Phones: Guests with the fastest finger are the ones who get the boarding groups. Unfortunately, the Disneyland app isn’t always reliable and can fail to refresh or even crash. We therefore recommend anyone with two or more smartphones in their travel group make an effort to try on both phones. Link all your tickets in both phones so the fastest phone will get through first and prevail.
Check If Your Device’s Clock is Accurate: Many phones aren’t properly synched up to the world clock and this can really matter for your chances for virtual queue success. I highly recommend checking to see if you are in sync by going to time.gov on the device you will us to get a boarding group. If your device runs behind the world clock, your best bet is to use another device to monitor the true time to make sure you pull down and refresh at the right split second.
Speed Test Your Connection: Speedy data is vital in this process. Make sure your hotel has fast Wifi if you are trying from there, and disconnect and use data if it’s spotty. I usually speed test both options the night before. Some hotel rooms are cursed with poor cell data reception and weak WiFi signals, in which case I’ve been known to either go out on my room’s balcony or even down the elevator and out into an open space next to the hotel buildings.
Disconnect from Disneyland WiFi: For the noon drop when you are in the parks, Disneyland WiFi can be pretty slow. If you have reliable cell data service in Disneyland park, we recommend disconnecting from the WiFi to speed things up. Of course, speed testing to confirm this hunch in a specific location is always smart. Some show buildings and ride queues have no service at all (here’s looking at YOU Soarin’ Around the World), so make sure you aren’t in one of those at the appointed hour.
Have a transportation plan. While you don’t have to get to the parks super early anymore to get a boarding group, Disneyland’s transportation has gotten a bit harder and more complicated, so plan accordingly. You don’t want to cut things too close and miss your return window if you obtain an early morning boarding group for Rise of the Resistance.
Disneyland is not currently running parking trams from Mickey & Friends and Pixar Pals, so you need to be prepared to have time to walk that distance after arrival. If you plan to take a hotel shuttle or ART, frequency is lower than before so you may wait longer. Uber/Lyft also have longer wait times. So if you want to “rope drop” other popular attractions or make a Group 1 boarding group, you still need to be pretty early and have a robust transportation strategy to get to the front of those lines if you aren’t staying within walking distance. (Related: Best Hotels within Walking Distance of Disneyland) Disneyland normally accommodates late arrivals, but that could change at any time or vary between cast members.
Line Skipping Methods that Will NOT Work for Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance at Disneyland
Finally, just be aware that all the usual line-skipping tricks and hacks you might be used to using at Disneyland for other rides will not work for Rise of the Resistance. The virtual queue is the ONLY option to ride the attraction at Disneyland at this time. There is:
- no Fastpass or Maxpass (in fact, those are gone for good at Disneyland)
- no Single Rider
- no access during Extra Magic Hour or Magic Morning (Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays in Disneyland park) (in fact, EMH/MM are both currently paused in 2021 with no sign of returning)
- no regular standby line
Guests who want to use Disney’s Disability Access Pass (DAS) or Rider Switch can still do so but must first get a boarding group in the virtual queue in the app like all other guests.
Coming Soon to Disneyland: Rise of the Resistance Paid Lightning Lane
Soon, however, the process at Disneyland will be changing yet again! Disneyland will be getting Genie+ and Lightning Lane. When that happens, Rise of the Resistance will be available to purchase as a paid Lighting Lane attraction for an additional a la carte fee, just like at Walt Disney World.
Watch this space for more updates in later in the fall 2021.
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 two years to ride 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.
We should note that when the queue stalls out for any extended period of time (due to the ride’s operational issues), Resistance cast members have been coming through the queue with water and carrot sticks. Occasionally, a Resistance hero like Vi Moradi or even Chewbacca might come through – have your MagicBands ready because when we were there they were accompanied by Resistance Photopass photographers!
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 General Hux and Kylo Ren himself 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 soon, 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 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.
Trust us when we say this – use our tips to get yourself onto this ride. You won’t regret it!
Editor’s Note/Disclosure: This article was co-authored by Joe Cheung and Leslie Harvey. Joe has visited Walt Disney World and been able to ride Rise of the Resistance multiple times as a regular guest since the ride opened. Leslie attended the media preview of Rise of the Resistance at Disneyland in January 2020 and has also obtained a boarding group at Disneyland as a regular guest many times since that event. Whenever possible, Trips With Tykes endeavors to bring you first-hand travel accounts and not articles written from press releases, research alone, or exclusively from media event access.
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.