I booked our Disneyland trip a full 68 days before we left, knowing that Star Wars Rise of the Resistance was opening on 17th January 2020, our week off in January would be a perfect surprise for my Star Wars loving boyfriend.
Sam and I have never been in a Disney park for the opening day of an attraction before. We have watched plenty of youtube videos of crowds, long lines and busy parks. So we were prepared mentally for what we might have encountered.
The day Rise of the Resistance opened, we had already been in California 5 days and been in the Disney parks all week, so we knew our way around, the priority of the day was to get a Boarding Group.
A Boarding Group is a lottery based ticket accessed through the My Disney Experience that gives you a return time to go on the attraction, no boarding group, no ride. It is that simple.
We had read all the report from Walt Disney World’s opening of Rise of the Resistance and decided to get up super early to be at the parks to queue for open. Disneyland had announced that the park would open at 8am and that is when Boarding Groups would go online on the app. However, we had read on forums and Twitter that people were going to be queuing overnight to ensure they had access in to the park. So we were up at 4am and were through security and queuing up at the Disneyland park at 5am. There were around 14 different queues with up to 80 people in each at that time. We concluded that Twitter had blown the size of the crowds out of proportion and they were no larger than the daily queues we encountered at Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo Disneysea.
Cast members were handing out leaflets to guests on how to access My Disney Experience and the Boarding Group process. We didn’t need these, we were fully clued up, but we took them anyway.
The gates opened at around 5.50am and we entered the park just before 6am. The park was roped off at the end of Main Street just before you enter the hub. The only thing that was open was Starbucks that needed a fast pass just to buy one!
Disney regularly made announcements over the tannoy system saying that the Boarding Groups would not go online until 8am, 2 hours to wait. We walked around Main Street and went up to the train station, just tried to kill time.
At 6.35am cast members opened up the hub area of the park, keeping the lands closed off. We took photos infront of the empty castle, eagerly waiting for the Boarding Groups to go up. The sunrise on this morning was stunning, the sky was a gorgeous purple/ orange combination.
7.30am the shops on Main Street opened, so we popped in to the Penny Arcade and I picked up a churro toffee square, this was one of my favourite treats on this trip!!!
There were also a few photo pass photographers up and down Main Street.
We didn’t want to venture to far out of any area that had great service on our phones, we decided to stay on 4G and not use the park wifi as on previous days it had been rather spotty. We settled on a spot in the middle of the hub by the entrance to Tomorrowland, people were queuing here, I think they were inline to try and access the paper fast pass Boarding Group tickets. I do not recommend this method if you wish to access the ride. We had full 4G so stood still for 20 minutes, refreshing the app regularly to see if the Boarding Groups went on early. They did not.
True to their word, Disney released the Boarding Groups bang on 8am, we were already logged on and had to press the ‘join Boarding Group’ button, we could hear cheers of guests around us that had aquired theirs already, I must say that all parties that wish to ride on Rise of the Resistance MUST be scanned in to the park in order to get in to a Boarding Group. I managed to get Group 52! Sam said ‘thank f**k for that’. He was genuinely concerned we wouldn’t get one. Thanks to my quick fingers, we did.
I am glad we used the method we did, we were both in the park, used 4G and had the app loaded up ready. We learned later on that day that all Boarding Groups were distributed within 45 seconds of them being released at 8am.
Boarding started almost immediately, we headed to Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge as we had a 8.20am reservation at Oga’s Cantina, I wanted to make sure we had access to the land when I booked it. People were crowded and I mean crowded outside the ride when we entered Batuu. Chewbacca and R2-D2 were greeting guests on their way through.
The ride only broke down once in the morning for around 45 minutes, we were called, scanned and inline by 1.30pm, we were in the queue for 30 minutes before our ride experience started. The queue even includes a waterfall. I suggest turning on your push notifications for the Disneyland app to allow them to notify you when your Boarding Group is called, you don’t want to miss it.
The fully immersive attraction consists of walk throughs, audio animatronics and a trackless simulator ride. The cast members are very engaged in their roles and it really adds to the experience. Familiar characters like Rey, Fin, Po and BB-8 appear through out. The ride could also be considered overwhelming as there is so much to look at, I am sure I missed some details on the way. I got off the ride unable to explain how I feel or what I thought, mainly because I felt like I had missed out on a lot of things. I wondered how the Imagineers came up with some of the ideas and how they pulled them off, I kept wondering ‘how did they do this’ and ‘how did they do that’!
There are plenty of spoilers and ride through videos on Youtube, I am glad I watched them and prepared myself or I think it would have overwhelmed me even more.
I am not going to say this is the best ride on Disney property because it is not. It is ingenious, clever and well thought out, it isn’t for me, I just don’t like Star Wars. I think I will need to ride it a few more times, to take it all in again, see the details I missed. Due to the fast paced nature of the attraction it is not hard to miss things.
What are your thoughts on Star Wars Rise of the Resistance? Have you been on the attraction yet? What was your Boarding Group? Do you agree with the Boarding Group process? Let me know your thoughts in the comments.