How to Cope With Not Getting a Rise of the Resistance Boarding Group
Ever since Galaxy’s Edge was announced in 2015, I dreamed of visiting the expansive Star Wars-themed land and, of course, riding Rise of the Resistance. A lifelong Star Wars fan, I waited for the day that a true Star Wars experience like this would find its way into a theme park. And that time had finally arrived.
I was tantalized by the details of the groundbreaking land and attractions as they trickled through in the years leading up to its opening.
I was originally scheduled to spend a week at Walt Disney World and spend a day at Disney’s Hollywood Studios in March, but the COVID-19 pandemic had other plans. But miraculously, I was able to reschedule my trip for this month.
My chance to ride Rise of the Resistance was finally here.
If you’re unfamiliar with the Rise of the Resistance boarding system, there is no traditional stand-by line. Guests join a virtual queue via the My Disney Experience app on their smartphones. But space is limited. Lucky guests are assigned a boarding group number and are alerted when it’s time to ride. They have an hour time window to get to the ride itself. No boarding group is guaranteed a ride, especially once you get into the 80s and 90s. The ride is known to go down frequently throughout the day.
When the parks reopened in July, Disney changed the way guests could secure a boarding group number. Gone were the days of showing up to the park at the crack of dawn (although this had changed before the parks closed). During my visit, you had two chances to enter the Rise of the Resistance lottery — once at 10 a.m. and then again at 2 p.m.
UPDATE: Beginning November 3, 2020, Disney is changing the Rise of the Resistance virtual queue:
- If you have a valid ticket or annual pass and a park reservation for Disney’s Hollywood Studios, you can access (attempt) to join the virtual queue at 7 a.m. on the day of your Hollywood Studios visit — from anywhere. No need to be in the park. The virtual queue will still reopen daily at 2 p.m., but you will have to be inside the park.
- Disney is also adding plexiglass between rows on the ride vehicles to increase capacity.
Between these two changes, hopefully this will improve your chances of riding. But let’s prepare (or cope with) the worst-case scenario.
And because park-hopping is temporarily suspended, these two chances were my only chances. I didn’t have enough time to come back to the park a second or third day.
In the days leading up to my visit, I scoured the internet for all the tips and tricks to snag a boarding group number. Here’s what I did:
- Made sure I was in the park well before 10 a.m.
- Went to an area of the park that was in the open to avoid any cell phone interference
- Turned my Wi-Fi off
- Had someone in our group open time.gov so that we knew the official time (smartphone times aren’t always 100% accurate)
- Navigated directly to the queue “join” page on the My Disney Experience app and began refreshing at 9:59 a.m.
- Tapped “join” as soon as the button on the screen appeared
Unfortunately, both at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. the boarding groups were gone in seconds, if that. Both times, others around me in the same predicament let out screams of joy or groans of disappointment. I fell into the latter group.
I knew this was a risk going into the park, especially during this crazy reopening era at Walt Disney World when ride capacities and park hours are both limited. I tried to prepare myself and acknowledge that the odds were not in my favor.
But that didn’t do much good.
To say that losing out on a Rise of the Resistance boarding group was disheartening would be an understatement as large as the Death Star. After months – no, years – of waiting to ride this ride and coming out empty-handed was painful. I was standing a lightsaber’s distance away from the ride, yet I couldn’t ride it. I felt like a kid locked out of a candy store.
But alas, I lived to see another day. It was tough, make no mistake. But time does heal all wounds.
So if you’re unable to get a coveted Rise of the Resistance boarding group number, below is how I coped — broken into the five stages of grief.
After spending an hour with embarrassingly sweaty palms, grappling with off-the-chart levels of anxiety, seeing that “no longer available” message gave me a pit in my stomach that only a marathon stint on Tower of Terror could replicate. I felt as though my soul had been pulverized into oblivion.
But despite seeing the dreaded red box telling me that all boarding groups were distributed, I continued fervently refreshing the screen. Maybe, just maybe, it was a glitch and that I would get into a boarding group.
I couldn’t accept that I hadn’t gotten a boarding group number. Not me – I did the research, I followed every step. How could this happen to me? There must be some mistake.
After 30 or more app screen refreshes, I had to admit defeat.
Next, my blood started to boil. I grit my teeth. My fists clenched.
I was Kylo Ren mad.
This is where I really felt for the others in my group. Being the only serious Star Wars fan in the bunch, no one was quite as distraught as I was.
I may have said a few choice words (I made sure no young ears were around).
I may have huffed and puffed.
I may have wished ill will upon the Star Wars franchise.
This was one of the longer stages. But eventually, I stopped seeing red. I had to push forward. To the next stage, at least.
After losing out at the 10 a.m. distribution, I tried to maintain just a glimmer of hope that I would get one at 2 p.m. Of course, that didn’t work when I didn’t get one at 2 p.m., either.
I thought to myself, maybe if I just go and stand at the entrance all day someone will have mercy on me.
“I’ll wait for three hours. No, five hours. Seven. Okay, maybe not seven. Just let me ride,” I thought to myself, hoping that Disney would magically, retroactively change the queue process on the day of my visit.
“I won’t ride anything else.”
“I’ll never do anything mean to anyone ever again.”
“I’ll pay $30 to watch Mulan on Disney+.”
“I’ll write a positive review on the My Disney Experience’s App Store page.”
Okay, the last one I just couldn’t bring myself to do.
When reality began to sink in, the depression followed.
Yes, I know this is very much a first-world problem. I’m at Walt Disney World. For a roller coaster and theme park enthusiast, a day there is better than a day almost anywhere else.
But that didn’t help in the moment.
I sulked. I moped. My face mask shielded my quivering bottom lip. I may have shed a tear or two behind my sunglasses.
Thankfully, a couple of rides on Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster and Tower of Terror helped lift my spirits. A ride on the amazing, new Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway didn’t hurt, either (seriously, it was so good).
So here is where the coping really comes into play.
As we ended our day, I finally accepted that a ride on Rise of the Resistance wasn’t in the cards for me. Not on this trip.
I had to remind myself that although I missed out on what is touted to be one of if not the greatest theme park attractions of all time, I was still at Walt Disney World having an amazing time.
I was still able to stroll through Galaxy’s Edge, mouth open in awe for most of the time.
I was still able to ride Smuggler’s Run, which was a great consolation prize.
I was still able to try Blue Milk, which was delicious.
I was able to see a few familiar faces.
And I got to watch Stormtroopers banter with guests.
I reminded myself that I was not alone. While there were plenty of “winners” in this Star Wars Rise of the Resistance lottery, there were plenty of losers as well. I was not the only one coping with this “loss.”
And now I have even more of a reason to go back (or try my luck at Disneyland).
So that’s how I survived not riding Rise of the Resistance. Was it disappointing? Yes. Soul-crushing? Absolutely.
However, I survived.
And if all else fails, you can do what I did and grab a tub of your favorite ice cream (or Dole Whip) and have a good cry while watching one of the many on-ride Rise of the Resistance POVs on YouTube (I’ll let you find those). It wasn’t my proudest moment, but this is 2020 and there are no rules.
If you didn’t get into a Rise of the Resistance boarding group, how did you cope? Share your experience in the comments section below and let’s commiserate together and perhaps form a support group.
Finally, if you aren’t spoiler-averse, check out our “Top 5 Parts of Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance” post from Galaxy’s Edge at Disneyland.