Greetings from Orlando! I’m here for a few days to attend Walt Disney World’s 50th anniversary celebration events. The resort first opened to the public on October 1st, 1971. Things have changed quite a bit over the next five decades.
I had some time to spend on the first day here, so I took a trip over the Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge. This section of the park immerses you in the world of Star Wars, featuring two signature attractions – Millennium Falcon Smugglers Run and Rise of the Resistance. Pat Tomasulo and I traveled down to Hollywood Studios a few years ago when both rides made their debut.
Rise of the Resistance is one of the most ambitious theme park attractions ever created. You walk through different show elements as you join forces with the Resistance before you are captured by the First Order. That’s when you end up on board a First Order starship and have to make your escape. There are so many moving parts to this ride, which has led to some downtime during many days and some changes to the ride.
When Rise first opened, guests had to check in on their phones and try to enter the virtual queue. If you were lucky enough on the app, you would be able to secure a “boarding group.” You were then told to come back to the attraction whenever your boarding group was ready to ride. However, that meant you would have to plan your day around this one attraction, making sure you had enough time to get back to the Rise area when your boarding group was getting close to being called.
Of course, there were many others not lucky enough to get boarding groups after taking trips down to Disney World really hoping to ride this. While the virtual queue eliminated people waiting many, many hours to ride one attraction, it led to many disappointed people who weren’t able to ride it at all.
That all changed over the last few days, as Disney Parks announced Rise of the Resistance would no longer offer a virtual queue and would move to a standby line. That means you can line up to ride it just like any other attraction. That’s what I did during my visit yesterday.
I arrived at the entrance to Rise of the Resistance at about 3:15pm on a Tuesday. At that time, the ride was posting a 75 minute wait.
The line was consistently moving, but it was moving at a speed that really gave you a chance to look around at all of the detail the design team put into this attraction. As you turn around every corner in the queue, there is more and more detail that gets you into the story of the ride.
I even had some time to appreciate the light fixtures. Yes, I am a nerd.
They even got creative when it comes to places where you can take a quick seat! These are some of the touches I didn’t notice until I had to wait in the actual line.
Don’t get me wrong, you are definitely waiting in the Rise queue, but Disney has created a way to make waiting a part of the ride itself. You enter one waiting room and Rey appears as a hologram to explain what’s happening.
Then you board a ship where you wait some more, but there’s a show element in here as well.
How about the photo opportunity with the storm troopers when you get captured by the First Order?
All of this happens before you board the actual ride vehicles. Cast members play the role of the First Order, the bad guys who are looking to interrogate members of the Resistance (us). One cast member was walking around to kids waiting in the hallway asking if they knew where the rebel base was. Another cast member was heckling a dad who wasn’t listening to directions nearly as well as his kids were. Again, they’re making waiting in line part of the fun.
The ride itself is a blast. As I mentioned, Pat and I rode it before it opened, you can see our full thoughts and our ride video here….
This time around, I noticed a few changes. The large guns firing out of the ship didn’t go back and forth as much. Kylo Ren’s lightsaber doesn’t cut through the ceiling above you. And the amazing Kylo Ren animatronic was not operating and covered up at the end of the ride.
When it was all over, I was walking out of the attraction 50 minutes after I entered the standby line and didn’t experience any shutdowns. No stress about waking up early and checking in on my phone. No spending the entire day looking at my watch or app to see what boarding groups were being called. I’m sure that waiting time will be longer on busier days, but the time I spent in line gave me more time to appreciate the details in the queue and enjoy the attraction.
Have you been through Rise with the new standby line? I would love to hear your thoughts on that and any changes you’ve noticed to the attraction!
As I mentioned, I’ll have much more about all of the 50th anniversary celebrations happening at Disney World this year. You can follow along with me on social media – I’m on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook!