The immense popularity for Rise of the Resistance at Disney’s Hollywood Studios has forced Disney to deploy a virtual boarding process for guests. The process has evolved and changed since the attraction opened, creating plenty of confusion about the best way to approach the virtual boarding passes and how to secure one.
We were able to experience Rise of the Resistance a couple times during the busy week leading into Christmas. Below are the tips and tricks we learned and experienced in our efforts to secure the virtual boarding passes.
Plan before you go
It’s important to have a plan before attempting to ride Rise of the Resistance. This is Disney’s most ambitious attraction and it’s rightfully attracting a ton of people. That means you need to do some planning before arriving in Walt Disney World.
- What day(s) do you want to ride the attraction?
- Who is in your group?
- Can everyone commit to an early morning? Remember, you need your entire group in the park to add them to a boarding group.
- What time does Hollywood Studios open on the day of your visit?
- Who will be the one to secure the boarding groups on their phone?
- Is everyone who plans to ride connected correctly on the My Disney Experience app?
- What’s your plan for the day if your boarding group isn’t going to be called right away? Note: You can leave Hollywood Studios after you have your boarding pass and you have two hours to return to the ride once your number is called. We personally went to Animal Kingdom to kill time.
Arrive early – but not too early
As of the date of this article, there’s no advantage and no reason to arrive insanely early at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. As long as you’re in the park and ready to use the My Disney Experience app when boarding passes go live (for us it was 7:00am), you’re on equal footing with everyone else.
For example, Hollywood Studios was scheduled to open at 7:00am on the mornings we planned to experience Rise of the Resistance. The first morning we arrived around 5:30am, made it through security shortly after and waited near the ticket booths with a sea of other guests. We were allowed into the park around 6:30am and were held on Hollywood Boulevard until 7:00am.
On a different day we slept in (relatively speaking) and didn’t arrive until 6:30am. We immediately went through security, waited in a short line where you scan your MagicBand and were in the park by 6:40am. We again stood on Hollywood Boulevard and were in a perfect position to try for the boarding pass.
Remember: You and your group just have to be in the park before the virtual boarding pass system goes live for the day. There’s no need to arrive insanely early. We landed group 59 on the day we arrived at 6:30am and we enjoyed the ride with a family who arrived at 5:30am.
Don’t use the WiFi
OK, so you’re in the park and counting down the minutes until you can try to book a boarding pass. Now what? We’d recommend turning off your WiFi and accessing the My Disney Experience app with your personal cellular data.
You’ll likely be in a sea of other guests all trying to accomplish the same task at the same time. That can bog down Disney’s WiFi (which can be a bit spotty to begin with) and mean the difference between a low boarding group number and a high boarding group number.
Using AT&T, we found we were maintaining full bars on Hollywood Boulevard while the WiFi connection seemed to be a bit inconsistent with its signal strength. Our cell service seemed like a much more reliable connection. And no, we didn’t get paid for that endorsement (though we’ll gladly entertain an offer!).
Hard close the app and open it again
Currently, the main screen of the My Disney Experience app has a link providing more information on the boarding passes for Rise of the Resistance. Clicking through takes you to a secondary screen with buttons to view your status and to book the boarding pass. The “Join Boarding Group” is the one you need to hit as soon as you can if you hope to ride. This button will activate / turn red when the window to book officially opens.
Naturally, you’re going to want to see that button light up as soon as possible, click it and fill out the remaining info to complete the process. Making sure you see the button activate as soon as possible is a key part of the battle.
Most guests will click from the home screen of the app through to the Rise of the Resistance page and continually back and forth until the button appears. This can work and it was the method we used on our first attempt when we secured group 12. However, it can also be a bit delayed – which we saw on our second day we attempted to ride. The button just wasn’t appearing.
Some have recommended hard closing the My Disney Experience app a few minutes before the window opens and opening it back up once the magic time arrives. We had to do this on our second visit as the button wasn’t showing up when it should have been, preventing us from booking a boarding pass. After reopening the app, the button appeared and we secured group 59.
We don’t have a large enough sample size to know which method works the best. The model and newness of your phone may play a major role in what works best. We’d recommend testing it out (hard close the app and see how long it takes to reopen and load when there’s no pressure) and see if this method makes sense. You don’t want the app’s cache to hide an active button when it’s time to sign up.
It can be a bit overwhelming when you’re surrounded by hundreds of people who hope to beat you to the punch in booking their boarding pass. Relax. Take a deep breath. Practice clicking through to where you need to be on the My Disney Experience app in advance of the big moment.
We saw lots of nervous faces, shaky hands and cries of panic as soon as the boarding groups went live. You’d think this was over something far more serious than a theme park attraction based on all the nervous energy. Staying relaxed and remembering what this is all about can take a lot of the stress off.
You’re going to get a boarding pass if you’re in the park when the window opens. It’s really that simple. When you’ll actually get to ride comes down to luck, Rise of the Resistance running smoothly and keeping a cool head. Keep your plans flexible for your Rise of the Resistance day and you’ll be in a much better mood when experiencing the best attraction Disney has made in a long, long time.