For Christmas I surprised my mom with the news that I was taking her to Disneyland! For years I’ve said “we should go,” or “you should come with us!” but timing hadn’t worked out. We’d done Disney trips with just my family. I’ve gone with two of my sisters. My husband’s parents and siblings, but I hadn’t yet shared the magic with my mom.
When Disney announced the opening of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge I knew I had to experience it with my mom. There was no other way. She’s a huge Star Wars fan, and basically has taught me everything I know about Star Wars. We always go opening night to watch the new movies together, and now she’s beginning to school her grandkids on the topic. She can quote Episode IV word for word and she can most definitely beat you in Star Wars trivia.
On Christmas day we told my mom that we were going to Disneyland! She’s never been (and hasn’t been to Walt Disney World in over a decade) and she was pretty pumped. We sat down with our calendars to decide on a weekend and landed on Martin Luther King Jr. Day weekend. I penciled the dates in and bought our flights. But what I didn’t realize until weeks later was we were going on the opening weekend of The Rise of the Resistance. The new Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge ride.
The good news was we’d hopefully get to ride it (or so I assumed. We could wait in line for a few hours, that’s ok). The bad news was, the parks would be crowded. I had yet to know about what was involved to get a Rise of the Resistance boarding group.
The Hype and Why So Many People Aren’t Getting a Rise of the Resistance Boarding Group
I quickly learned that this ride wasn’t one you could just wait in line for. There was a WHOLE process. And so my research began.
A couple of days before we left a friend sent me a message through Facebook with a link to a Disney Parks blog post about how the waiting queue would work for Rise of the Resistance. An app? A boarding pass? Limited numbers? What? How in the world do you ride Rise of Resistance? Would we have a shot?
The sad thing is I was invited to preview the rise before it was open to the public. But childcare and timing of work and our flights just wouldn’t allow us to get out there earlier. It worked out though. My mom and I were lucky enough to ride this ride TWICE opening weekend. And I got to experience the process as a regular park guest and I can show ya’ll how the process really works to get into a Rise of the Resistance boarding group.
Step 1: Download the Disneyland App (or the Walt Disney World app if you’re trying to ride at Hollywood Studios)
You need the app to get a boarding pass and to scan that to get on the ride. It’s free and available on iOS and Android. Don’t have a smartphone? Find a friend with one. Upgrade for the weekend. The paper passes and pre-booked FastPasses and even standby lines aren’t a thing for this ride. Download the app and get acquainted with it before you head to the parks.
It’s also really helpful if you want to buy a MaxPass for unlimited PhotoPass photos and booking other FastPasses.
We partnered with Undercover Tourist to book our tickets (they have a great deal right now on child tickets you can save up to $104 off child ticket prices at Disneyland) We got our two day park-hopper with MaxPass tickets through. Now you may know that I consider myself a Walt Disney World pro. Ask me about FastPasses and I’ve got you! But MaxPass? This was new to me!
You can read all about how it works but basically it’s like a FastPass that keeps on giving. You can book an attraction based on the next available time, then after a waiting period, book another. Rinse and repeat. So it takes less planning than the FastPasses at Walt Disney World, but maybe a little more strategizing as you’ll want to try to get on the popular rides early. The MaxPass also works as a PhotoPass ticket, so all those photographers around the park? You get access to all of those photos and ride photos for free!
Ok, I could go on and on about this. Maybe I’ll work on a whole other blog post about MaxPass vs FastPass later, but today I want to focus on how to get on Rise of the Resistance based on our experience.
Step 2: Arrive Early but no need to arrive too early
The first day I was so nervous and worried we’d miss our shot. We only had two days. Sure, we could come back later. But we were flying all the way from Texas. I wanted to really get the most bang for our buck.
Friday January 17th was the first official opening day. We flew in that night. I stalked Twitter to see how the process went for those trying to get on Rise of the Resistance the first day. I saw photos of people lined up at the gates at 5am. A few hours later I saw a slew of tweets saying boarding passes were gone by 8:06am. WHAT?
But what I didn’t understand was what was the point of lining up at 5am when the park didn’t open until 8? Did getting in earlier provide any benefit? Could you even get in earlier than 8am?
I messaged an Instagram friend who’s a regular at Disneyland. I mean he’s literally there almost every day.
“We are staying at a hotel across the street. Should we still try to get in line around 6am?” I asked.
“You have to be scanned IN to Disneyland first. You can’t get it if you’re in DCA. I would suggest being in that park before 8. Main street was open at 6am!”
Now if you’re a Disneyland novice let me translate some of that for you. Disneyland is one of the two main Disney Parks in California. Where Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge is, as well as the new ride. DCA is Disney California Adventure, the park across the street. You can’t be scanned in over there and request a pass for the Star Wars ride. Main Street is the part of Disneyland right after you enter the park, in front of the castle.
So he was letting me know that people were allowed in to hang out (even though no rides were open) as early as 6am.
I asked him if I needed to be there at 6am or earlier and if he thought they’d still let people in early on Saturday even though there was an extra magic hour, allowing Disneyland Hotel guests in to enjoy the park an hour earlier. He told me he thought they’d let both groups in but that they’d have non-hotel guests stay on Main Street. How they seperate the two groups I’m still not quite sure. But here’s what actually went down.
To be safe, I set my alarm for 5:45am and we arrived at the security gate a little after 6:30am. Once we made it through security we reached the REAL line at about 7am, that was the line to get into the parks. It was backed all the way up to Disney California Adventure.
Note: Extra magic hour guests aren’t able to get Rise of Resistance Boarding groups any earlier than anyone else. They also have to wait until 8am to reserve one. However, they were able to go in and enjoy some rides while we waited.
Step 3: Get on Main Street USA before 8am
It seemed as though cast members were letting the extra magic hour guests enter in a line to the side, and once a majority of them were in, they started letting everyone else get scanned into Disneyland and wait on Main Street.
We were in more than a half hour early and we browsed the shops while we waited like Cinderella for the clock to strike 8am. I kept thinking how this was brilliant on Disney’s part because what’s everyone gonna do to kill time? SHOP!
So as the clock climbed closer to 8, my anxiety level rose. I had to get into a Rise of the Resistance boarding group. I mean, if we didn’t we could try tomorrow. But I really wanted to take the pressure off with a low boarding group number today.
Step 4: Close out of all of our other apps and turn off wifi
The wifi in the parks is spotty and with the hundreds of people inside the park early trying to get a boarding pass you don’t want to be bogged down on that either.
We walked back out on Main Street, I turned my wifi off and closed out of the app 5 minutes til. I closed all of my other iPhone apps that were open to be extra safe. My mom opened up her world clock on her phone to see when it turned 8am on the second.
It felt like New Years Eve on Main Street USA.
Step 5: Click “Join Boarding Group” and be ready to answer more questions
Right at 8am I looked at the app waiting for the “join boarding group” button to light up. It didn’t. I backed out of the screen then back into it and it was red. I clicked it thinking that was the only step involved, but the app proceeded to ask me a series of questions about who was in my group, was I sure I wanted to join? YES YES YES! Just give me a dang number!
I’d seen notices that boarding groups higher than 140 didn’t have a great chance of riding. But I’d also seen Twitter reports that they were boarding groups as high as the 180s the night before.
After clicking through a couple of screens a success page popped up. Boarding group 74! At the same time everyone around me started to cheer. I looked up from my phone and saw people jumping up and down, and hugging their friends. But I also saw people still staring down at their phones, seemingly frustrated.
I smiled at my mom.
“Boarding group 74!” I told her! “We should for sure get to ride it!”
“Now what?” We laughed together.
Step 6: If “Join Boarding Group” Doesn’t Light Up Click “My Status”
Yes, I know that you don’t have a boarding group yet. But if there’s no other button to click on, and that’s clickable, CLICK IT! Then you can click “join boarding group” and follow Step 5.
I took a video screenshot the second time we went to the park and used this method. On day 2 of visiting Disneyland we took an Uber over to the park around 7:45. We walked into the park at 7:56am and managed to get into another Rise of the Resistance boarding group.
It’s not about getting there at 6am. Waiting around for two hours doesn’t give you a head start on boarding groups if you don’t have the app downloaded. It’s not about just having the app or just arriving at the park. If you roll up into the park at 8:10am, the boarding passes are going to be gone and there’s no standby line as of yet.
1. Be in the park before 8am
2. Close out of your other apps
3. Turn off the wifi
4. Click “join boarding group” OR “My status” whichever lights up first
When it’s time for your group to ride you’ll get a notification and be able to open the app to your boarding pass which you’ll use to scan to get on the ride.
No-Spoiler review of Rise of the Resistance
Hopefully these tips help you! This post has gone on for long enough but I will have you know Rise of the Resistance was far better than I imagined and it’s worth the wait. My Star Wars-loving mom was blown away. But so was I. I’m nowhere near the fan she is, but I’m still a fan nonetheless. We laughed, nearly cried, screamed, and were overwhelmed with so much joy. And riding it the second time was just as much fun.
If you haven’t ridden it before I suggest you don’t watch the video spoilers (I didn’t). It’s like a ride within a ride and you really feel like you’ve stepped into a Star Wars movie.
If you’re kids are Star Wars fans I’m sure they’d love it too. If they aren’t, or are a little skittish they may be a little scared at some parts of the ride. My 6-year-old son I’d suspect would love it and squeal throughout the whole thing. My 9-year-old daughter with a HUGE imagination (she was scared to fight Darth Vader during Jedi Training) would probably get a bit scared at parts.
There is one very small drop. Not a slide drop like Pirates of the Caribbean, but a mini free fall. I don’t do free falls (I HATE Tower of Terror, and I probably will never do Incredicoaster again). But I could totally handle this one and really enjoyed it.
If you’re traveling from out of town to go to Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge I know how scary it is to not be sure if you’ll get to ride it. But these tips should help you get on for sure.
Let us know how it goes and please let us know how you liked the ride and if these tips helped you get a Rise of the Resistance boarding group!