If you’re not obsessed with Disney, Star Wars, or cosplay, you may not realize that there’s a brand new world in Hollywood Studios with two rides that are the hottest of hot commodities.
Tickets for the newest ride (Rise of the Resistance) are so hot that this family of late risers was willing to get up at 5 a.m. just for the *chance* to ride the ride that is, they say, the best Disney has ever made.
This is the story how we almost didn’t ride Rise of the Resistance, and the most magical ending to our day.
By 6 a.m. (an early-morning record!), the Browns are out the door. We plan to call an Uber because we’re not taking chances. We are here for Star Wars (Galaxy’s Edge), and we HAVE to be scanned into the park when it opens by 7 and snag a boarding group for the virtual queue or we won’t get to ride Rise of the Resistance.
But wait! There’s a bus loading in front of our Disney resort, and it’s heading to Hollywood Studios. It’s full by the time they get to us. Do we risk it and wait for the next bus or hire a car? We decide to risk it. We’re on the bus by 6:17. Ten minutes later, we’re in a queue with hundreds (thousands?) of other people who are all determined to get inside the park before 7.
We make it in! But just barely. Our party of seven (two parents, three kids, and two grandparents who are gamely up for anything), are scanned in by 6:45.
I’ve researched what needs to happen next. I’ve even practiced at home! I know what to do. This is my moment.
My tasks: Get away from the web-crashing crowd. Use data not wifi. Don’t load the app until minutes (seconds?) before the virtual queue opens.
It’s 7. The announcement is made. The park is open. People around us are cheering as they punch the app and get a coveted boarding group. Why aren’t my options loading?! Ahh! Did my husband have any luck? Nope, he can’t get it either.
Press buttons….. and we’re in!
Group 83… out of 93 official groups. Within seconds, the boarding passes are gone and people are placed in back-up groups (which may or may not get to ride).
Now that the boarding group drama is behind us, our day is business as usual. We ride rides, see characters, train as Jedis, use fast passes, and wait for our boarding group to be called.
Our group is invited to Rise of the Resistance at 2:29. The notification says we have a two hour window to use it (we must scan in by 4:29), so we watch a show.
On our way back from Indiana Jones, I check our status (as I’ve obsessively been doing all day), and the notification has changed: “The entry window for your boarding group has expired.” What? No! It’s only 4:02! We still have 27 minutes!
We RUN. We explain. A cast member says, “That’s strange. Let’s see if your fast passes on your magic bands still work.” They do. We’re in!
We make our way through the immersive and exceptional queue. Some of us freak out the tiniest bit because, whoa, are those Storm Troopers next to us real or animatronics?
We’ve gone through the walking the portion of the “ride,” and get ready to board our pod.
There are technical difficulties. With just 3 hours of park time remaining, the ride goes down. Since we were in the middle of our experience, we get FastPasses to come back and skip the line as soon as it reopens.
We wait outside. We sit. We read. We beg the preschooler to nap in the stroller. The adults who have now already walked five miles wish somebody would ask them to nap in the stroller.
Okay, this is taking forever. It’s been over an hour. Let’s try the standby line of the second favorite ride: Smuggler’s Run. That wait is down to 1 hour (it was 2 hours earlier in the day). Is there time? We get in line, and oh! Nevermind! Rise of the Resistance is open again! Let’s go back.
It’s a hike to get to the other side of Batuu, but we go back. We skip the line. We ride, we cheer, we scream, we clap because that truly was the best ride ever. It was worth the wait, the hassle, the fuss, the headache.
We ride the ride high through dinner.
And then, instead of real dessert, we get this sweet icing on the theoretical cake: Chewbacca walks by where we’re eating dinner and decides to spend time with our family.
Our 9-year-old makes him laugh with her Chewie joke.
Our 7-year-old Star Wars expert tries speaking Shyriiwook with him.
My dad discovers that he is, in fact, (almost) as tall as a wookie.
And our sweet four-year-old: she’s obsessed!
She keeps hugging Chewie.
She tells him she was brave enough to fight Darth Vader.
She asks him to fly the Millennium Falcon with her.
In response, he takes her hand and leads her straight to the Millennium Falcon (Smuggler’s Run).
Someone with him (his handler maybe?) invites us to skip the line and go to the empty Fast Pass section. (It’s completely empty because visitors to Batuu can’t technically get Fast Passes for Smuggler’s Run for another month!)
Chewie has to go a different way to fly his ship, so he waves goodbye.
We shouldn’t have been able to skip the line, but our special time with Chewie changed the ending.
As we ride Smuggler’s Run, we see a simulated version of Chewie flying another ship near to us as we pilot ours. Our four-year-old thinks this is “our” Chewie, so she calls for him and runs to look for him when the ride is over.
We pat ourselves on the back because the ride tells us we did a good job and made (our new BFF) Chewie proud.
We end a (very) long day with tired feet, a big smile, and a whole lot of pixie dust.
Know Before You Go:
Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance is located in Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Join the Resistance in an epic battle against the First Order on this exciting new ride—now open! Must be 40” (102cm) or taller. Thrill ride, small drops, dark, loud.
Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run is in Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Fly the Millennium Falcon on a thrilling interactive smuggling mission—now open. Fastpass + available soon! Must be 38” (97cm) or taller. Thrill Ride, small drops, dark, loud, simulated motion.