We were deep in our planning for our Walt Disney World trip and the discussion turned to Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Galaxy’s Edge and Star Wars Rise of the Resistance. The plan was to go with another family. It was their first time at the Disney parks. We were talking about options and contingencies, such as which rides we wanted to ride and which rides we HAD to ride.
Using the My Disney Experience app, I’d been tracking wait times. It was the week before the lightning lanes debuted, so we didn’t have the option of cutting the standby queue. We weren’t staying on the park site so making a forced march to Baatu at rope drop wasn’t an option. As one of the most popular attractions in the history of the park, that half-hour early entry head start for resort guests who stay in the park meant there was no real advantage to going straight to see Kylo Ren right at the park opening.
Is there a good time to ride when wait times are shorter?
As diligently as I watched the wait times, I couldn’t find a discernable pattern between shorter wait times and long wait times. For example, in mid-afternoon, it seemed the wait times were more reasonable. But at that time, you were still seeing a lot of wait times that flirted with two hours or more. The average wait time was better, but still significantly more than an hour.
As we discussed our options, I pointed out that a two-hour wait time followed by a half-hour ride essentially accounted for a fifth of our entire day. I looked out at some crestfallen faces. They were expecting me to say we might have to miss the ride. Reader, I was born in 1974. I believed in the Force, The Jedi, all of it. It was real to me. As a result, there was no way I was missing that ride.
The day played out pretty much as I’d expected. At rope drop, as the legions of Star Wars fans made their way to Baatu, we headed toward Toy Story Land. We got good ride times for Toy Story Mania! and Alien Saucers first thing and then made our way to Baatu through the rear entrance. The things they have done with theme parks over the last generation have been amazing. Walking into the Wizarding World of Harry Potter or Baatu is a fully immersive experience. You feel transported in a way I never really thought was possible.
We saw Kylo Ren and the First Order Storm Troopers. We rode Smuggler’s Run, grabbed some Ronto Wraps and worked our way up to the long line for Rise of the Resistance. It was massive. We decided to bide our time. We hit Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway – another great new ride with a trackless ride system. And hit the rest of the park, keeping an eye on the Rise wait times.
A neglected (but good) Star Wars ride
The good news is we got to ride Star Tours several times. Star Tours remains a great ride for Star Wars fans and has been a little neglected because it’s not as new and shiny and – I think – they weren’t able to connect it to Baatu. Finally, our options were starting to wane and the wait times were not decreasing. So the other dad and I sent my wife and kids off to ride Slinky Dog Dash while we grabbed a place in the massive queue for Rise of the Resistance.
In the days of Fast Pass, I made it a point to never wait in an excessive line. We always planned our vacations and our days where we could accomplish the things we wanted without torturing ourselves. That means there were years when we missed the Jungle Cruise or Peter Pan or one of the other rides that typically have longer wait times. I forget exactly what the listed wait was when we got in line. But it snaked from the entrance to the ride up and out of Baatu and back behind the Muppets Theatre.
I cannot stress this enough. It was miserable. I can handle the walking and the heat. Certainly, I can handle almost anything they want to throw at me in Disney parks. But the standing and waiting can be just miserable. It’s hard on the back and the feet and the soul. The kids caught up with us before we made it to the actual entrance to the ride. And so we managed to shave some of the wait time off for them.
How’s the line for Rise of the Resistance?
The queue for Rise of the Resistance is cool. There are diverting little tidbits and theming but at a certain point, it doesn’t matter. It becomes an endurance game, shuffling a few steps at a time as you get closer and closer as each boarding group gets their ride vehicle. Finally, it was time. The pain left my feet. My back stopped hurting and my soul returned to my body. We were in Star Wars.
How is the ride itself?
I only thought Baatu was an immersive experience, Rise of the Resistance is on another level. Poe Dameron. BB-8. Rey. Finn. Kylo Ren. Gen. Hux. An original trilogy guy, I was thrilled to see Nien Nunb and called out his name like I’d seen a Hollywood celebrity. The ride itself? As a Star Wars fan, I think it is likely the best theme park ride ever created. I know some will point to a roller coaster somewhere, but this was something more.
You start in a briefing room and then are whisked onto a ship and taken off world. As you are trying to get through, you’re taken in by the First Order. And pulled via tractor beam onto a star destroyer. The doors of your transport open and you’re greeted by a phalanx of stormtroopers with a wide window into open space behind them. It is awe-inspiring. You’re ordered where you need to go by cast members who stay in character as members of the First Order trying to suss out traitors.
After the resistance breaks you out of your holding cell, you are finally loaded onto the ride systems. And then a frenetic, trackless escape gets underway featuring massive battles and life-size, laser-firing AT-ATs. You’re chased by Kylo Ren and saved by the resistance. By the time your escape pod crashes back down, you’ll be ready to queue up for another two-hour wait to do it a second time.
So is Rise of the Resistance worth the wait?
Yes. Emphatically yes. Rise of the Resistance may well be worth the entire price of admission to Hollywood Studios. Would I pay $100 to ride again? I would. It is – for the record – the only ride in the park I’d pay the single ride Lightning Lane pass for.
What if you’re not a Star Wars fan?
Honestly, it’s hard for me to put myself in the shoes of someone who doesn’t at least like Star Wars. I believe that the ride and theming are so well done, the cast is so good, and the technological wonders so massive, that even non-Star Wars fans will love it. It’s a massive achievement.
What is the average wait for Rise of the Resistance?
The average wait time for Rise of the Resistance, in my experience, is about 100 minutes. From my observation, I’d consider anything under 100 minutes doable and anything south of 90 minutes a must. You’re still going to see plenty of wait times north of two hours and as much as three hours. If you’re going to buy the Lightning Lane pass, do it as early as possible. They sell out quickly.
Is the Rise of the Resistance wait time accurate?
I haven’t ridden it enough to say definitively. I briefly went to the ancestral plane while in line. Therefore, I can’t address the passage of time with any great authority. However, I will say in my experience Disney tends to err on the side of caution. Certainly, they prefer to under-promise and over-deliver. I’ve seen several people say their wait was significantly less – by like 20 minutes – than advertised. However, I wouldn’t bank on it.
Is Rise of the Resistance a roller coaster?
No. It’s so much better. There are some small drops and some backward motion, but the ride vehicle – which is very comfortable – is its own little car. It doesn’t operate on a track and is controlled by a computer.
Have you tried Rise of the Resistance? Let us know what you think in the comments!