Disney World

Troopers at Rise of the Resistance

Is Rise of the Resistance worth the wait? Average wait time [PHOTOS]

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 who loves Disney. However, 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.

Rey at Rise of the Resistance
Rey is featured in the completely immersive ride (photo by James Overholt/HeyOrlando.com)

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. 

And if I’m being honest, much of it still is. 

There was no way on God’s Green Earth I was missing that ride. 

“We’ll just have to deal with it,” I said. “We have no other choice.” 

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 in to 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. 

Read Also: Where is the Wookie Cookie at Disney? A look at this Star Wars treat

Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance Hologram
Riders start off in a briefing room (photo by James Overholt/HeyOrlando.com)

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 all the way up 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. In fact, 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. 

BB8 at Rise of the Resistance
BB-8 makes an appearance as well (James Overholt/HeyOrlando.com)

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 really 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.

Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance Rey
The ride will likely be fun and memorable even for those who are not huge Star Wars fans (photo by James Overholt/HeyOrlando.com)

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 off in a briefing room and then 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. 

Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance Ship
If you think Baatu is immersive, wait until you ride Rise of the Resistance (photo by James Overholt/HeyOrlando.com)

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. 

Read Also: Is there a Star Wars hotel? How much is the Galactic Cruiser resort?

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.

My belief is that the ride and theming are so well done, the cast is so good, the technological wonders so massive, that even non-Star Wars fans will absolutely 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 own 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. 

Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance
The long queue has plenty of Star Wars memorabilia throughout (photo by James Overholt/HeyOrlando.com)

Is the Rise of the Resistance wait time accurate? 

I haven’t ridden it enough to say definitively. In fact, I briefly went to the ancestral plane while in line, so 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!

Test seats at Hollywood Rip Ride and Rock It

Is Universal Studios fat friendly? A helpful guide for plus-size guests

It wasn’t until a few seconds before they opened the doors to let us on the ride that I knew I was in trouble. 

The five of us had waited 45 minutes or so in line. In fact, that was before getting into another line before being shepherded into the prep room for Despicable Me: Minion Mayhem in Universal Studios Florida. 

Gru and the girls had just entered the process and set up what we were about to see. As we prepared to shuttle onto the ride, the description of the ride popped up: Four seats to a ride vehicle row, single lap bar. 

I despise the single lap bar. 

I was stuck with a pair of less-than-ideal options. Specifically, riding a single lap bar next to me is basically like riding without a lap bar for my kids. As a result, I am mortified at the idea that someone else’s experience would be affected because my body type doesn’t fit the ride’s restraint system. 

“You four go,” I said to the family, hoping I’d get lucky and have someone else of larger size in my row. 

I began apologizing profusely to the guy next to me as we sat down and put our hands in the air, waiting for the lap bar to come down. 

I felt, in that moment, like I was waiting for the guillotine.

My survival mechanism through the years has been to compartmentalize, lock it up and bury it. Trauma? Crippling worry? Lock it up. Keep moving ahead. 

This allows me to go through quite a bit of my life without confronting just how big I have allowed myself to become.

Despicable Me Minion Mayhem
Despicable Me Minion Mayhem is not plus-size friendly, and the employees were less than accommodating (photo by James overholt/HeyOrlando.com)

How big are we talking? 

Morbidly obese. Most days I was the largest – in girth – person I saw in the park.

But I function – most days – by setting aside the guilt and the self-loathing and the shame and the worry and going about my life as best I can under the circumstances which I have created for myself. 

But there are times I can’t put it away. 

There are times that the blubbery reality of what I have allowed myself to become stands right in front of my face and demands to be reckoned with. 

And so I was, hands in the air, apologizing over and over again to a stranger for affecting his ride experience and trying desperately to keep the negative thoughts locked away. 

Then the lap bar came down, automatically, painfully on top of my stomach. 

The attendant announced over the intercom that there was an issue. I looked up to see two workers heading my way. Quickly, I was up out of the seat, waving them off and moving to the front where a bench awaits those who can’t ride the ride but want to watch the show.

I kept my head down, making myself as small and unnoticeable as possible – an impossible task. 

All I wanted was to be out of the center of attention. Above all, the self-loathing, the internal recriminations, the guilt and the anger were bubbling up inside me. In addition, I felt the heat of every eye in the place as they waited for me to get out of the way. 

That’s when the voice piped up over the in-ride intercom. 

“Enjoy the ride?” she chirped playfully. 

I don’t know if she could hear me. And I wanted nothing more than to get to a seat on the dang bench and let them start the ride.

“Yeah. It was great,” I played along. 

“Shortest ride in the park,” she said.

I sat down and the room went dark and Gru, the Minions and the girls began their hijinks. 

We booked our trip to Universal Studios Orlando with a full understanding that there would be many times I would have to be a bystander. Universal Studios and, especially, Universal’s Islands of Adventure are amusement parks built on the back of thrill rides.

Rip Ride Rockit empty seat with bar restraint
The Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit seat may not be ample enough for the larger rider (photo by James Overholt/HeyOrlando.com)

Are the rides at Universal Studios plus-size friendly?

Most of Universal’s theme-park attractions come with warnings that people with unique body dimensions would not be able to ride due to the safety restraints.

Most of the rides warn that people who have 40-inch waists or more might not be able to ride. I didn’t see any particular weight restrictions or a weight limit, just warnings that certain size people might not be able to ride.  

And that’s OK. 

There have to be size limits. Certainly, I understand that I exist on the other side of those limits.

It’s impractical to think a ride like the Jurassic World Velocicoaster is going to be able to accommodate someone of my size. Even if they did build a ride vehicle that could carry me upside down and through a bunch of g-forces, I’m pretty sure it would be a bad idea for me to ride it. 

And so we knew ahead of time that many of the big rides come with test seats where you can avoid the indignity I felt on the Minion ride.

Overall, we had a great time at Universal and I’d happily sign up to take the family again, especially now that I know where some of the more unexpected pitfalls lie. 

Is Universal Studios fat friendly? 

No. It isn’t. 

And listen, I don’t love the term fat friendly, but that’s what the internet has decided to go with for now. If the most commonly used search terms change, then so will I. 

And to be fair, Universal isn’t fat antagonistic either.

The park is, in my opinion, fat apathetic in both its planning and training. 

Fat apathetic means that while the park isn’t against fat people or working to lessen their experience, there wasn’t much thought given to how to improve the experience for overweight visitors. 

In fact, there were several instances in which had someone simply put a little thought into it, the park could have been more accommodating without a lot of effort. 

MEN IN BLACK Alien Attack sign Universal Studios Florida
The Men in Black Alien Attack is an interactive ride at Universal Studios in Florida (photo by James Overholt/HeyOrlando.com)

Which rides at Universal Studios are plus-size friendly?

Universal has several motion rides – Transformers, Simpsons, Race Through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon, Spider-Man, Minion Mayhem and Men in Black.

I could ride all of them except the Minion Mayhem ride. Why would that ride vehicle be designed differently than the others? Maybe the others represent newer thinking, but I’m not sure. 

The exit turnstiles at Islands of Adventure vs Universal Studios

Another example?

The exit turnstiles at Islands of Adventure are not quite as far apart as they are at Universal Studios. I was able to exit Universal Studios just fine all week, but the first time I tried to leave Islands of Adventure, I didn’t fit.

Luckily, I was close to the stroller exit. I could step over behind a stroller and leave quietly.

Or so I thought. 

One of the Universal employees at the gate saw me leave and yelled, “Strollers and wheelchairs only” to the exiting crowd. Was he talking to me or were there other people following my lead? I don’t know.

I put my head down and didn’t look back.

Test seats at Hagrid's Magical Creatures
Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure was close to being plus-size friendly but not quite there (photo by James Overholt/HeyOrlando.com)

Are the Harry Potter rides plus-size friendly?

Finally, we made the long trek at rope drop to Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure. I’d tried not to get my hopes up. The Universal website sets the bar for limitations low for the Harry Potter rides, but looking at the ride design, I thought I’d have a shot. 

And so, after the big walk, my family was putting their stuff into the lockers, I went over to the test vehicle and sat down – comfortably in the sidecar. 

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter has been the big draw to Universal for us for quite some time. The Harry Potter universe has been a shared passion of my oldest daughter and mine since she was first old enough to understand the books. 

I’d wanted to bring her for years but we kept putting it off.

“Holy crap,” I thought to myself, feeling a wave of euphoria. “I fit in this seat. I’m going to get to ride.” 

It was then I saw the green light wasn’t on. I had the red light. I couldn’t get the restraints down far enough into the locking position. The euphoria washed away.

The motorcycle part wasn’t any better. 

I had to smile and wave as they walked off down the queue and I went and sat in the shade until they got back.

Read Also: Does Universal have water rides? The best rides that will get you wet

A tester seat at Universal Studios Florida
Many rides will offer tester seats outside the ride at Universal in Orlando, like the Race Through New York with Jimmy Fallon (photo by James Overholt/HeyOrlando.com)

Are the employees friendly, or at least understanding? 

It depends wildly on the employee. In general, I think the customer service at Universal is a bit hit or miss, especially when compared to Disney.

For example, the employees at the test seats were always very nice. Clearly, they’d been trained – or at least selected for their empathy. 

Conversely, in the line at Spider-Man, with rows of four seats, they asked us to go three in one row and two in another. I asked the guy if we could go 4 and 1, allowing me to have a lap bar (and a row) to myself. 

“You figure it out,” he said, sounding quite irritated.  

Then, when my family took up row one and I started to sit behind them, he sent three more people into the row with me. 

Again, I apologized profusely to the family beside me. But they were nice and the ride went off without a hitch. 

I wish I had gotten the employee’s name at the Race Through New York, which had a test seat that I didn’t see. There, we’d spent most of our time in the queue getting yelled about what color our ticket was or whatever.

But when I walked in and sat down – first of the row thanks to another employee’s recommendation – our guy had a brief look of panic. 

“Should I just get off?” I asked him. 

“No,” he said. “I’ll make sure you get to ride.” 

He pulled out a seat belt extender, which reached easily. And then he stepped around behind me to where he could help make sure I was buckled. He checked on me again before the ride started and then after. 

I hope he gets a raise. 

The Incredible Hulk coaster at Universal Studios Florida
Plus-size riders will not be able to ride the Incredible Hulk Coaster at Universal Islands of Adventure (photo by James Overholt/HeyOrlando.com)

What rides can you not ride when plus-sized? 

None of the big coasters. For example, you won’t be able to ride The Incredible Hulk Coaster or the Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit. Neither of the Harry Potter dark rides. I didn’t try Doctor Doom’s Fearfall. But I don’t think I could have done it.  

The ride car for Escape from Gringotts had theming on the side that kept me from even getting into the seat. And while I fit in the seat for Forbidden Journey, I couldn’t get the green light for the restraint device. 

I also had to get off the Jurassic Park River Adventure Ride. However, the employees there were very gracious and helpful.

The Flight of the Hippogriff at Universal Studios Florida
Guests of most sizes can ride the Flight of the Hippogriff at Universal in Florida (photo by James Overholt/HeyOrlando.com)

So what can you ride?

In addition to the ones I mentioned previously, I rode the heck out of Flight of the Hippogriff. It was just the right speed for my two younger children. In fact, we rode several times while Leslie and Sofia tackled the Forbidden Journey ride.

We rode everything in Seuss Landing, which was nice to get to do as a family. I didn’t try Dudley Do-Right’s Ripsaw Falls. Just by the eye test, I didn’t think I’d make it. I didn’t even try the special test seats on that one.

Read Also: What is the Knight Bus in Harry Potter? Is the bus at Universal real?

So, what can you expect as a heavy person?

I wrote most of this with a voice in the back of my head asking this question.

I imagine it’s the voice of some reader on the internet reading all this and wondering why I expect Universal to make accommodations just because I’m big. Or maybe it’s my voice asking the same question. 

Ultimately, I don’t expect Universal to change a million things to accommodate me. My condition, my situation, whatever we want to call it, my size is my fault. Surely, it is the result of years of weakness. And also bad choices and whatever else goes into the mix that allowed me to get this way. 

In a broad sense, Universal told me what to expect and basically delivered it though by keeping the specific warning generic. Focusing on 40-inch waistlines left me having to just guess the ones I could ride. And that’s really all I want. Universal parks set the parameters.

And then, I will find a way to work within them. 

I don’t want special treatment. I understand that rides can’t be built with unlimited capacity. 

Still, I was a paying customer. My ticket wasn’t less even though I wasn’t going to be adding to the wait times on the most popular rides. 

What did I expect? 

A little bit more understanding and customer service. 

There were moments of real grace. But also, moments that made me cringe. I don’t want to be made to feel lesser. 

Keep an eye on the little things like the turnstiles or table placements in the restaurants. 

A little more privacy near the test ride vehicles would be cool as well. A couple of times it felt like being in a dressing room without a door.  

An extra ride test area near the front of the park where larger guests could just knock ‘em out and know beforehand what they can and can’t ride would be pretty awesome as well. I certainly would have appreciated it before making the uncomfortable march to Hagrid’s.

Transformers the ride
Transformers is a motion ride that is generally friendly for plus-size riders (photo by James Overholt/HeyOrlando.com)

What changes would I like to see?

I wouldn’t mind a little more clarity in ride specifics. 

Universal basically has two warnings. One for rides with restraint systems and one for rides with bench seats. Going by the descriptions, I shouldn’t have been able to ride anything.

The blanket warning for each ride stated that there could be an issue for anyone with a 40-inch waist. Well, by my experience, someone with a 40-inch waist should be able to ride almost everything comfortably, including Hagrid’s. 

If I could ride Simpsons or Men in Black, then someone with a 40-inch waist would be FINE. 

By having essentially the same warning for each ride, I found myself playing roulette with whether I’d be able to ride or not. Towards the end of the trip, I passed up a couple of chances to ride. I didn’t want that embarrassment again, that walk of shame. 

Disney vs Universal for plus-size riders

It’s not fair, I suppose, to compare Universal to Disney. But my experiences at Disney have been far more accommodating. From employee interactions to having a clear understanding of which rides I can and can’t do. 

At Disney, I can ride the vast majority of the rides. At Universal, I can’t.

I want them to consider, as much as possible, varying body types when they debut a new ride. Is it going to be a tight fit or an impossible fit? It would be nice to know ahead of time.

I want to feel like at least some thought went into building an experience obese people can enjoy as well.

Ultimately, I want to feel, I suppose like I do when I’m at Disney. 

Have you had a similar experience to share? Let us know in the comments.