TIPS AND INFO: How we got our Boarding Group for STAR WARS: RISE OF THE RESISTANCE at Disneyland
So you’re ready to check out Disneyland’s newest attraction, STAR WARS: RISE OF THE RESISTANCE? This past Saturday, we were too!
When it comes to the Virtual Queue / Boarding Group process for this new attraction at Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge expansion, no result is typical but we were equipped with an understanding for how the process worked from this earlier info guide. There are as many suggestions for securing a Boarding Group as there are twinkles on Cinderella’s dress so ultimately you’ll want to follow the steps that feel right for you.
If you like to live vicariously through other people’s experiences, we invite you now to follow along on our process for enjoying STAR WARS: RISE OF THE RESISTANCE on its first official Saturday of operation at Disneyland!
Annual Passholer Contingency
Even — and ESPECIALLY — if you don’t have an annual pass, this is good general advice for visiting the Disneyland Resort… Always check the official Admissions & Blockout Calendar to see which Annual Passes are blocked out. The more passes that are allowed to visit, the more crowded you can generally expect the parks to be, particularly on weekends.
ONE LINER: The more Annual Passes that can visit, the more crowded you can expect the crowds, especially on weekends.
Parking Your Car
Mickey and Friends Parking Structure opens 90 minutes before park opening. You don’t necessarily have to arrive at that time but your goal is to make it through the Disneyland Main Entrance gates before 8am. We found gridlock on the streets right when the structure opened so we swung a right instead of a left off the 5 South off-ramp and opted to drive around Mickey and Friends to enter the Pixar Pals Parking Structure off Magic Way. We found literally no wait to enter with this plan of attack.
ONE LINER: Park at Pixar Pals and get there about an hour and a half before park opening.
Entering the Resort
We opted to take the new pedestrian bridge to enter the Resort secure zone at the Hotel-facing entrance to Downtown Disney.
ONE LINER: Enter Downtown Disney from the hotel entrance.
Getting into Disneyland
Saturday is an Extra Magic Hour opportunity for guests of the Disneyland Resort hotels. That means they get first dibs on scanning into the park. For everyone else… to the Main Entrance!
ONE LINER: If you’re staying at a Disneyland Resoert hotel, go on an Extra Magic Hour day. Otherwise, hightail it to the Main Entrance.
Hurry Up and Wait
The great thing about the current Boarding Group process is that you don’t have to be IN the park to get a Boarding Group HOWEVER you do have to have been scanned into the park. So once you’ve been scanned in, you can literally leave the park and go back to your hotel room, go visit DCA (where it will be less congested… of people and data/wifi signals), or go to Downtown Disney. The park opens at 8am but this past Saturday they were already admitting guests into the park well in advance of this to allow time for the crowds to get scanned in.
ONE LINER: The lines move quick, just make sure to get scanned in before 8am.
We’ve even heard of some people scanning into the park and then going to work or back home and getting their Boarding Group assignments from there! Of course, that means you’ll have to come back to the park if you do get an early Boarding Group but you do have TWO HOURS to return to the attraction once your Boarding Group number is called. You can verify Boarding Groups in the Disneyland mobile app or via screens in the park.
It was surreal seeing all the people milling around the park waiting for 8am while staring down at their devices.
The line for Starbucks extended down the street towards Town Square.
ONE LINER: Pre-caffeinate yourself before you get to the park.
Most people tend to push forward towards the hub of the park. That’s the limit though until 8am as the park is still technically closed until that time. We do not advise doing this as your mobile device will be in competition for wifi or data signal with all of the dozens of people standing next to you who are also doing the same thing.
ONE LINER: Don’t huddle in a crowd, give yourself a better shot away from the crowds.
A New Hope
At around 7:45 we made our way over to Disney California Adventure with the hope of having an easier time away from the crowds. By this time, the crazy long lines to enter Disneyland had mostly subsided. For some? A blessing, for others? A case of TOO CLOSE FOR COMFORT!
ONE LINER: Try somewhere BESIDES Disneyland after you scan in.
Extra Magic Hour lines were the shortest all morning. A perk of staying at the Disneyland Resort hotels on an Extra Magic Hour day!
Not very many people were heading into Disney California Adventure which was our goal… to be surrounded by as much data/wifi signal as possible with as little competition as possible!
We’re not entirely sure why but rope-drop at DCA on Saturday happened five minutes ahead of 8am. We’ve never seen this done so we’re not sure why but what that did was draw the little crowds that WERE in the park away from Carthay Circle!
Scoring a Boarding Group
With Carthay Circle empty, we decided to have a nice sit by the lovely fountain and open up the Disneyland app. At about 7:59 we began the frantic process of constantly refreshing the Boarding Group page of the Disneyland mobile app.
Ultimately, we did end up getting our Boarding Group, number 77 (despite a Cast Member in DCA assuring that we’d be foiled as the process was geofenced, requiring you to be in Disneyland). While geofencing could very well be an option in the future we did not find this to be the case and don’t find it likely that it will be a part of the process in the future.
The app informed us that on Saturday only groups 1-75 were considered primary Boarding Groups and anything higher than that was considered waitlist. This number seems to fluctuate with how much capacity Disney thinks the attraction can attain any given day — we’ve seen thresholds of 80 and 82 so it varies from day to day. Regardless, this past Friday and Saturday the attraction was able to serve Boarding Groups up to just over 100 so we had a very good feeling about our chances.
ONE LINER: DCA is a great place to get your boarding pass, assuming you already scanned into Disneyland first.
The Waiting Game
Throughout the day, you can keep an eye on in-park signage to see Boarding Group numbers. You can also check obsessively in the Disneyland app! Having Boarding Group 77 and seeing an average of 10 or so groups an hour getting called, we guessed our call to board would come around 5pm. Of course, any unscheduled downtime for the attraction can throw off any and all estimations. As luck would have it, we received a push notification in the Disneyland app at 4pm that Group 77 was now boarding!
ONE LINER: Stay updated on the Mobile App for your Boarding Group call time.
May the Force Be With You!
Once you’re ready, follow signage in the land to the attraction! Don’t forget, you have TWO HOURS from the time your Boarding Group is called to get yourself to the main entrance to scan in!
Signage in the land serves reminders to the poor souls who did not secure a Boarding Group. (They should have read MouseInfo, first!)
ONE LINER: HAVE FUN!
Ready for Spoilers?
Check out our full POV video of the entire experience!
See it for Yourself
STAR WARS: RISE OF THE RESISTANCE is now open in Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge at Disneyland!
MAY THE FORCE BE WITH YOU!
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