We’ll go over my experience with Rise of the Resistance in this separate post since some people are still trying to avoid spoilers. I’ll cover the key points of what’s changed and what row/dot/position requests you may want to make in these first few picture-less paragraphs, and then include some more detailed photos of exactly what I’m talking about after the picture of the Muppet*Vision queue below.
Basically, what you need to know is that there are now plastic barriers in between the rows on the vehicles, in effect doubling the number of parties who can ride, along with increasing the hourly capacity. That translates to Disney moving through about 15 boarding groups per hour versus the eight that they previously averaged. They also release more groups, making it more likely that you’ll be able to secure a position.
The pre-shows are also modified where you may be assigned an inopportune position behind some flimsy plastic. In the first pre-show room, at the end of the queue that “feels” like a winding cave, you may want to request a spot in the back of the room for a full view of the introduction to your mission. Those assigned spots along the same wall as the monitors up front will have a limited view of what’s happening, and potentially no view whatsoever of a key character.
When you board the Resistance Transport Ship in the next area, which begins outdoors, you’ll want to be on one of the dots that is not in the very front left or right of the ship, or your view will again be obstructed. When you make it to the end of the next queue area and the First Order asks how many people are in your group, request the front row of the ride vehicle. That’s the most important request as your view won’t be hampered by the plastic reflections or the heads/phones of the people in the front row. Without putting in any requests, you have just about a 50/50 chance of being placed in a desirable position. Obviously, about half the people who ride will find themselves in a lesser position during each step.
The boarding group signup process hasn’t changed since last month, when Disney moved the first release to 7am. For a detailed look at how best to sign up for a boarding group, see this post. The main points are highlighted at the bottom if you don’t want to go over all of the various scenarios. But if you want the best shot at riding, you probably want to take the time to get it all figured out.
For more on how we got here, you can pull up the previous parts:
- The Best Way to Rope Drop Disney’s Hollywood Studios
- Disney’s Hollywood Studios Morning Touring With An Extra Early Start
- The Impossibility of Late Morning Disney’s Hollywood Studios Touring
We managed to obtain boarding group 50, which is just about perfect, as it will take Disney about three hours to get that far, assuming the ride doesn’t go down for technical difficulties. That will give us some time in the morning to visit some priorities and enjoy lunch without having to worry about being called over when we would prefer to take advantage of a short wait somewhere else.
But even so, between me and Corless, there is basically no duo on earth who has gone through the boarding group signup more times. And 49 boarding groups worth of people still managed to sign up first. All of the 7am boarding groups will fill in about ten seconds, and there is some amount of luck in getting your request in early. I’ve gotten everything from group 1 to getting completely shut out. By following the advice in the post linked above, and having more people attempt to sign the group up, you’ll increase your chances significantly.
As I mentioned early on, getting in line for Muppet*Vision as early as 10:45am would not have made much sense prior to March of this year. But with the extended queue full virtually all day from 11am onward, actual waits easily hit 25 to 60 minutes in the afternoon. In the theater, every other row is blocked off and three seats are kept empty for each party of up to four people. That means about 75% of the seats will go unoccupied, resulting in these much longer waits.
Once your boarding group is called, you’ll have up to an hour to return. You can keep an eye on the progress by clicking the “Check Status” button from the Disney World app home screen or checking the various monitors around the Park. You should also receive a push notification on your phone when your group is called. There may be an initial wait to scan your MagicBand/ticket to verify that it’s your turn in front of the attraction’s entrance, but as long as the outdoor queue pictured above isn’t filling, it should take about 15 minutes before you’re in the first pre-show.
That’s about the shortest wait to experience a ride in the Park at this point in the afternoon. That is the upside to the boarding group signup. After you obtain one, the actual wait to ride is short so long as there isn’t any major technical trouble. I got in line at 1:22pm, was in the first pre-show at 1:34pm, and on-board the actual ride at 1:45pm. The actual wait for Tower of Terror right now would be about 50 minutes.
Unfortunately, you can run into some pretty bad luck in your pre-show positioning. This is the undesirable view that I described in the opening paragraphs. Note how the thick orange lining is also right around eye level.
BB-8 is up there, but we will never see him from the dot we were assigned.
Rey is also sort of out of view behind this column, but we can at least see and hear most of her.
From one of the dots in the back, this is what you’d see.
From the front, we’re stuck with an artsy, tilted view of the monitors overhead.
Under normal conditions, people would have congregated towards the middle of the room. Obviously, that’s out. Back when the ride basically operated at half-capacity, there was also an opportunity for just about everyone to see the show from an angle where everything was in plain sight. These people in back are in luck.
The people up front will be stuck seeing about half of what’s going on through reflective plastic. Our view was from that dot on the far right.
From back here, you’re looking straight ahead with a clear view.
They’ve also expanded the capacity in the next ship.
Somehow this is exactly where I always end up.
But there certainly isn’t much of a view from those front corners. The main action is in the center.
Then the loosely-hung plastic adds some glare.
They don’t stick a group here in the middle of the back, but there are two large pieces of plastic dividing the two groups back there.
I’m probably looking through three layers of plastic here.
You won’t notice much, if any, difference in the rest of the queue.
I would recommend requesting the front row of the vehicle at what is basically the end of the queue, when you see this scene and a couple of long corridors overseen by members of the First Order.
A wider view of when you’ll be assigned a row for the actual ride. You may not want to bother the cast members with requests during the pre-shows, but this is the important one.
During the interrogation, you can tell them that the secret base is hidden at Super Mario World in Japan, hoping to hitch a ride out there.
There will be about twice as many people in the final pre-show, but everyone is placed far enough back to see what’s going on.
The next room is where you’ll board your transport. From the back, you’re going to see a lot of reflections.
It may have also just been my height, but about half of what I saw was through the plastic, and the other half was either above it or to the sides. That ended up being a little discombobulating, with things that were in the same location appearing as if they were two different distances away at varying degrees of bluriness. I would have preferred a much wider piece of plastic so it wouldn’t distract quite as much.
Fortunately, bacteria must not be able to move underneath or around plastic.
That’s what the vehicles look like with the plastic installed.
They still only seat a maximum of one party in each row.
Since I basically had the ride vehicle to myself over the past five months, I had forgotten that every middle-aged person takes vertical video on rides. So in addition to not having to look through plastic when seated in the front row, nobody’s head will be there with their phone raised up either. There are a million better videos of the ride on YouTube. Just use one of those and enjoy the experience.
Here we go:
Certainly, the doubling of the ride’s capacity will give a lot more people the opportunity to ride, which is only a good thing. If your placement in the two pre-shows is towards the back, and you’re seated in the front row of the vehicle, then your experience will also be just as good as it would have been back before the March closures.
Unfortunately, just about half of the people riding will have to do so in the back row. And at least a third of the people in the pre-shows are going to have some difficulty seeing what’s going on. It’s selfish, but I would request the front row on the vehicle and almost not take no for an answer, unless you’ve experienced the ride and have some empathy for those who haven’t. On most rides, I offer up the first row to the group behind me because I’m just that nice of a guy, and it’s not particularly important if I’m sitting in the front or back row on The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh. But the experience is significantly worse from the back row on Rise, and with no ability to re-ride on the same day, and no guarantee that you’ll be able to get a boarding group that will be called on a subsequent visit, this is one time where the row request will impact your experience the most.
We’ll move on through Galaxy’s Edge, into Toy Story Land, and then get over to the current iteration of the Frozen Sing-Along before attempting to find some reasonable waits at the rides.