When Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance opened at Disney World and Disneyland it was, in nearly every conceivable way, the biggest new attraction opening ever. The ride is physically massive, it's epic in its story, and it adds a level of immersive storytelling we've simply never seen before. The ride was so popular that since its inception it has utilized a virtual queue system that required guests to get a Boarding Group in advance, and those Boarding Groups were almost always gone the instant they were made available, making it tough for many to even get on the ride. However, yesterday Disney's Hollywood Studios was oddly empty, resulting in Boarding Groups being available almost all day, and eventually, for the first time ever, you could simply get in line and get on the ride.
Traditionally Boarding Groups were made available at 7:00am and 1:00pm and guests needed to use the Disney World app to try and get a slot. Those slots frequently disappeared within seconds of being made available. If you missed your shot in the morning you could try again in the afternoon, but if you were out of luck then, you wouldn't be going on the ride that day. But yesterday, things were very different as Boarding Groups weren't entirely gone until about 7pm last night. And then, after that happened, according to reporter Scott Gustin, people were able to just get in line for the first time ever.
One of the major criticisms of the Boarding Group system is that, even if guests were perfectly willing to spend a large chunk of their day waiting in a standby line to get on Rise of the Resistance, that option has simply never been available. People were just not able to get in line for the ride and wait, but last night that actually was possible.
The exact reason that the parks were so empty yesterday, is unclear. It was likely a combination of multiple factors. Schools are starting to go back into session in many places around the country, so summer vacations are wrapping up. Florida is dealing with a surge in covid cases, which may be keeping some who might still be considering summer vacations from choosing that particular location.
Another reason many guests may be holding off on visiting Walt Disney World is that they're planning on spending more money there in the very near future. At the beginning of the year Disney World stopped selling new Annual Passes, though the park has confirmed that APs will be back on sale before the 50th anniversary of the resort begins October 1. It's possible that many guests that are looking to buy APs are going to hold off until they get their pass, as they'll be able to do that fairly soon.
It will be interesting to see if this amount of traffic remains constant, and if so, for how long. This morning's batch of Boarding Groups did not hang around, but if everybody that tried to got one, we could see the afternoon groups hang around a bit longer again. While unlikely, maybe this is an indication that Rise of the Resistance, while still a top E-ticket attraction, simply isn't going to be in as high demand, and maybe the virtual queue simply won't be necessary. Perhaps people hoping for a standby line will get one sometime soon.
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CinemaBlend’s resident theme park junkie and amateur Disney historian. Armchair Imagineer. Epcot Stan. Future Club 33 Member.