Thinking of taking a younger child on Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance? Well, I recently rode multiple times with my five year old, and here’s all you need to know.
While I will try not to include any major spoilers, I will walk through the different parts of the attraction so you know what to expect with a younger one.
Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance uses a virtual queue system, so you need to have a Boarding Group number to ride. There is no option to ride through FastPass+ or in a standby line. Due to the attraction’s popularity, everyone riding really needs to be inside the park before the official opening time to secure one, as they are limited and go fast… like really, really fast… sometimes within minutes.
I would recommend arriving at the park at least half an hour before opening to get through security and the turnstiles. You will be allowed to enter the park before the official opening and should, as you must be inside the park to get a Boarding Group.
You can obtain a Boarding Group through the My Disney Experience app right at park opening time or by asking one of the Guest Experience Team members for assistance (but do that immediately at park opening time). Make sure you open and/or refresh the app right before the official opening time, and select “Join Boarding Group” once the option is clickable. Then select the Guests who will be riding (they must be in the park or you can’t continue), and you will be assigned a Boarding Group number. Once all of the Boarding Groups are filled, they usually offer backup Boarding Groups, but those Guests are not guaranteed to ride.
Once your Boarding Group is called, you have a one hour to get to the ride (similar to a FastPass+ window). You can check the status of Boarding Groups through the app or electronic boards throughout the park, and you can also receive notifications through the app once your group is called. Also, you don’t have to stay in the park and can return once your group is called.
There is a 40″ height requirement to ride. If you have shorter children, Rider Switch is available.
While the actual attraction run time is under 20 minutes, it usually takes us 45-60 minutes to get through the ride, due to the queue and additional shorter waits between the different parts.
Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance isn’t just a ride – it’s an experience! So prepare for light speed because here we go…
Once your Boarding Group is called and you arrive at the attraction, a Cast Member will scan your Magic Band or ticket to confirm your time.
The queue begins outside, but you quickly enter a cave and wind through several rooms. As you progress, there becomes more to see, including a Resistance armory and some cool X-wing flight suits.
At the end of the queue, you are separated into smaller groups for the pre-show, which features some familiar (not scary) Star Wars characters.
Then a door opens, and you are quickly ushered by Resistance Cast Members to an outdoor courtyard to board a transport ship.
While the story line and Cast Members make it seem like you need to hurry, there is an overall feeling of excitement (and not panic).
Tip: If your child starts to feel anxious here, just point out Poe’s X-wing with BB-8. They are off to the side of the courtyard and an impressive, and reassuring, sight.
The transport part of the attraction is a simulator, but it is much, much tamer than Star Tours. In fact, it is so tame that it’s standing room only with handrails for the small movements. There are larger, primary screens at the front and back, with smaller screens on the side.
Tip: While most people head toward the front of the transport with it’s cool animatronic, I recommend standing at the window/screen in the back with younger kids. The handrails are lower, and they have an awesome, front-row view of all of the action (which is similar to what is shown on the screen in the front).
This part is seems to be well-known, so I think it’s safe to share… your transport gets captured by a First Order Star Destroyer.
When the doors of the transport open, an “imposing” First Order Cast Member tells you to exit the transport, and while they are in character, they never made my five year old nervous. I think it also helps to be in the back of the transport with younger kids so they are not front and center when the side door opens with the Cast Member standing there.
Once you depart the transport, you are now in the massive hangar of the Star Destroyer – and it’s even more impressive in person than all of the photos you have seen.
Also, while that many Stormtroopers may seem intimidating, Disney does a great job of not making it scary. The animatronic Stormtroopers make small, lifelike movements, but they remain stationary in their spots. Every time we rode, we were able to have a minute or two to take photos before being ushered into interrogation.
If your younger child is going to have any anxiety or nervousness about the ride, it will probably be during this part of the attraction. However, I wouldn’t let it keep you from riding, because the best is still to come.
Once you exit the hangar, you enter a hallway that splits into two lines. You may have to wait a few minutes at the point. Once you reach the front of the line, a First Order Cast Member very much in character will direct you to line up in another spot.
Now, these Cast Members are intimidating (which makes the experience completely immersive), but they are also awesome with kids. One noticed my son was looking nervous, so she came up to him, in character, and said “So I see you are a good listener. Good. I like good listeners.” It eased the tension, and we both laughed about it later.
Next, you enter an interrogation cell, which also has an imposing feel. My son was a little nervous here the first time, as he didn’t know what to expect.
There are brief appearances by Kylo Ren and crew, but they are at a distance. There are also a few light and sound effects, but they were all very brief.
Note: Once we ended up waiting in this room for a few extra minutes, which made my son a little concerned, but we ended up talking about all of the cool parts of the ride so far, and he was fine.
I will not share details here, but the rest of the ride is AWESOME. By means I will not reveal, the rest of the ride takes place in trackless vehicles racing through the Star Destroyer.
Each ride vehicle consists of two rows of four seats, and there are individual seat belts. There is a droid “driving” your vehicle, and you hear familiar character voices throughout the ride.
This part of the attraction runs on a trackless system, and you encounter Stormtroopers and Kylo Ren on multiple occasions. You are also shot at by blasters, and even have a close encounter with a lightsaber, but the whole ride comes across as exciting and exhilarating, instead of scary.
I think the timing of everything makes it so you are on to the next exciting part of the ride before a younger child would even have the time to think something could be scary. The ride also moves quickly and has some spins and turns, but it is much more mild than a rollercoaster or something like the tea cups.
Note: At the end, there is a simulator part similar to Star Tours, but with a closer screen. While it is shorter in duration and not as rough as Star Tours, there is a small drop. I decided to let my son know it was coming ahead of time, but neither of us thought it was bad.
Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance takes attractions to a whole new level, and after our first ride, my five year old and I just looked at each other and simply said “wow.” I actually needed a few minutes to take in all that we just experienced.
So was I happy that I took my five year old on this ride? YES!
And we both can’t wait to ride it again.