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Image: David Vega

Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge remains one of the biggest draws at Walt Disney World, largely thanks to the success of Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance. Reservations at Disney’s Hollywood Studios continue to hit capacity, and it seems the excitement over this land will only continue to increase as more guests travel to the Most Magical Place on Earth in 2021.

Guests interested in Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge tend to ask a lot of the same questions—understandably as Disney has put a lot into this incredible land, and it’s not always easy to sort through the details. The last two years, we have written a lot of content here at Theme Park Tourist about Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, and it can be difficult to sift through it all especially since the parks have seen so many changes throughout 2020.

Do you have burning questions about Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge? Here are some of the most common ones we see again and again…

1. How do I get onto Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance?

Rise of the Resistance stormtroopers in Star Destroyer hangar
Image: Disney

There’s no point dilly-dallying—this is everyone’s top question regarding Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, and its not necessarily a simple one.

Disney has had an interesting problem with Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance—it has truly proven to be their most exceptional attractions to date, an 18 minute adventure that utilizes multiple ride systems to take guests on a harrowing journey into space, onto a First Order Star Destroyer, and back again. The ride proved so successful that it broke established attendance patterns and drew staggering crowds to the park. Disney leadership stood their ground that they didn’t want guests to be forced to wait in 12-14 hour queues just to enjoy the ride, so the attraction is only accessible via a virtual queue.

While a virtual queue sounds like a great concept, the system has definitely had its kinks. Originally, the queue was essentially “first come, first serve”, which led to massive crowds showing up as early as 3 AM some days, forcing Disney to open the park early on some occasions. The system was adjusted to only allow guests to procure a boarding pass from inside the park after official opening time, and while this reduced the ultra-early crowds, it essentially turned the system into a lottery, meaning many guests have planned trips specifically to ride Rise of the Resistance and aren’t able to get onto the ride. After the COVID-19 lockdown, the system was adjusted again to include a 2 PM boarding pass distribution to spread out crowds further.

Droid on transport on Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance
Image: Disney

As of November 2020, Disney has landed on a reasonable compromise with guests—boarding passes are now distributed at 7AM, several hours before park opening, meaning you do not need to be inside the park to get a Rise of the Resistance boarding pass.

As long as you have a registered ticket and a parks pass reservation, you can conceivably try for a Rise of the Resistance boarding pass from anywhere in Florida (although we would only recommend trying this if you can get to the parks in no more than 4 hours—you only have an hour to check in once your boarding group is called). If that fails, you can try again for a pass at 2PM, but for that boarding call you do need to be inside the park. Once park hopping returns in 2021, do be aware that you cannot get a Rise of the Resistance boarding pass unless your main park reservation is at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. You also can only get one boarding pass per day.

Passes disappear extremely fast—usually within 15-60 seconds. While Disney has increased capacity on Rise of the Resistance using plexiglass dividers, there is still an element of luck to getting a boarding pass.

Rise of the Resistance Boarding Group 1
Image: Jett Farrell-Vega (from My Disney Experience App)

Here are the main tips we recommend to increase your chances of getting onto Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance:

1) Make sure everyone in your party is linked together in My Disney Experience well before you try for a boarding group. This process can be time-consuming, so don’t risk doing it the day of. Also make sure all of your tickets are registered on My Disney Experience and that you have a Disney parks pass reservation (which secures you a spot within the park’s limited capacity for the day).

2) Have the My Disney Experience app open a few minutes before 7AM (or the boarding group distribution time if it gets changed in the future).

3) Be connected to the fastest internet connection you have access to. In Disney parks, this will mean mobile data. At home, your Wi-Fi may be faster.

4) Use more than one device if you have the ability to do so. We have consistently seen that faster devices have a somewhat better shot at getting passes (my husband actually got Boarding Group 1 on our anniversary trip this year using a Samsung Galaxy S10).

5) A minute or two before 7AM, go to the Rise of the Resistance Boarding Pass screen and refresh every second or so by swiping down. It will tell you boarding passes have not been distributed yet. Keep doing this as 7AM arrives until the option to get a pass pops up. Add all the members of your party (if they don’t appear as an option, just get the pass anyways—you may be able to sort out the bug with the Guest Experience Team in the park). Move quickly, and you may very well get a boarding group, though nothing is ever guaranteed. If you end up in a “Backup Group”, don’t fret—Disney has been reaching pretty high capacities with Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance lately, and we have gotten onto the ride later in the day several times from backup groups.

Under the new system, if you aren’t going to get a pass, at least you know early and can either try again in the park at 2PM or can change plans for the day. If do you try for a pass at 2PM, remember you need to be physically in the park. The steps are the same except for that we recommend that you turn off Wi-Fi and use mobile data instead—Disney’s Wi-Fi is pretty buggy.

2. Is this land only about the new trilogy? Why is Batuu important?

Millennium Falcon at Galaxy's Edge
Image: Disney

Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge is set on a special planet from the Star Wars Universe: Batuu, a quiet Outer Rim world not too far from Endor. This world was designed by Disney Imagineers to become a canon part of Star Wars, and many different stories from the new Star Wars canon now tie to it.

Your visit to the Black Spire Outpost on Batuu takes place on a specific day within the timeline of Star Wars—the day of the Battle of Batuu, when the Resistance has to evacuate their base on the planet to escape the First Order just before the events of The Rise of Skywalker. The backstory leading up to this day is quite interesting (such as the way Leia’s top spy, Vi Moradi, established the base and how Chewbacca has partnered with renowned swindler, Hondo Ohnaka, to lease out the Millennium Falcon to procure much-needed hyperdrive fuel for the Resistance fleet). In short, all of these preceding events come to a head on the day you arrive on Batuu, the same day the First Order catches up to Rey and Chewie. It’s particularly interesting that your participation on Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance is treated as a canon event that has significant effects on the story of The Rise of Skywalker.

Vi Moradi hiding from stormtroopers
Image: Disney

Despite being set in the timeline of the new trilogy, Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge isn’t just about that story.

Batuu was designed as a place that could tie to just about every era of Star Wars history. Fans of the Old Republic and The Mandalorian will recognize multiple nods to those tales in Dok Ondar’s Den of Antiquities. Fans of the classic trilogy will appreciate Batuu’s similarities to Tatooine and will especially enjoy touring the Millennium Falcon, as well as seeing Chewbacca, X-wings, Tie Fighters, Stormtroopers, and R2-D2. Fans of Clone Wars and Rebels will recognize Hondo Ohnaka, the Most-Interesting-Man-in-Star-Wars, on Millennium Falcon: Smuggler’s Run. Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance does a great job appealing to the full range of Star Wars fans, and you can even spot R-3X from Star Tours at Oga's Cantina.

In short, there’s a little something for everyone at Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, and both classic Star Wars fans and even those unfamiliar with the saga can enjoy it.

3. What characters can you see in Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge?

Rey at Galaxy's Edge
Image: Disney

Because we are dealing with a specific point and location in the Star Wars timeline, there are some limits to what characters you will encounter in Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge. The most common ones seen are Chewbacca, Rey, Kylo Ren, Stormtroopers, First Order officers, Vi (the Spy) Moradi (from the books Phasma and Black Spire), and sometimes Finn. Some guests have also seen R2-D2 at the Droid Depot.

Because of the timeline limitations, you won’t necessarily see characters like Han Solo, Luke Skywalker, Din Djarin (The Mandalorian), or Boba Fett—though as the Star Wars universe continues to evolve, more characters may arrive. While some character encounters are unavailable right now, once lockdowns lift, your best bet for seeing classic trilogy characters is actually over at Star Wars: Launch Bay on the other side of the park. When this wonderful museum of Star Wars lore is up and running, guests can enjoy up close character encounters with Chewbacca, Darth Vader, BB-8, Kylo Ren, and more.

4. Are you allowed to dress up in costume / Disneybound / cosplay at Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge?

Women Batuu-bounding as a smuggler
Image: David Vega

The answers is yes with some limitations.

Many Star Wars fans love dressing up for events and premieres. Disney wanted to embrace this, but the problem is that costumes generally are not allowed for guests over the age of 14 at Disney parks (because of the dangers that someone who isn’t an authorized cast member could be confused for one).

Disney found a really good middle ground for dressing up at Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge—guests can either Disneybound or “Batuu-bound”.

Disneybounding has been around a long time—essentially, it’s a workaround for the costume rules where guests are allowed to wear ensembles of modern or vintage clothing inspired by popular characters. In the case of Star Wars, we’ve seen fantastic Disneybounding outfits based on Padme Amidala, Kylo Ren, C-3PO, Rey, and Princess Leia—Han Solo is probably the most popular one for men. Star Wars Disneybounding is fun because you can really make it whatever you want—you’re just using that character’s look as inspiration rather than making a screen-accurate costume.

Batuu-bounding is something specific to Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge—essentially, guests are allowed to dress up as locals or visitors to Batuu by wearing clothes that could belong in the Star Wars universe. Generally, this includes lots of natural fibers, vests, belts, shrouds, etc. The special beauty of Batuu-bounding is that you can really make it your own and come up with your own character.

Four guests in Batuu-bounding clothes
Image: Disney (pre-lockdown picture)

In both categories, there are some limits:

  • Guests may not wear full face-masks (granted, there is some nice leeway with this rule now that facemasks are required—you can’t wear a Mandalorian helmet or a neck gaiter, but you can incorporate your approved mask into your costume).
  • You cannot wear military gear (like X-Wing pilot suits) or full costumes (like a Wookie costume)
  • No long robes that touch the ground. Jedi robes were originally banned, but we have seen these worn in the parks before, perhaps because they were shorter or bought inside Galaxy’s Edge.
  • Elaborate headgear (like Twilek or Togruta head tails) and more specialized costumes are only allowed for guests with admission to Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party.

We did an extensive guide for guests interested in Disneybounding and Batuu-bounding. The practice is a lot of fun, and it does open some neat doors for interactions with cast members in Galaxy’s Edge. If you enjoy potential role-playing components of a visit to Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, we’ve had the best luck with cast members at Dok Ondar’s Den of Antiquities (where I’ve been accused of being a spy multiple times) and Docking Bay 7.

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