Rise of the Resistance called 82 Boarding Groups a couple days ago, leaving what looks to be 4 groups uncalled. In the 46 days I’ve been tracking numbers for estimated distributions, this would be the 14th day that the attraction has left groups uncalled. For a day like this, having 4 uncalled boarding groups is unusually good – it’s a new low for when the ride can’t get to everyone. Here’s a graph showing these days, when any boarding groups were assigned but didn’t get to ride, over the past 46 days:
August 11 – with 42 – is an outlier. It remains the only post-reopening day that the ride never ran. If we pull that out, in the past 45 days, when Disney does not complete all boarding groups, they average 11.7 uncalled groups. So when ROTR does fail to complete (about 3 days out of every 10), it’s doing a decent job of getting through the vast majority of people who managed to get reservations (although we don’t know how many people are in each group).
When Does Rise of the Resistance Stop Calling Boarding Groups?
One thing that becomes very clear in studying boarding group data is that Disney prefers to not call groups in the park’s final hour. They absolutely love to call the final group exactly one hour before closing (this is especially true for 8:00 p.m. closings, where they made their final call right around 7:00 p.m. in 24 out of 52 days), and you can constantly see them aiming for this. Their typical pattern when all is working well is to call groups every 5 minutes, but if they can manage, they’ll switch it up to every 4 minutes or every 2 minutes as they near the final hour, and sometimes even call two at a time. For example, notice on 9/3, how many more groups are called between 6:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. The number skyrockets to 17 so that they can finish calling by 7:00 p.m.
How deep into that final hour are they willing to call boarding groups? And at what point do they decide to cut off further boarding? As with everything at WDW, this answer varies.
August 10, 2020 is the first day I have data that shows uncalled boarding groups at park closing. ROTR called its final group, 87, at exactly 7:00 p.m., with an estimated 16 groups remaining. On August 12, boarding group 83 (of 92) was the last called, at 7:20 p.m. and on August 16, boarding group 77 was the final one called, at 7:20 p.m. with 18 remaining. Finally, on September 6, boarding group 94 was the final one called, at 7:30 p.m. This left 8 groups with unusable reservations.
It’s hard to tell why the stopping place differs each time. While we can’t know for sure, there isn’t evidence of the ride going down. But with an 8:00 p.m. closing, 7:30 p.m. appears to be a firm (but not absolute) cutoff, and 7:00 p.m. appears to be Disney’s goal for the last boarding group called.
How Do Shorter Park Hours Affect Rise of the Resistance Boarding Groups?
Disney runs boarding groups later into the evening when the Studios closes at 7:00 p.m. For example, on the first two days of 7:00 p.m. closing times – on 9/8, ROTR got through all boarding groups, calling the last group (89) at 7:05 p.m., 5 minutes after close. Calling a boarding group after park closing was virtually unheard of when the park closed at 8:00 p.m. On 9/9, things didn’t go as smoothly, but they called new boarding groups through 7:00 p.m., leaving just 5 groups uncalled.
Disney does seem to end boarding earlier when they know they’re not going to get to all the groups. On nightmare days 9/12 and 9/13, where they only managed to call 40 and 36 groups respectively, they made their final calls at 6:30 p.m., leaving 23 and 16 groups with useless reservations. On a much better day, 9/20, they called up to 6:40 p.m. They’d been calling every 4 minutes for a while. They suddenly called two groups, 95 and 96, right at 6:40, then quit, leaving just 10 left. The 95/96 double call has an air of “grand finale” to it that strongly suggests the ride didn’t go down.
Did they quit because the final 20 minutes just couldn’t fit all 10 remaining? That is in direct contrast to the Friday before it, where groups were called every 4 minutes all the way to 7:12 p.m., a whopping 12 minutes past close, to clear ALL given groups. Doing this kind of thing on 9/20 would have required going past 7:20, though. It was just too much, and so they appeared to give it up.
Likewise, the ride had a lot of trouble on 9/22, with just 2 groups called between 4:52 p.m. and 6:26 p.m. In the last 34 minutes, however, Disney called an impressive 15 groups, with boarding group 82 last right at 7 p.m., leaving just 4. Again, I’ve not seen them leave this few before, but the preceding effort was clearly so much. They like to finish off a small amount of groups, but they just couldn’t justify it here.
Disney will clearly allow going above and beyond to make as many happy days as they can, but it doesn’t happen consistently. Trying to figure out why is an interesting journey down the rabbit hole.
Have any thoughts, theories, or personal experiences with late-day boarding group numbers? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.