We at TouringPlans.com have been monitoring the Boarding Group process for the new Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance attraction at Disney’s Hollywood Studios in Florida. This blog post looks at when Boarding Groups are called. I have been hesitant about doing this analysis because it would be easy to draw false inferences from it. I begin with a simple chart the shows critical Boarding Group events over the past couple of weeks:
You can read my blog post on getting in a Boarding Group. From a guest perspective, the benefit of the Boarding Groups is that you do not have to wait in a physical queue for multiple hours; instead, you can do other stuff while waiting for your chance to experience Rise of the Resistance. This works out well for Disney, of course, because guests are more likely to spend money and be satisfied customers when they are not in a queue for multiple hours.
Note that we do not know specifics about Boarding Groups:
- We don’t know how many people are placed in a Boarding Group.
- We don’t know whether the size of a Boarding Group changes from day to day or within a day. Disney may do both.
- We don’t know how Disney chooses the number of Boarding Groups is assigns each day.
- We don’t know how Disney chooses which Boarding Groups to assign each day (the first group assigned varies).
The Boarding Group system not only helps customers, but it also hides operational problems. If the ride breaks down, Disney is not posting that the ride is closed. Disney may slow the rate that it calls Boarding Groups if the ride is down, but it has never stopped calling Boarding Groups. And while it might seem that calling more Boarding Groups per day is a good thing in terms of ride performance, we do not know whether that represents operational improvements since we do not know the composition of each Boarding Group.
This analysis is based on data from December 18-25, 2019. On these dates Hollywood Studios opened at 7:00 am, and the Boarding Groups did not start until park opening. On December 16, 2019, Disney started calling higher-numbered Boarding Groups “Backup Boarding Groups.” It might seem like Disney is distributing Boarding Groups to more people if there are “Backup Groups,” but that is not necessarily the case. Each day, Disney has changed the first Boarding Group number and the threshold for which Boarding Groups are considered Backup Boarding Groups. For this analysis, we are considering Board Groups closed once Backup Boarding Groups start. We also track when Backup Boarding Groups close.
Ride closing time is based on when Boarding Groups stopped being called. It could be that the ride closes after all the Boarding Groups were called, or if it breaks down late, and they don’t try to get the ride back online.
The charts below show times that each Boarding Group was called. A plateau in the graph would suggest a delay in operations. Without knowing if all the Boarding Groups are the same size, it not possible to say whether more people are getting to ride Rise of the Resistance.
Many of our users want an estimate when their Boarding Group will be called. With the dynamic aspect of the Boarding Group, it is not possible to know exactly when Disney will call a specific Boarding Group. You can use the My Disney Experience app to check the progress of the Boarding Groups. The charts below show the first Boarding Group by the hour. Remember this data is from days when Hollywood Studios opened at 7:00 am.
Backup Boarding Groups
The addition of Backup Boarding Groups is a pure marketing move. It gives people with high-numbered Boarding Groups a lower expectation that they will experience Rise of the Resistance. Every day after the first day that has had Backup Boarding Groups, some of the Backup Boarding Groups have been called. Since December 16, all non-Backup Boarding Groups have been called each day, so everyone in one of those “normal” Boarding Groups has been offered a chance to ride.
The chart below shows when Backup Boarding Groups started being called.
Even with this analysis, our recommended strategy is the same. Arrive early and get in a Boarding Group for Rise of the Resistance as early as possible. Follow a Hollywood Studios Touring Plan. When your Boarding Pass is called, pause the Touring Plan and ride Rise of the Resistance. When done, re-optimize and follow your plan.
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