If you’re a faithful reader of the Unofficial Guides, you already know all about how to secure a coveted boarding pass for Rise of the Resistance, along with the best ways to integrate the headliner Star Wars ride into your day at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, whether you arrive at rope drop or follow our late-day touring advice. Now, we’re filling in the final piece of the touring plan puzzle with our Top 7 picks for ways to kill time while you’re waiting for your Rise of the Resistance boarding group to be called.
Just in case you’ve been living under a Bantha-size boulder, Rise of the Resistance is the epic dark ride that is the centerpiece of the Star Wars-themed Galaxy’s Edge areas at both Walt Disney World’s Hollywood Studios and Disneyland. To manage the overwhelming demand for the attraction, guests must use the My Disney Experience smartphone app to claim a boarding pass in order to ride. Boarding passes are distributed at 7 a.m. and 1 p.m. daily, and visitors must have previously obtained a park pass reservation to the theme park in order to participate in the distribution. (A similar system is expected to be implemented when Disneyland reopens, but exact details are not yet available.)
Before we get to our list of top ways to kill time until that Rise of the Resistance boarding time arrives, let’s make clear that the one thing you don’t want to do is stand around outside the attraction’s entrance.
As you can see, there’s barely any shade in this barren corner of Batuu, which can feel more like Tatooine on a hot day. Worse yet, guests waiting for their boarding number congest the walkways here, getting in the way of those whose time has already arrived and the cast members attempting to assist them.
You also probably don’t want to get in line for any of Hollywood Studios’ other E-Ticket attractions. Thanks to social distancing capacity constraints, wait times can be unpredictable, and you don’t want to be stuck deep in another ride’s queue when your boarding group is called. If a posted wait time is over 30 minutes, you might be better off waiting to ride it until after you face off with the First Order.
Now that that’s out of the way, here are our favorite ways to while away a half hour or so as you anxiously refresh that Rise of the Resistance boarding notification screen:
7: Take a Tour to the Stars
What better way to warm up for the greatest Star Wars attraction ever, than with the first Star Wars attraction ever? Star Tours has lost a lot of its luster since Galaxy’s Edge came along, but there’s still a lot of life left in this D-Ticket classic. And, fortunately for followers of this guide, actual wait times here rarely exceed 30 minutes, making it a good pick for killing some time.
Unlike Rise of the Resistance, which is firmly set between the final two sequel films, Star Tours riders may randomly get sent to planets from the classic trilogy or prequels, offering encounters with a wider range of favorite characters.
Of course, Star Tours also features segments from the sequel trilogy to pump you up for your rendezvous with Rey and the Resistance, including a climactic battle from Rise of Skywalker that some fans may enjoy more than that movie itself.
6: Window Shop Along Grand Avenue
Longtime fans of the park formerly known as Disney/MGM Studios still fondly remember the area outside of Galaxy’s Edge as the Streets of America. The last remaining remnant of the studio backlot sets representing metropolitan areas from across the country was redecorated with a Californian vibe and rechristened ahead of the Star Wars land’s arrival.
Although you won’t find the much-missed Osborne Family light spectacle here anymore, there are a number of cleverly arranged window displays to peek into.
Why not pause on your way into Black Spire Outpost, and spend a few minutes snooping on the residents of Grand Avenue?
5: Let’s Do Lunch, Hollywood-Style
Outside of the upscale table-service pleasures of the Brown Derby, or the kitschy camp atmosphere at Sci-Fi Dine-In and 50s Prime-Time Cafe, Disney’s Hollywood Studios isn’t usually a park where we wax poetic about the culinary options. But lately we’ve found an unexpected exception to that rule in the most unlikely of quick-service locations.
ABC Commissary, which has long earned a reputation as one of Walt Disney World’s most meh mealtime options, has recently revamped its menu with fresher California-inspired fare, and the results appear to be a home run.
Check out this shrimp taco platter, served with seasoned rice and black beans. This is the kind of dish you’d be satisfied to receive in any chain Mexican restaurant.
Our friends at Touring Plans also agree that ABC Commissary’s new menu is a big upgrade, and for extra convenience it’s the closest quick-service location to Rise of the Resistance. Best of all, Mobile Ordering means you can make your dining selections from anywhere in the park, and have them ready for pickup within minutes.
4: Share a Dream with Walt
All of our suggestions so far have been located in close proximity to Rise of the Resistance. Walt Disney Presents One Man’s Dream is on the opposite side of the park, but we think it’s well worth the walk.
First of all, this walk-through exhibit is always open to experience with no waiting, making it easy to integrate into any itinerary.
You can spend as much, or as little, time as you like examining these priceless artifacts, including some objects that bear the fingerprints of Walt himself.
There are also more modern items on display, including detailed concept models that serve as a preview of the Star Wars adventure you are about to embark on.
If you reach the end of the walk-through, and the wait until the next screening of the post-exhibit documentary exceeds the time you have to spare, simply backtrack to the model of Disneyland’s Sleeping Beauty Castle and use the nearby alternative exit.
3: Have a Short Visit with Mickey
Hollywood Studios’ red carpet meet-and-greet with Mickey and Minnie Mouse currently remains closed, like all Walt Disney World indoor character visitations. However, there are two ways you can have a brief encounter with the big cheese and his main squeeze ahead of your Star Wars adventure.
For starters, character cavalcades occur almost continuously throughout the day, with another mini-parade stepping off about every 15-20 minutes. You never know exactly when a cavalcade will appear, but a shift in the park’s background soundtrack should always signal their imminent arrival.
Among the several sets of characters in regular rotations—which include Pixar pals and Disney Junior stars—is a grouping of Disney’s original icons, led by Mickey and Minnie in customized convertible cars.
For the purposes of Rise of the Resistance recruits, the best spot to wait for a character cavalcade is just past Star Tours, between the Mickey Shorts theater and Echo Lake. You can get a great view of the processional and still be back inside Batuu in 2 minutes.
On the other hand, if you don’t want to wait for Mickey’s motorcade, you may be able to slip into the aforementioned Shorts Theater and enjoy a screening of the exclusive clip cartoon Vacation Fun, which does double duty as a prequel to Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway. It only runs about 10 minutes, which is about the longest you should have to wait for a showing.
2: Relax with a Rat
Ok, we’re mostly including this one for our friend Alicia Stella at Orlando Park Stop, but the truth is that Pizzerizzo makes a much better rest area than it does a restaurant.
Whether or not you enjoy incredibly average Italian food, this massive multi-story venue provides plenty of air-conditioned elbow room to lounge in.
We might not be big fans of the menu, but as lifelong Muppet fans we’re always amused by the mock memorabilia displayed around the dining areas.
Most importantly for the purposes of this guide, as long as it isn’t in the middle of a peak mealtime, it’s usually easy to enter and claim an empty seat upstairs, especially in the gaudy wedding banquet room.
Or if it isn’t too toasty outside, try taking up residence on the second floor balcony, which provides a panoramic view of MuppetVision plaza and the crowds heading towards Galaxy’s Edge.
1: Brews and Bites at BaseLine
We’ve saved the best for last, and in our Unofficial opinion there’s no better place to kill time at Disney’s Hollywood Studios than BaseLine Taphouse.
This hip watering hole offers a wide, ever-changing selection of craft beers, with an emphasis on Californian IPAs. But you can also whet your whistle with signature mixed drinks, virgin cocktails, and (our favorite) tasty fruit-based hard cider.
You don’t want to confront Kylo Ren on an empty stomach, so be sure to pair your pint with a plate of snacks, such as the supersize pretzel with mustard and cheese dipping sauces.
BaseLine provides a laid-back atmosphere that’s the antithesis of the usual theme park anxiety. There’s even an amazing customized playlist with swinging covers of 1980s classics, which you can listen to at home on Spotify. The only problem is a deficit of shaded tables outside the venue, so be prepared to take your beverages to Pizzerizzo or another nearby location.
By now, your Rise of the Resistance boarding group has hopefully been called, and it’s time for you to save the galaxy. May the Force be with you!
For all there is to see and do at Walt Disney World, check out The Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World, or to plan your family’s trip to Orlando, check out The Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World with Kids. If you enjoyed this post, please subscribe to our YouTube channel and sign up for our newsletter here. Be sure to follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube.