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Rise of the Resistance opened to the public Thursday morning at Disney’s Hollywood Studios park, with a “virtual queue” system of boarding groups in use rather than live standby lines. Trade publications and Twitter users said those who signed up early in the morning were already being told their groups would board in the afternoon or evening, and all groups for the day were sold out by about 8:30 a.m. local time.
In an early hiccup, trade publication WDW News Today tweeted that the ride broke down shortly after 7 a.m. and was evacuated, with patrons given passes to return later in the day. The publication’s reporter was back in the line entering the ride by 8:30. Disney didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
The new ride in the Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge land — with a duplicate opening Jan. 17 at Disneyland in Anaheim, California — is among the longest and most ambitious the company has done. Guests on Rise of the Resistance board multiple vehicles, pass through a hangar with monstrous Imperial Walkers and encounter “Star Wars” characters played by both live and animatronic actors.
Disney bet big on its Star Wars brand this year, opening two $1 billion themed lands in California and Florida. The company required reservations to enter Galaxy’s Edge in Anaheim when it opened in May and area hotels raised prices, expecting a surge in demand. Instead, attendance at the company’s domestic theme parks was flat for the fiscal year that ended in September.
Disney Chief Executive Officer Bob Iger said many guests may have postponed trips out of fear the parks would be too crowded or because they were holding off until they could enjoy both of the rides. The first ride, a simulated excursion on the Millennium Falcon spaceship, was available in both lands on opening day.
“We sense that there are people that are just waiting for the whole thing to be open, which is fine,” Iger told investors last month.
©2019 Bloomberg L.P.