Are boarding groups going away soon?
Short answer: Yes. Boarding groups and the virtual queue for Rise of the Resistance at Walt Disney World will be paused starting this Thursday, September 23rd! What does this mean, exactly?
Since the ride opened in 2019, guests had to access the virtual boarding group process via the Walt Disney World app to reserve their place in line for this 15-minute immersive Star Wars experience. This system was implemented to control crowds and limit the physical wait times for the attraction. It was also a great tool for social distancing after the Florida parks reopened in July 2020.
Guests also had the luxury of joining a boarding group via the app from the comfort of their hotel room at 7:00 am, or inside Hollywood Studios at 1:00 pm for a second attempt.
With the boarding groups being paused, it is likely that there will be long standby lines throughout the day and larger crowds arriving at park opening. Masks will still be required for the indoor section of the standby line, as well as the ride itself.
This appears to be a first move to prepare for the upcoming Genie+ program that is replacing the old Fast Pass system at the parks. Since Rise of the Resistance is a top tier attraction, guests will most likely have to pay an additional fee to use the new Lightning Lane to see BB-8 and escape the First Order Star Destroyer.
No announcement has been made about the virtual queue being paused at Disneyland in California. However, the Genie+ program is supposed to begin this fall, so the future of boarding groups on the west coast is still unknown.