The following is a Public Service Announcement:
The story of Ernie, part of which began last week, has been temporarily postponed. We will revisit Ernie’s Escapades at a later date. I apologize for any inconvenience, real or imagined, that this might incur. 😊
Last Friday, I and thousands of others were at Disney’s Hollywood Studios well before sunrise. “Why, you may ask(?)” Why indeed. Why would thousands of people of all ages, shapes, and sizes, subject themselves to being corralled like cattle in a holding area on Hollywood Boulevard waiting with cell phones out, My Disney Experience app open, and fingers poised and ready to strike? I realize cows don’t have cell phones or fingers, but you get the point.
We were all there for one reason and only one reason, to ride The Rise of the Resistance, the new Star Wars ride.
A genius within the Disney ranks has come up with the idea of a “virtual queue”. The thousands gathered with cell phones and fingers were waiting for the moment, 7:00 a.m. to be exact, when a bell would sound and the Boarding Groups would be distributed. At that moment, 7:00 a.m., everyone was pushing their “Join Group” button. (Can you even imagine how powerful Disney’s wifi must be?) Cheers exploded from those who got early spots. Actually, cheers exploded from anyone who got a spot. To our left a man got Group 25, less than a second later a woman behind us was in Group 49, at essentially the same moment we got Group 65 and one second later our daughter got Group 82. It all happened in less time than it took you to read that last sentence, no exaggeration. Our “Group” consisted of my husband, the initiator of this trip, his 89 year old father who wanted to come, and me the somewhat resistant rider of the Resistance. Our oldest daughter was also with us with her husband and their three children, Star Wars fans one and all.
So, we all had a Group, now what? What do you do at Disney at 7:01 a.m.? You go to Starbucks, what else? The line to Starbucks, with those thousands of people that had gotten up before the sun and were now in desperate need of their morning coffee, was out the door and around the corner and had no virtual queue. Everyone just stood there waiting and still staring at their cell phones, but not to join a Boarding Group. Now they were waiting to see how fast the Boarding Groups were moving. Unfortunately, they weren’t.
In fact, the Boarding Groups didn’t start moving until about 10:00 a.m.. But, that did not deter most of us, only me. I admit it, I can be a party-pooper. I was ready to go home thinking that we probably weren’t going to get on the ride until 5:00 p.m.; my ride, however, was in it for the long haul and so was his 89 year old father. Not to be outdone by an 89 year old and recognizing the very real possibility of an 11 hour day, I began scoping out nice shady benches to nap on.
With my nap bench possibilities catalogued, we began going on the open rides while we continued to watch for Boarding Group movement. Secretly, I prayed it wouldn’t come. I prayed that until I realized how much everyone with me really wanted to go on this ride and then I decided that my napping bench would have to do.
Suddenly, it happened. The Groups started boarding and moving! Quickly, I might add! By 12:15 p.m. my cellphone alerted me that our Group was ready to board! We got in an interactive actual line.
It was then that I realized, the Resistance needed our help. This was a secret mission. The First Order was determined to stop us, but we were the Resistance. Suddenly we were captured by thousands of stormtroopers led by Kylo Ren. We thought our mission was defeated until a covert team from the Resistance came to our rescue, and as one Disney writer put it, “giving us a chance to escape…and a chance for the Resistance to rise.”
Was it worth it? I would have to admit that it was like no ride I’ve ever been on before. Though I tend to get motion sickness and this was a trackless vehicle that often went backwards and had a small drop, I was fine! If you are willing to rise before the birds to join The Rise of the Resistance I doubt that you will be disappointed, and if you are, it’s really not that big a deal.