This week’s debut of Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance -- a fully immersive technological marvel -- takes Galaxy’s Edge to another level.
When Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge opened earlier this year at Disney’s Hollywood Studios in Orlando, one of two promised attractions remained under wraps.
Park-goers could fly the fastest hunk of junk in the galaxy on the Millennium Falcon: Smuggler’s Run ride, but they’d have to wait to live out a grander Star Wars adventure.
This week’s debut of Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance -- a fully immersive technological marvel -- takes Galaxy’s Edge to another level. Simply put, the new attraction is the best ride at Disney World.
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Here’s your official spoiler warning. If you don’t want to know any more about the ride, stop now!
Rise of the Resistance succeeds most in the authenticity of its storytelling. That’s apparent from the moment you enter the Resistance base through narrow hallways carved out of rock. This hideout was built in a hurry and with limited resources. Its look and feel hearkens back to the Rebel base in the original Star Wars, where all the star fighters, droids, and equipment look like they’ve seen better days.
Fans of the movies will instantly recognize props such as the large translucent star maps, the ports that droids plug into and Poe’s X-Wing.
Rise of the Resistance boasts some serious star power. Rey (Daisey Ridley), Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac) and Finn (John Boyega) aid you on your mission, while Domhnall Gleason’s General Hux and Adam Driver’s Kylo Ren show up as the bad guys.
The story line casts riders as members of the Resistance forced to flee the planet Batuu after the base has been discovered by the First Order. Riders board a troop transport for the getaway, but the craft is intercepted by a Star Destroyer.
Disney cast members playing Resistance fighters and officers in the First Order add depth to the experience. They fully embrace their roles, with First Order officers having the most fun, barking orders at "Resistance scum" as they line you up in the detention block.
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Just as in the Resistance base, the attention to detail once you’re onboard the enemy ship hits all the right Star Wars notes. The sharp angles, the highly polished black floor and the gunmetal gray walls place you right inside a movie set.
And this is all before guests have strapped into the actual ride part of the attraction.
The ride system used by Disney for Rise of the Resistance is the real showstopper. The trackless vehicle can smoothly move in any direction, make 360-degree turns, and basically dance ballet with other cars as you make your desperate escape.
At one point, the droid driving the vehicle makes the terrible mistake of taking you between the legs of two life-size AT-ATs, the massive four-legged behemoths from 1980’s "The Empire Strikes Back."
As you zip around the star ship, through corridors on multiple levels, it feels as if you’re in a big-budget action set piece, making Rise of the Resistance a truly immersive experience.
Thursday’s opening day excitement was huge for Rise of the Resistance. Disney, in anticipation of the demand, set up a virtual queue, meaning park guests could check in and get alerted on their phones when it was their turn to experience the one-of-a-kind Star Wars adventure.
By 8:30 a.m., all available time slots were gone.
That’s a good sign for Disney. When Galaxy’s Edge opened in California’s Disneyland earlier this year, attendance was disappointing. Rise of the Resistance opens there next month.
Attendance for Galaxy’s Edge in Disney World hasn’t been released.
Opening day in Orlando wasn’t perfect. The ride had to be shut down at least twice due to technical difficulties, something that also occurred during the media preview the day before.
But despite those hiccups, reception from park guests on social media has been overwhelmingly positive.
Final update. I can't stop crying.#riseofthefeels#RiseOfTheResistance— charles skip.gg/ginger (@GingerNParadise) December 6, 2019
WHAT..... WAS....THAT!!! I am in awww.... it was worth the wait!!! I was........... video time come... #raesplace13 #riseoftheresistance #worththewait #geekingout #whatdidwejustdo #starearsfan… https://t.co/jijyNO0nfk— Rae (@MaMaRae13) December 6, 2019
Rise of the Resistance is incomparable to all theme park rides I’ve been on. It sets a new standard for the possible. #RiseOfTheResistance #GalaxysEdge #StarWars #Disney— Tara Welsch (@AhsokaTonks) December 6, 2019
Want to watch the entire ride?
Some things to know:
* Because of interest and anticipated popularity, Disney has implemented a virtual queue system, meaning that you book a time – like one might book a reservation at a restaurant – and Disney will let you know when it’s time for you and your fellow adventurers to head back and join the Resistance.
* There aren’t an unlimited number of spots, though. On opening day, all the open spots were accounted for by 8:30 a.m.
* You don’t need a separate ticket to get into Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge. All you need is park admission to Disney’s Hollywood Studios.
* Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance is set to open on January 17, 2020 in Disneyland in California.