The new Star Wars attraction Rise of the Resistance opened last month at the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida, and is set to open this week at Disneyland in California. The information in this article is based on my experience with the Florida location. For a brief non-spoiler review – the combined motion simulator and trackless ride is the most immersive ride I have been on! You can easily get lost in the experience and feel like you are part of the fast paced and exciting action. The cast members are great at adding to the atmosphere and helping travelers feel like they are a part of the story.
With the addition of Galaxy’s Edge to Hollywood Studios, Disney has created an experience unlike any before. I have been to Galaxy’s Edge several times and I have noticed since the opening of Rise of The Resistance there are more and/or louder sound effects as you travel through Batuu that helps to immerse you into this world. This helps set a tone for when you get to experience Rise of the Resistance. Previously my favorite ride has been Flight of Passage in Disney’s Animal Kingdom (which is another must see). A friend did point out that if you look to the side on Flight of Passage you can see the edges of the screen; however, on Rise of the Resistance no matter where you look you are immersed in the experience.
In order to experience Rise of the Resistance, you currently have to enter the park and join the virtual queue. See Tips On Joining the Virtual Queue for ‘Rise of The Resistance’.
Note: attraction spoilers below.
The entrance to the attraction is located on the outskirts of the Black Spire Outpost in Galaxy’s Edge. Guests are new recruits to the Resistance. Once inside you will receive a message from a hologram of Rey. Before you move along you will also see BB-8, Poe Dameron and others. You are now in a race against time to board a transport ship heading to a secret Resistance Base location. When you move from the mission transmission room to the transport ship you will be back outside. Don’t forget to look to the right to catch BB-8!
The transport ship reminds me of public transportation, like a subway, because travelers are standing and must hold on to the bars during vehicle movement. Motion is simulated but the monitors in the front and back of the ships make it appear like you lift off into space. When you enter, if you go to the right you will be closer to the front of the transport vehicle with Lieutenant Bek. If you go to the left, you will be closer to the back. The screens in the front and back are more like windows, so no matter where you are you are seeing something going on. There are also transmission monitors on both sides as well.
Unfortunately, the transport ship doesn’t make it to the secret location for you to help the Resistance. Instead, it is captured by the First Order and the ship is pulled inside a hangar bay. When the doors open you are, not so kindly, greeted by a member of the First Order indicating they will interrogate everyone to get the secret location. You then enter the hangar bay filled with Stormtroopers. It’s a sight to behold, and even the slightest of Star Wars fans will likely be impressed by this room. They may look stiff, but if you look closely some of them move slightly. They are watching you. You can’t linger too long because they are trying to interrogate everyone so they can find the Resistance location quickly.
You are then lined up and given a color (which will later coordinate with the vehicle you will ride). Then you are moved into a triangular cell room where General Hux and Kylo Ren discuss their interrogation. They tell all guests to stay in the room and await their interrogation. When they leave, the walls begin to cut open! The Resistance have made their way in and are rescuing you! You then board a hijacked First Order Fleet Transport piloted by an R5 unit. The unit will take you to an escape pod to return to Batuu, but there are some bumps along the way.
Since this is a trackless ride, it feels as if you are actually on the First Order ship trying to escape in the Fleet Transport. While trying to get to the escape pods, the unit is almost caught by probe droids! Stormtroopers also spot the guests several times along the way as well.
The unit proceeds to a room which houses two massive AT-ATs. Media used for the ride has generally included a picture from within this room. It’s no surprise that it is another sight to behold. I stared up in amazement at the structures before me as we were on a race to not get captured by the First Order.
The R5 unit enters a lift. Finn indicates we should travel down, but the lift goes up instead. Depending which vehicle you end up in, the AT-AT pilot may attempt to shoot at you during the escape. (The ride can vary depending on the vehicle you end up in). Traveling up takes you to the ship’s bridge where General Hux and Kylo Ren are discussing the situation. As a resistance ship fleet appears, Kylo Ren notices the R5 unit!
During escape from Kylo Ren it’s time for a little frogger. The R5 unit enters a room with three cannons firing at the resistance. The unit maneuvers between the cannons as they move back and forth firing. Kylo Ren had caught back up with the R5 unit however, and intends to get the location of the Resistance Base. As he is using the force on the transport unit a hole is blasted through the wall! Now is the time to finish escaping as debris is falling on Kylo Ren and he is almost sucked into space.
The R5 unit finally makes it to the escape pods! The trackless ride then turns into a motion simulated ride; however, there is a small drop before it does. Once the unit falls through the escape pod (with the small drop) the motion simulated ride flies the travelers back to Batuu. Though you did not make it to the Resistance Base, you are now a member of the Resistance! The ride travels back outside to take the vehicle to the unload station. Before you unload, you see Bek again in his escape pod – he has just crash landed as well.
From the beginning of the experience to the end, and even after the ride as you travel through Batuu, it is a completely immersive experience. There is so much going on within the attraction that you can ride multiple times and never get the exact same experience each time. Whether you are a huge Star Wars fan or not, I highly recommend experiencing this ride, it’s unlike any other.
May the force be with you!