Thinking about visiting Disney theme parks in the next few months? Though Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge is already open on both coasts, you’ll soon feel what it’s like to be inside a battle between the Light Side and Dark Side — no lightsaber training required.
We’ve finally learned more about Disney’s most-anticipated attraction, Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance, opening at Walt Disney World on Dec. 5 and Disneyland on Jan. 17. Not only will guests travel under AT-AT walkers, be taken prisoner on a Star Destroyer, and get caught in the crosshairs of a real battle with First Order troops, Rise of the Resistance will feature pioneering technology Disney has never used before.
With multiple ride systems — four to be exact — that guests will experience while traveling on this intergalactic journey, Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance will be one of the longest Disney rides in existence, as guests find themselves being chased by Kylo Ren for 15 minutes.
The latest Star Wars ride will also function like all your favorite Disney attractions combined into one, channeling The Haunted Mansion, The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, and famed overseas attractions like Mystic Manor for a thematic experience likely to exceed expectations, even for those who have already tried out other Star Wars rides. Paired with its special effects, projections, and blaster gunfire, Rise of the Resistance is shaping up to be a cinematic attraction so over the top, you won’t even be able to imagine what will come next.
The entire sequel trilogy cast participated in this new ride, allowing for guests to join a rebel mission led by Daisy Ridley’s Rey, fly alongside Oscar Isaac’s Poe Dameron, and even be led through a Dark Side-manned spacecraft by John Boyega’s Finn, who has gone undercover to aid the Resistance.
With so much of the attraction shrouded in mystery as it opens months after the debut of Disney’s Star Wars-themed lands, one of the more shocking reveals is what happens at the end — but the beginning is remarkable as well.
The attraction starts at a rebel outpost, where guests join the Resistance and are given instructions directly from Rey to head to General Organa’s secret base. With Poe Dameron (and BB-8, of course) as your co-pilots, recruits will board a large, standing room-only ship piloted by Nien Nunb to start their mission. Soon after take-off, the spacecraft will be pulled into a Star Destroyer, leading guests to have entered from a Rebel Base through one door, and exited out to a cavalcade of Stormtroopers through another.
Set against a massive “window” screen showing TIE fighters engaged in battle, the Stormtroopers will look like statues, but not all are — some of these 50 figures are actually Audio-Animatronic and will move, though specifics are still being kept under wraps. As First Order officers command riders and their fellow stowaways down a corridor with the moody performance of Haunted Mansion’s ghost hosts or Tower of Terror’s bellhops, riders will be ushered into detention cells to meet their fate.
What happens next remains a secret, but soon, guests will board trackless vehicles led by an R5 droid and glide through a battle against the Dark Side taking place throughout the full-scale ship. (This new ride will be the first Walt Disney World attraction to use a truly trackless ride system, popularized through attractions like Hong Kong Disneyland’s Mystic Manor. Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure, which uses trackless tech and first opened at Disneyland Paris, debuts at Walt Disney World’s Epcot in summer 2020.)
Thankfully, the Resistance already has troops on the inside, having infiltrated the Imperial starship with Finn leading the charge — dressed as a stormtrooper, no less. Soon passengers come face-to-face with Kylo Ren and — previously unannounced — General Hux, played by Domhnall Gleason in the sequel trilogy, as their eight-passenger cars pass through the legs of an AT-AT, dodge gunfire from Stormtroopers and, according to early artwork, laser-cut a hole in the ceiling to escape. (Kylo is not going to be happy about that.)
From there, things get very intense. Those same trackless vehicles will pull into an escape pod and drop — physically drop, like a plunging elevator — to blast out of the Star Destroyer. Reminiscent of The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror’s fifth dimension scene, also located at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, this iteration is similar in idea but intrinsically different. Here, the autonomous ride vehicle won’t just be moving from track to track but physically drop into an entirely different ride system: a motion simulator base whose display will bring riders on a high-stakes journey as they make their way back to Batuu.
Essentially, you’ll feel a sense of what it’s like to be in an escape pod ejected out of a Star Destroyer, because that’s precisely what’s going to happen. It’s a sensation that’s bound to leave passengers speechless from a ride system that’s never before been utilized, melding different mediums for an adventure that’s never before seen. A ride-within-a-ride with Poe Dameron by your side? This one’s definitely going to blow you away.
Still, plenty of mysteries about this larger-than-life attraction remain. Details on if there is a fourth ride system separate from these is non-existent, and we’re told, surprisingly, that there’ll be an element of humor within the attraction. (We’re guessing from the likes of Finn or that the plucky droid willing to face Stormtrooper combat.) So much is under wraps about what will happen as that trackless ride vehicle is zipping around that mind-meltingly accurate Star Destroyer, which is why the Dec. 5 Disney World opening and next year’s Disneyland debut will be historic — and can’t come soon enough.
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