This December Disney finally opened the Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge attraction we’ve all been waiting for. The breakthrough Disney dark ride, Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance, is every bit what we hoped for and more. Spoilers ahead. If you don’t want to know what happens, suffice it to say it’s the most thrilling dark ride ever created.
You don’t have to be a Star Wars fan or even know any of the movies to be swept into the immersion of Black Spire and its inhabitants. However, if you’re a stickler for chronology, the events on Galaxy’s Edge takes place sometime before The Last Jedi and The Rise of Skywalker. The Rise of the Resistance is where your Star Wars adventure truly takes place. For those who thought Galaxy’s Edge was just a well-themed shopping mall, you now have your epic Star Wars ride through adventure.
Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge is like a giant playset. Which makes it a perfect neighbor to Toy Story Land. When you’re on Batuu the stage is set for conflict. There is a resistance side and a First Order side, with lots of fun to have in between however you like to partake in this world. The real Star Wars adventure of this land takes place in the form of Rise of the Resistance. This new attraction is where all of the mounting conflict suggested within the land comes to bear.
As you enter the queue the Resistance welcomes you as a new recruit. BB-8 and Rey brief you on a mission. You then enter a transport ship which is intercepted mid-flight by the First Order. You escape onboard Kylo Ren’s Star Destroyer in a transport vehicle hijacked by Finn. He instructs you to get to the escape pods. On hostile terrain, your R5 lead transport narrowly escapes Stormtrooper fire. You’ll pass AT-ATs and use lifts to exit rooms for a truly unique and extraordinary sensation. For an epic climax, Kylo Ren chases you, himself. with his lightsaber out, the relentless Kylo cuts through the ceiling after being shut out by automatic closing doors. When you escape into your pod it launches and crash-lands safely on Batuu.
This extraordinary ride experience blends several plot devices and technologies. From the Stretching Room in the Haunted Mansion to the Tower of Terror, Rise of the Resistance invokes thrills that go beyond any traditional dark ride. The first ride is the transport ship, which is like the Stretching Room. The dark ride is trackless, like Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure.
The dark ride portion is the heart of the adventure and really feels enveloped in the Star Wars universe. Practical and digital effects work simultaneously to sell the illusion, though the projections can sometimes take you out of the moment. The use of lifts in the ride is some of the most creative and exciting design. they call to mind the waterfalls of Pirates of the Caribbean, but with a Tower of Terror like drop as your escape pod is launched. The last few moments of the ride resemble Star Tours as you crash land back on Batuu.
The new technologies such as projection mapping and the cutting edge animatronics enhance the believability, while the projections feel a little out of sync with the rest of the attraction. The really impressive thing is the integration of all of the ride elements Disney uses in all of their best attractions to tell an enthralling story that you get to participate in.
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