Disney's Galaxy's Edge park area in California is finally opening its second "Star Wars" ride, Rise of the Resistance, on Friday January 17. Insider got a special preview of the ride experience on Thursday, and we were left in awe.
The story of the ride takes place right around the same fictional time in the "Star Wars" galaxy between "The Force Awakens" and "The Rise of Skywalker." Parkgoers are treated like Resistance recruits, and the ride itself is designed as if the new rebels (you) were boarding a transport to the Resistance base but the ship accidentally gets caught by the First Order.
Thanks to Disney's constant innovation of ride mechanics and clever placement of line breaks, new room designs, and more, the entire experience is one awesome encounter after another that left us wondering just how the heck they pulled it off.
Warning: Minor spoilers ahead. Do not read on if you want to experience the ride completely fresh.
The story of the ride turns you into a Resistance recruit escaping the clutches of the First Order
Disney's park Imagineers and designers seem to have really outdone themselves when it comes to creating a full story and immersive setting for Rise of the Resistance. That word, "immersive," will undoubtedly feel overused as people talk about the ride, but there's no other way to succinctly describe just how cool it feels to step into the various areas of this ride.
First, you board a Resistance transport, where two animatronic Resistance captains pilot the ship. After a few minutes of simulated flight from the planet of Batuu into space, a First Order Star Destroyer captures your transport in a tractor beam.
In what feels like inexplicable Disney magic, suddenly the same doors you entered from (on ground level) open to reveal a gigantic Star Destroyer hangar in front of you.
Disney cast members, all dressed in First Order regalia and fully playing the part, board the transport and inform you that everyone on the transport will be detained for questioning about the Resistance.
And this is only partway through the line process. The actual ride still hasn't started at this point.
Rise of the Resistance only gets more immersive from there, with groups separated into interrogation rooms and confronted by Kylo Ren and General Hux. Then, after another surprising turn of events that we won't spoil here, you'll be hurried onto the ride itself by Resistance fighters who have come to rescue you.
The ride is an entertaining chase-and-escape sequence that even has a small drop
For the ride, you'll sit in two rows of four on a moving vehicle which takes you sweeping through the hallways of the Star Destroyer. You'll encounter Kylo Ren and General Hux again, plus towering AT-AT walkers, and plenty of Storm Troopers with predictably terrible aim.
The ride even has a thrilling drop at one point, though we won't say where. All you should know going into it is that you'll likely be surprised, and even maybe overwhelmed at times.
From start to finish, Rise of the Resistance is impeccably designed and does an inspiring job of evoking the "Star Wars" movies themselves. It's the kind of experience fans will want to revisit again and again, just like the beloved films upon which this ride is based.
Rise of the Resistance is now open at both California's Disneyland and Florida's Disney World theme parks.