Star Wars rise of the resistance

As we approach the opening of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge at Disneyland this June, we are starting to get a better picture of what awaits us in the Star Wars-themed land. While most everyone is talking about Millennium Falcon: Smuggler’s Run, the interactive motion simulator attraction that will put guests in the cockpit of the fastest hunk-of-junk in the galaxy, details are beginning to emerge about the epic immersive dark ride attraction Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance.

First of all, none of the following information is confirmed, so take it as a rumor for now. A lot of it has been collaborated with the released concept art, the miniature layout of Batuu, video from the ride’s teaser trailer, aerial construction photos, and insider information.

If you aren’t excited about Rise of the Resistance, you should be. This is a dark ride attraction being headed by Scott Trowbridge, the imagineer who was responsible for the Spider-Man ride at Universal’s Islands of Adventure, one of the most beloved attractions of the modern era.

First up, Alicia Stella at the Theme Park Stop podcast has heard that the experience will be 28 minutes long. Of course, this doesn’t mean the ride itself will be that long, but from the entrance to exit, the experience is rumored to last nearly a half hour. I’m sure the people who will be waiting six or more hours in line to experience this attraction will be happy to hear it’s more than, say, the 4 minutes it takes to experience Na’vi River Journey over in Pandora: The World of Avatar. Stella has a good track record, so the information she is sharing has some weight to it. And it matches up with what we’ve heard previously: that the ride itself will consist of queues, show scenes, and a variety of ride systems.

Stella has also heard that the attraction will house a total of 305 animatronic figures and droids, 50-100 of which are expected to be Stormtroopers. She claims the attraction will have 18 different show scenes and involve 5 different ride systems. Please keep in mind that this is not a 28-minute long ride, the rumor is its a 28-minute long experience. The trackless ride that makes up the main focus of the ride is probably only 5-6 minutes long, but you’ll find out below how the ride experience is extended beyond that.

Star Wars Land Model

Meanwhile, Attractions Magazine has some good info on what we can expect from the experience itself. Spoilers coming up.

You will be recruited by the Resistance to go on a mission to help stop the First Order. We don’t know the exact details of the mission just yet, but we do know the order of events.

Batuu tourists will enter the ride through a blue-striped Resistance transport ship near the Resistance compound on the west side of Black Spire Outpost. After entering the ship, the doors will close and the shuttle will launch into space. Guests will feel the space travel and see it outside the windows as Batuu becomes a distant memory. But on their journey, the ship is captured by the First Order and forced to land in their big Star Destroyer, where most of the ride takes place.

Star Wars Land Rise of the Resistance

After the ship lands on the Star Destroyer, guests will exit through the same door they walked in and find themselves in a HUGE Star Destroyer hanger, complete with squads of training Stormtroopers, full-size TIE Fighters, and a gigantic picturesque view out into space including a look at the First Order fleet.

The illusion of the ship entrance is created due to the interior room of the ship being constructed on a turntable. As you experience the flight into space, the room secretly turns to allow the entrance of the attraction to exit into the Star Destroyer hanger bay show scene. Note how already you have been through two experiences, being recruited by the Resistance and space travel on a Resistance transport ship and the real ride hasn’t even started yet. This is what is meant by the rumored 28-minute ride experience. This is not a queue, this is an experience — just like the elevator in Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringots or the stretching room in the Haunted Mansion is considered part of the ride experience.

From there, Stormtroopers will escort guests to prison cells, which are actually pre-show rooms.

These secondary pre-shows are expected to have a droid of some kind that will explain safety procedures and move the story along, much like how Rocket Raccoon does in Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: BREAKOUT! at Disney California Adventure.

Guests will then be loaded into one of the trackless First Order transport vehicles we have seen in the concept art and advertising. These vehicles hold two rows of four people, for a total of eight passengers. A First Order droid “drives” the vehicle at the front. The vehicles travel in pairs, so you experience a room with the paired vehicle.

The vehicle is sent out of the room for processing, and into a room featuring a catwalk above, where we will see a rogue droid drive across this upper bridge and hack into the First Order mainframe, and more importantly, gain control of your vehicles.

This is when the escape mission begins. Remember, the internal code name for this project was “Alcatraz.”

From this large room, we take a door into one of the narrow First Order Star Destroyer hallways, and turn a corner only to come face-to-face with an animatronic Kylo Ren who ignites his lightsaber. The vehicles back up in retreat, spin around, and go down the second turn, entering into a a massive six-story tall room containing two life-size AT-AT walkers.

The walkers will fire at our vehicles, and we’ve seen in the commercial and previously-reported patents showing they have figured out how to create something that looks like a laser blast firing through the air.

The two trackless vehicles become separated, each going up their own elevator shaft on the other side of the room, being lifted 40 feet into the second floor of the attraction building. Still separated, the vehicles head down a hallway before meeting back up again.

Both vehicles will see each other and turn as they quietly go under an elevated area. This elevated area will have a two animatronics, Kylo Ren and possibly General Hux. They are expected to be talking about the sudden Resistance fighters that are attacking the ship. They have come to save the guests! From there, guests will sneak away from the meeting and enter the gun room.

In the gun room, large guns are blasting light beams into space at the Resistance fleet, who can be seen on the huge screens outside the window. Our vehicles drive under them, feeling the power of the blasts as they look for an escape.

The two vehicles meet up again as Kylo Ren swings his lightsaber towards them, apparently causing burn and gash marks on the walls (I’m guessing this is using some kind of cool Imagineering effect or projection mapping tech). The Star Destroyer ship will be hit by a huge blast, jolting Kylo Ren, who gets caught between the guests and a broken piece of the ship. At this point, the vehicles get a transmission from the Resistance ships telling them to get out of there and board an escape pod.

On your way to the escape pods, Kylo Ren shows up again and uses the Force to hold up the room as he comes at you. Apparently “at the last second, a wall collapses which causes him to focus all his attention on not getting hit.”

The trackless vehicles quickly back up into their own escape pod. Stella says Disney filed permits for a ride system similar to the one on Avatar Land’s Flight of Passage motion simulator ride. This new ride system will allow the rider to be launched ten feet up and down rapidly (it’s described as a mini-Tower of Terror experience), using an elevator shaft, making use of the 40 feet of elevation from the second level, and accompanied by screens that will provide the experience of being shot off into space. The escape pod windows will show our experience falling back down to the planet of Batuu.

Star Wars Land Model

We crash land into an old warehouse on the planet, and here the trackless vehicles exit the pods and end up in this unload area. It is speculated that a PhotoPass viewing spot will be right outside of this location. The exit from the ride is through a crashed ship on Batuu, pictured above from the miniature I photographed at D23 Expo. 

Sounds pretty crazy, right? I feel like this sounds a lot cooler than the land’s signature attraction Smuggler’s Run, but maybe I just love dark rides. But now that you’ve been walked through the story, you can see why the 28 minute experience rumor might make sense. From you getting recruited by the Resistance, traveling to space in a pre-show experience (think the room at the beginning of Haunted Mansion or elevators in Gringotts at Universal’s Wizarding World), to a pre-show experience in the prison, to the actual trackless dark ride, and an end mini-Tower of Terror drop ride, it sounds like a huge experience and a lot of little things in between the actual ride segments of the attraction.

As for the animatronics rumor, Pirates of the Caribbean has 119 audio animatronics and that’s probably the most extensive that I’ve experienced, so it makes sense that Disney would raise the bar for Rise of the Resistance.

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