T+L got a first look at Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance — here's exactly what riders will experience.

By Carlye Wisel
February 28, 2019
Credit: Courtesy of Disney

Plenty of fans are counting down the days until they can pilot the Millenium Falcon, but it’s another attraction at Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge that may become the main draw.

For Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance, which will open with Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge at Disneyland Resort in summer 2019 and Walt Disney World Resort in fall 2019, Disney has reconsidered the entire concept of a ride. The old conceit of waiting in line, boarding a vehicle, and having a few minutes of high-octane fun are long gone, as this new experience, which will be one of Disney’s longest ever, puts riders in Rey, Luke, and Leia’s shoes as they face the greatest challenge of all: the First Order.

Disneyland and Walt Disney World’s new Star Wars ride is being touted not just as a signature experience, but four attractions in one. Guests will board multiple ride vehicles, encounter enemies, and walk the halls of a Star Destroyer as if they were truly a Resistance fighter taken captive. Yes, for the very first time, a Disney ride will have you move from experience to experience in vehicles and through segments on one immersive, cinematic storyline that doubles as a ride.

When it begins, BB-8 and Rey will ask participants to join a mission to fight the First Order. A door will open and suddenly, you’ll be outside, walking past Poe Dameron’s X-Wing on a busy flight deck as 50 or so guests board a ship piloted by Nien Nunb — the first of multiple ride vehicles you’ll encounter. Things go well from first glance outside the high-tech monitor “windows,” but soon, you’ll be sucked inside a Star Destroyer. Once taken prisoner, you’ll see a full-sized TIE Fighter on your right and a 100-foot “window” out towards the sky as 50 Stormtroopers stand at attention, set to intimidate your group as you’re ushered through the vessel towards small detention cells modeled after the one Poe Dameron is interrogated in during "The Force Awakens." From here, Kylo Ren will make his first of multiple appearances as you prepare to escape the First Order’s grasp — and that’s just the first third of the ride.

Credit: Courtesy of Disney

Having walked it firsthand, scale of this unparalleled experience cannot be underestimated. Taking off from a Resistance base, fearing punishment by an army of troopers, breezing past iconic sets in eight-seat droid-led vehicles – it all feels real because it is. The same people who make Star Wars films were involved in the entirety of the attraction’s development, meaning that when you encounter First Order officers ushering you through those infamously sterile hallways or breeze beneath the legs of an AT-AT Walker on an all-direction trackless vehicle — the second of its kind in the U.S. — it’s to the same quality level as the films themselves, because the attraction is intended to play like a seamless shot within a movie.

Even the queue sets the scene. An unfathomably long and winding path, seemingly carved from stone with laser torches, provides contrast between ancient carvings and high-tech Rebel equipment (film-replica flight suits, breathing apparatus) held within its expanse. The Play Disney Parks app will also allow for integration with queue features, like glowing holographic star maps, to pass the time; portions of the line will also feature benches carved from stone, a welcomed respite during long days at Disneyland or Disney’s Hollywood Studios and a Disney first.

The physical setting of the attraction within Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge serves the same purpose. Unlike a traditional Disney theme park land, which boasts its attractions proudly from the sides of walkways, Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance will be tucked away in a forested area outside the Black Spire Outpost city center of the land. You’ll walk down a side path to reach the X-Wing and A-Wing awaiting launch and happen upon Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance’s entrance, cobbled together from metal slats and aluminum parts. When it opens, nothing from the actual attraction will be visible from beyond a dense throng of trees, of which there are 600 within the land.

Credit: Courtesy of Disney

Essentially, when Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge opens, Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance will allow you to become the lead in your own Star Wars film — and it’s as over-the-top as you could dream it. Can’t wait to board? Don’t worry, it’ll take Fastpass, letting you save a seat in advance on the adventure of a lifetime.