Promotional still of Rise of the Resistance, a new ride coming to Disney’s Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge in Orlando and Anaheim.
The resistance is recruiting and you answer the call.
Tucked away in the old outpost on Batuu is a winding path that leads to a secret base, the home of resistance fighters like Poe Dameron, Rey and Chewbacca. Here, you are loaded onto a transport vessel with the promise of meeting General Organa and teaming up with other rebels to take on the First Order. Only things don’t quite go as planned.
That is the premise of Disney’s new Rise of the Resistance ride coming to both of its Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge lands in December and January.
On Tuesday, the company gave a sneak preview of the ride, which is still under construction, during its media open house ahead of the opening of Galaxy’s Edge in Orlando, Florida on Thursday.
The company, including Bob Chapek, Disney parks chairman, and Scott Trowbridge, portfolio creative executive for Walt Disney Imagineering, have called the ride Disney’s most ambitious park project to date. A first glance proves that statement.
Although media guests were not taken through the whole ride, the walkthrough provided was jaw dropping. As the group stepped out of the transport ship after being captured by the First Order, there was an audible gasp. Waiting in a massive hanger was more than 30 stormtroopers, all at attention.
Even without functioning animatronics or swelling music, the scene was awe-inspiring. Photography inside the space was prohibited, with media asked to bag their phones and video equipment before entering the space. Disney is keen to keep most of the surprises and secrets of this ride under wraps until fans can experience it themselves.
Chapek and Trowbridge did shed some light on the innovative ride, however. In a teaser video ahead of the walkthrough, Vi Moradi, a new character created for the park and featured in a newly released novel called “Galaxy’s Edge: Black Spire,” welcomes heroes to the resistance, but warns them of the dangers that lie ahead.
Massive AT-AT ships shoot at an eight-person ride vehicle driven by an R5 droid, stormtroopers stare down the newly captured prisoners and a red lightsaber blade attempts to rip through the ceiling of a transport ship.
Then comes the “kick in the pants” final moment, Trowbridge said. Once the cat-and-mouse game between captured resistance members and the First Order is over, the trackless vehicle pulls into an escape pod and drops into space.
The Rise of the Resistance features more than one ride system, Chapek and Trowbridge both teased on Tuesday. The ride vehicle, which parkgoers remain in for the entire ride, actually travels into a number of other vehicles in order to achieve different types of motion.
“It’s going to blow people’s minds,” Imagineer Chris Beatty said. “It’s unique, completely different and unlike anything we’ve developed to date.”
Beatty said that parkgoers will be able to enjoy the ride regardless of how immersed they are in Star Wars lore and that it is both thrilling and family-friendly.
“People are going to leave and go ‘how did they do that?'” he said.
While the Orlando version of the ride is expected to be operational on Dec. 5, its California counterpart won’t open until Jan. 17. Disney had initially projected that both ride locations would be open by the end of 2019.
While there has been some speculation that the ride would open later because it included spoilers for “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker,” the early December release of the ride in Orlando — weeks before the film’s Dec. 20 release date — seems to refute that claim.
Other rumors focused on the ride potentially having technical difficulties. When asked about the timing, Chapek said Disney wanted to make sure that the ride was reliable and ready for guests.
“The deep secret is we don’t intend to have lines,” he said. “The point is to build in the capacity. Ten-hour lines are not a success … we are trying to avoid that. “