A Couple Weeks Ago in a Theme Park Far, Far Away…

Star Wars and Disney. Two entities that have redefined how we look at entertainment time and time again. With Disney, it was the first sound cartoon with Steamboat Willie and the first full length animated movie with Snow White and the Seven Dwarves. In 1955, Walt Disney took the next step in entertainment by opening Disneyland and creating the idea of a theme park. Similarly, when George Lucas created Star Wars, he redefined live-action movies with groundbreaking visual effects. When Star Wars first premiered in 1977, it captivated audiences with its likable characters, an interesting setting, the greatest movie score of all time, and effects that still hold up today. With The Empire Strikes Back, he would improve upon it. After the original Star Wars trilogy had passed and Michael Eisner became CEO of Disney, the two giants would combine to create one of the most innovative and groundbreaking rides of the time: “Star Tours”. Today, Disney owns Star Wars and we’ve gotten a ton of new Star Wars content to enjoy. I’ve already covered “Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge” and “Millennium Falcon: Smuggler’s Run” in great detail and have raved about both. They are without a doubt the next evolution in theme park entertainment and attractions. However, one key piece of the Galaxy’s Edge puzzle had yet to open. While Smuggler’s Run is without a doubt a great ride and innovative in its own right, it was never actually meant to be the main attraction of the land. Instead, it was “Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance” that was going to be the most complex and advanced attraction Disney had ever created. That was what they were promising, at least. The hype for me was unreal. On Thursday, December 12th, I would embark on a journey to ride it for myself…

A Plan of Attack

Actually riding “Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance” is no easy task. I’ve rope dropped Disney Parks plenty of times, but this would be a new level for me. The ride currently only operates with boarding groups which can only be reserved when you get into Disney’s Hollywood Studios. These boarding groups are usually gone for the entire day in roughly 30 minutes, maybe an hour or so at best. With the park regularly allowing guests in at 6:30 am, getting there extremely early is a must (it is worth noting that now the virtual queue is no longer open before 7 am). For me, I woke up at 4 am on December 12th to go experience Rise of the Resistance. After getting to the park around 5 am and waiting for them to open up security and then, subsequently, the park, they finally opened the gates around 6:30 am. I immediately pulled out my phone and frantically tried to join a boarding group on my phone. Luckily, I was able to join a morning boarding group. That was when the excitement really started to build for me. It finally felt real.

Of course, I couldn’t go straight to the ride, but luckily the other attractions in Hollywood Studios were open. I decided to enjoy a few of my favorites before taking on Rise of the Resistance. I was able to get two walk-on rides on Rock ‘n’ Rollercoaster and one ride on Tower of Terror (of which I was one of only 4 people in the elevator). If you’re coming to the park early, be sure to take care of everything else available at Hollywood Studios. Eventually, after grabbing a snack, my boarding group was called and I made my way over to Galaxy’s Edge to go on my mission for the resistance.

Time to Board

Unfortunately, the ride was down when I got over there, so I had to wait a little bit longer. Finally, around 10 am Rise of the Resistance came back up and I was able to get in line. What came next is something I’ll never forget. (WARNING: This will remain a spoiler-free review for the story and all of the effects, but some small details may be mentioned. If you want to know absolutely nothing about the ride stop reading now.) The queue is filled with impeccable details and props that are movie quality and look like they would actually work if you could pick them up. Basically, everything that makes the rest of Galaxy’s Edge awesome is done to perfection here.

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Then you reach the first pre-show. Really calling any of these scenes preshows or ride sections doesn’t do any of them justice. They truly are parts of a Star Wars adventure. Nevertheless, I get actual chills from this room, and there are some familiar faces that make an appearance. This ride has a concentration of actual Star Wars actors in it which is a really cool thing. After the preshow, you exit and there’s Poe Dameron’s black X-wing in its full glory. It is the first of some truly epic sights from the Star Wars Universe you’ll encounter along the way. Your jaw is guaranteed to drop when you come face to face with a platoon full of Stormtroopers from the picture we’ve all seen one hundred times by now:

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More Than Just a Ride

Then you reach the actual “ride” portion. I can’t speak as to what emotion you’ll feel, but I can guarantee you’ll feel something. For me, it was pure joy and amazement. I was into it, man. Many will call this the greatest attraction ever built, and I would agree with that statement, but I think this is something bigger than just another attraction. It is a triumph of human entertainment. Once again, Disney and Star Wars have advanced what is possible when it comes to human entertainment. Everything that has made Star Wars cool and unique has come to real life in Rise of the Resistance. It was created by the same drive that first drove Walt and the Imagineers to build Disneyland. I simply can’t praise it enough. I’ve since ridden it a second time, and I’m still not sure how everything works. I am more than willing to get up early to experience it again.

I’ll finish with this: initially, I thought that this was my favorite Star Wars thing ever. I’ve since reeled that back in and decided I still enjoy Empire Strikes Back and A New Hope more, but “Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance” is pretty darn close. Seriously, you must experience Rise as soon as you can. It is worth any amount of wait. May the Force be with You.

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