You guys. I finally get the Disney fandom! I got the chance to spend six days in Orlando, FLorida to preview the latest offering at Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge - Rise of the Resistance.
Guests can get their nerd on and wander through the park and enjoy a meal at Docking Bay 7, or a beverage at Olga’s Cantina, pilot the Millennium Falcon for Smuggler’s Run (our group gave it a go and it was a dismal effort) or even build their own lightsabre at Savi’s workshop.
But the crowning jewel of the park was opened on 5 December.
Rise of the Resistance is a ride unlike any other. There’s no queuing to sit on a four-minute ride that takes you from point A to point B. It is about 20 minutes broken into three parts, and the storyline is set between 2017’s The Last Jedi and the UAE premiere of The Rise of Skywalker that took place last night at Dolby in The Dubai Mall and will happen tonight at Vox Cinemas in Nakheel Mall.
Here’s what happens in a (hyperlinked and highly-illustrated) nutshell:
Our group played the role of Resistance recruits who received an assignment from Rey (Daisy Ridley) in holographic form. The journey starts at a trading port town called Black Spire Outpost and the mission is interrupted mid-journey by the First Order and as the door to our ship opened to the hangar bay of Star Destroyer we were met by 50 storm troopers and barking orders to move along before being imprisoned in a cell block.
When it was time to be interrogated, we moved into another, smaller cell as the poster child for anger management, Kylo Ren, stomps onto a raised platform. After threatening to get the information he wants, he was told he is needed elsewhere on the ship and stormed off again. Once he was gone, we got “broken out” and a massive chase ensued through Star Destroyer.
The ride moves along a trackless system; a chat with the engineer who guided our group for the duration of the press trip revealed this ride uses magnets. It feels a bit like being in a bumper car that runs a lot smoother, and obviously collisions are avoided. Though that latter bit feels a bit touch and go throughout.
The ride also feels utterly massive with lifts, drops, screens, a couple of close brushes with an increasingly agitated Kylo Ren, being shot at by storm troopers and taking cover by two towering AT-ATs.
John Boyega (Finn), Adam Driver (Kylo Ren), Oscar Isaac (Poe Dameron) and Domhnall Gleeson (General Hux) reprise their roles for various content in the ride. The animatronics are disturbingly realistic.
For the full view of the ride click here. Obviously a spoiler alert is now in effect.
By the time the ride is over, we were high on adrenaline, and the whole thing felt completely surreal. This feeling is compounded by the fact that cast members (NOT “employees”) do not break character, ever. Storm troopers patrolling the area shouldn’t be stopped for photographs and it’s best just to leave Kylo Ren alone when he does the rounds.
During the launch event the media and their Disney representatives had the opportunity to experience the park at night and interact with the cast members, including officers from the First Order. We had a beverage from Olga’s Cantina (and the music is still stuck in my head) and we could meander through the streets to sample bites from different food vendors.
Not a single detail is missed and the sheer scope of what has been achieved, both in the park and the attractions, has set the bar incredibly high for Disney’s ‘imagineers.’ Considering the 50th anniversary of Disney World is taking place in less than two years, the team better get cracking.
*All images provided by Disney. Thanks Disney!