Star Wars Rise Of The Resistance: How Disney Made The Ride Feel Like Its Own Movie

While the Skywalker Saga may have reached its conclusion on the big screen after the theatrical debut of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, there’s still more story to be told at Disneyland and Walt Disney World. With the opening of the Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance attraction at Disney’s two United States-based theme parks, that galaxy far, far away is seeing a new tale unfold that is not only populated with familiar faces–both beloved and hated–but places guests squarely in the middle of their own Star Wars story.

The idea of the visitors to Disney parks getting to be heroes of their own Star Wars story was one of the major selling points with the opening of the Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge land at Disneyland and Disney World. Now, though, it’s finally coming true.

As we explained in our breakdown of Rise of the Resistance, this attraction is as close as most people will ever come to actually living a Star Wars movie, at least until the Galactic Starcruiser hotel opens in 2021. How it does that, though, is through an immersive story unlike just about anything you’ve seen in a theme park ride before.

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“This is a multi-act journey. It’s not just an attraction as much as an adventure,” managing story editor Margaret Kerrison explained during a panel presentation at Disneyland’s Rise of the Resistance media preview. “You don’t know what’s going to come next. And that’s really exciting because you are in the moment and of the world. That’s what we want you to feel as you go through this adventure. And one of the things, when we all came together in the beginning, was that it’s the wish-fulfillment, right?”

And wish-fulfillment is exactly what Rise is attempting to offer longtime Star Wars fans. Not only will you get to explore a Star Destroyer, run from Stormtroopers that are firing on you, and get caught in the middle of a massive space battle between the First Order and the resistance, but you’ll be doing it alongside characters you know from the movies.

“It’s all the feels of going through the hallways of a Star Destroyer. What does it feel like to be able to see Kylo Ren face-to-face? What are all these feelings that we want to capture, all the things that we grew up watching or our kids are now growing up watching?” Kerrison elaborated. “We want to capture that and have you experience that over and over again.”

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Make no mistake about it, though. As important as the story and characters are to Rise of the Resistance, so is the scale of the attraction. “Epic storytelling and massive sets are really at the core of what Rise of the Resistance is,” executive creative director John Larena. “We want to immerse you in truly an epic Star Wars story.”

That leads to an attraction that’s made up of multiple ride systems–including motion simulators, a trackless vehicle system, and even a drop tower. What’s more, the sets featured throughout the ride so a lot of the heavy-lifting when it comes to total immersion. Whether it’s the Resistance hideout that looks like it’s been temporarily set up in ancient cavern or the long and sterile halls of a Star Destroyer or the massive hangar filled with live-sized AT-AT walkers that seems ready to destroy you at any given moment, it’s hard to describe just how massive Rise of the Resistance is.

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And ultimately, it’s the attraction Star Wars fans are looking for. While building your own lightsaber or drinking space cocktails in a cantina are fun experiences, finally they can live their own Star Wars story.

Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance is open now at California’s Disneyland and Florida’s Walt Disney World.

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Author: Chris E. Hayner