MAJOR SPOILERS AHEAD! If you don’t want to know ANYTHING about Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance Disneyland, turn away now. Trust me when I say the less you know about the attraction, the better.
Star Wars: Rise Of The Resistance opened at Star Wars – Galaxy’s Edge at both Hollywood Studios on December 5, 2019 and Disneyland on January 17, 2020.
It’s a highly immersive trackless dark-ride where you try to break out of a First Order Star Destroyer, complete with live actors, massive jaw-dropping sets, incredibly life-like animatronics, and effects that are so convincing you won’t believe what’s happening in front of your very eyes.
We’re going to take an in-depth look at the Rise of the Resistance Disneyland attraction and see why this is not only the best attraction Disney has ever created but the best theme park attraction in the world.
Rise of the Resistance Disneyland Line
The first portion of the queue where you’re wandering through a Resistance base is great. I like it how at first it seems like you’re just wandering through a natural cave then you see Resistance equipment set up all over the place.
It has lots of references to the Star Wars movies, one of my favorites being that you can see the masks Leia, Han and Chewie wear in the Mynock cave in The Empire Strikes Back.
Something that was unique about the queue was that there were seats that you could sit down on while you were waiting. Those are especially useful if you’ve been standing in line for a long time.
One complaint I have with the queue is that even though it is really well themed, there isn’t much variety within the queue.
Think of “Star Tours” or the “Indiana Jones Adventure,” where each room you walk in there is something different to see. Here, it’s all the same stuff mainly, where you go from a room featuring lockers full of Resistance weaponry only to walk into yet another room featuring lockers full of Resistance weaponry. So, I imagine lots of people would get a little bored waiting in this queue.
The first pre-show for this ride is the second-best pre-show for a theme park attraction I’ve ever seen. They have a hologram! An actual hologram! It’s so awesome! I didn’t even listen to what Rey was saying – I was so transfixed by the amazing effect.
The BB-8 animatronic was also very impressive, but the hologram is the real star of the show.
After Rey explains that you are going to be evacuated from Batuu before the First Order arrives, the doors open and some Resistance soldiers bring you out to the spaceship that will take off Batuu. The actors playing the soldiers did a really great job. They felt like authentic Resistance soldiers, making the experience feel all the more real.
This is when the experience starts to get insane. You get on the ship that takes you off of Batuu where you are then caught in a tractor-beam and get pulled into a First Order Star Destroyer.
This pre-show is a ride in of itself. It’s a very realistic simulator, far more advanced than Star Tours.
I really like the way the story plays out in this scene. It’s a genuinely intense scene because a lot of the Resistance fighters are being shot down around you, meaning you’re defenses are turning fewer and fewer.
You feel real a sense of dread as you get pulled towards the Star Destroyer. It’s very much an “I’ve got a bad feeling about this” moment.
The Star Destroyer
The ship is captured by the First Order. The doors to the spaceship open to reveal the Star Destroyer hangar – the best reveal in theme park history.
The set they have here is massive! I mean huge! It’s like something from a movie. Remember that scene in The Force Awakens where Poe Dameron is completely flabbergasted at the size of the Star Destroyer hangar? I had the same reaction.
They have actors playing First Order Officers, and they are all doing a fantastic job. They’re all moody, vile, the complete opposite of warm-and-fuzzy – exactly how you’d imagine they’d be. The actors never break character. They feel like real imperial officers and it adds so much to the experience.
The first time I went on it, one of the officers asked a group of people in line if they had a party of six. When they said “no, party of seven,” he rolled his eyes, which made everyone in the queue laugh. Those officers are great!
While the first pre-show with the hologram was the second-best pre-show in theme park history, the second pre-show where you are put in a prison cell has to take the number-one spot.
Again, I like how the story plays out in this scene. It’s intense and it truly feels like you’re trapped in an imperial prison-cell (in a good way). For a few seconds, they leave in the cell on your own with a few other guests, giving you time to start feeling uncomfortable and even a little scared, making it a huge relief when the Resistance breaks you out.
Speaking of which, the way they break you out of the cell is amazing. There’s no indication that there is a door there, so it was a huge surprise.
Then the actual ride starts. It’s funny how the actual ride portion of this attraction almost feels like the finale. So much has happened already that it’s hard to believe the main attraction has only just started.
Usually, the queue and pre-show are meant for build-up and are usually the weakest part of many attractions. The queue and pre-show for “Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: Breakout!” are good, but I go on the attraction for the actual ride, not the queue and pre-show.
Here though, they are the best part of the experience. I’d skip the queue experience to get on “Guardians” faster, but I wouldn’t want to skip this queue experience.
Anyway, the attraction starts slowly with you creeping around and keeping a low-profile so you don’t draw any attention to yourself. Then, after an encounter with a viper-droid, you are spotted by some stormtroopers and the spaceship is put on full alert. Blasters fire in every direction, Star Wars music blasts in your ears, making the excitement build and build.
Nothing could be better than this!
Okay, I guess it can get better!
In the next scene, you stumble into a room with two life-size AT-ATs. These things are huge!
Something to note as well is they did a pretty good job with the blaster fire effects. There are lots of sparks on the walls as well as chunks falling out of the roof, making it all feel so real.
Then comes my favorite part. You back up into an elevator, Finn (who’s helping you escape) tells you to go down, but instead you up, coming face-to-face with the AT-AT’s blaster cannons. Fortunately, you speed out of the way just before the cannons fire…
The elevator was a big surprise. At first, I thought we were going to continue going backward, but then we ended up being lifted-up really fast, completely catching my off guard.
Kylo Ren Chase
Next, you come across General Hux and Kylo Ren on the bridge. The animatronics they use for them are insane! Their movement is so life-like!
After that, you go into another elevator, where Kylo Ren starts cutting through the roof with his lightsaber. This isn’t 3D – these are all props! Believe me, I’m not kidding you here! It’s all real!
Then you end up weaving in and out of a set of huge blaster cannons. These cannons are massive! I couldn’t believe what I was seeing! It was impressive how fast they move too.
Just before you get to the escape-pods, Kylo Ren pulls you towards him using the Force and threatens you to tell him where the secret Resistance base is. Luckily, a tie-fighter crashes into the wall behind him, making the structure around him collapse, which gives you a chance to get to the escape-pods.
The Kylo Ren animatronic does have some slightly strange movements, but for the most part it’s really impressive.
Then we get to the finale, where you enter an escape-pod and drop down the same way you do in “Tower of Terror.” It then turns into a Star Tours-like simulator with you flying back down to Batuu.
It’s amazing how many different ride systems there are in this attraction. There’s the track-less part, then the elevator, then the drop-tower, and finally the simulator.
And that’s it! The 20-minute experience is over.
So does it live up to the hype? Is it worth getting up so early in the morning to get on the attraction (which you will probably have to since the boarding passes run out so quickly)? Is it really the best theme-park attraction ever built?
Yes to all three.
There isn’t one moment where the immersion breaks. Usually on rides if you look in a certain direction you might see something you’re not supposed to see, like the lights in the ceiling in “The Little Mermaid – Ariel’s Undersea Adventure.”
It truly feels like you’re in the middle of an epic battle between the First Order and the Resistance.
I can’t stress how good this attraction is. If you can, ride it. You can’t get a better theme park or Star Wars experience anywhere else.
Well not until the Star Wars Hotel opens anyway……
Alison Meacham is the founder of EverythingMouse Disney Blog. For over 15 years she has shared her love of Disney Parks, Disney Cruises and Universal Orlando. In over 30 years of Disney Travel she has spent countless months in Disney Parks and has sailed on over 45 cruises. A British native and now a United States resident she splits her time between California, Florida and the UK. And spends a serious amount of time sailing the seven seas. She helps over 200,000 people per month follow their Disney travel dreams.