ORLANDO, Fla. — When Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge opened at Disney's Hollywood Studios this past August, one major attraction was still under construction.
Media attending a preview for the land were given a sneak peek at the Rise of the Resistance attraction but were prohibited from taking in cameras or cellphones. It was only a glimpse, but a jaw-dropping one: A hyper-realistic First Order Star Destroyer hangar bay filled with more than 40 stormtroopers and a life-sized TIE fighter.
Rise of the Resistance officially opens Thursday at Galaxy's Edge in Disney World -- before Disneyland in California gets it next month.
Disney describes it as “one of the most immersive, ambitious and technologically advanced attractions" the parks have ever created.
The attraction uses multiple ride systems including a simulator and a trackless ride vehicle. It also incorporates thousands of special effects and animatronics, which will appeal to both avid "Star Wars" fans and casual ones looking for a thrilling experience.
Walt Disney Imagineering and Lucasfilm collaborated in writing the script for the attraction’s story so park guests will feel they’re playing an authentic role in the "Star Wars" franchise.
The attraction entrance is themed like a temporary encampment for the Resistance near the outskirts of Black Spire Outpost on the planet Batuu. The encampment turns into the crumbling remains of ancient ruins, which provide adequate cover for the Resistance heroes.
Once inside the main area, you'll see a holo-transmission of Rey alongside droid BB-8, who will welcome you as new Resistance recruits. The plan is to reunite with General Leia Organa at a new location off-planet -- but the spot must be kept a secret from the First Order.
You'll have to quickly get on a nearby Intersystem Transport Ship (the first of several ride systems) to avoid a First Order Star Destroyer. Of course, things don't go as planned.
Before you can jump to lightspeed in the ship, it's caught by the Star Destroyer and pulled into the massive hangar bay. You'll then get in another ride vehicle -- an eight-passenger First Order Fleet Transport piloted by a black R5 series droid.
Now, you have to find a way to escape through life-sized, cinematic scenes including dozens of stormtroopers, TIE fighters, AT-AT walkers circa "Empire Strikes Back," turboblaster canons and frequent blaster fire.
And, the attraction is full of Disney cast members turned into First Order troops, Resistance fighters and the insidious Kylo Ren.
To finally escape, you'll have to get into the next ride vehicle -- and freefall into space.
At more than 15 minutes long, the attraction goes beyond the standard theme park ride. It looks and feels more like a movie or TV show set than a multi-faceted experience.
Those still looking for their part in a "Star Wars" story -- which was promised at the opening of Galaxy's Edge -- will find it in Rise of the Resistance.
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