Rise of the Resistance just opened today at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Here is our review, which includes spoilers!

The Story:

Guests are recruited by the Resistance. They are debriefed at a Resistance Base by Rey on how they need to accomplish their next mission. Rey appears in the form of a holographic projection, courtesy of BB8. Then, guests board the first ‘ride system.’ It is difficult to call this a “ride system” though, since it is technically a simple standing motion simulator. There are no seats, restraints, etc. but the system is still in motion. It is kind of like riding the bus while standing up.

Unfortunately, the vessel is detained by the First Order. The back door of the vessel is abruptly opened. First Order cast members order guests to exit the vehicle and into a hangar guarded by stormtroopers. Guests wait there until brought in for interrogation by Kylo Ren. Thankfully, though, members of the Resistance bust you out. Guests enter trackless ride vehicles that will transport them as they fight their way through the Star Destroyer. We see animatronics of Kylo Ren, General Hux, and Finn dressed as a Stormtrooper (more on them later). The trackless ride vehicles back into escape pods that launch guests to freedom. This is the part that includes one “swift drop” to evoke the feeling of launch.

The Pre-Show:

The coolest part of the pre-show is the animatronic for BB8. Not only was it smooth in its motions but it looked beautiful and exactly like the films, if not better.

The Queue:

The queue is genuinely unlike anything that has ever been done before. It is not just immersive. It is lifelike. There are very few, if any, dividing ropes/poles/etc. that are traditionally found in theme park lines. Instead, guests wait in large show areas devoid of conventional “lines.” You are guided by the show and the cast members. The entire feeling is more natural and therefore adds to the overall experience.

The Ride:

The trackless system is almost completely new to theme park go-ers in the United States. The trackless system has been used before at Mystic Manor in Hong Kong Disney. It is also used on Luigi’s Rollickin’ Roadsters at Disney’s California Adventure. But we have never seen a trackless ride quite like this one. There are different experiences and patterns for each vehicle, giving you a unique perspective each time you ride.

The Animatronics:

Until now, the best Disney animatronics were the Shaman on Na’vi River Journey in Animal Kingdom and Hondo Ohnaka on Smuggler’s Run in Hollywood Studios. Today, we feel confident in saying that the two Kylo Ren animatronics and the BB8 animatronic have taken the cake. The motions are smooth. The technology seems unprecedented. They look so real.

The Experience:

This is by far our favourite category in which to review new attractions. We like to be a little scared if the First Order is attacking our ship. We want to be relieved and excited when we are freed. The sight of Kylo Ren’s animatronic should make me wonder if we are still in Disney World, or if we have really been captured a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away. We need to feel like we are really there. With Rise of the Resistance, Disney pulled it off like never before. The theme reaches everywhere you look. The cast members are always in character, even when making sure your seatbelts are securely fastened. According to them, it is only to ensure a safe and quick escape from the Star Destroyer. It truly does not feel like a theme park attraction, but a real-life experience.

Were our predictions correct?

If you read our last article about our predictions for Rise of the Resistance, then you may be wondering which of our predictions were correct and which were incorrect. Well, here is what we got wrong:

  • There are no interactive shooting elements in the ride like Toy Story Mania.
  • There is only one drop, comparable to Tower of Terror’s smallest drop. However, it is otherwise not like a traditional drop ride.