ROTR - A few ideas to make it even better **Spoiler Alert**

Edited: February 3, 2020, 1:31 PM

Despite its ongoing technical issues, Rise is an awesome experience. It’s a technical masterpiece in theme park entertainment, especially if you are a Star Wars fan, but as with all masterpieces there are flaws, so I thought I’d list what I think could have been done to make it even better.

The entrance to Rise is at best OK, no Millennium Falcon to walk by, and no workshop to admire as you wind your way along the queue line. If you listen closely there is a story unfolding, but I don’t think there will be many people who listen to what’s being said. I’m not sure how many will even take note of the artifacts. Maybe when there’s a 2-3 hour standby line, that will become more of a ‘thing’ that people will see. As usual with the FP+ line, all of that is missed.

The stirring start with BB8 & Rey is a great introduction. “May the force be with us” echoes in our ears as we walk outside towards the transporter. Here I see the first problem. There is no cover, and even though it’s a short walk, come the Orlando summer afternoon thunderstorms, you are going to get wet, very wet. It’s a good photo spot as well, with BB8 in an X-wing all ready to go.

I think they missed the boat with the transporter. You wander in, and shortly after get attacked by TIE fighters. Yet we’re all calmly standing-by watching the ensuing battle going on around us. The back window view is much better than thru the front. And yes, “battle” ….. nothing happens on the ride. We’re just ho-humming along. This should have been a moving simulator with seated passengers. Actually make it feel as if they are in the battle, as standing and watching what’s going on doesn’t quite cut it.

OK, so we get captured and are awe struck by the assembly of storm troopers. But when you’ve done it a few times, it’s a Meh at best, and you move on thru. What they needed here was some of those storm troopers to be actual moving CM’s. Yeah I know, what a concept :) They could get up close and personal, and bark out orders, keeping everyone in line. They could even take one or 2 of the prisoners and interrogate them, maybe march them off behind the scenes, but to be quickly moved thru and put back in line. Certainly after the storm trooper room, you are led to one of the worst areas of the ride anyway, so for those “lucky” enough to be marched away, it may be a welcome relief to be out of the very slow moving queue line waiting to board the ride. I know the logistics of all of that are tricky, but it’s something I think they should have considered.

So now we are stuck. Stuck in a very slow moving line that will eventually dump us out into an area where we are glared at by poor CM’s who are trying to be tough, but it’s all very embarrassing really. Maybe if they hadn’t got their Disney name tags it would be a little better ?? The old adage …. “it seemed like a good idea at the time” springs to mind here. It’s all so very ho-hum, and the times I’ve been thru, there is very little interaction between CMs and guests. How about having a few random CMs in line, and when we’re in the waiting-to-be-transported away area, have them break ranks, and the ‘guards’ chase them down and carry them away. Maybe even a “gun” fight. Just little things like that would make it a so much better experience. You don’t even need the rogue CMs to be there every walk thru, just once in a while and something to break up the monotony of that portion of the ride.

We now have a quick little chit-chat by Kylo Ren before we are “freed” by the resistance. How the hell did they get in there in the first place?? The other thing I wonder is how many of the people going thru the ride at that point actually know they are being freed by the good guys. It’s not overly obvious, and you could easily be caught up with everything else going on. Once you get seated in the ride vehicle, the vast eternal plan starts to become apparent.

And off we go ……… on a rather bizarre loop de loop back and forth to dead ends and back, until we find our way out of the enemy ship. Sure we get shot at, and the resistance is there shooting back, but for what purpose? We’re not going to get hit. Little lighted up areas showing damage is a bit odd. Maybe a few parts actually flying off the walls and ride vehicle would have helped. As with the storm trooper room, the first time you go past the AT-AT’s it’s “wow” but 2nd and 3rd time, it’s ….. here we go again. So we are treated to some stirring Star Wars music as we slip and slide, go backwards and forwards, watch an ensuing battle thru the windows, say hello and goodbye to Kylo Ren, and then we reach a hole in the starship, where we ever-so gently drop into space. And poof, in a blink of an eye, we are back on land.

Despite my criticisms, I genuinely like Rise …. but I don’t see it as a multiple ride-per-day attraction like MFSR. I will argue for MFSR against ROTR any day. Yes, you go thru the same areas, but if you’ve been on it multiple times like I have, you know there’s a big difference between a good and bad crew. It’s fun ….. and the queue line is light years ahead of the one for Rise.

Replies (2)

Edited: February 3, 2020, 2:24 PM

Having gotten my first tastes of Rise last week, I can see where you're coming from with these critiques. I'm working on a full spoiler-y review of the attraction, but I definitely agree that it's not the type of ride that you would want to marathon. There are so many individual design elements that can be critiqued, but I have to agree that the biggest problem is the wait after the hanger room prior to the interrogation chamber. I definitely got the feeling that the crew was trying to make the experience as immersive as possible (we saw many of the same CMs across our 5 time through the attraction, which included 2 aborted attempts), but my biggest complaint was always with the CMs that boarded the transport to announce our capture (always speaking too softly and rarely with any sort of belief that they were a First Order officer capturing Resistance recruits).

There was one time where the line through the queue moved a little slower, so we were able to take a closer look at the details within the standby line (we also boarded twice through what will be the FP line, which is extremely bare-bones). The biggest thing we noticed in the standby line were the scanning codes for the PlayDisney app. I guess if you're not participating in that aspect of Galaxy's Edge, it's not a big deal, but if you are, there are a lot of details in the queue that can help players rack up credits in the app.

I actually liked the changing venues of the attractions from the exterior forest to the interior caves and initial pre-show to the exterior transport boarding area. I'm not sure if you've ridden at night yet Makorider, but just like MFSR, the screen images on RotR match the real time exterior lighting conditions, so when we boarded the attraction at dusk, the look of the screen images during the transport take-off and escape pod landing similarly looked like dusk. My issue with the transport boarding platform is that you don't get much time to take photos here. You've got BB-8 and Poe's X-wing, which cannot be seen anywhere else within Galaxy's Edge. That seems like a pretty big an oversight by Imagineers since only a generic X-wing and an A-wing are on display for photos outside the attraction.

I think just like Jungle Cruise, HM, and ToT, CMs will eventually sort out the best way to keep guests entertained and immersed while waiting for the attractions. Given all of the technical issues and breakdowns, I got the feeling from most of the CMs that they were just glad to get guests onto the dark ride portion of the attraction.

February 3, 2020, 11:13 PM

I'm glad you took the time to share all this, Makorider. I disagree with most of it, but I do have a couple points I felt similarly about. The line inside the Star Destroyer is definitely the point that breaks immersion the most, and though I know it would likely be impractical on the scale needed for the ride, but I think it would have been much cooler if they had led each transport group to a separate room for some sort of show element instead of just sticking everyone in a queue. By doing this, not only is the First Order never leaving you unsupervised (which is completely out of character), but you also don't immediately run into other prisoners and realize your ship isn't the only one that's been captured recently.

My other main point of agreement is how much the ride uses the trick of move forward until an obstacle appears, then reverse and try something else. It's neat a couple times, but there are so many other things that are possible with a trackless ride yet never play a part here. This is further compounded by the fact that there are one or two points where you're just moving through an empty hallway with nothing going on, which could have been a neat way to incorporate additional elements. The effects of the ride are top notch and it feels like the appropriate thrill and intensity level for the type of ride that it is, but I wish they'd tried to fit everything possible into this ride rather than taking 1/3 of the playbook and duplicating it several times.

Now, for some points of disagreement. First off, using the criticism that something gets old on the 3rd, 4th, 5th, etc. time is a bit of a cheap shot IMO. Particularly in Florida, Disney is building rides with the expectation that the average visitor will experience them a handful of times in their entire life. Sure, there are plenty of fans that visit annually, but even they will ride infrequently. This is the big reason I try to wait at least 2-3 months between visits to Disneyland despite living less than 45 minutes away...if I went more, every ride would get old and tired quickly.

Secondly, for a ride that is supposed to have the premise of entering a secret Resistance base, I think having a minimalist entrance is absolutely the right call. You don't want something out there that screams "Resistance here!" Plus, the slow reveal of what you're walking into as you wind through the queue is done to perfection.

While a little more motion on the shuttle would be nice, a seated shuttle would not be a good idea. Not only would this either cut capacity down significantly or require tons of extra expense, but it complicates the timing of the whole experience. If there's a loading delay, other shuttles would get stuck waiting after their show had already ended, and the reveal would not be nearly as grand if you have to exit row by row rather than through one big door.

Lastly, I don't know how the actors are in Florida, but out here in California everyone was on point. First Order officers delivered instructions in the militant manner seen in the films, and were getting in the face of anyone who put a toe out of line as we neared the detention area. Resistance crews at load were also great, and it was immediately clear these were the "good guys." Their presence also makes perfect sense with the story since it was said previously Finn was leading an infiltration of the Star Destroyer.

Honestly, if Disney had got a little more creative with the show scenes during the ride, I would probably be with those declaring Rise of the Resistance the greatest ride ever built. Even as is, the attraction is still spectacular and in the top five dark rides I've experienced. Is it the exact attraction I would have designed were I at the helm? No, but I know some of my ideas would have been unrealistic, and I think 95% of what's in the ride was the best choice given constraints of theme park attraction design.

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