This is the Star Wars ride you've been looking for.
You don't need Obi Wan Kenobi to play a Jedi mind trick for you to believe that Disney's new Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance lives up to the hype. Just go ride it.
With four ride systems, enough projections and Pepper's Ghosts to fill the Haunted Mansion, and a 20-minute overall experience time, Rise is as stuffed as Jabba the Hutt. Walt Disney Imagineering attempted to create the most technological advanced attraction in theme park history here, and not only did they succeed, they created a visually stunning experience that will overwhelm every casual Star Wars fans.
But for devoted fans, Rise of the Resistance is nirvana — the ultimate first-person Star Wars experience. If stepping aboard the Millennium Falcon gave you a taste of experiencing the familiar Star Wars universe, Rise of the Resistance delivers a multi-course meal. When the harshest thing you can say about an attraction is "there's too much to see in one ride," you know that the attraction has delivered.
Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance delivers.
Earlier this week, I asked what it would take for this new heavily-hyped attraction to be considered a success. I gave you five options to choose from, including one I thought a ridiculous standard by which to judge any new attraction — to be the world's best theme park ride.
Disney provided a seven-minute extended attraction highlight video for release this morning:
And here is my full queue walk-through:
And my on-ride experience:
You've basically got four pre-show experiences here, including one that could be considered a ride in itself: A briefing by BB8 and Rey, an interstellar transport ship, a fan service wish fulfillment moment in a Star Destroyer docking bay, and finally an interrogation by General Hux and Kylo Ren. Deft use of next-generation animatronics and projections convince you that you're just steps away from these Star Wars characters.
But those are just the appetizers. With Finn and Company coming to our rescue, it's time to board our escape vehicles for a wild ride through the Star Destroyer.
In one sense, Rise of the Resistance is the true successor of The Great Movie Ride as it becomes Disney's most cast-driven ride attraction. On my second ride, the Resistance cast member at load really sold this pivotal moment in the ride narrative. And playing a First Order officer here must be a weary cast member's dream, as you need to be as nasty and curt with guests as you'd always dreamed of being while smiling at an unruly and unresponsive crowd elsewhere in the resort. Spirited cast members here will elevate Rise of Resistance from a great ride to great performance.
But don't allow me to undersell that ride. Finally, American audiences get a world-class trackless ride experience. This is an epic battle that evokes, then surpasses, the experiences theme park fans have had on rides such as The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man and Transformers The Ride. There's even an elevator moment here, but one that's not disguised, making it a thrilling highlight of the ride.
Using the Force, Kylo Ren seems to know our every move before we make it, but that does not prevent us from making our way to the escape pods. After what seems like an endless series of highlights, here we get the best ones, with an exhilarating series of thrills bringing us to the finale.
With each set piece, I kept telling myself, "surely they can't top that one," and then they did.
Disney did it. It met the ridiculous standard. Welcome Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance... the world's best theme park ride.
Update: After my rides, I spoke with Walt Disney Imagineering Executive Creative Director John Larena about Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance and its development.Tweet