Thursday, December 17th, 2020
A year ago today was the last time I was in the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida. Like so many others, COVID-19 cancelled my vacation plans this year, too. Looking back fondly on my last stay – without a doubt – the highlight was getting to experience the then brand-new *E ticket attraction Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.
Granted, I’ve seen the movies, know most of the characters, but I am not at all what you would call a fan of the Star Wars franchise. Heck, when people ask me the age-old question; Star Wars or Star Trek, my answer is Doctor Who. But that doesn’t mean this attraction hasn’t quickly become one of the very best I’ve ever experienced.
The attraction is a combination of a walk-through, motion simulator, trackless dark ride, and drop ride system. And it puts you right in the middle of an altercation between the Resistance and the First Order!
While the attraction’s complex ride system is unlike anything I have ever ridden, I immediately compared the overall experience to Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey over at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Hogsmeade at the Universal Orlando Resort. This was simply due to how incredibly believable everything was. Not unlike how I always feel as though I’m actually riding a Nimbus 2000 through Hogwarts on Forbidden Journey, here I felt as though I actually escaped the wrath of Kylo Ren with the help of the Resistance.
WARNING: Spoilers ahead. Do NOT continue reading if you have not yet experienced and wish to keep the details of Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance a secret.
The story of Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance (because every theme park attraction is only as good as it’s story) is that you were sent by the members of the Resistance to deliver plans to rebels on another planet in their fight against the First Order. In order to deliver these plans, you must pass through four pre-show scenes (masked as waiting areas) before boarding the actual attraction vehicle.
The first pre-show has BB8 and Rey briefing you on your mission. You then head outside to board a standing transport ship, where an animatronic pilot flies you through space. You feel the ship moving as Resistance fighter pilots fly alongside you. But of course, something goes wrong, and your ship is accidently captured. The coolest effect here is that once your transport ship stops, the same outside door through which you entered the ship opens to reveal you are now inside the hangar of a First Order star destroyer. While normally I would spend the next five minutes trying to figure out how they did that, I was too busy gawking at the level of detail inside the star destroyer.
The hangar is massive and is one of the best places in all of Walt Disney World to take a selfie. Star Wars fans will want to stay here for as long as possible, given the fact that every single detail looks exactly as it does in the movies. From the hangar, First Order officers lead you and your party into interrogation cells.
Without spoiling the very best parts, members of the Resistance begin an escape attempt. But I assure you it’s not via a garbage shoot or trash compactor. This is where the real fun begins. You board your escape vehicle and are driven through the star destroyer, passing under AT-ATs , chased by Kylo Ren, and more. The sets are massive, and the special effects are so over the top that I need to experience it a dozen more times just to take it all in.
Due to its insane popularity, Disney has implemented a virtual queue as the only means to experience Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance. Resulting in the fact that you cannot simply stand in line for it, nor is it available via Disney’s ** FastPass+ system. Rest assured that prior to your Walt Disney World vacation, your Fairytale Dreams & Destinations’ Vacation Specialist will walk you through exactly how this virtual queue works in hopes of securing your spot to help the Resistance.
Star Wars fan or not, after experiencing this ground-breaking ride, it’s no surprise that a year after its opening, Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance remains The Walt Disney World Resort’s most popular attraction. And without a doubt, this designation will remain for many years to come. Because after all, the Resistance will not be intimidated.
– Christine Fiorelli
Contact Fairytale Dreams & Destinations™ Inc. when you’re ready to join the Resistance!
(905) 857.3611 | 1.855.FDMAGIC
10 McEwan Drive West Unit 3 Bolton ON L7E 1H1
* An E ticket (officially an E coupon) was a type of admission ticket used at both Disneyland and Magic Kingdom theme parks prior to 1982. E ticket admitted Guests to the newest, most advanced, and/or popular rides and attractions.
** Disney’s FastPass+ service allows you to reserve access to select Walt Disney World theme park attractions, entertainment and Character Greetings in advance. As a result of the COVID-19 crisis, at the time this article was written, Disney’s FastPass+ service was suspended in order to use additional queue space to control capacity at attractions and maintain physical distancing.