Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance Ride Review – Disneyland Park California

Star Wars: Rise of the Resistances is Disney’s headline attraction in The Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge portion of Disneyland Park. The ride cost an estimated $400,000,000 (four hundred million) to build and suffered near-endless delays. So is it any good? Well, we had a little problem answering that question due to a certain pandemic that you may have heard about? But finally, we got back to Disney land to try out the ride and let you know if Disney’s colossal investment was worth it in our Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance Ride Review

Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance Ride Review
  • Location – Disneyland Park – Galaxy’s Edge
  • Type – Star Wars Themed Dark Ride
  • Duration – 18+ Mins
  • Height Restriction – 40 In
  • Average Queue time – 60 mins – 180 Mins
  • Genie+ Lightning Lane – No
  • Individual Lightning LaneYes
  • Single Rider – Unavailable Due To Covid
  • Additional Info – 4 Rides in One
  • Thrill Rating
  • Fun
  • Smoothness and Comfort
  • Uniqueness and Theming
  • Value For Time
4.6

What is Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance

After Disney Opened Star Wars: A Galaxy’s Edge with just one ride, a lot of scrutiny fell on the Shoulders of Disney. While Smugglers Run opened to some pretty impressive plaudits, it was hard to see exactly how Rise Of The Resistance could justify the hype and the delayed build-up.

Rumors started circulating around the ride and the sheer complexity and ambition of the ride started to surface. But not until the gates opened and the ride was fully revealed did the full scope of the ride become clear.

Star Wars is often referred to as the Ultimate Space Opera, overblown, epic, and highly dramatic, And Disney really has tried to create an experience to match the pomposity and theatre of the Films. They have done this by inviting riders to take a ride up to an actual Star Destroyer! Complete with Landing Deck, Tie Fighters, a Garrison of Storm Troopers, and of course a full-scale laser blaster shootout with Sith Lord Kylo Ren!

It is a staggering achievement and one that’s going to take a bit of explaining!

It is essential 4 rides on one, and takes a whopping 18mins+ for your journey up to the Star Destroyer and back down to earth…err, sorry… Batu.

Individual Lightning Lane

Cost: $20 Per Ride Per Person

Galaxy’s edge was reported to have cost over $1billion each (both Cali and Florida) Wit the Rise Of The Resistance Ride is rumored to account for $400million of that. And we are sorry, but Disney wants some of that back, and they want you to pay it!

The queues for Rise Of The Resistance are some of the largest in the report, often topping 2 hours and creeping up the 3 at the busiest of times. Even a Rope Drop, expect a 60 min wait unless you get there super early for one of the first few rides, but then you will probably have a 60-minute+ wait to actually get into the Park, etc…

Really there is one true way to bag a wait time less than a 60-minute minimum and that is the Lightning Lane, however, we do have an article on how to minimize your queue time here.

$20 is a big ask to skip a queue when you have already paid a rather large sum of money to enter the park. Especially for families where you are now expected to stump up an additional $80, $100, or $120+ to get all of your family members on the ride!

But if you want to maximize park time and not spend a long time in the queue it is the price you have to pay. Prices have remained stable and no surge charging has been reported on the Rise Lightning lane, unlike the California Adventure lanes that do surge from $7-18 when busy!

The final thing to note is the Lightning lanes DO sell out. In fact, they sell out most days. When it’s busy they can be gone before 10 am, even earlier! We advise making your decision before you get to the park and then just pull the trigger straight away. The sooner you book the earlier your time will be.

We really hate that Disney has gone down this path, but that is the choice you are now forced to make!

Queue And Theme

Galaxy's Edge

The Good News here is that if you are forced to queue it’s a pretty epic Queueing area. The Ride entrance is out in a remote feeling part of the Outpost and feels very much like the location of a rebel base. You enter via a Turret and follow a path up to a cave. This then meanders through a Rebel underground bases with various rooms themed rooms.

There are several Pre-Shows where the story is explained and you meet cast members of the resistance, via screens and Holo-projections including Rey, BB-8, Po Dameron, Nien Nunb, and Lieutenant Bek

They explain that you must Head to a Faraway Planet Pacara to rendezvous with General Liar after the Baku Base has been compromised, with a Star Destroyer en route. You will leave in transports escorted by Po and his X-Wing Squadron, You then Exit the Pre-Show and head out to the Landing bay where you will find your transport and Po’s X-wing waiting for lift-off.

This is where the first portion of the ride begins.

The entire area is incredibly well themed and you really can forget you are in downtown Anaheim and not on some faraway planet about to board a transport. The effects from here on really do transport you away from the real world and into a make-believe fantasy that really is quite unbelievably convincing!

The Imagineers have been pulling themeing tricks like this off for years, but the level of detail here is astonishing even by Disney standards, and it only gets better!

Ride Experience

Warning < Spoiler Video >

The Video below is filled with spoilers as it is the FULL ride experience, our description below is lighter on the specifics, we detail the queue and press shows and how the ride unfolds but we are not blowing the whole ride experience Open! There will naturally be a few spoilers coming up though, so read on with caution and only click the Video if you are OK With Spoilers.

Spoiler Alert!!!!

The ride has 4 main elements, that you switch between seamlessly as you go on your journey to Pacara.

Transport

Once in the Transport, you meet an animatronic Lieutenant Bek With Niem Nunb piloting the Vessel. There is standing room only on the ship, which suggests this portion will be fairly tame. There are windows in the front of the craft and out the back too so you can experience the goings-on of your completely trouble-free journey to Pacara…

After soaring up over the Baku Landscaper and exiting the atmosphere you prepare to jump to lightspeed, only for signals to appear o the radar scopes. Suddenly a few Squadrons of Tie-Fighters appear from the blackness and begin to engage. The X-Wings engage as Green laser blasts flash all around and bad things happen.

The motion is fairly subtle as you might expect from a large transport that is not designed for maneuverability. It really does feel incredibly real, the twin window setup and the slow lumbering motion give a quite uncanny feeling of what this type of spaceflight might feel like!

If you know your Star Wars lore, you will know Tie-Fighters are usually short-range craft so this number of fighters can only mean one thing, Star Destroyers.

Sure Enough, a Fleet of Destroyers has arrived at Batu Earlier than expected. The Transport is captured in a tractor beam as General Hux and Captain Phasma order the Ship to be Bordered. Bek advisors the recruits to keep quiet under the inevitable interrogation.

Star Destroyer Flight Deck

Captured by the First Order, You now exit into one of the most incredible scenes ever assembled. You are now on what appears to be a fully functioning Star Destroyer Flight Deck. There is a Huge Hanger Bay Exit, protected from the Vacuum of Space by an Energy Sheild glimmering in ghostly blue.

A Large Batallion of Storm Troopers, all animatronic, Stand Guard. While Tie-Fighters squark by in the starry sky. Several First Order officers take charge and guide you into the next room, past a full-size Tie-Fighter that is stored in the Hanger Bay. It really is an amazing achievement and thoroughly convincing. The Scale, and the Detail, really bring the scene to life in a way you probably never thought possible!

You then head down themed corridors towards the interrogation rooms. There are several officers all acting up the role brilliantly as you await interrogation.

Inside the Interrogation Chamber, General Hux arrives, Via Video Screen, to extract any information we have and then presumably dispose of us. He is shortly joined by Kylo Ren who attempts to use Force Magic to extract the information before they are both required to leave the room to attend to issues on the bridge.

At this point, Resistance Fighters cut a hole in the wall, and lead you off to some ropy-looking transports to make a break for freedom. Fin appears on the screen to explain the plan.

Dark Ride

Rise Of The Resistance Example Ride Vehicle

This is the main part of the Ride and is a Trackless Dark Ride utilizing a huge array of really clever special effects to really make you believe you are actually in the midst of an intense Laser Battle with the First Order.

We won’t go into the Full details here as to avoid spoiling the surprise (if you want the Spoilers the Video above should suffice) but some of the highlights are two Full-Size AT-ATs, Hux and Kylo Wren Animatronics, Proton Canons, Light Sabers Cutting Steel, Deformable Scenery, and finally an exit via an Escape Pod.

The Ride tech here is pretty cool. The Ride Vehicles utilize Disney’s trackless ride vehicle tech. This is used on several rides through the Disney Parks including the Tower of Terror/Guardians of the Galaxy, Mickey’s Runaway Railway, and Luigi’s Rollickin’ Roadsters. But this is possibly the best implementation of it we have seen.

The Ride mechanics themselves are fairly dull, the cars just roam around the star destroyer’s various bays, hangers, and passageways. However, the scope of the theming here is just mind-blowing. You really are totally immersed in the Starwars universe and traversing the deck of a star destroyer. The Trackless system means you have no idea where you are going and the vehicles feel completely free to roam where ever they see fit.

The scale and combination of effects are incredible. The intricate set design mixed with fantastic use of seamless video screens, lighting effects, Anamatonics, along with smoke and air effects. It’s all combined in such a visceral way you really start letting loose of reality.

The “final confrontation” is really unbelievable. If you watch the Spoiler Video, you will see what we mean, but half the effects just do not come across as in a video! In reality, it really feels like what is happening before you really is happening! We won’t try, but you can’t spoil it, until you sit there and it literally takes your breath away, you won’t understand!

The best description is simply a one-word reply. Wow! The whole way through, set after set, sequence after sequence, just WOW!

Drop Ship

The Final Ride Element is the Escape Pod/Drop Ship escape. The Ride Vehicle enters the Pod at the end of the dark ride and exits the Star Destroyer by plummeting back to the Planet Surface.

The Initial Drop Sequence feels incredibly real. Mainly because there is a real drop here. This is a very similar system to the Tower of Terror/ Guardian of the Galaxy but obviously not as tall. It’s quite a thrill and not really expected.

The Ships then head back down to Batu, abandoning the plan to head to Pacara, and the Transport Vehicles drive out of the pods where you are greeted by Bek and Finn.

You can now exit the Ride Vehicle and return to Baku and the Outpost to continue your day.

Overall

The Ride is a seriously staggering feat of Imagineering! From the second you board the transport you completely forget you are actually just inside some nondescript building in Southern California and really feel like you are transported to an orbiting Spacecraft…well almost but it is the fact you are simply denied any real hint this is not what is actually happening that helps make this semi-believable. Every inch of the interior is themed to perfection.

The Ride itself is just a technological Marvel. If you have seen videos of the ride, these do not come close to the convey how fantastic the effects really are. While we may have preferred a slightly more thrilling ride, the presentation is just mind-blowing. This is Old-Shool Imagineering brought right up to date with the latest tech and the effects are mindblowing.

It’s a bold claim and one that may age badly but we think it’s the best ride of its kind in any themepark anywhere. You can’t really compare it to the biggest and fastest Coasters in the world, but in terms of themed dark rides, it simply stands above anything that’s gone before.

We thought Flight Of Passage was unbeatable, Likewise Harry Potter’s Forbidden Journey, but the overall presentation here is just on a whole new scale. For now, this stands alone as the king of dark rides, and one of the most immersive experiences available in the world.

For some of our Review Categories Below the ride really redefines what these actually mean!

We await, with bated breath to see what Disney conjures up with their next big project, The Avenger Quinnjet Adventure

Have Yor Say

Let us know your thoughts on Star Wars: Rise Of The Resistance? Was it the Blockbuster Space Opera Ride you have always dreamt of or an overpriced light show? How Immersive was your experience and how fooled were you by the journey to the Star Destroyer? Do you agree this is one of the best rides at Disneyland? Or even the world?

Whatever your thoughts just fire away in the comments below. We love hearing from you.

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