Disneyland’s newest ride is not just a ride.
“Rise of the Resistance” is an astoundingly long 15-minute immersive experience designed in tandem by engineers and Lucasfilm producers in which visitors live out a real “Star Wars” story.
From queuing to disembarking, guests encounter their favorite characters, navigate two different ride vehicles and narrowly escape the clutches of the First Order.
In a ride that’s billed as four attractions in one, Imagineering’s goal was to put riders in the middle of a Star Wars movie.
Visitors start by venturing through Resistance’s secret bunker.
In a pre-ride briefing, BB-8 rolls out to greet guests and Rey appears in a hologram message to induct riders into the Resistance.
From there, the ride begins aboard a Resistance transport shuttle as the ship takes off from the planet of Batuu, the setting for the identical “Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge” themed lands in Anaheim and Orlando.
The vehicle is piloted by a lifelike Audio-Animatronic called Lt. Bek, who alerts riders to peer out the window and take notice that the shuttle is being captured by a First Order Star Destroyer.
Cast members acting as First Order officers swap out the usual Disney glee for stern commands while escorting “resistance scum” into a Death Star hangar bay.
There, dozens of stormtroopers supervise the new visitors, many of them shifting and moving to stare down specific individuals while the group is marched off to interrogation rooms.
After reaching their cells, the Resistance inductees-turned-fugitives are rescued and urged aboard a second vehicle, this one piloted by a helpful droid.
The next phase is a trackless dark ride in which your vehicle is hunted at every turn by stormtroopers, cannons and AT-AT walkers.
The droid hurriedly steers the vehicle away from captors, through the AT-AT legs, down Star Destroyer corridors and out of phaser fire.
One awe-inspiring turn takes riders across what appears to be a massive panoramic window, where a violent space battle occurs just outside — as the vehicle dodges cannons that move in and out of the vehicle’s path.
At one point, riders come face-to-face with Kylo Ren, himself. The villain threatens to destroy the prisoner transport before the droid nimbly steers out of harm’s way.
Finally, the droid navigates to an escape pod where Imagineers have combined elements from Millennium Falcon: Smuggler’s Run and Guardians of the Galaxy: Mission Breakout to create an effect that feels like the pod is really careening through space.
The ride comes to an end outside, where riders disembark near the ruins of a crashed spaceship.
How to board
The new ride ensures one thing: long wait times.
When “Guardians of the Galaxy: Mission Breakout” opened at Disney’s California Adventure in May 2017, the line stretched to the park entrance and exceeded 5 hours.
Disneyland is enforcing a virtual queue to manage crowds for Rise of the Resistance.
To join, first download the official Disneyland mobile app. On the app, a tile allows visitors to “Join Boarding Group.” The button will become active at the published opening time each day.
Guests will be able to scan tickets and enter Disneyland about an hour before opening and linger on Main Street.
The moment the park officially opens, request to join a boarding group on the app. Boarding groups will run out within minutes.
Boarding groups will be sent a push notification when it is their turn to enter the attraction queue.
Within the queue, wait times may be as short at fifteen minutes to enter the pre-ride briefing.
While waiting for a boarding group to be called, visitors may go on other rides, cross to Disney California Adventure or exit the park
Visitors without access to the app can join a boarding group from select locations inside the park.
More at Disneyland this month
Through Feb. 9, Disney California Adventure will celebrate Lunar New Year.
Mulan will lead a procession of other Disney characters and entertainers including a Chinese dragon puppet, warriors, drummers and dancers from Pixar Pier to Paradise Gardens at various times throughout the day.
At Paradise Gardens, visitors will be invited to meet Mickey, Minnie and Mulan and enjoy entertainment from visiting musical groups.
Four marketplace stalls will sell specialty dishes like a black sesame mochi doughnut, Vietnamese cold brew with coconut milk, char siu pork bao and purple yam macaron.