Thursday was the day when the most-anticipated Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance ride finally opened at Disney's Hollywood Studios. Star Wars Land debuted at the park in August, but fans of the iconic galactic film franchise had to wait for one of the space's most anticipated attractions to open.
The simulator gives riders the opportunity to join the Resistance deep in the forest outside of Black Spire Outpost. There, the mission to extinguish the First Order takes off, but challenges exist along the way, including being captured by a First Order Star Destroyer and coming face to face with a legion of stormtroopers and Kylo Ren himself.
Prior to embarking on the journey, a detailed waiting line and multiple pre-shows make you feel like you are actually traversing towards a secretive Resistance camp. After a three-part story arc, the ride ends safely right back at the base on Batuu.
Throughout the entire ride, live cast members on both sides of the fight interact with the passengers in unique ways. You can feel the urgency of the Resistance fighters during the quest, as well as the hostility of the First Order officers upon capture.
The 15-minute ride represents the dawn of a new era in terms of Disney's ability to create immersive experiences. Four ride systems provide custom experiences as they guide the new age trackless vehicles through elevators, drop shafts and the traditional simulators.
Some of the other technological highlights include the integration of the Play Disney smartphone app to create different narratives for riders and virtual queuing to help with wait times.
Even with the virtual queue, Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance still featured massive wait times on Thursday's opening day. People arrived to start forming a line overnight for the 8 a.m. opening of the ride, the queue filled up within a few hours and an early-morning stoppage of the ride and evacuation caused a minor delay.
Still, early reports on what the attraction brings to Star Wars Land are positive. That is a great sign for those who thought that the area was lacking some depth when it originally opened.