Thursday, December 5th marks the grand opening of the long-awaited Rise of the Resistance attraction at Galaxy's Edge in Disney World's Hollywood Studios. Disney Parks is holding a special, invite-only media preview event tonight, December 4th, which will be livestreamed. The ceremony is scheduled to take place at 6:55pm Eastern Standard Time. A YouTube stream is already set up at the link below, with a countdown timer running.
According to Disney, this attraction is "one of the most ambitious, advanced and immersive experiences ever undertaken by Walt Disney Imagineering." Disney has released a handful of official photos, artist concepts and other details throughout the development of the attraction. However, purported park employees have also leaked quite a bit of material. So we have a pretty good idea of what the attraction will entail already.
Riders will depart Batuu on a Resistance transport destined to meet with General Leia Organa at a classified rendezvous point. However, the First Order will intercept the transport in a Star Destroyer and draw it into the hangar bay. The remainder of the experience will see riders attempting to escape the clutches of Kylo Ren and the First Order.
Disney hired Scott Trowbridge away from Universal Studios to head their Research and Development arm several years back, and ultimately put him in charge of this ride development. Scott was responsible for the development of Universal's Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man and The Revenge of the Mummy attractions, and is believed to have been instrumental in the concept designs for Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey. So we're not terribly surprised to see some familiar design concepts, including the ride vehicle that was on display at the Star Wars Celebration last April.
Trowbridge also has a knack for building up ride excitement by designing heavily themed line queues and pre-ride shows. That will be a major element of Rise of the Resistance, just as it is with Millennium Falcon: Smuggler's Run in Galaxy's Edge. If you don't mind spoilers, Theme Park Insider posted a full queue walk-through, including the pre-ride shows, in the video below.
[*** Spoiler Alert - this video depicts the full queue experience including pre-ride shows ***]
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The ride itself includes many elements that haven't been seen before - at least not on this scale. Among them are life-sized AT-AT walkers, a massive High-Definition video screen larger than most IMAX screens, dozens of life-size animatronic characters, trackless ride vehicles, ride lifts and a first of its kind drop simulation coupled with an actual vehicle drop.
While the ride segment itself is only about four and a half minutes, the full experience, from the first pre-show to the exit, is reported to last up to 20 minutes. That would make it slightly longer than the Escape from Gringott's attraction at Universal studios.
For our West Coast followers, the same attraction is planned to open at Disney Land Galaxy's Edge on January 17th. As with almost everything at Galaxy's Edge (aside from alcohol sales), the differences between the two attractions will be minimal and limited primarily to deviations in the queue line routing.