After years of anticipation, the long-awaited attraction Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance inside Walt Disney World's' Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge at Hollywood Studios is complete and poised to open to the public.
Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance, which Disney has called "the most technically complex attraction ever undertaken," will open to guests on Thursday.
"Good Morning America" got an advance look at the experience that puts guests into the middle of a climactic battle between the First Order and the Resistance, including a faceoff with the evil Kylo Ren.
The scope of the attraction feels massive from the onset. The approach to the attraction includes a temporary encampment of the Resistance, a forested area on the outskirts of Black Spire Outpost on Batu. From there, a pathway leads deeper into the forest toward towering cliffs and the crumbling remains of an ancient civilization.
Rey, in the form of a holo-transmission and alongside a droid BB-8, welcomes new Resistance recruits. A plan is shared, which must be kept secret from the First Order.
Guests load into a transport shuttle, which launches them into virtual space. But there's immediate trouble: They're captured by a Star Destroyer and pursued by Kylo Ren as they try to escape the First Order.
And then, a sight that's sure to stick with riders for some time: Guests enter a hangar filled with 50 stormtroopers and a docked TIE fighter. At various points, guests dodge blaster bolts from stormtroopers and scurry past huge turbo-laser cannons and stumble into the Star Destroyer’s bridge.
It's one of executive creative director John Larena's favorites.
"When the Resistance Transport Ship gets tractor-beamed into a Star Destroyer, when the very doors you walked in on this ship, they reopen and you are now in the hangar of a Star Destroyer," he told "GMA." "That moment, when walking out onto that flight deck with 50 stormtroopers, First Order officers barking at you, it's an epic moment and so much fun to watch people's faces when that moment hits them."
"Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance is the most ambitious, immersive, advanced, action-packed attraction we’ve ever created. We threw out the rulebook when designing this attraction to deliver experiential storytelling on a massive, cinematic scale," said Bob Chapek, chairman of Disney Parks, Experiences and Products. "Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance sets a new standard for what a theme park experience can be -- just like Galaxy’s Edge, itself."
There's a holding cell complete with interrogations and a chase through the ship pursued Kylo Ren and stormtroopers. Guest board the First Order Fleet Transport, dodging danger seated in a trackless vehicle that glides through giant AT-ATs and past an enormous "windows" showing TIE fighters engaged in battle. That same vehicle moves through the attraction vertically, horizontally and laterally in a completely unpredictable manner. Disney said the trackless ride vehicles in Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance are some of the most advanced ever used in a Disney attraction.
The finale, a simulation experience and a highlight of the experience, gives the sensation of falling from space to crash land on Batuu.
Imagineers created thousands of special effects, from slashing lightsabers and whizzing blaster bolts to exploding walls and massive star fields, Disney said.
The 14-acre Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge opened in both Walt Disney World and Disneyland earlier this year and is the largest single-themed land expansion in Disney history.
"It's been five years of developing [Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance]," Lorena said. "To see it finally come to fruition and see actual guests riding on this attraction is the most amazing thing."
The attraction opens Dec. 5 at Disney World’s Hollywood Studios and Jan. 17, 2020, at Disneyland.
Fun facts about Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance
• Actors from the current Star Wars film trilogy reprise their roles for new scenes and dialogue in Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance, including Daisy Ridley (Rey), Adam Driver (Kylo Ren), John Boyega (Finn), Oscar Isaac (Poe Dameron) and Domhnall Gleeson (General Hux).
• Many scenes were filmed at the same time as “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” and “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker” were in production.
• Poe Dameron’s X-wing is one of several vehicles from the Star Wars galaxy appearing in the attraction.
• The attraction introduces a new featured character: Lt. Bek is a Mon Calamari Resistance officer who helps guide the Resistance recruits through their harrowing journey.
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