Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance review

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Photo provided by: Joelle Wittig

On the morning of Jan. 25, senior Joelle Wittig goes into Disney's Hollywood Studios to ride the new Galaxy's Edge ride, Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance.

Joelle Wittig, Editor-in-Chief

I rolled out of bed at 4 AM on Saturday, Jan. 25, my anticipation growing. My brother and I had this day planned for weeks. We knew we had to leave the house by 5 AM to even have a chance of getting on the new Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge ride, Rise of the Resistance. We arrived at Disney’s Hollywood Studios at 5:30 AM and the queue for the park was already packed. We joined the line and huddled among strangers until 6:15 AM, when they finally began letting people into the park. Despite the fact that it did not officially open until 7 AM, once the line reached a certain point, Disney had to let people in due to safety regulations.

In order to ride Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance, park goers must join a boarding group through the Disney app, which limits who can join based on having to be in the park and the park be open. So, once my brother and I were in, we waited, constantly refreshing the app as the clock approached 7 AM. When the time came, we joined immediately, and made it into boarding group 58 out of 105. In less than five minutes, every boarding group was full.

Our boarding group was not called until nearly 11 AM, but in the meantime I was filled with anticipation. I grew up with Star Wars; I dressed as an Ewok for Halloween at the age of two and saw every movie in the new trilogy on opening night, so to say my expectations were high would be an understatement. To my relief, the ride was better than I could have ever imagined.

The line for the ride took us into a cave resembling an undercover resistance base, filled with easter eggs from the movies, old tools and alien objects. Each detail fits into the Star Wars universe, making the perception of being on the planet Batuu even closer to reality. At the end of the path, Rey told us to meet with General Leia Organa to complete our mission for the resistance. We were directed to a ship and passed through more details from the franchise, including Poe in his X-wing, and then we boarded. The ship itself was incredible. It resembled the movies in every way and was piloted by an animatronic Nien Nunb. Our ship was captured by the First Order and we were escorted off by a cast member dressed as a member of the First Order to be interrogated. As I stepped off, I could not believe what I was seeing. We were face to face with around 40 stormtroopers standing in formation. Though the actual ride had not even begun, I was already blown away.

After being put into a holding cell, the resistance showed up to save us by slicing through the wall with a lightsaber. The Imagineers went the extra mile to make the preparation for the start of the ride as accurate and movie specific as possible, which truly made the experience unbelievable. We got into the vehicle, piloted by a droid, and jolted forward into the ride itself. We rode through the First Order ship, passing Kylo Ren and seeing stormtroopers around every corner. There was even a cameo from the All Terrain Walkers, which fit in nicely with the nostalgic, yet modern, feel of the ride.

As we worked to escape, I was in awe of the scenes around us. Fighting broke out between Finn and the stormtroopers, with a perfect mix between animatronics, props and digital effects. It felt like a classic Disney ride, despite being new to the park. The story arc fit perfectly into the Star Wars universe and the immersive experience made me feel like I was part of it. The Imagineers did an incredible job telling a story while taking you on a thrilling ride. Rise of the Resistance is one of the few things worth waking up at 4 AM to do and is, quite possibly, my new favorite Disney ride.