How many stormtroopers does it take to transport fans to a galaxy far, far away?
At least three dozen, lined up in neat rows and staring down everyone who enters the gleaming walls of a massive hangar on a First Order Star Destroyer — the iconic Star Wars ship that evokes the Galactic Empire.
The stormtrooper army is just one of many jaw-dropping moments in Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance, the new ride that debuted at Disney’s Hollywood Studios in Orlando on December 6.
Produced by Disney Parks in partnership with the creative team at Lucasfilm, the vast attraction brings the action from the newest Star Wars trilogy to life in whopping scale. Towering AT-AT walkers, Poe Dameron’s original X-wing Starfighter and multi-story ship decks all add to the galactic experience. (At 165,000 sq. ft., the attraction is two-thirds bigger than the average Costco.)
Beyond the physical footprint, the ambitious attraction — which boasts four ride systems in one — has a Jabba the Hut-sized running time.
“We crafted a very long experience,” says executive producer Jon Georges. “We wanted to immerse guests in the world of this battle between the First Order and the Resistance. It’s a 15-minute, fully immersive experience, so it’s a long-play attraction for us.”
When Disney Imagineers first set about designing Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge at Hollywood Studios in Florida and Disneyland in California (Rise of the Resistance opens there next month), fans made it clear the two experiences they most wanted in an attraction, says Georges.
“People said they had to get on the Millennium Falcon and they had to get on the deck of a Star Destroyer,” he says.
The Millennium Falcon is the centerpiece of Smugglers Run, the attraction that opened at Galaxy’s Edge earlier this year. The debut of Rise of the Resistance completes the 14-acre new area’s much-anticipated rollout.
The newest attraction takes guests aboard a full-sized Resistance transport shuttle before being intercepted by the First Order — with Supreme Leader Kylo Ren (played by Adam Driver in the films) using the Force to send riders on some unexpected twists and turns.
Many of the new trilogy’s cast members participated in filming for the attraction, including Daisy Ridley (who appears as a Leia-worthy hologram), Oscar Isaac and Domhnall Gleeson. An assortment of familiar droids and aliens also make cameos — and Disney cast members serving as First Order troops aboard the Star Destroyer are so stern-faced they make the “staff” at Tower of Terror and Haunted Mansion look downright friendly.
Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance is open now at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.
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