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Disney May Have Fixed Star Wars Land With “Rise of the Resistance”

It sounds like the immersive, authentic Star Wars experience we've been waiting for.

When Disney purchased Lucasfilm in 2012, a Star Wars theme park was all but inevitable. Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge opened last year at both Disneyland and Walt Disney World, but reviews were lukewarm despite big early crowds.

That might be changing now that Rise of the Resistance, the park’s long-awaited marquee attraction, is finally open at both parks. We call it an attraction because early reviews make it clear that “ride” is a woefully inadequate descriptor.

When the experience begins, you’re recruited by the Resistance and put on a Resistance ship on its way from the planet Batuu to a secret base. Unfortunately, the First Order finds it and pulls it onto a Star Destroyer with a tractor beam. You’re escorted by Stormtroopers to an interrogation cell before the ride even begins, a continuation but also an expansion of a classic Disney park strategy of entertaining people as they wait in line.

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Naturally, the Resistance hatches a plan to escape, and the battle between it and the First Order unfolds as you sit in a transport car taking in the action. Daisy Ridley’s Rey, John Boyega’s Finn, Oscar Issac’s Poe Dameron, Domhnall Gleeson’s General Hux, and Adam Driver’s Kylo Ren are all there in either video or hologram form.

“You’re just in the middle of a ‘Star Wars’ story and you’re experiencing it firsthand,” Disney Executive Creative Director John Larena said. “There are so many things to look at. So many things are happening at the same time. You’ll go on with a friend or a family member and you’ll be on this side and they’ll be on that side, you’ll see different things…all these incredible things that happen around you. You can’t get it all, you gotta go on it multiple times.”

What’s clear is that no trip to Galaxy’s Edge is complete without going on Rise of the Resistance, and if the positive buzz endures as more and more people experience it, expect the reputation of Galaxy’s Edge to improve accordingly.