The immersive new addition to Disneyland’s Galaxy’s Edge attempts to not only impress seasoned fans, but create new ones.

Storm Troopers greet the captured members of the Resistances in a massive Star Destroyer hanger.

Drake Wilson

Members of the Resistance are greeted by a heard of Storm Troopers upon entering the Star Destroyer.

True fanatics, please don’t come for me, but I never understood the Star Wars hype. Perhaps because I was more into Barbies than action figures growing up, but the iconic franchise was never my cup of tea. Cut to me, last week, experiencing Disneyland’s newest attraction, Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance—I think I get it now. 

Prior to the attraction’s media preview, I couldn’t help but get chills listening to Margaret Kerrison, the managing story editor, recommend at a panel discussion that we “be prepared to be a part of Star Wars history.” As it turned out, it was more like being a part of Star Wars in the present, as the experience is as immersive as it gets. Before I knew it, I was receiving a transmission from a holographic Rey, requesting that I join the Resistance and their fight against the First Order. 

Hologram of Rey urges riders to join the Resistance.
A hologram of Rey, played by Daisy Ridley, urges riders to join the Resistance at the start of the experience. Photo by Drake Wilson.

Drake Wilson

My fellow riders and I boarded the transport ship intended to take us off of Batuu to meet with General Organa. The Force did not appear to be with us, however, because our plans were soon foiled by the First Order as we were tractor-beamed into a Star Destroyer. 

Rise of the Resistance riders board a transport ship.
Riders-turned-Resistance recruits board a transport ship headed to meet General Organa. Photo by Drake Wilson.

Drake Wilson

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Upon exiting our ship, a hanger full of Storm Troopers greeted us. The First Order escorted us through the Star Destroyer and placed us in a holding cell with little to hope for. But just like Luke, Han, Leia, and Chewy trapped in the trash compactor, we knew that where there’s the Force, there’s a way. Out of nowhere, trusty members of the Resistance came to the rescue. Soon we were aboard whizzing trackless vehicles, trying to zoom our way out of the massive ship. 

Between coming face to face with Kylo Ren, weaving through the legs of AT-AT Walkers, moving past turbo laser cannons, and witnessing the iconic, glossy Star Destroyer floors, it felt as though I was in fact a part of this world I had never before understood. Getting put into the story ignited my sense of childlike wonder, something more readily accomplished on the ride versus passively watching a film. According to Executive Creative Director John Larena, the space battles visible through every window of the Star Destroyer were made possible by special effects legends Industrial Light and Magic, ensuring immersive thrills and uncanny reality.

First Order officers escort captured members of the Resistance to their holding cells.
Actors playing First Order officers guard the Star Destroyer while the captured members of the Resistance are escorted to their holding cells. Photo by Drake Wilson.

Drake Wilson

After eventually escaping the Star Destroyer and crash landing back into Batuu, I went to grab some grub in Black Spire Outpost. As I sipped my sweet but oh-so-refreshing Tatooine Sunset, it was clear that Disney had accomplished their goal. As Kerrison explained of the new attraction, “We want you to fall in love with Star Wars all over again. And for people who are new to Star Wars, we want you to fall in love with Star Wars for the very first time.” Mission accomplished.

To go on the Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance ride, parkgoers must join a virtual queue via the Disneyland mobile app. You can reserve a place starting at 7am every morning. Due to the ride’s huge popularity, joining the queue is not a guarantee that you will have the chance to ride that day, so may the force be with you. (If your group is selected, you will receive an alert on your phone an hour in advance of boarding time.)