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Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance changes depending when and where you ride

Disney’s ambitious attraction was made for multiple ride throughs

Polygon’s Petrana Radulovic rides Rise of the Resistance in all its explosive glory
Petrana Radulovic is an entertainment reporter specializing in animation, fandom culture, theme parks, Disney, and young adult fantasy franchises.

Rise of the Resistance is the latest cutting-edge attraction at Disney’s Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge. The dark ride leads guests to the heart of a First Order Star Destroyer (aka makes standing in line kind of fun), where they eventually must make their escape with the help of Disney cast members dressed as Resistance fighters. “The break out” invites guests to board two seemingly identical cars for a chase sequence that feels like it’s straight out of the movies.

The ride is a sensory overload, and one that begs to be experienced more than once just to see all the details. But when you ride the ride a second time, in a different car or during a different time of day, riders will actually get two distinct experiences, according to the Disney Imagineers.

At a premiere event at Walt Disney World, John Larena, creative director at Walt Disney Imagineering, mentioned that the ride has multiple viewpoints and that the subtle details of the experience really depend on which seat you get.

“There are eight seats in every vehicle,” Larena explained at a media event. “There’s two vehicles in there and I’ll tell you, it matters whether you’re on the side, in the front ... it really does dictate where your head kind of trends to catch all these other thing. Totally different perspectives.”

During one critical moment, a shootout near a fleet of AT-ATs, the cars are separated and each views the scene a little differently, like a parallel moment in time. The front car sees Finn standing, with his back against crates, while the back car sees him crouching. Immediately after, both cars launch up: the front car sees directly into the AT-AT cockpit, while the back car gets a side view.

Guests dodge huge turbolaser cannons as they attempt to escape a First Order Star Destroyer as part of Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance, Photo: Matt Stroshane/Disney Parks

Because the ride just has so much going on, even if you ride in the same exact place a second time through, you may pay attention to different details. Larena cites a moment when the escape vehicles zip through the Star Destroyer’s gunnery, where giant cannon props blast right over guests heads, embroiled in a space battle right outside the window.

“You might just look at the gun turbo guns that would catch your attention,” said Larena. “[But] if you direct your attention outside. There’s a whole other story that’s happening out there [via projections] that actually makes sense with everything that’s happening in the physical world.”

The bulk of Rise of the Resistance takes place in these two cars, but the lead up — a line that’s disguised as mini-rides — also has a re-ridability factor. Loading into the transport vehicle pioneered by new character, Lieutenant Bek a Mon Calamari, guests blast off from Batu. While the front of the ship features an animatronic Bek, the back shows a panoramic view of the planet as the ship departs. Depending on whether you ride in the morning or the evening, the projection changes to reflect the time of day, a small note that infuses all the more reality to the fantastical Star Wars story.

“It’s a very authentic story,” said Jon Georges, executive producer on Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge. “Because you are authentically there.”

Ride of the Resistance is now open at Galaxy’s Edge at Disney World in Orlando, FL. The ride’s Disneyland counterpart opens on Jan. 17. For a closer look at the attraction, watch our ridethrough video at the top of the story.

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